Humor Magazine

Part Two: Thank Heavens We Reserved a Room; Or Hey! Is That Liza’s Old Boyfriend?

By Pearl
“Party of – um – thirty?”
I grin sheepishly at the hostess.  It is rare that I travel with 29 cats, but when I do, I grin sheepishly.
She scrutinizes the array of casually intense cats lining the walls of Nye’s Polonaise.  Well into her late 70s, she presses a hand to the mound of carefully shellacked hair possibly sprayed into place sometime during the first airing of the moon landing.
She squints at me, the cats.
“We reserved the buffet room,” I say.  “Downstairs.”
The hostess grins nervously, displays straight, surprisingly white chompers.  “Well why dintcha say so?” she exclaims. 
We are pointed toward the red-carpeted staircase, a mythically shabby corner past the piano bar that, rumor has it, was once the location of a spat between Bobby Darrin and Sandra Dee.  We go down, down, down to the basement, where a nervous South American gentleman, hands clasped behind his back, wonders if what he has heard about “cat parties” is true.
He hopes it is.
I head straight to the bar.
“Hey,” Pupples McBean shouts.  “Hey.  Hey-hey-heyheyheyhey.  Your money’s no good here!” 
I turn to find Pupples rushing toward me.  Pupples is one of those friends of Liza Bean’s that fits into the scheme of things through his apparent inability to fit, even in one’s imagination, anywhere else.   He is a small, nervous cat, one with a habit of running a claw under his collar while his jaw juts out just so, as if the collar, clearly too large, is actually too tight.
One imagines that Pupples McBean grew up watching a lot of Art Carne
Pupples holds up a striped paw.  “Juan!  Hey, buddy!  A gin and tonic for the lovely Pearl.”
There is a flurry of activity, whereupon Juan, all smiling eyes and manners, places a gin and tonic on the bar.
There are extra limes in it.
Pupples points an extended claw at the bartender, grins at him sideways.  “You,” he says to Juan.  “You’re gonna go far, my friend.”
I take my drink, raise it, smiling.  “Sir,” I say.
Pupples, standing on his hind legs on a stool at the bar, presses a paw against his chest in a gesture of gentlemanly ardor.  “Poil,” he says.
I wander through the room.  Cats – everywhere.  At tables.  On tables.  Balanced atop the propped-open door that leads to the bathrooms. 
“There you are!”  Liza Bean Bitey, of the Minneapolis Biteys, Walk-On Cat Number One in the first two Bourne movies and today’s Birthday Kitty, sidles up to me, winds her way around my ankles.  “Pearl!  Daaaaarling!”
I suspect that the cat is no longer on her first drink.
She leaps to a table.  I reach over and impulsively scratch her behind an ear.
Liza Bean shakes me off, laughing.  “Really, Pearl,” she says, squirming.  “Public.”
I grin, suck loudly on my drink, twist around, looking. Do we have waitress down here?
Ah.  There she is.
Secure in the knowledge that my having winked and held up an empty glass will result in a fresh drink, I turn my attention back to the cat.
She is staring toward the door.
“I can’t believe it,” she says, standing.  I notice her tail is fatter than it was just a moment ago.  “Who invited him?”

I regret to inform you, dear readers, that I will be unable to continue this story until Monday's installment.  Inconvenient?  Yes.  Intentional?  No.  The weekend has just filled, and I won't have time to write.  Please come back Monday.

Who just entered?  Why is Liza's tail expanding like that?

And what about Naomi?

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