I awaken to find the cat sitting on my chest. I blink several times at her.
“You’re on my chest,” I say.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she says. “I hadn’t noticed.”
She doesn’t move, only continues to peer down at me.
I turn my head toward the alarm clock: 4:55 a.m. I turn back. “Did you have something to say?”
Illuminated by the glow of the clock, she smiles in that disconcerting way cats have. She yawns elaborately, a show of adorably pointy teeth and curled pink tongue.
“I understand you took a phone call yesterday.”
I close my eyes. “Actually I took several.”
There is silence. I wait a beat, then re-open them the tiniest of bits. Liza Bean leans forward, her bright, emerald eyes are focused, laser-beam in their intensity, on my own.
I open my eyes fully. “Yes,” I say. “I took a phone call yesterday.”
“Media Specialist blah-blah. Absolutely the right cat for the job, skilled at deception, no prison time. Many lies were told on your behalf.”
The cat – is that a smirk? What is that look? – smiles, then frowns. “I don’t really want the job.”
Any more of this and I’ll be forced to wake up. “What?”
“I said I don’t really want the job.”
“Well what did you apply for it then?”
She stands, stretches, pushes out one back leg at a time, takes a seat on my chest again. “Conditions of my continued Unemployment Benefits.”
Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) had a brief stint as a bouncer last summer. It ended poorly, although the suit was dropped and they agreed to not fight her application for unemployment. Still, the press had a field day.
I close my eyes, exhale in a dramatic display of suffering. “So what then? I say good things? I don’t say good things?”
The cat stands. Purring loudly, she begins the March of the Contented, a back-and-forth, claws-out kneading that causes me to pull the quilt up in self-defense. She closes her eyes, radiates endearing kitty waves of serenity.
“Liza!” I scold. “What am I supposed to do then?”
It is too late. Liza Bean is out of reach, already cocooned in that blissful state that the well-loved kitty manufactures, the one that allows them to sleep for 18 hours a day, the one that makes them stare out windows, their eyes half-lidded.
“Oh, for land’s sake,” I mutter, briefly channeling my grandmother.
The cat begins to snore softly.
And my alarm won’t go off for another 20 minutes.
Let’s see how we make out on the second time around
15 hours ago