There is a dagger of some kind in my ribs. A very small dagger, exceedingly sharp, perhaps wielded by a very small, exceedingly sharp animal…
I open my eyes crossly. Despite the many warnings delivered to the cat regarding my ability to fall and stay asleep, the cat thinks nothing of waking me, often times to share what she deems to be crucial data.
I roll over, look at the clock.
I roll to my back.
“I shall murdalize you,” I hiss softly, channeling, apparently, some turn-of-the-century thug. “I’ll drop a mickey on ya, see, and leave you in blind tiger on the North side.”
The cat smiles, settles on to my chest where she peers down indulgently. Her breath smells faintly of Friskies Liver and Chicken Pate. “Tsk, tsk, Pearl,” she chuckles. “Have you been reading about Five Points again?”
I have been, and frown in the dark. I hate when she does that. “No,” I say.
The cat smiles, tiny white teeth. “We should talk like this more often,” she says.
“We’re not talking,” I point out.
“Yes,” she says, “but the lines of communication are open, and that’s what’s important, isn’t it?”
I sit up, and the cat falls backward on to the bed. “What have you done?”
Liza Bean Bitey, an animal with a cease and desist letter from the Department of Fish and Game and pen pal correspondence with almost a dozen enlisted men – not all serving the same country – blinks slow, heavy lids at me.
“Whatever do you mean?”
“I feel you’re alluding to something,” I say. “I feel like you’re setting me up.”
The cat smiles, a vision of symmetrically striped domesticity. “Pearl,” she says, “you really must get more rest. You’ve become quite unhinged.”
I lay down, press the back of my head into the pillow. I close my eyes and count to 10. When I open them, the cat’s nose is just inches from my own.
“By the way, Pearl,” she says. “If you’re not using it tomorrow, I’m wondering if I could use the car.”
On the one hand, the cat is an appallingly poor driver. On the other, she always fills the tank.
I close my eyes again. “OK,” I say.
Is there more to this story? I suspect so. Come back tomorrow!