Liza Bean recently visited the vet.
You remember Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys), don’t you? Liza is the tiny-pawed, symmetrically striped and thoroughly adorable cat my mother insisted I take home.
“I don’t need a cat,” I had said.
“You don’t need a cat,” she corrected. “You need this cat.”
And dagnabit, the woman was right. Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is one of those cats that make you wish you had one. Small for her age, clever with her paws, a snappy dresser, and a gifted ventriloquist, Liza Bean is a credit to her species.
But there’s a dark side to this endearing puddy tat.
While I have, in the past, suspected her of being a part of an international jewel theft ring – and also of being the one who keeps adding the words “the good shrimp” to the weekly grocery list – it wasn’t until I found the tattoo that I realized that there was still so much more to be discovered about Liza Bean Bitey.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Liza Bean has taken it upon herself recently to relieve the fancy goldfish of some of their water. Sitting atop the tank, she would lift the lid and lap until I got up to remove her. Really, we should’ve put something heavy on the lid right away – as we have since – but Liza’s drinking problem eventually led to the development of some sort of skin issue, causing her to lose the hair on her chinny-chin-chin.
And that’s when I found the tattoo.
“What’s that?” I muttered aloud.
“What’s what?” said Willie.
“That,” I muttered, lifting the cat’s chin. “Look at the ceiling, Liza Bean.” And there, on her charmingly pointy chin, was the dark blue ink of a prison tattoo.
“Liza,” I said sternly. “Is there something you want to tell us?”
As usual, her command of the English language wanes in direct correlation with the potential for a distasteful outcome. Had I been asking her if she preferred salmon over the chicken Friskies dinner, she would have answered me immediately. As it was, she gazed at me blankly for a moment and then nonchalantly licked a front paw.
A cross between an ancient Roman coin and the tiniest Rand-McNally road map you’ve ever seen, Liza Bean coyly refused me access to the tattoo that began under her chin, ran down her throat, and trailed off into her coat.
The vet gave her a shot and a white cone to wear and the wily feline was careful to avoid me as her hair grew back.
She took a phone call last night in the bathroom, water running.
I pressed my ear against the door, of course, but I couldn’t make out a word of it.
I tell you: if she hooks up with those Russians again, she and I are going to have a long talk.
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