When I was living in Los Angeles with my somewhat retarded, cheating, lying, sack of shit ex boyfriend Garth I was having what you would call a cat dilemma. I know what you’re going to say: “But Stacy, you were once a cheating, lying sack of shit.” And that is true, and Garth was my Karma for every bad thing I had done not only in this life but also in any past lives as well. But enough about him.

Anyhow…one day I was doing my laundry, which was on the first floor of the apartment building where I lived with Garth, when I happened to run into Victor. Ahhhhh Victor. Victor was a strange man. He was about 6 feet tall, had a moustache that was hip back in the 70’s, and wore glasses. Victor usually kept to himself, as did most of the people who lived in our apartment building. There were only 6 apartments total so it wasn’t like we could exactly ignore each other but trust me, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

As I was making my way back down the stairs towards the laundry room to switch out my load of laundry Victor opened his front door and immediately started interrogating me.
“Hey is that your cat? The one with the orange stripes that roams free?” he asked in a manner that told me he’s not in approval of the “roams free” part of his question.
“No,” I replied, just standing there with my laundry basket cradled in one arm and my eyes in full squint from the bowl I had just smoked.
“Well I know you have cats, and I was just wondering if that one was one of yours,” he went on.
“No. My cats are indoor cats.” What does he want from me?
“Okay because I let my cat out on my patio because it’s fenced in….” ?Is he still talking? I zoned out for a minute or two, partially from the kind bud and partially from the fact that Victor was boring the crap out of me. I tuned back in just in time to hear him say “…my cat is very eccentric!”
“Huh?” Once he said his cat was eccentric he had my attention again.
“The cat with the orange stripes is climbing over the fence and getting on to my patio and upsetting my cat!” he explained very passionately. Wow he’s really getting worked up over a cat. Now I knew the orange-striped cat of which Victor spoke. It was a stray that I fed often. But I was not about to tell Victor this because I could tell that this sort of information might just push him over the edge. “Do you know whose cat it is?” he asked me slowly, like I was mentally challenged. Dude, I’m stoned. I’m not retarded, that would be my boyfriend.
“No,” I said.
“Well I’m tired of it. If that cat comes on my patio one more time I’m calling animal control!” Victor informed me, and then just turned around and went back inside his apartment. If you lay one finger on that cat, I will kill you. I thought to myself as I walked into the laundry room. Eccentric cat. Give me a break.

But then days passed and I began to feel as if something was missing in my life. Then I realized that it was my little orange striped buddy. He usually hung outside the front of the apartment building and I would always pet him when I went out to my car. But now he was gone. VICTOR! I replayed our entire conversation in my head and wondered if the stray had jumped over Victor’s fence one too many times. Had Victor had kept true to his threats and called animal control? I was heart broken. I couldn’t let my little striped buddy sit and rot in kitty jail. I had to spring him. Not only to save the cat, but also to torture Victor. I needed a plan of attack.

At the time I was working at a restaurant but all of my shifts were in the evening, so I probably had a little too much free time on my hands. I decided to make it my personal mission to track down Victor’s fuzzy little nemesis. I started off by calling all of the animal shelters in the area. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to call an animal shelter when the only description you can offer is “orange striped cat…male”? Hell that pretty much describes 90 percent of the cats in the Sherman Oaks area.
“Ma’am, I don’t know what to tell you,” one of the shelter employees told me patiently, “You’re just going to have to come down and look for the cat yourself. Oh I’ll come down. Don’t think I won’t come down. I’m coming down and I’m getting that damn cat!

