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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Kitty Knows All, Tells Only Some


“Acme Grommets and Gravel, Pearl speaking.”

“I hear you’ve taken up smoking again.”

“What?”  I switch the phone from one ear to the other.  “Liza Bean, is that you?”

I’m shocked, not so much that the cat has called me at work, but that she’s heard that I’ve been smoking. 

I thought I’d kept that under wraps.

“Of course it’s Liza Bean,” she purrs.  “You silly, silly human.”

I smile, weakly.  I’ve not been myself lately, and I assume that Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, is softening the yelling-at I am about to receive with the pre-dressing-down assertion that I am a “silly, silly human”.

Liza Bean Bitey, a small-pawed, symmetrically striped cat, world record holder in the standing gerbil jump (612, laid end to end) and bloodline heir to the Spanish throne, clears her throat.  “Now this smoking –“

“Look,” I say.  “I know it’s bad for me.  I know I shouldn’t.  I mean, I’ve seen the pictures of the lungs and –“

“- oh, shush,” the cat says, softly.

“What?”

Liza Bean Bitey shakes her head, an action made clear by the sound of the tiny gold bells on her collar.  “I just thought I’d call to let you know how cool I think it looks.”

I smile.  “What are you up to?”

I can hear her smiling, diamonds by moonlight.  “Sometimes one needs to take care of one thing at a time,” she says.  “Sometimes, the best thing one can do, when faced with so many delightfully destructive options, is a small control burn, if you take my meaning.”

I nod.  I’m on the phone, yet still I nod.

“You’re not allowed to do it for long,” her purr dropping in tone just a bit to show she’s serious.  “That would be passé, don’t you think?  Nothing gets older faster than a middle-aged woman drowning her sorrows in smoke.”

“Hmm,” I say.

The cat smiles over the line.  “Look.  Pearl.  I’m a fan of crutches in all shapes and sizes, but that’s all they are:  crutches.  No point in crutches becoming handicaps.”  The cat cups the phone’s mouthpiece briefly, she says something and what follows is the sound of several cats in the background laughing.

I frown.  “What’s going on?”

“We’re loading up the car,” she says.

“The –“

“Not your car, Pearl,” she says, smiling.  There is the briefest of pauses.  “You know,” she says, “I’ve seen you smoke, and I daresay you have quite a look about you when you do.”

I smile.  Just a little.  “I do?”

“Just like Bette Davis,” she says.  “Elegant and dangerous.  A little minx of a smoker.”

“I am?”

“Oh, yes, my dear.  If I run across my old cigarette holder, I’m giving it to you, family heirloom be damned.”

I smile. 

“Of course, you’ll want to take up wines next,” she says, the words spilling out from her gently smiling lips.  “Nothing says ‘I’m in the midst of a trauma’ quite like wine.”


There is silence for just a moment.

“Anyway,” Liza Bean says, yawning, “The smoking.  It will need to stop soon, yes?”

I nod.  “Yes.”

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, chuckles indulgently.  “Good girl,” she says.  “OK, well, I’ve got to run – some friends and I are popping in for the last few days of Burning Man  -- I mean, technically, I was never here, you understand?  I’ve been at Burning Man the whole time, yes?”

When confused by a cat, it’s best to agree.  “You were at Burning Man the whole time.”

“Good girl,” the cat says. 

And she hangs up.

40 comments:

Amy said...

I like to say, be a disaster, but be a beautiful disaster. Or if you prefer, be small, but carry a big stick. Same Same.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I just came back from vacation and was so happy to see your post featuring Liza Bean Bitey of the Minneapolis Biteys. She, of course, is the wisest of the Biteys, but is always up for a good time.

Pearl said...

Amy, I really like that. :-)

SO,AC, Liza Bean is a cat for all seasons...

vanilla said...

The cat is at Burning Man and you have to work? Bummer.

Shelly said...

Liza Bean at Burning Man? Ooohhhh. This should make for a really juicy post.

And as one who smoked all through her teen years, please make your season of smoking short. We want you around a long, long time.

Camille said...

My best guess is there will be many different forms of smoking taking place at burning man...

I have taken up and discarded smoking enought times in my life to have lost a proper count. Currently in the discarded mode but can't promise what tomorrow will bring. It's a tough one to toss. Hang in Pearl.

Shelly said...

My comment should have read "...I was one who smoked all through her teen years. I know it's hard to quit..."

Mitchell is Moving said...

Ooh, I love these glimpses inside your head... I think. Sorry the stress has driven you back to smoking. Listen to Liza Bean (or perhaps some of the other voices in your head).

bill lisleman said...

I bet they jump gerbils at Burning Man. Never been but the pictures from the event are strange. Oh, quit the smokes - you can send that money to me instead.

Craver Vii said...

Liza Bean's counsel is exactly what I needed to hear today. My dilemma is that although I do not smoke, I have one cigar at home. It was a gift. And until now, I was not sure what to do with it. I hear that cigars pair well with a proper steak and fine cognac. But I'm thinking more along the lines of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and black coffee.

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

Liza Bean Bitey is always so wise.

"No point in crutches becoming handicaps."

So true.

Here's to a less-difficult autumn.

joeh said...

Love it! Not the smoking, the post.

THe reason smoking is such a difficult habit to break is because it is an ADDICTION!!

