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.
The Worst Gifts
2 hours ago