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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

And Then Came the Hard Times


I awaken to find Dolly Gee Squeakers, formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers, seated at the kitchen table.

A cup of coffee to her right, an ashtray in the shape of a Spaniard’s helmet to her left, the gray-blue smoke of her Virginia Slims curls up and veers, lazily, toward the open window, where small, plump birds hop in and out of the gutters, splashing. From her perch here on the second floor, she watches intently, her jaw bouncing, chattering with desire for their feathery little bodies.

She looks up, guiltily.

“Oh,” she says.  “’Mornin’.”  And Dolly Gee Squeakers, a cat with the bearing and grace of a young Karl Malden, waves a fuzzy fore paw hastily, tries to sweep the curling tendrils of cigarette smoke out into the early-morning air.

How many times do I have to ask that cat not to smoke in the house?

I am about to point this out to her – again! – when she sighs heavily, sadly.  The loss of her team, Syracuse’s Orangemen, in the NCAA Final Four, has hit her hard.

As it does every year. 

Every year, Dolly Gee Squeakers, formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers, bets her treat money on basketball, believes she has locked down a system whereby she determines the winners of the tournament based upon mascot size.

“Orangemen,” she whispers toward the window.  “Orangemen.”

She doesn’t know what it could be, this “Orangemen”, but it seized her excitable little brain earlier in the season, and by the time Porkmuscle J. Hamfat’s toady Pupples McBean showed up with the bracket, it had been decided.

The Orangmen would win.

And for a while, it had looked good.  The cats had gathered for the games, drinking microbrews and taking turns going out to the porch when they thought I wasn’t looking, out to the porch where they threw catnip on the floor, only to return to the living room, paws twitching, giggling nervously.

I pretended ignorance.  A little catnip never hurt anyone.

But in the end, it was as it has always been; and when the Orangemen finally lost to Michigan, Dolly Gee slunk off to the bathroom, where she managed to pull a towel out of the hamper and burrow into it.

I look at the clock.  The bus will be here in eight minutes. 

I’ll have to skip curling my hair.

I reach out to her, stroke one silken ear with an index finger.  “You okay?”

She nods, sadly, stubs out her cigarette.  Having bet her treat money, the Virginia Slims are now smoked in half-cig increments. 

“I have to leave in a couple minutes,” I say.  “How about we get together after work?  I’ve tucked a little something away…”

Dolly lifts her head.  “Albacore?”

Since learning the word, simple, pretty Dolly describes all that is good in the world with it.

“I promise,” I say.

Dolly jumps down from the kitchen table and promptly flops on to one side.  I lean down, scratch her belly, and she smiles, sadly.

“Orangemen,” she says.

I nod.  “Orangemen.”

24 comments:

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Ah, it is all over now, but there is always next year. Hang in there.

joeh said...

Who would have thought that a Cardinal would whoop a Wolverine?

And I know a cat would never bet on a bird.


Funny...as usual.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
..........ah, yes (ahem), tuna is a good food for cat... (I love Wiki!)

There ya go Dolly Gee, if I could reach ya, I'd tickle ya too. Enjore that 'core. >:#~

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

your writing is so . . . albacore.
;)

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Ah those Orangemen..they'll break your heart every time.

vanilla said...

She's not the only cat that got it wrong!

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

A philosophical cat ... who knew.

Leenie said...

A little catnip never hurt anyone. Chattering at birds, Cardinals or otherwise, is also a good release for felines. Wait until next year, Dolly.

jenny_o said...

I agree with Dawn!

And also got a refresher course on Karl Mulden :)

Sioux said...

There are probably lots of disgruntled two-leggers and four leggers these days...

Pearl--How long do you want your "soft green" scarf. Inquiring minds want to know...

Joanne Noragon said...

Albacore solves so much.

Simply Suthern said...

You'd hink she'd learn not to drop the whole bundle in one place. Pace yourself. It's a long year.

Daisy said...

"Dolly lifts her head. 'Albacore?'


Since learning the word, simple, pretty Dolly describes all that is good in the world with it."

That part really made me laugh. You have such a way with words, Pearl. :-)

Gigi said...

Poor Dolly...there's always next year.

Travis Erwin said...

I'm not cat man but a gambling cat I can endorse.

klahanie said...

Pearl,

Okay, here I am again! To just add a bit of trivia to your intriguing posting and for no reason whatsoever, basketball was invented by a Canadian, eh!

You're welcome.

Gary :)

Susan Kane said...

Those damn Orangemen.

HermanTurnip said...

"pull a towel out of the hamper and burrow into it"

Oddly enough I do the very same thing whenever the wife suggests that we go visit her parents for a week...

Lorna said...

Those cats are outlaws!

Elephant's Child said...

Poor Dolly. Poor, poor Dolly.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

What can I say other then orangemen.....poor Dolly

Rose L said...

I thought my cat, Kala, was talkative, but yours has her beat.

River said...

Poor Dolly. The Albacore will help.

The Geezers said...

These are quite delightful profiles you write. You might even eventually help soften my fear and loathing of cats.