Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) turns five next Tuesday; and as you can imagine, preparations are underway. The National Guard has been alerted, anything of value has been wrapped up and stored in the basement in boxes marked “Taxes: 1990-1999”, and the catnip grown in and around Hennepin County has been bagged and marked at inflated prices.
Inexplicably, the Office of Homeland Security insists that the threat level remains at “orange”.
Liza Bean is turning five.
You remember Liza Bean Bitey, don’t you?
Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is a symmetrically striped, tiny-pawed catcher of mice and demander of cream, a cat with a sharp tongue and a penchant for umbrella-ed drinks.
Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is a cat who once returned my car with a typewritten manuscript in the trunk purporting to be a collaboration between her and Hunter S. Thompson. When I pointed out to her that Hunter S. Thompson died the year she was born, she simply raised one eyebrow and said, “Did he, now?”
That Liza Bean Bitey.
Two years ago I took her out for sushi for her birthday, a debacle 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, the guy Liza attacked 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, gin and tonics). The party eventually moved to the roof and Squeak Toy played until the police were called, but no charges were filed; and as I had enjoyed the drinks as much as anyone else and had agreed to not write about it, the details have moved into the fuzzy-and-disputable category.
Which brings us to this year’s celebration.
A pub crawl – or, perhaps more accurately, a pub slink.
The plan? She and her friends - including members of her last musical endeavor, A Band of Biteys, now that she and the drummer have settled their legal dispute - will leave the house Saturday night at 8:00. With a dozen bars in easy slinking distance, they will go to one after another, waiting for that moment when the door opens whereupon they will shoot in, four and five at a time, winding 'round ankles, dodging the good citizens of Northeast Minneapolis and pushing their fuzzy bellies up against the bar.
Ad hoc neighborhood watches are being formed as we speak.
If last year’s celebration is any yardstick for this year’s, I will awaken early to dozens of cats strewn about, on couches, atop the fridge, in the tub. I'll make scrambled eggs and ham and buttered toast. Coffee will be made and aspirin offered; and despite my protestations, I will find ten-dollar bills attached to handwritten thank-you notes tucked throughout the house after they leave.
They know how to party.
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