Well, readers, I had a fun little mystery to share with you this week, but then something happened.
I was working on the story and had it half written on Sunday when I took a break to stretch and give our cats an afternoon treat.
This wasn’t their usual treat, but a special new one called Temptations. Something I’d come across while ordering other essential survival supplies on Amazon. It came highly rated, with customers swearing to its crack-like qualities for felines.
Crack for kitties during a pandemic? Hey, why not?
When I offered it to Bastet, our streetwise orphan from Greenwich Village, she just said no. But Bosworth, he’s more pliable. When he turned up his nose, I broke the niblet in half like a pusher to reveal the fish-gut paté buried within the crispy exterior. “C’mon, you know you want some, Boz. You’re gonna love it!”
He took the bait and within minutes began puking all over the place, in my office, in the hallway, on the stairs, in the living room, under the dining table. His body heaved with all its might until finally he opened his mouth and squeaked like a dog toy. Then he started foaming at the mouth.
I’m ashamed to say that my first thought was, “Oh, no, don’t get sick now!”
Just that morning we’d been notified that the Isle of Palms, the nearest inhabited island and home of our marina, had closed its borders. Only homeowners with approved documentation would be allowed through the barricaded checkpoints. We hadn’t had time to get our documents in order, which for us would mean finding our property deed and heading to city hall for a permit. And, believe me, neither of us relished the thought of mixing Covid-19 with bureaucracy. That’s a cocktail just too potent to swallow.
As I watched Bosworth trying to shake foamy mucus from his face, only to get it stuck between his eyes, I tried to think of what to do. “Come here, Boz, it’s OK,” I said as I came after him with a precious square of toilet paper. He crouched and scooted backwards, first into a wall and then into a coatrack so top-heavy that he almost tipped it onto us.
Then he started with the heaves again. How was this happening? And from a cat treat that had gotten five stars from 5,772 customers?
I did what anyone on this island would do in a similar situation. I texted Judy. She notified me that there were two vets on island, and within minutes she was at my door with one of them.
After a series of intake questions about Bosworth’s health history, Diana the Wonder Vet gave him a thorough palpation and determined that, one, he had a bowel movement on the way, and, two, there didn’t seem to be an obstruction.
She straddled Boz on the floor and popped an anti-nausea pill into his mouth. Then she rubbed his throat as he growled like a coffee grinder to make sure it went down. Judy stood in the corner with wide eyes, ready to assist if he drew blood.
Mission accomplished, Diana let him go and he ran straight to his cubby hole next to my writing desk. “I think he probably just had an allergic reaction,” she said as she put the lid back on the pill bottle.
When I offered to pay, she refused.
“But these are crazy, extenuating circumstances,” I insisted. “You put yourself at risk to come inside this house of strangers to care for a cat who tried to take your eyes out.”
“And I’m happy I was here to do it,” she said as she got up off the floor. She gave me follow-up instructions as I walked her and Judy to the door, then we all pointed our elbows at each other (too cautious these days to touch even them anymore) and said our goodbyes.
I bet you can guess how I felt as I closed the door behind them. If you’re thinking immense gratitude, relief, and faith in humankind during one of the most anxiety-producing times in recent history, you’d be right.
And it’s lucky for the Boz that I was downright intoxicated with these sentiments when I returned to my office to find that the wonder vet had been 100% correct in her observation during palpation.
Boz did indeed have a buttload, a loose one, and it was now oozing across my notebook, opened to this week’s story. No teacher would ever buy such an excuse, but if you don’t believe me, I have a picture to prove it.
So stay safe, everyone, and I’ll be back next week with a reconstructed tale of two totems.