Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Cat in Florence

Chapter 7
[Go to beginning]
Ponte Vecchio. Sketch by 'Giacomo,' Florence, Italy.

A street vendor was setting up his cart in the piazza. He was selling post cards, pottery, plastic Davids, and a variety of kitschy souvenirs.  His Cocker Spaniel was dashing about the piazza marking territory. Suddenly the dog picked up his floppy ears and veered towards us. “Hey, watch out for that mongrel,” Jenny said.

I quickly zipped up the gym bag. The dog dashed over and tried sniffing the gym bag, which I was moving behind me. The dog, not to be deterred, moved with it, so that we produced a bizarre ballet in the piazza; man, dog, gym bag, and hidden cat, round and round we went.

I yelled at the street vendor, he yelled at the dog, the dog barked at the bag, and the bag hissed at the dog. Everything was lost in translation.

Retreat being the better part of valor, I took off down Via De Calzaioli toward the Arno River. The dog followed a few paces back, continuing his verbal assault on the bag. Finally, at the Arno River, the dog stopped, gave one sad howl, and turned back to rejoin his master.

I unzipped the bag as we crossed the Ponte Vecchio. “Damned dog!” Jenny said.

"Sorry," I said.

“I threw up in your gym bag.”

"I'll clean it up when we find a public restroom," I said.

“You’re in Italy, David. Finding a public restroom here is like finding an evolutionist in Kansas.”

“Well...” I said. “Don’t you think that’s a little catty?”

“Oh, very funny,” Jenny said. “Slow down. I want to see these stores.” I paused so she could admire the gold jewelry in the windows of the little shops that lined the bridge. “That would make a nice collar for me,” Jenny said, pointing a paw towards a filigreed, yellow gold bracelet that had a price tag with more digits on it than I could count."

And here I was thinking that having a cat for a girlfriend would be cheaper.

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