How to hail a cab

by Michael Alderete on 11/17/2004

Billie is our littlest, sweetest cat. She’s a shut-in. Trapped in our bedroom by a roaming Basta policing the hallways (and any other room she’s not been chased out of), and frequently harrassed by a doting Luigi, who just wants to be her bestest friend, Billie retreats from the world when we’re not home, spending her time on her cat condo, under the bed, or in the closet.

That doesn’t mean she’s lost her curiosity, or thirst for adventure. She loves to visit other rooms in the house, especially the office, where we’ve set up a semi-permanent (but movable) bed on top of the printer, close to Rochelle. And she loves to go out to the back deck, and chew on whatever plants Rochelle is currently torturing.

But, how to get to other rooms, or the great outdoors, when the highways and byways of the house are controlled by the Evil Basta? There’s really only one way that’s safe from ambush: a cab rid on our shoulders. Billie loves to jump up — from the bed when she can, from the ground when she must — and cling to our shoulders, neck, or back, and be transported at a safe altitude to other, more exiting places. We’ve come to recognize the look on her face that says she’s coming aboard, and usually manage to crouch down lower, so her leap doesn’t involve quite as much claw when she lands.

The thing is, we’re often not in the bedroom. Mostly not in the bedroom. So, when we’re too far away, she’s taken to hailing us.

It’s a distinctive, insistent lowing that borders on a whine. She’s used it for some time to tell us she wants something, but it’s usually been food or attention. We know what it means in a general way, but lately it’s been more specific: come get me, and take me somewhere. Her chariot arrives, she leaps aboard, and the game’s afoot. Fun!

Tonight, she even started giving directions. When I came to pick up my fare, she kept on yelling, especially when I headed in the wrong direction. When I finally realized she wanted the back deck, she quieted, and lept off immediately when she arrived at her intended destination.

No tip.

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