FORTY-THREE - Hairless Cats and Coveted Kidneys

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I am writing this from the armchair, while a crock pot full of split pea soup simmers on the wood stove. I made the soup this morning, so that it would be ready when Dad got home from the hospital. I even cooked up some bacon earlier and added that, too. I figure soup is the ultimate comfort food, and Misty seemed to agree. (Which is good, because she has recently been making me show her what "treats" I've been taking to Dad in hospital. Two days ago, she made me chuck out the goldfish crackers and replace them with red grapes. Something about fibre and antioxidants. I mean, honestly. What harm can a few goldfish crackers do? A million 4-year-olds can't be wrong. Still, Misty only has Dad's best interests at heart; I know that, so I acquiesced.

Right now, Dad is sleeping in the "nest" I made for him earlier. Peterson stands as sentry beside him, which seems to amuse Dad to no end. When we first helped him into the cabin, he couldn't stop saying things like, "Well! I never!" and, "Well! Now I've seen it all!" and finally, "Wow. My own raccoon body guard. How splendid!" And, Peterson has proved to be a practical addition to my dad's place of convalescence, as well as an entertaining one. Not only is the remote looped over his little upraised paw, but Dad has placed a pouch holding his various painkillers around his neck on a Superman lanyard. The whole effect is quite charming.

I'll write more in a bit, but right now I think I will go next door and see if Norm and Misty want to come for dinner. I know Dad would appreciate their company, and also, I don't think Norm is eating properly. He looks thinner lately, although that's probably because he doesn't want to eat Misty's tofu black bean concoctions anymore. I mean, she's a pretty good vegan cook and all, but how can a person ever forget how bacon tastes? Anyway, I'm glad I had the foresight to put a little soup aside, sans pig, for Misty.

***

I was just setting out some soup bowls when there was a knock on the door. I knew it wasn't Misty or Norm, because they would have just walked right in, and it couldn't have been Ivy because she was at her grandmother's 80th birthday party over on Lopez Island.

It turned out to be Daisy Archibald, High Priestess and the person who has managed to turn me into a half-crazed and paranoid freak on all matters pertaining to the woo-woo.

She gave me a giant mason jar (I have PTSD about mason jars, because of, you know, Norm's gallstones), and told me she'd made a special healing elixir to help knit Dad's broken bones. I guess news travels fast on small islands.

Three times a day, she said. And tell him to plug his nose when he swallows or he will be sure to throw up. I asked her what was in it, and she said a good witch does not reveal her ancient secrets to mere mortals. Well, okay. I get that, but I'm sure as hell not going to pour the noxious grey liquid down my dad's throat without knowing what's in it, and I told her so! I thought she would soften and tell me I was a good and caring son, but instead, she started ranting that I was a man of little faith and that I was clearly blocking the positive flow of energy, which would ultimately hamper my father's recovery. I got kind of pissed off then, because I'm calling bullshit. And anyway, what kind of a witch drives a Range Rover? You don't make big bucks from telling fortunes in the backs of diners. I'll bet she's involved in some unsavoury activities. Drugs, maybe. Or perhaps she sells human organs on the black market? I hear a black-market kidney can fetch serious money these days. Like, 250k! Maybe Daisy came to the house with ulterior motives. Maybe she's after my father's internal, aging organs. I'll have to consult with Peterson about this.

In any case, I put the mason jar in the very back of the fridge, and then moved the ketchup and mustard in front of it to hide it from sight. I want to throw it out, but, well, Daisy is a witch, and I don't want to curse myself or anything. This is better...out of sight; out of mind.

Dad woke up when Daisy drove away. He was really groggy, but "with it" enough to ask who was just here. I told him it was a woman looking for her lost cat.

What kind of cat, Dad asked, and I felt myself starting to sweat a little. I wasn't good with on the spot improv like that. But, I managed to pull it off, telling him it was a hairless rex cat, and the woman really wanted to get him back because his skin was sensitive and needed regular moisturizing with coconut oil or it would crack and bleed. (I learned this from my old dentist, who had a rex cat called Uncle Wiggly.)

She offered a reward, I told my dad.

How much, Dad asked.

A hundred bucks, I said.

A hundred bucks? Dad said, you have cat to be kitten me!

(Groan. I think it must be the meds.)

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