I walk into the living room, slow down, back up.
There’s something different about the cat…
“You look different,” I say.
Symetrically striped, delightfully tiny, she looks up, eyebrows arched in a show of feigned innocence. “Hmm?”
It’s more serious than I thought.
“What?” I say, a note of panic in my voice. “Why are you trying to look so innocent?”
Liza Bean Bitey, eyebrows already in peril of shooting off her brow and up into the tips of her ears, smiles slightly. “Me? My dear
I’ve no idea what you are talking about.”
I stare at her. I just can’t put my finger on…
I stare down at the cat’s paws. “What’s that on your paws?”
Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, a cat purported to have married Richard Burton – twice; world record holder for the String Chase (besting the favored Kenyan by a whisker); and chair-cat of the Minneapolis chapter of Mensa, looks down.
The cat, once referred to by Whitey Ford as “the most dangerous south paw outside of baseball”, tucks her tiny feet under her body.
I pick her up, inspect her tiny, deadly paws. “What is that? Is that packing tape?”
She wriggles, and I set her down. “Perhaps,” she says, gathering her dignity, “Do you want to tell me who “June” is?”
“What do you know about June?” I say.
The cat reaches under the ottoman, pulls out a catnip-stuffed teddy bear dressed in pink and purple pajamas. “Only,” she says, “that she seems to love us.”
I frown at her, a habit I have sworn to give up, and move the ottoman to one side.
And there I find a cardboard box, mailed from
Louisiana. Inside the box, a
plaque of the letter “P”, two cans of Natural Choice cat food (“I adore this
woman,” Liza Beans says thoughtfully), and a large plastic container labeled Anti-Monkey Butt. Jim Shore
“Sweat Absorber and Friction Fighter”, the cat reads, green eyes sparkling. “Well clearly she knows something about you, doesn’t she?”
I hold the container up, read the ingredients: talc, calamine, fragrance. “I shall think of her,” I say solemnly, “on Saturday the 22nd, from 8:30 to 1:00.”
Liza Bean cocks her head at me. “Serving at a graduation party?”
From the kitchen, I hear the sound of a match being struck.
How many times do I have to ask that the cats not smoke in the house?
In the kitchen, Dolly Gee is exhaling toward an open window as I enter.
I clear my throat.
She turns, grins at me and points down. There on the table, sent by June and soon to take its place as a favorite in Dolly’s ever-growing collection, is a new ashtray.
It is in the shape of the Great State of Louisiana.
And Dolly Gee, a long-haired feline with a lifelong lisp and a taste for Kools (menthol, if you got ‘em), sets her cigarette down between
Lake Charles and Baton
Rouge and smiles beatifically.
“Did you have any idea?” Dolly purrs. “Any idea at all?”
And I shake my head. “I had only hoped,” I say.
I had started this blog purely to prove to myself that I could write, every day, if I wanted to.
It has become so much more than that.