Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We Thought it Was a Goner, But the Cat Came Back

Watching (and minorly assisting in) Kai's move on Friday from cosmopolitan Yorktown Heights to the much less interesting hamlet of Manhattan has really kicked my ass into looking for an apartment. Kai's new one bedroom on Roosevelt Island is spotless, has a great view, and is situated in a building with a doorman, a gym, and an elevator that somehow anticipates where you want it to be, so it's always on your floor when you press the button.

While I was screwing the legs onto her brand new coffeetable it was pretty easy to start inserting myself into life in her building; you know, jogging down to the gym where I josh jovially with the oncologist on the adjacent treadmill about how I would just starve to death if it weren't for FreshDirect.com, because who can be troubled to go grocery shopping these days? Ha ha, we'd laugh, then collect our packages from the mailroom, then have highballs on the terrace.

If I lived in Kai's apartment, I'd so know what a highball is.

However, this morning while browsing the Craigslist apartment listings, I remembered that I make roughly 3/8 of Kai's salary. Which is why I'm comparison shopping neighborhoods based on their rape rate to studio rent ratio. Six-hundred dollars a month and forty rapes a year? Or nine-hundred dollars a month (no utilities included) and six rapes a year? Seven-hundred dollars and twenty-three rapes, but also four murders? If there's laundry in the building, I'd be willing to learn jujistu and carry some pepper spray.

The apartment urge was only intensified by spending Saturday night in the Park Slope apartment of my dreams, or what would've been the apartment of my dreams had it not housed the world's largest cat. I'm not even talking about the world's largest domesticated cat. I mean the world's largest cat of any family, genus, or species. Sarah Kessler, who was house-sitting the apartment, had warned us of the extraordinarily obese cat. Brad himself owns a pretty girthy feline so we mistakenly assumed it couldn't be all that much larger than the garden variety overweight pet.

Sarah let us into the apartment and went to the bedroom to greet Angelo, the fat, fat cat while Brad and I set our stuff down in the living room. Eventually she came back, and I decided to go see the cat myself while Brad and Sarah talked. Sarah told me Angelo was right on the bed.

By the time I was halfway down the hallway, I began to believe Sarah was perhaps a tad batty. There was no cat on the bed. Much in the vein of the "swans" my high school photography teacher would "feed," (to explain the story: there were no swans. She was throwing entire bologna sandwiches out the window to nothing.) I wasn't entirely sure that Angelo wasn't a "cat" rather than a cat, a sort of imaginary friend to keep Sarah company during her week in Brooklyn. There was absolutely no cat on the bed. There was nothing on the bed, in fact, besides the white bedspread and a big gray pillow.

However, when I reached the bedroom door and hit a particularly squeaky floorboard, the pillow picked up its head. The pillow let out a low, guttural quack that I'm sure could be digitally manipulated into a meow, but in no way did it resemble any normal cat noise in its organic form.

Angelo is a cat that can be mistaken for a pillow. Angelo weighs forty pounds. Angelo has four food bowls. Angelo has to lay down to eat. Angelo is heavier than two bowling balls.

Angelo also jumped up on the sofa bed with me and Brad in the middle of the night. The bed was crowded enough with just the two of us in it, so there was absolutely no room for a forty pound cat to cozy up. After I tried a few times to coerce Angelo back onto the floor, Brad took over, pried his claws out of the mattress, and booted him off the bed.

The record album that is my brain gets stuck in its paranoid groove at the strangest, most inconvenient times. In the half-second it took for Angelo to hit the floor, I was able to imagine an elaborate scenario in which the cat, who has trouble walking around as it is, would break all four of its legs when his I'm-a-cat-and-I-land-on-my-feet impulses kicked in, but the injuries would've been so severe that the cat would immediately go into shock and would be unable to quack at all. However, the downstairs neighbor would've heard what sounded like at least two bowling balls being thrown against the floor and she would come stomping up the stairs to ask us to quiet down because she has kids and they're trying to sleep because they have camp in the morning. We would insist that we hadn't dropped anything, being that we had fallen right back to sleep after kicking Angelo onto the floor and we barely even remembered the episode, but the neighbor would barge into the apartment anyway and she find Angelo laying on the floor, in shock, with four broken legs and possibly even a bone sticking out of one of them and blood staining their nice wood floors, and she would accuse us of abusing the cat, and Sarah would insist she had no idea what had happened and she would blame it all on Brad and I, who also had no idea what had happened because only wanted the fat, fat cat off the bed, and cats are supposed to have legs that support the rest of theri bodies. The neighbor would be screaming and trying to pick up the cat without further injuring any of its broken stubs, but she Angelo would be too heavy to lift, and so we would try to splint his legs with popsicle sticks and while we waited for the emergency vet to come (which I undoubtedly would have to pay for, even though I only had like twelve dollars in cash and I'm sure the emergency vet wouldn't take plastic in the middle of the night) Sarah would force us to write a note Angelo's owners explaining what had happened.

Then Angelo landed on the floor and waddled away, peeved but no worse for the wear.

I tell you, being crazy takes a lot out of you. My brain could poop a marathon runner.


Anonymous mombi said...

I will trade you one MILDLY obese cat (the cat could use a few less groceries, said the vet), for a terribly handsome, sorely missed, wunderkind musician.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous mombi said...

Got my musician, thanks. The cat's in the mail.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous brad said...

if ONLY the cat were in the mail.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sure, he's fat... but he's a total sweetheart. And 2 of his food bowls are water dishes. And one is for dry food and the other is for wet food.

1:18 PM  

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