You didn't miss yesterday's post, part one, did you? Oh, go back. You'll enjoy it. And I'll wait right here...
I down the last of my drink just as the next round appears, and I smile as the spent drink is whisked away.
Taking a cautious sip of my gin and tonic, I peer over the rim of the glass. Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, a short-haired, sharp-witted feline of the domestic persuasion, sits across from me, stirring her own drink with a gracefully extended claw.
“I worked as a cab driver for a time, you know. The late-night crowds, the drunks and the devious.” Liza Bean sips from her drink. “It was a wonderful time to be alive.
“Pupples McBean used to ride along, sometimes. That was back when he was still married. Joyce, her name was, a nasty little thing who eventually went to jail for domestic violence” and here Liza Bean’s voice takes on a hear-ye, hear-ye quality “when she did, knowingly and with malice aforethought, drive ol’ Pupples’ head through their shower door.”
Liza Bean shakes her head, tut-tutting sadly. “Not that I blame her, entire. He's an annoying little SOB." She pauses. "He moved out shortly thereafter, of course.”
The cat reaches under her left armpit, pulls a lighter from who-knows-where and torches a Virginia Slim. She takes a deep inhale, blows the smoke up toward the thatched roof of the table’s umbrella. “I’d cruise around town, spot ol’ Pupples coming out of one bar or another, and I’d pull over. He was hanging out with theater people back then, always drunk, always singing, always wearing a red velvet hat with little holes in it for his ears. He always said the same thing when he saw me: Where O where has Liza Been? Off! Off! to visit the Queen!”
Liza Bean shakes her head, smiles fondly. “Silly old cat.”
She raises her paw, signals to the waitress, tracing circles above our half-empty drinks. Another round.
“So one night,” she continues, “just outside of the Pantages Theater, I pick up a young couple. It was Halloween night, and the two of them were – and you’ll excuse me, if the vernacular is inaccurate – dressed as a pimp and a ho.”
Liza Bean takes a quick sip of her drink, as if to rid her mouth of the taste of those words.
“A pimp and a ho,” I repeat, grinning.
“Don’t judge my clientele,” she says, and we laugh. Judging is one of our favorite ways to pass the time.
“Anyway,” the cat says, “I’ve got this couple in the backseat. It’s around midnight. The temperature is surprisingly mild for the end of October, maybe in the mid-50s, and I’ve got the windows down.
"And somehow, I think to myself that this couple looks too comfortable and that it’s been far too long since I’ve had some fun…
"And who better to have fun with than this delightfully clue-less couple?”
I sip on my drink. The twilight, as reflected by the Mighty Missi-Sip, is a pink-ly golden shade, all too soon to be replaced by the creeping dusk of evening on the river.
And I notice my drink is empty.