We are less than two months from the birthday of Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys), and I have no idea what to get her.
You remember Liza Bean, don’t you?
Delightfully tiny-pawed cat, catcher of mice, and demander of cream, the cat with a past that includes international jewel theft, conference calls held at midnight in the bathroom, water running so as to mask the sound?
The cat who takes my car for hours at a time (although, to her credit, she always returns it with a full tank)?
The cat who once told me that I “seem to have a working brain” as way of complimenting me just before asking for a loan?
Yes. That Liza Bean.
I took her out for dinner two years ago, and the sushi debacle is still fresh in my mind, particularly since I cannot walk past any of the local police without them making clawing motions at me while chuckling the words “Meow! Meow!” Frankly, I thought the guy had it coming – after all, any lout suggesting that Liza Bean “go back to where she came from” deserves the restaurant-clearing brawl that he gets; and while her bail money – the money I was saving for a flat-screen TV, dagnab it! – was considerable and we still cannot show our faces at the Origami, I carry the memories fondly.
Last year’s birthday celebration was a quiet affair: a houseful of her friends over for “paw” food (trays of puree of mouse on Ritz crackers, bird bits on toast points and of course the obligatory cheese platter). The police were called when the party moved to the roof, but no charges were filed; and as I had enjoyed the gin and tonics as much as anyone else and had agreed to not write about it, the details have moved into the fuzzy-and-disputable category.
Which is just how Liza likes it.
All of this, of course, in no way lends itself to determining this year’s gift.
I could, of course, buckle to her demands and buy “the good shrimp”, the three words she insists on adding, in her spiky, old-fashioned handwriting, to the bottom of every week’s grocery list. Bless her tiny little heart, it never gets old. Landlocked as we are, however, even the “good shrimp” bears limited resemblance to actual good shrimp.
Perhaps a trip. There is, after all, her fascination with the Canary Islands to consider. I know she knows better, that the “canary” bit actually refers to dogs and not to birds, so I think she’s just toying with me there.
She’s also asked for a chemistry set, but I cannot, in good conscience, allow that cat access to potentially combustible materials. The fact that she lights her cigarettes over a burner on the stove is bad enough.
At any rate, there’s time; and it’s important that I choose wisely.
A poorly chosen gift where this cat’s involved is worse than no gift at all.
No Small Start: 1878
5 hours ago