3:24 a.m., and Dolly Gee Squeakers, formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers, escorts me to the bathroom.
She would escort you, too, given the chance.
Good ol’ Dolly. She has a calling, this one, and she takes it seriously.
Come with me, won’t you? Oh, sure, you say you don’t need the bathroom, but take it from the gal on the 48th floor – never pass up the opportunity to use the bathroom.
Particularly before getting on an elevator.
Another story entirely.
But here we are! 3:24 a.m. Comfy, ain’t it, me and you in the dark like this? Look over there. See the darkish lump? That’s Dolly Gee Squeakers.
“Mrrrrrow?” Dolly, having been abused mercilessly by the other kittens about her lisp, rarely speaks and goes utterly native in the dark. “Mrrrrow?”
She sits up but doesn’t bother to move, confident that we will step over her. This confidence is misplaced, however, as I have stepped on various bits of her more than once, whereupon she makes a sound akin to an accusatory siren.
“Don’t play coy with me,” I say.
She follows me into the bathroom.
She’s claimed it, you see. The bathroom is hers, as is the front stairway.
I close the door. Dolly flops over onto the bathroom rug.
“So,” I say. “Made your college picks yet?”
Dolly Gee Squeakers, formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers, has a weakness for three things: gambling, menthol cigarettes, and college basketball.
She’s also terribly fond of Patsy Cline and collects souvenir ashtrays.
Dolly sits up, cocks her head to one side, makes a sound between a coo and a question mark.
“Oh, that’s right,” I say. “Men’s college basketball tournaments are in March, aren’t they? This is only February.”
Dolly Gee lifts a paw, casually licks her elbow.
“Man, last year’s picks were a bust…” My voice trails off as I finish the sentence, realizing, in my drowsy state, that I’ve stumbled. Dolly’s usual method of picking winners – bigger mascots defeating smaller mascots – went out the window last year when the Iowa Jayhawks entered the picture.
As we like to say up here, Dolly do like the birdies.
When the Jayhawks lost, Dolly sorrowfully realized that she’d bet more money than she could afford to lose, causing her to stub out her cigarette and take to smoking them in three- and four- drag increments.
There’s an awkward silence as we both consider my gaffe.
“Sorry, Dolly. I know that was hard on you.”
She stares at me. She stares at the door.
I open it, and she sweeps out of the room.
I am washing my hands when the door is pushed open. It is Dolly.
“I’m sorry, Dolly,” I say. “I was thoughtless.”
She flops on to her side, stretches, shows me her white belly. I bend over and scratch it.
“No problem,” she says, back arched, eyes closed. She chooses her words carefully, avoiding "s's" whenever possible. She sits up, trains her bright blue, slightly crossed eyes on me. “I learned a lethun that day.”
Now it is my turn to cock my head.
“Never bet more than you can loothe,” she purrs. “And never meth with a thytem.”
I smile, leave her as I head back to the bedroom.
You heard it from the cat first: Never mess with a system.
1 hour ago