Across the alley from Bozo’s Bar, beneath a zigzag of fire escapes, is the back door and window of Louie’s, a small Greek restaurant. I like to lounge on the window ledge there and watch the activities within the kitchen… sometimes Louie gives me some leftover lamb bits. Louie and Alesia are the Mom and Pop of Louie’s, and I find it entertaining at times to listen to their banter. This night was especially amusing, as they were jousting about my attendance there.
“So, what?… so you don’t like cats… he’s just a cat… you don’t like cats?” Louie waved his butcher knife around slicing bits of air between cutting some lamb chops and expressing his affection for felis catus.
“You feed him expensive meat!” Alesia retorted, “You are a fool for that damn cat… you know how much you gotta pay for that… what’s the matter with your brain Louis?” and waved her towel about as if dueling with his knife.
“I’m going to take him some now… it’s only scraps anyway… what’s the matter, you don’t like cats?”
“Give me that Louis!” Alesia countered, “What’s the matter with your brain anyway.” She snatched the little bowl of “scraps” from Louie’s hand and stomped to the back door.
Once the door had closed, she approached me, “here kitty… Louis thinks you deserve this… God knows why?” She stroked me and scratched my ears affectionately. “Hey, what does he know… you want some cream… I’ll get you some cream.”
Once inside, she continued her censure on Louie’s wastefulness.
“Now he wants some cream… I suppose you think he deserves some cream. Don’t bother, I’ll get it… you get it and you will give that damn cat too much… you waste too much Louis!”
“It’s the end of the day, Alesia,” Louie spoke tenderly now, “You give him some cream… just a little, you know too much cream is not good for him… you give him just a little.”
I had finished dinner and was cleaning up when I heard a voice from the fire escape above me… a rather sultry tone of voice.
“You know, there is always two sides to a coin, right?”
I looked up and saw a very slim, crudely attractive feline smiling at me. She appeared gaunt and worn from having lived on the streets for too long. Her green eyes, however, retained a mysterious, sensuous attraction, as if her soul remained in tact regardless of an otherwise weary life.
“Three… three sides, there is the edge.” I replied, not understanding where she was going with this.
“Oh please,” she spoke. Again, her voice and her eyes were hypnotically alluring. “However, there is but one side to some coins. Louie and Alesia are continually flipping that coin of affection about and calling sides, but it always lands on the same side, the only side for them. Have you ever seen a one-sided coin?”
“I can’t say that I have.” I said. “May I inquire, what is your name?”
“I am Sophia. Come with me, I will show you where to get a one-sided coin. It may come in handy some day… you are not afraid of me are you?” She injected.
“Lead on… my name is Bob, Bob the cat” I replied as if I had been suddenly written into a scene from a spy novel, and with slight uncertainty. I felt an odd allurement and murky sense of excitement as I nervously proceeded up the fire escape with her.
At the third floor we entered the seemingly abandoned upper floor of this building through an open window and advanced down a hallway to a room with two big-headed tom thugs standing guard. They stiffened up as we approached, their tails puffed up aggressively and mine puffed up defensively. They were both short hairs, and while their tails were impressive, I am a long hair and my tail gets quite intimidating when I feel threatened. I could feel the tension and my claws withdrew from retraction when they suddenly recognized Sophia.
“I’m here to see Fat Cat.” Her hypnotic voice and eyes drew them in as if they had given in to them before, completely. “This is Bob, he is with me tonight”
They stepped aside yet watched me suspiciously until we were in the room. There, lounging on a luxurious, burgundy sofa was Fat Cat, smoking a cigarette through an ivory holder and enjoying the company of two wide-eyed pussycats, one on each side of him.
“Ah, Sophia my dear, do come in… introduce me to your friend” He spoke with a natural bellow that is often the result of a large gut pushing air through the lungs. He motioned to the tom thugs to close the door. My tail shrank somewhat, but my claws remained prepared. “What brings you to my door this evening?”
“This is Bob.”
“Bob the cat.” I quickly included.
“Spare the theatrics.” Fat Cat chortled and coughed simultaneously. “You are here for a one-sided coin… Sophia has a fascination for them. She likes cool cats who are not easily swayed… the more obdurate and keenly wicked the better… isn’t that correct dear Sophia?” He licked the ear of one of his pussycats and she began to purr loudly, vacuously.
Fat Cat was right, this was no time for theatrics. I dropped the spy bullshit, placed my paws on the table that was between us, and leaned confidently forward. “Sophia is wrong about me.” I felt my tail swell slightly. “I prefer a more Zen way of life. I am here now; I’ll be gone shortly, and you will not have made much of an impression on me. You are what you are, and of little importance to me.”
“Tell your Zen to relax your tail and claws.” Fat Cat retorted. “Fetch the box, Pandora.” He gestured to one of the pussycats.
The box was rather nondescript. He opened it, took an object from within and tossed it on the table. It seemed round, as are most coins, and it had an illumination to it… an ever so faint glow that was not bright, more of a dark glow as if one were viewing an evanescence of light.
“Pick it up Bob… Bob the cat.” He tittered. “Feel it… flip it… turn it over.”
I did so. I felt it although it didn’t have a definable measurement to it. I tossed it into the air but it did not flip or turn. It went up and it came down, nothing else, as if floating through an unidentifiable dynamic. I turned it over several times and it simply passed through itself each time to return to its inexorable dimension.
“How much is this worth?” I asked.
“Ha…” He bellowed, “It is worth everything… it is worth nothing. What are you willing to give for it? Politicians love it. Corporate mucky mucks love it. It’s a must for bigots and racists. New lovers cherish it. It’s a very popular coin for many humans, rich and poor, and they all pay the same price for it.” He placed the one-sided coin back into the box then nudged Pandora’s neck. “Put it back, will you kitten.” Then looked at me with a piercing glare and asked, “do you want one Bob… Bob the Cat?” he concluded.
“No… no, I think not.” I replied. “I am compelled to recognize that there are two sides to every coin.” I concluded.
“Three, if you count the edge.” Sophia laughed impulsively, “Come, let’s go down to Bozo’s for a cocktail.” She concluded.
The door was open and the two tom thugs were standing aside allowing Sophia and I to depart. Fat Cat was grinning like the Cheshire cat. It was rather disconcerting and I was glad to leave. As we reached the alley below a voice from the darkness called to Sophia and she declared that she must go.
“Maybe I’ll see you again some night Bob.” She whispered sensuously, then scampered into the murky shadows with her tail in the air.
I was happy to be alone, but I wanted some company. I went into Bozo’s Bar. It was busy, and folks were talking about many things… some agreeing was going on, some disagreeing going on, and Bo was laughing at something someone said. I looked down the bar and my eyes connected with Nanette’s. Purrrrrrrrrr.