Austerity measures have reduced Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, to using the landline.
The cat, a small, symmetrically striped animal with the bright green eyes of an overpaid carnival worker, trots briskly into the kitchen, jumps atop the table where she places the receiver against her ear. She uses one paw to cover the mouthpiece.
“A little privacy, please,” she says.
I back out of the room, hands held in namaste. Liza Bean scowls briefly at me.
Cats abhor sarcasm.
Having backed from the kitchen to the living room, I sit on the couch. Who was the cat on the other end of the phone line? For, clearly, it was a cat – few humans sound as satisfied as the voice asking for Liza Bean.
A thought occurs: perhaps this has something to do with the package she received last week?
I am pondering this when I hear the phone being hung up.
Moments later, the cat saunters into the living room.
“I’m going to need the car,” she says.
I close my eyes briefly. While I am generally against the cat taking the car, she always returns it with more gas than it went out with, as big a gesture of appreciation as one may expect of a housecat.
I open them. “When?”
She pulls a Minnesota Twins game schedule from a pocket seemingly located under her left arm, studies it for a moment. “Tomorrow,” she says, looking up and tucking the schedule back under her arm.
I frown at her. “What’s going on?”
“Oh, nothing,” she says, heading toward the dresser where she keeps her dress collar. “Louis is in town.”
“Louis?” I say. “Louis B. Mewling?
And Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, adjusts her dress collar – the one with the pink, faux diamonds in it, and surveys herself in the bedroom mirror. “The same,” she says.