Someone small is hissing in my ear.
“Pearl. Psssst. I say. Pearl.”
I frown in my sleep. One minute one is being handed the Nobel Peace Prize for number of garage sales visited in a year and the next minute one is being paged…
I open my eyes. I perceive the sound of the white noise machine roaring in the background, the chopped light that filters through the fan in the bedroom window.
I roll my head ever-so-slightly to the right. 2:26 a.m.
Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, is no respecter of time.
Flat on my back, I roll my head back to stare up into the sparkling green eyes of the cat perched on my chest.
Liza Bean Bitey, tiny, striped holder of the world’s record in freestyle mouse dangling (612 end-to-end and off the Stone Arch Bridge), per diem drug and alcohol counselor for several local news affiliates, and Minnesota State Fair bon vivant, peers into my eyes.
“My word,” she purrs, a sardonic smile on her lips. “Not a night person, are you?”
I push her away, reach under the nightstand for the squirt bottle I had hidden there.
Cats hate being squirted.
The squirt bottle has been moved.
The cat shakes her head sorrowfully. “Tsk, tsk, tsk.”
I fall back onto my pillow. “What do you want?”
Liza Bean lifts a tiny paw, scrutinizes it in the darkness. “Does a kitty need a reason to speak to her favorite human?”
I close my eyes. “Yes,” I say.
“What if she wishes to speak to her about a certain plant-eating usurper with a penchant for yakking on the rug?”
She refers, of course, to Dolly Gee Squeakers, formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers, a cat known for her ability to eat and then fail to properly digest a variety of houseplants.
I frown upward. “What about her?”
“She’s writing poetry again.” The cat yawns elaborately. “I thought you should know.”
A vision of Dolly Gee, pyramid-shaped long-hair Siamese, sitting at my desk, fuzzy paws poised over the keyboard, nestles in my brain.
I shake it loose.
“What about it,” I say crossly.
The cat clears her throat, a tiny sound made even tinier by the darkness. “I hate to say this,” she says, “but it’s not bad. Shall I read you some?”
Tomorrow? Well, what else but cat poetry?