Thursday, December 28, 2006

Greater Wealth Than Hughes Himself

Let's play a game. Here are some rules.

1. My arrest record must remain clean.
2. The lowest form of life is a snitch. Men know it. Women know it. Little children in their cribs know it. I'm no snitch. My lease says no cats. Chances are good all the leases in my complex say that. Every window has a pussycat.
3. No animals or their dumb humans may be harmed before the fat lady sings.

The game board is my building, where inside the fire walls nestle four apartments. Last week, one of the upstairs neighbors said his catsitting plans had fallen through and would I please look in on his cats on Christmas Eve (Sunday) and the day after Christmas (Tuesday)? I agreed to do this. He handed me a key and told me to leave it inside the apartment when I fed the cats the second time because he and his wife would be back on Wednesday, which is to say yesterday. Upstairs, I found two cats the size of Buicks, four giant bowls of water and five giant bowls of kitty kibble. On Tuesday, I noticed they had eaten very little. I filled the bowls and freshened the water. Then I left the key on the stove where cats the size of Buicks were less likely to kick it under furniture they liked to stand on.

Let's not even talk about the three litter boxes in the bathroom. They looked okay but my eyes watered.

Are we on the same page? We are. Let's play: the apartment upstairs is dark and it's Thursday night. My neighbors have not come home. Their phone numbers are upstairs in the apartment I locked. The cats almost certainly have enough water and food. What would you do?

If I call the super, I'm making the issue the safety of pets we're not supposed to have.
If I break into the apartment to get the phone numbers and I call them, what do I say? "Say, neighbors, I'm so trustworthy I've picked your locks. Are you coming home or am I still taking care of your stuff?"
If I do nothing, what happens if they're in trouble and I haven't acted?

Ready? Go.


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