I was heading over to Faye's house in El Cajon* sometime in 1984 with my laundry since she had a washer and dryer and I had, well, laundromats. On the way, I stopped by the supermarket to pick up a couple of things she had asked for. On my way out of said supermarket, I came across a couple of waifs with a big cardboard box.
The waifs were the usual sort; a little scruffy, a little smudged, dressed in what appeared to be hand-me-downs. Inside the cardboard box was some shredded newspaper and the odor of pee. On top of the shredded newspaper was one of the likely causes of the odor... a tiny kitten, barely out of "closed-eyes" stage. It was alone in this huge box.
It mewled. Plaintively. Annoyingly. As kittens will do. It seemed only slightly larger than my less than large hand. It continued to mewl.
Sensing a "sale" of sorts, the waifs went into the spiel...
"Please, mister, she's all that's left."
"Our dad said if we can't find homes for them, he'd drown them in the creek behind our house."
"We can't take her home."
This little brown and orange mottled thing with the loud voice mewled right along with the spiel. The she-waif picked the kitten up and placed it against my T-shirt. The thing attached itself quickly, like a vampire to a neck, sinking its tiny little claws into the fabric (and a bit of my skin) and continued its plaintive cries a little more loudly.
And looked up at me. Pleadingly.
Like my T-shirt, I was hooked.
The waifs knew they had closed the deal and scattered quickly as I mumbled...
She was the tiniest thing and I noticed the patchiness of her fur as I put her in the laundry basket in the car. She nestled down and disappeared like a sniper in camouflage. A bit of mange, perhaps. Vet bills, likely.
And so I continued to Faye's house. With items from the supermarket, my laundry, and a kitten.
The kitten turned out to have a fungus, or some such thing, which caused the hair loss. "No problem", said the vet. "Just bathe her twice a day for a week with this iodine solution and she'll be fine."
Ever bathe a cat? No, I didn't think so. No sane person would actually try. But a kitten, one that is barely larger than your hand, can easily be tortured with warm water in your bathroom sink and then lathered with a smelly iodine soap and then plunged back under the warm water without incurring fatal lacerations over 90% of your body.
And the vet was right. She was fine soon after. The hair grew back. She grew bigger.
And Bimbo eyed her with disdain, if she paid any attention to her at all. And swatted her out of the way if their paths crossed.
It was a couple of weeks before the kitten got a name. It came to me as I watched her lying on her back, spread-eagled, on the carpet.
"Hi, Floozie," I said.
*The name of a small city east of San Diego that translates roughly to "The Drawer" which makes no sense at all since it looks like a basin.
[disclaimer: The picture is not one of Floozie, just a look-alike I found on the web]
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago