You know Liza Bean, don’t you? Small-pawed and sharp-eyed, Liza Bean came to me by way of my mother.
“Next time you come up,” my mother had said, “I’ve got a cat for you.”
“Mom, I don’t need a cat.”
“You don’t need a cat,” she said. “You need this cat.”
And dagnabit, the woman was right again. Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is a tiny cat, a delicate cat, a stalker of string and lapper of cream. Mysteriously materializing on your lap, Liza Bean is one of those cats that make you think ‘you know, maybe I should get a cat…’
And then she steals your car.
Granted, she returns it with a full tank, which is no small thing at the current per-gallon prices, but at what cost the horror of finding half-eaten moths in the glove compartment?
Why are they in the glove compartment? And why doesn’t she just eat the whole thing?
And now, taking advantage of some I’m-running-out-of-money-and-need-to-get-back-to-work government program or another, Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) has enrolled in school.
“What does this mean, though?” I ask her. “Does this mean I won't find your fuzzy butt soaking up any available pool of sun on the floor anymore?”
Liza Bean, her back leg stretched out before her, thoughtfully pulls at one of her hind claws with her teeth. “I’m thure,” she says, her mouth full, “that I don’t know what you’re inthinuating.”
“I’m insinuating that you can barely be counted on to cover your own, shall we say, leavings, let alone get up and go to school every day.”
Liza Bean’s eyes widen – and then narrow – in shock. She lowers her leg delicately. “Such talk,” she scolds.
“OK, well, I’m sorry,” I say. She is right – when did I become so thoughtless? “So what did you sign up for? What’s the plan?”
Liza Bean yawns in an exaggerated show of teeth, whiskers reaching for the walls. “Accounting.”
I stare at her.
She yawns again, the hint of a smile playing across her tiny black lips. She regards me cool-ly, deigns to elaborate. “You know. Accounting: you have two mice and I have one mice and how many of the legs will we be forced to eat to ensure we’ve both had enough for dinner?”
Now it is my turn to squint. “That sounds nauseating.”
She closes her eyes and smiles in a disturbing fashion. “Yes.”
“You’re playing with me, aren’t you?”
Eyes still closed, smile still on her lips: “Yes.”
“Are you going to tell me what classes you’re taking?”
Eyes still closed, smile disappears: “No.”
Moments later, there is the sound of light snoring.
I’ve been dismissed.
Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is no longer taking questions.