[Go to beginning]
I was lying on the bed with my arm over my eyes when I heard the howl of animal fury from the bathroom. The next thing I knew Jenny jumped up next to me and hissed, “You bastard!”
“You’ve been with another cat! A female. And she’s in heat. What the hell?!”
I was stunned. I’d been sure Jenny was going to detect the smell of sex with the woman I’d met in the courtyard. A woman whose name I didn’t even know. A woman with whom I’d just had mind-blowing sex. But instead, Jenny had mistaken the scent for another cat. My mind was racing.
“Jenny, I can’t help it if some stray started trailing me,” I said, removing my arm from my eyes and giving her my most sincere look of innocence.
“Oh, yeah,” she said, “And how did her scent get all over your crotch?”
“The damned thing jumped in my lap when I sat down to rest a minute,” I said. “And I didn’t know it was a female cat. I can’t even tell the gender of a cat, let alone whether it’s in heat or not.” I feigned being indignant. The best defense is a good offense, I told myself. “Give me a break!” I rolled over on my side with my back to Jenny.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” Jenny said.
I turned my head to look at her. She was looking at the open window. “Well try this,” I said. “I’m headed to Florence, Italy, to enjoy a romantic holiday with my girlfriend and she suddenly turns into a cat,” I said, with exaggerated vehemence.
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” she moaned.
“Whatever,” I said, and turned away.
That night, or what remained of it, I dreamt that I was being hunted. I didn’t know what was after me; something without shape or form, an amorphous, black cloud chasing me down the narrow alleys of Florence, its hot breath blowing on my neck. I ran onto the Ponte Vecchio, moving with leaden feet on the slippery cobblestones. Behind me I heard a demonic howling.