My new friend Bruce, whom I met when he wandered into my folk music gig at Seattle’s Black Coffee Co-op, reminded me very much of Clint Eastwood. Whenever he appeared, I expected to hear music by Ennio Moricone suddenly start playing. You know, that whistling…. At around seventy years of age, Bruce was edgy, wiry, with not an ounce of fat on him. He stood a little over six feet tall. He had a craggy, lined, narrow face and a head topped with thin, steel-grey hair. He could get angry. I could literally imagine him mouthing the famous line. You know. OK, I’ll say it: “GET OFF MY LAWN.” – What, you were thinking of “Make my day”? – Yeah, he could-a said that too. But Bruce was trying to get mellowed out. A former Marine; he’d been a tough guy his whole life. He’d seen an awful lot of combat through the years. But he had finally retired. Now, he wanted to put that old life and old persona behind him. He was trying hard to get in touch with his gentle side. If he had one.
One thing Bruce did: he went out and got himself a cute little Mexican Chihuahua, whom he named Bandit. Bandit was a very gentle, loving dog who seemingly wouldn’t harm a flea. (Appropriate figure of speech? I think so. And, having a cat, I know about fleas. Treatment runs about $25/month.)
One evening, Bruce paid a visit to the rundown, lower Queen Anne apartment I share with the very Katgrrrl. I named her that because for an indoor kitty, she’s a great hunter. She cops a riot-grrrl attitude when she spots prey. I didn’t say potential prey. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If Katgrrrl sees it, Katgrrrl attacks. Spiders don’t have a chance in our abode – they get eaten alive.
Well, Bruce brought little Bandit with him for our visit. He was a such a cutie, with his little doggie vest, big eyes, and all. Bruce casually set him down on the floor, so he and Katgrrrl could become acquainted. They seemed to do just fine, initially. I’d never seen Katgrrrl interact with a dog, so I didn’t know how she would react. But she seemed calm, and not at all bothered by the little fellow. Yes, she dwarfed him. Katgrrrl is half Ragdoll and half Maine Coon. Those just happen to be the two biggest breeds of cat. Katgrrrl weighs in at thirteen pounds. That’s big for a girl cat. Bandit weighed about one-third that amount.
Katgrrrl and Bandit took off, so she could show him the place. I turned my attention away from them and offered Bruce a cup of joe. We adjourned to the kitchen, where we chewed the fat while I made the coffee. As we were engaged in an intense conversation (well, every conversation with Bruce was intense – he was an intense guy) we forgot about Katgrrrl and Bandit. Bruce was telling me how he had his eye on an old hippie woman he’d recently met in his basket-weaving class at the Senior Center. Between basket-weaving and yoga, Bruce was really trying out some new stuff.
All of a sudden, we heard a loud yelp. Now, cats don’t yelp. But dogs do, when they’re in pain. So right away, I knew Bruce’s Bandit was in hot water.
I looked in the living room, and I saw a doggie vest lying on the carpet. With no doggie in it! Suddenly, Bandit ran by at about ninety miles an hour, headed right for the front door. He had literally run out of his doggie vest. I wanted to laugh so hard! But instinct told me not to do that….
While Bruce went chasing after Bandit, to comfort him and give him a once over, I spotted Katgrrrl in the far reaches of the living room. Looking at her, I found blood on her white fur. I figured Bandit must have gotten in a good lick. But after examining her more thoroughly, I couldn’t find any injury to Katgrrrl at all.
Bruce gave Bandit a going over, and sure enough, Bandit had suffered a pretty good gash, apparently inflicted by Katgrrrl. Bruce walked into the living room and grabbed the vest. He picked up Bandit with his other hand, and announced that the visit was over. Finito. Not one to argue, I opened the door, let them out, and started to apologize. But then, I just said, “Goodbye”. Because I realized Bandit must have done something Katgrrrl did not like. And he — made — her– day.
Bruce never, ever brought Bandit over for another visit. Or himself.