SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT
Knocking at the door, there’s a couple burly looking, simian types.
Is this the residence of a Mr. Jay Stephan Passer?
Do you live here alone sir?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sir. Are you here alone?
Got some house plants.
We have on plausible intelligence that there is, as the ICE guy pokes and prods at his flatscreen electronic device, a Victor Emilio Chavez von Zeppelin II habituating the premise?
A who? Are you kidding me?
Quite serious, sir. Now ICE man is looking over my shoulder.
There’s nobody here by that name. Unless you’re looking for my cat.
My CAT. Feline? Pet? Four-legged, furry, with a tail? Likes to lap milk?
Please sir, remain calm.
I’m perfectly calm! What is this? You’re here trying to deport my cat? Who is by the way a perfectly law-abiding citizen.
Just following protocol, sir, simply routine.
The two ICE guys exchange glances; grim, sympathetic, final.
For all I know, there’s miniature surreptitious cameras
shoved up my unsuspecting asshole.
Zeppelin II struts up to the door.
Speak of the devil, here’s your culprit, the accused, your assassin!
Sir! I asked you to PLEASE REMAIN CALM!
I’m standing there, thinking.
I mean, this kinda thing happens every day, right?
He’s not pedigreed, he’s a rescue. Nursed him back to health. With tuna fish. And a constant drip in the sink.
We’ll need proof of his place of birth.
You mean is he a Mexican cat? Dominican? Canadian? Fuck sakes, this is San Francisco! Sanctuary city!
Native-born English speaker, then?
Cat, the cat speaks cat. That’s what cats speak. Cat.
The burlier ICE guy puffs up. His face slackens, his acne reddens, shines, vibrates. It’s not a pretty sight.
YOU NEED TO ANSWER THE QUESTION! DOES YOUR CAT SPEAK ENGLISH?
Yes, sir! My cat is fluent in meow! Especially when I fry a bit of liver!
The ICE men’s eyes flit and fly around in their sockets. I’m a little worried these old boys are about to embark on some medieval fascist route.
Zeppelin II sidles by my legs, suddenly tenses, then streaks out the door.
Saves the day in the hallway.
He’s pulled down a rat,
almost his own size.
The ICE man nods accordingly.
That’s what happens, he says, to the opposition.