No Girls Allowed Writers Club

Since 1418 A.D.


The following story is true. It has been verified by a highly respected notary public and impartial witnesses. It’s a simple tale about a man and his cat. But if I had the energy—which I don’t — it could also be about government duplicity, corporate greed, and foreign intrigue.

On Tuesday, a round plastic ball no bigger than a dime was kicked across the living room rug to Winston, a large, willful black cat who’s only redeeming quality—if you could call it that—is a white bow tie marking on his throat exactly where a bow tie should be. Winston stopped the ball in his teeth,  then swallowed it. A  debate has raged for years in and out of the scientific community if cats have facial expressions. As an important addition to that debate , it can be reported that Winston’s face registered surprise , followed by incredulity (much more difficult , try it). Then a frightening high whistle came from deep within, and the cat demonstrated an expression of panic.

          I shrieked HELP! PLEASE HELP ME  to the bedroom to tell the woman I’ve shared expenses with for years.  The woman was asleep. Although a highly compensated television executive, she prefers to think of herself as an oppressed seamstress at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory (Google it) and, therefore, must rest every moment not on the loom.

          She awoke, surprised but strangely detached. Still more valuable time was lost while she demanded to see the mark on the Scotch bottle. Finally persuaded of the gravity of the situation, she adjusted her pillow and looked evenly at me. For one brief moment, our eyes met, and our thoughts were one: is it too late to call out for Chinese?

          The moment passed. 911 was called. If the reader finds himself in a similar situation, the rule is simple. Ambulances are not sent for cats, even if they swallow beach balls. The address of a pet emergency hospital, too far away, was given. We decided to try.

          In the car, the cat’s high whistle sounds turned to final gasps. We pulled into a regular hospital and ran into the emergency room. The nurse was  adamant. No forms for cats, no vets on duty. She could sympathize.  But sorry, get lost .

          As we were leaving, however, a guy in a blue smock with a name tag that said “Eddie” approached us. Cat got something caught in his throat? Give him to me. Eddie grabbed the cat. We followed him down the hall until he stopped at a door. Stay here, he said. A howl, then a punching sound came from the other side.  Silence, then a scream from one of them, and a long hiss. He brought the cat out. The cat looked good, for him. He’d never looked great.  He’s fine, pronounced Eddie. That’s wonderful, we exclaimed in unison. Can we give you something, Doctor, said the woman, her eyes sparkling in appreciation—a hundred bucks would work said now Doctor Eddie. We scraped it together.

          The next morning the vet told us the cat had inflammation of the throat but he didn’t believe there was any loss of mental acuity or motor function. So the cat’s scholarship to Harvard is still safe ? I asked. The vet looked at his watch and said the cat should be kept under observation for three days and with the tests it would run about $500, maybe a little more.

          In the somber atmosphere in the car on the ride home, the woman observed that while only yesterday we had a cat worth nineteen cents, we now had one worth a trip to a weekend resort End.  

William Benson Huber
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