Have you read Parts I and II? Go back to yesterday, and the day before that. Go on! We’ll wait…
I arrive at Psycho Suzi’s less than an hour later.
By that time, the cats are just plain drunk.
The waitresses, of course, are ecstatic. While a bar full of cats is hard work – their habit of smashing glasses following a toast, for example, requires more sweeping than is normally necessary in an evening – their habit of over-tipping makes up for it. Tattooed, fishstocking-ed Betty Paige lookalikes run between the outdoor deck and the bar, visions of bulging apron pockets at the end of the night swirling between their ears.
Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, a small, symmetrically striped cat with a taste for the good life, beams up at me. “Pearl!”
“Where’s Dolly?” I repeat.
Liza Bean grins the grin of the pleasantly inebriated. “Dolly? Hmm. I –“
“You haven’t heard from her?”
Liza Bean reaches under her collar – a pink camouflage bit of silliness ringed with pink zircon – and pulls out a cell phone.
“Nope,” she says, inspecting the screen. “No – hic! – messages.”
I am about to give Liza the sharp edge of my tongue when Pupples McBean sidles up to her.
“You ready to go?”
I look from him to her and back again. “Ready to go?”
He nods frantically. Pupples is a small, nervous cat with a habit of running a claw under his collar, jutting his jaw out and shaking his head from side to side. I am momentarily distracted by the thought that he probably grew up watching a lot of Art Carney.
“Spoken word,” he jabbers,the claw under his collar working from one edge of his jaw to another. “Spoken word up at The Nip and The Saucer. D. Gee Squeaking is performing! Are you coming? You should come! Gotta go! The taxis are here! Gotta go!”
I look at Liza Bean. “D. Gee Squeaking?”
Looks like I’m sharing a taxi with a bunch of cats.