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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Part Four: A Night at The Nip and The Saucer

Part Four of the story!  Parts One, Two, and Three are available -- why not go there and catch up?  I'll just straighten up a bit until you get back...

I return from the kitchen 10 minutes later with iced glasses, a bottle of gin, a bowl of cut limes, and a large platter of microwaved nachos.

I hand Liza Bean a napkin, rousing her from a contemplative stare into the fish tank where the last of the fish, Goldie Spawn, circles, endlessly surprised at coming across a tiny, bubbling castle.

I sit down.  “Remind me,” I say, “Juan Diego de la –“

“De la Patas Oro,” she says, turning her attention on me.  “It means ‘of the golden paws’.”

“Hmm,” I say.  I fill my mouth with a mittful of nachos, pour gin into a tumbler.  I hold the bottle up to Liza Bean, who responds by holding up her flask.

She looks at me thoughtfully.  “Shall I tell you a story?”

And I nod.

“I am, of course, drawn to the bar.  To have provoked someone into throwing a drink in your face?”  Liza Bean smiles, tiny, pointy teeth behind tiny, black lips.  “I have to meet this cat.”  She taps a contemplative claw against her chin.  “But how to do it?”

I recognize this as a rhetorical question and take a sip of my drink. 

My but these things are tasty.

“I stand, excuse myself from the booth.  Pupples is telling some ludicrously involved story regarding a ball of string and a three-legged mouse – and frankly, I’ve heard it before – so I pad my way to the end of the bar, where a gin and tonic is waiting for me.”

I begin to open my mouth and am cut short with a raised forepaw. 

“I’ve been sitting at the bar for a matter of minutes when I feel the eyes of this cat upon me.”  Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, smiles at the memory. 

The cat pauses, closes her eyes, the better to relive the moment.

I hold my glass up, shake it impatiently.  The sound of the abused ice cubes break Liza Bean’s reverie. 

“Sorry,” she says.  Our eyes meet; we laugh. 

Cats never say “sorry”.

Liza Bean clears her throat, pulls the flask from somewhere on her body, takes a drink.  “And so there I am, fending off the advances of a particularly insistent Tom with Whisker Lickins breath, of all things, when I look up and see this cat, this gorgeous feline –“ 

I lean over, pour a measure of gin into the second glass, offer it and four limes to the cat, who nods absentmindedly. 

“He walks towards me, a driven, rhythmic gait.  The Tom moves instinctually to one side.”

Liza Bean turns to me, full face, her emerald eyes gleaming.  She picks up a wedge of lime, squeezes it into her drink, picks up another, squeezes that one as well.

I pick up my glass, shake it at her.  Get on with it.

Cats hate that.

She smiles, sips her drink, nods ever so slightly.  Extending one terrible claw, she pushes the ice cubes, clock-wise.

“He leaps to the chair next to me where he sits, upright and intent.  He holds his paw out, as if to take mine.”  She shrugs, an adorably tiny gesture.  I lean forward, the index finger of my right hand extended; and the kitty closes her eyes, rubs one side of her face, then the other against it.

She opens her eyes and sighs.  “He held his paw out, Pearl.”

I nod.

“And so what could I do but offer my own?”

I nod.  What indeed?

“And so he took my paw, held it to his lips.”  The cat closes her eyes again.  “And he said, in an accent of flowers and sunshine, ‘In my country, flowers this beautiful only bloom in the full light of the Mexican sun’."

I breath in, sharply.  “No!”

Liza Bean nods the nod of a cat in a dream.  “Yes,” she says softly.  The cat shakes herself.  “Of course, you know I had to ask him about why the Russian Blue had thrown her drink at him.”

I grin.  “And?  What’d he say?”

Liza Bean Bitey, one-time Fox News weather cat and current Olympic record holder in the gerbil punt-pass-and-kick, smiles.

“He said,” she says, “that after small talk and his having bought her a drink, she had asked him if he was Mexican.  Whereupon he laughingly asked her if she was Russian.”  Liza Bean raises her drink, sips at it thoughtfully. 

I stare at her.  “And that’s enough to get a drink thrown at you?” 

Liza Bean reaches for another lime. “Honestly, Pearl,” she says.  “Nationalities are not important to cats.  For it to be offered is one thing, but to ask?  What is important, bien sur, is that we are cats.”  She sips her drink, reaches for another lime.  "Please tell me that you can see that she was being rude."

I stare at her, blinking slowly.  Are these nachos my dinner?

"OK, sure," I say, not being sure at all, "but you promised me a story."


Anonymous said...

good grief...was he a Mexican hairless....ewwwwww

Daisy said...

"Cats hate that." Ha! Yes, every cat I've ever known did not like to be rushed. :-)

That Liza leads an exciting life. Much more exciting than mine.

Shelly said...

I am in love with this cat...

Pearl said...

No need to be hair-ist, now, Delores!! :-) LOL. There'll be a description forthwith...

Daisy, such a finicky group, aren't they?

Shelly, he is a smooth operator, and that's for sure. :-)

Brian Miller said...

the accent of flowers and sunshine...
i mean how can you resist...

esp when the options is frisky whiskers breath...hahaha

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
....ohhmmaa hari, this is getting hairy... YAM xx

Steve said...

And the saga continues. Good stuff.

vanilla said...

Also not sure, unless, in her mind there was a play on "Russian" and "rushin'." Yeah, there could have been slurring in her head, too.

jenny_o said...

Where does one brush up on cat etiquette? Because, bien sur, I would be doomed in a social setting.

Douglas said...

I am confused, certainly she (the Russian Blue) was rude to ask but why, then, would she be insulted when he asked her about being Russian?

By the way, only dogs express guilt (say they are sorry), cats only express disdain... everybody knows that.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Pearl, I want to let you know that I read this to the new member of my family .. her name is Minette and she is tiny and blue and I am going to have to be sure she doesn't read your blog until she is old enough .. That Liza can be a bit of a bad influence, I fear, on tiny kitten minds.

Elephant's Child said...

Liza B is all cat, transcending all nationalities and most breeds.
And I love that she has you firmly wrapped around her tiny (but elegant and efficient) paws.

bill lisleman said...

"abused ice cubes" I need to do that tonight but with whiskey.
You should invite Juan over for dinner. You know, meet the family.

Geo. said...

It's true! Cats are never sorry. There may once have been apologetic cats but their works would dissolve from it. Survival depended on replacing conscience with curiosity. I learn here.

Cloudia said...

Cat anti-hero

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

=^..^= <3

HermanTurnip said...

The thing that I enjoyed the most in this post...the thing that brought a smile to my face...the thing that's now forever been etched in my mind, is the term "abused ice cubes". There's so much potential in those three little words...

HermanTurnip said...

The thing that I enjoyed the most in this post...the thing that brought a smile to my face...the thing that's now forever been etched in my mind, is the term "abused ice cubes". There's so much potential in those three little words...

Diane Tolley said...

Oh, Juan! I'm smitten already . . .

River said...

"He walks towards me, a driven, rhythmic gait."
woo! Is it suddenly warm in here or is it me?