I'm with my cat at the vet. They've bundled her into the back swaddled in Brian's long-johns. She's wrapped like Boris Karloff, but I can see she's working her left arm loose like Houdini upside down in a barrel. "Okay Kitty! said the vet who is a cream-cheeked girl called, you won't be surprised to hear, Dr. Paradise. "Here we go!" Dr. Paradise chimes,"We'll just go run a blood test battery, won't we? Won't we have a screening blood battery? Yes! We will! Here we go! Bye Bye! Bye bye, Mommy!" That's me. I wave vigorously.
My cat is old. Even for a person, really. She's 16. Her back legs aren't doing the Ol' Feline Lithe and Spry like they used to and she pin-wheels her tail to keep from pitching into the pachysandra when clambering up the front porch steps or if you jostle her while rounding a cabinet to the refrigerator she'll slew across the tiles and look reproachful, which appalls us and we swoop down and scoop her and shovel extra Iams into the dish she likes. It's because she's old, of course. Just creakier. Although now she's nearly got that left paw loose as Dr. Paradise bumps the swinging door open with her cushiony right hip, "Bye kitty!" I coo and make a big "For me!? You shouldn't have!" face with my hands up in jolly surprise to gasp, "A Blood test battery?! Oh Yay! Bye Bye!"
So, I'm waiting for my cat on a wooden "wagon-wheel theme" bench, reading back issues of "Bark" magazine and "The Chihuahua Connection," With her gone I notice that vet-scent, sad dog smell of Liv-a-Snaps, poo, and chloroform. But it's sunny in the waiting room.
I come to the Annandale Veterinary Clinic for the music. They pipe in the most pleasing music, peculiarly appropriate: it is Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, some Petula Clark for leavening, and now, the Platters are singing "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes." And me with them:
"They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes"
Now laughing friends deride
Tears I can not hide
Oh, so I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes
All the dogs are snoozing in mounds.