Have you read Part One and Part Two? Tiny little things they are, roughly 300 words apiece. If you want to go there now, we can wait.
I'll just stay here until you come back.
In consideration of the number of gin and tonics we anticipate having, we have taken a taxi.
It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dim light.
Located in a building at the heart of the Warehouse District in Minneapolis’s North Loop, The Nip and The Saucer caters to the best cats – and the worst – the city has to offer.
“The key,” says Liza Bean, waving to someone across the room with one delicate, striped paw, “is to watch one’s manners. A glance, a gesture, the very way one holds one’s head, all of these things mean something. In an establishment catering to those of the feline persuasion, one is polite. Unless, of course, one wishes to fight.”
She smiles at me, tiny, pointed teeth glistening in the low lights of the city’s premier cat bar. “Sometimes, one wishes to fight.”
Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, has been quite talkative. The cab ride, for instance, had been a 20-minute affair that included the mysterious production of a bag of “mouse ends” (“just a little snack”) and a description of the time Pupples rode all the way to the airport perched under the hood of a 2003 Cadillac Deville. (“It was winter, he said!” she hooted, “The engine was warm, he said! The poor schmuck stunk of ether for a week!”)
We make our way to the back of the room, where Liza Bean’s current band, Squeak Toy, has commandeered a booth. There they are: Stumpy “Lucky” Strikes on drums; Ignatz D. Katz on upright bass; and the piano player, a large long-hair with yellow eyes who had previously been introduced to me, less than cryptically, I thought, as “Hairball”. Pupples Old Bean is there as well, and I can't help but picture him roosted on the massive engine block of a 2003 Cadillac Deville hurtling down Highway 62.
Our waitress, after a lift of the chin on Liza Bean’s part and a tap to the side of the nose on the waitress’s, returns quickly with a bucket of ice, a bucket of limes, and the required bottles and glasses for gin and tonics for the eight of us.
Cats love gin and tonics.
Liza Bean pours the drinks, pushes a low ball glass in front of me.
The cats at the table nod.
Cats love gin and tonics with extra limes.
“What’s this?” I say, reaching for the light fixture at the center of the table.
Liza Bean’s paw flies out, slaps my hand quickly. “Don’t touch that.”
At the front of the room, the lights on the stage come up. They give off a warm, pink glow. A large white cat with the full face and assured demeanor of a Tom approaches the microphone set in the center of it.
Liza Bean reaches toward the center of the table, rapidly flicks the light fixture on and off, on and off.
“Ahhh,” I say.
“Yes,” she whispers. “Ahhh, as you so succinctly put it.” She smiles at me as one would a simpleton.
She loves me, and struggles valiantly not to show it.
I pick up my drink, form the next few words around the straw. “Can I –“
“Yes,” she says. “You can applaud next time.”
Return Monday, please, for Part Four, wherein we get drunk with cats, hear Dolly’s poetry, and consider a life lived surrounded by weirdos.
There will be postings, of course, on Saturday and Sunday, just not a continuation of yesterday’s and today’s story.