So I grabbed my list of shelters/pounds in the area and started my search. I was proud of the fact that I was on my way to do a good deed. I was going to save Stripey! As I pulled into the first pound, I got out of my car filled with optimism. I was going to be the Mother Teresa of animals everywhere. I walked into the pound with authority.
“I think my neighbor may have had my cat impounded,” I told the woman at the desk. Impounded? Is that the correct term for this sort of situation?
“Ma’am, you’re welcome to go look for him,” she replied. Why do people keep calling me ma’am? I hate being called ma’am!
“Thank you. I would like that,” I told her. That’s when she took me inside the pound. And guess what? To get to the cats you have to walk through the dogs. There they were, a whole bunch of lonely puppies staring at me from behind their cages with their sad puppy eyes. Might as well have been saying “Save us…”
But I couldn’t. I couldn’t spring everyone. We finally made our way to the cats. They were all so sad I felt my heart break and I just wanted to open the doors on all the cages and set everyone free. FOLLOW ME! VIVA LA REVOLUTION!!!!!!! But I couldn’t because I’m pretty sure that would be against the law. I may be crazy but if I was planning to be that crazy I was going to need some reinforcements.

I ended up going to three different shelters and never found the cat I was looking for. I would have kept searching but my heart couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled up to my apartment building with tears running down my cheeks. The thought of all those animals just broke my heart so badly. I wanted to go knock on Victor’s door, grab him by the collar and yell, “I know you have done something with him! Tell me now or lose a testical!” But instead I just went back upstairs to my apartment, defeated.

A couple of nights later I was off to work again. I walked out to my boyfriend’s crappy old Volvo and stuck my hand through the side window to open the door. You had to do this every time because the driver’s side door wouldn’t open from the outside. I opened the door, climbed in, and was on my way. Just as I was almost to work I heard a low guttural growl emerge from the back seat. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. What the fuck is that? I couldn’t get a good look at whatever it was from the rearview mirror. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. It growled again. Oh my god there’s a cat in the car. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Okay, just stay calm Stacy. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Please God, just don’t let it attack my head. I don’t want to die in a car wreck with a cat attached to the back of my skull. At this point I was able to pull the car off to the side of the road but there was no way I was going to look in the back seat. All I knew was that the cat in the back seat was pissed off and I didn’t want any part of it. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I have to take the car home. The cat has to belong to someone. So I turned the car around and took it back to my apartment.

I parked the car in my parking spot and jumped out of the car like it was on fire. I made sure to leave the driver’s side door open so that the pissed off cat would hopefully vacate the premises. Sure enough as the cat started to emerge from the darkness I recognized it. “Stripey!” I said out loud. “Victor will be so happy you’re back!” Just then Stripey took one look at me, jumped from the car, and took off like a bat out of hell. Something tells me Stripey is not a car kinda cat.

But now I had another problem. My liberation of Stripy had made me late to work. So I jumped back in the Volvo and drove as fast as that piece of shit would carry me. Unfortunately, that’s not very fast, so by the time I got to work I was good and late. My manager greeted me with a “Stacy you’re late!”
Yeah… how to explain this one…
“I’m so sorry Cheryl, I had a cat in my car. *Deep breath* I was on my way to work and all of a sudden I heard growling from the backseat well I figured it must have been a cat or a raccoon but I haven’t seen any raccoons in our area but I have seen a couple of possums but they don’t growl at least I don’t think so. *Deep breath* So I turned around and went back home because I figured the cat must have belong to someone and I know how I would feel if I lost my cat not to mention I didn’t want it to get out around here because it may be hit by a car so that’s why I’m late!” I blurted out. My manager just looked at me like I was crazy.
“There was a cat in your car?” she asked in a very condescending manner. She doesn’t believe me.
“Yes Cheryl, there was a cat in my car. Come on, if I was lying about being late I would make up a story about running out of gas or my car not being able to start. But a cat in the car? You can’t make up shit like this.” Luckily she saw the logic in my argument and let me just go wait on my tables without any more hassle.

Stripey stuck around and one day when I was outside petting him I met his owner. She was a really sweet girl who lived in the apartment building next to mine. I warned her about Victor and told her she may want to keep Stripey on a tighter leash from there on out. Victor and I didn’t speak again until his apartment got broken into. I was at home doing laundry when I noticed one of his windows had been pried open. I called the cops and gave a description of the three guys I had seen hanging around outside. The intruders took a jar of change, an old VCR, and some Prestone anti freeze. Don’t worry, they didn’t take his cat. Apparently it was too eccentric for criminal masterminds such as these.

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