The Mystery of the Stashed Cat Food Caper



One of the toughest things about being really sick when you’re homeless: You’re mentally and physically impaired. So you should be safely in bed under the covers where you can’t get into any trouble. Instead you’re blathering around out in public where you’re dealing with all sorts of real-life situations. While you’re a danger to yourself and to others. Case in point:

My friend Mary had some cat food she wanted to donate to the cause. But we often have a hard time hooking up in person. So she hides it at the library. And I pick it up later. 

So the other day — sick as a dog with the flu or something — I get an email from Mary apprising me of her latest caper, along with detailed instructions as to how to find where she had hidden the cat food: “It’s on the 5th floor by the third shelf from the stairs, four shelves down, with the card number 720-B892 and …” It was was so complicated it was like we were planning a bank robbery heist or something. I’m not good at following instructions in the best of times. But I started getting dizzy just reading the thing.

And wouldn’t you just know it? The elevator is out of order. So I got to clod-hop it up the stairs all the way to the fifth floor. I was so exhausted I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It was like my shoes were made out of lead. It was like an American saga. Man’s Search For Cat Food. As I climbed ever upwards in my quest for the Holy Grail.

FINALLY — after several lifetimes — I made it to the 5th floor. I put my backpack and my large to-go cup of coffee on a table. And then spent 15 excruciating minutes staggering through the aisles trying to follow Mary’s directions. Until I FINALLY found the bag of cat food hidden behind this shelf of books. VICTORY!!

But a very short-lived victory. When I went back to the table I noticed — to my chagrin — that my backpack had toppled over and knocked over my large coffee. The table and floor were covered with this huge puddle of brown coffee. I had some paper towels in my pack. But not nearly enough to soak up the ocean of coffee on the floor.

So I go to the Men’s Room. But of course they don’t have paper towels (I hate those hand-dryer things!). And some bum is camped out in the toilet stall, as usual. FINALLY he gets out of the stall. So I grab a big hand-full of those paper toilet seat covers and big wads of toilet paper. I’m down on my hands and knees, scrubbing away like a washerwoman. And I was mostly able to sop up the mess with that. The weird thing was. The whole time this was going on nobody else in the room even noticed what was going on. They all had their heads down staring at their laptops and cellphones. Computers are turning us all into zombies. Thankfully. So then I got my ass out of there.

Oh well. At least I lived to tell the story. And I do have a big bag of free cat food for my goddamn feral cats. The End

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