Did you read part one, posted yesterday? Less than 500 words, shouldn’t take too long. Go ahead, slide over to yesterday. We’ll wait here. Ooooh, and if you could come back with pastries? That’d be great.
The cat looks up innocently. “Sorry?”
I run my fingertips over my furrowed forehead. I really do need to stop frowning every time the cat says something ridiculous. “My car,” I say. “You took my car last night?”
Liza Bean Bitey, a five-pound, symmetrically striped feline with too many connections in the recreational catnip industry to be healthy, blinks up at me, her freshly de-canned Mariner’s Catch untouched.
“I didn’t think you’d mind,” she finally says.
I stare at her.
The cat smiles up at me. “Did you know there’s half a pack of cigarettes in your glove compartment? I was under the impression that you had quit.”
I frown at her.
I give in and sigh. “Whatevs,” I say. “Tell me about le gato.”
“Un gato,” Liza Bean smiles. Her eyes go soft at the edges for just a moment.
“Do you know,” she says, “the building downtown, the one with the top half blown away?”
I do, indeed. Once the home of a flour mill, a spectacular explosion around the turn of the last century had definitively and permanently removed quite a bit of brick.
“And you’re aware that there’s a cat bar in the basement?”
I frown, and then quickly unfrown. Partying with a cat is amusing and dangerous business, often calling for a prior laying in of hangover food, headache medicine, and, for the experienced, the foresight in taking the following day off.
I am lost in thought, recreating what I can recall of The Nip and The Saucer when Liza Bean clears her throat, a small and disconcerting sound in a cat.
“The Nip and The Saucer,” she says. “You need to know where it is, first of all; and even if one stumbles upon it by chance, the odds that one will make it past the front door are dependent on so many things. It’s not for everyone, of course, and the lynx at the front door ensure this.”
Liza Bean adjusts her seat, arranges her tiny paws, resembling not so much a cat but a statue of a cat. Her food remains untouched. “I’ll tell you a little secret,” she says, leaning forward conspiratorily. “If you walk up adjusting your collar, like this”, she runs an extended claw under her collar, from one edge of her jaw to the other, “they will assume you’ve been there before.”
I had not been aware of this. I nod.
“I met some cats up there Saturday night, after you went to bed.”
“After you lifted my keys from my purse,” I point out.
“Mmm,” she murmurs. “Just so.” The cat has been reading Kipling again, and I am just about to mention it, when she stands on her hind legs, puts her paws on my shoulders.
Her ears go straight up and ever-so-slightly forward. Her eyes shine like justice.
“It was Saturday night,” she says, “around 3:00, when two cats walk into a bar…”
Come back tomorrow for Part III, wherein Liza Bean relates a tale of late-night, kitty attraction.