When I quit 0-3 but so far so good 2 years now, I waited til I caught a cold and had a sore throat and smoking was not an option. THis gets you three days of the at least 14 days it takes to get over nicotine withdrawal.

Kelly Louise said...

I have an oblivious dog, I can get away with murder as long as I keep treats in his bowl.

Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Bitey's, at Burning Man? Perish the though. The dirt, the dust, the ...

No, no, Ms. Bitey went to Vegas. They all go to Vegas.

Your characters are incredible Pearl.

jabblog said...

A little of what you fancy does you good, you know. Well, okay, smoking doesn't do you good but it's all right to slip now and again. Someone I knew called it 'three inches of safety fuse' - quite good, I thought.
I hope there are better times ahead for you.

R. Jacob said...

right about now, we could meet in a corner booth in a dark bar with a few cold beers and commiserate about how life sucks, and trade stories trying for a laugh.
or not.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

Liza Been Bitey should look into becoming a life coach as as profession.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Liza Bean Bailey is one smart kitty. You'd better listen to her. I've quit smoking and re-started so many times, it's ridiculous. It's been a few years now, and I'm thinking it's gonna stick this time. Not because I don't still WANT a cigarette, but because I'm too darned cheap to pay that much money for the privilege of killing myself.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Now please don't be silly Pearl. How on earth could a cat pick up a phone and speak to you.
They don't have any opposable thumbs.

Geo. said...

I don't have a cat. One comes over to use my lawn chair in the dark though and he never goes to Burning Man. Says you have to be Unitarian. I don't believe him but who knows?

Eva Gallant said...

As usual, your post and the comments are my best entertainment of the day!

esbboston said...

I wish you would stop smoking, I would miss you terribly if something cat-astrophic happened to you, crushed, I teLL ya'!!! I mildly detect that you are slightly younger than me. So was my HVAC mentor, him by about nine months. I just came from his funeral. Have you ever heard Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven, the complete song, in a church funeral? That was different. A first for me. It was terribly ironic that the funeral for an air conditioning man was held in probably the most uncomfortable [hot] auditorium in the city.

Joanne Noragon said...

I don't think about smoking, but I do think, when I'm near someone who smokes, "They smell like they smoke!" So, that's two good reasons not to start again. I wonder what Liza Bean thinks.

mary i said...

I hope I got this right, Diamonds by Moonlight,a cats smile? so true. Life will get better don't stress to much. Hey a can of Tuna and some Really good Ice Cream can be a big Help. Great Post and so real... Just a lurker from Alabama...

jenny_o said...

"When confused by a cat, it's best to agree."

Well, now. Really? For you, maybe. What about the rest of the world?

Wouldn't it have been better for society at large if you stalled her, implied that there's "good shrimp" in it for her, and wheedled the details from her?

:)

Pat said...

Liza talks sense.

NotesFromAbroad said...

It might be nice if you remember everything she tells you when she gets back and you can tell it to us here.
Who would have thought Liza was such a wise little kitty ?

Gigi said...

Bless her little, kitty heart. She DOES care about you.

I'm sorry to hear you've picked it back up. And I'm sorry to say that I have too. Maybe we can re-quit together. Besides all the nasty things it does to your insides it causes horrible wrinkles. And that? That is something we don't need!

Indigo Roth said...

Hmmm. It's pretty easy to see who wears the belled-collar in this relationship.

Flattery, Pearl, flattery. So easily done, so easily fallen for.

By the way, you look pretty today x

Leenie said...

Just like Bette Davis, elegant and dangerous. That's you Pearl.

And thanks for the reminder about Burning Man. I have just enough time to make it for the best part of the party on Sat. Packing my hippie boots and granny dress in my VW minibus for Reno......

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

She has your best interests at heart. Good girl, Pearl....good girl.

HermanTurnip said...

Ya know, I wish our Nemesis would learn how to drive. Would be nice to have her pick us up from the concerts after we've had a few beers, but she's all paws, and is terrible with a manual shifter. She's always grinding second gear.

Cloudia said...

Burning Man, LOL!



Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
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Jocelyn said...

Liza is about the healthiest "Id" I've seen. Yes, smoke, if it keeps you sane and able to get through these days. Plus, indeed, you look pretty damn cool while at it.

Listen to Liza. You'll stop when you can. Until then, it's working for you.

The Elephant's Child said...

Liza Bean Bitey of the Minneapolis Biteys is a prophet for our time. Myself? I have been leaning on wine o'clock. Not hard, but the inclination is there.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Can someone please explain push-button and speaker phones to Twisted Scottish Bastard.

the walking man said...

Smoke a pipe...it would make you even cooler than Bette Davis.

Pat Tillett said...

I'm thinking there is some ulterior motive to her "concern."
Great story Pearl! Burning Man? I hope she avoids the brown acid...

savannah said...

*smiling*

thank you, sugar. it's all gonna be OK, i promise you. xoxoxox

Paula Wooters said...

Something's definitely up with Liza Bean! Too many compliments bodes ill.

NellieVaughn said...

Smoking is cool, and I am disappointed that people keep forgetting that. I am not two months into being uncool, but there's always the possibility that a little cigarette will seduce me. Here's what I've learned about smoking again. You ready? You never do it for very long. It just isn't the same.