by Akim Reinhardt
In early August of 2000, I made my way from Lincoln, Nebraska to Tempe, Arizona. I had recently completed my Ph.D. and was hustling off to begin work as a post-doc at Arizona State University. Everything I owned, including two cats, was jam packed into a red Ford Escort station wagon. As I zig-zagged my way from the Great Plains to the Southwest, I allowed the felines to roam free through its cramped quarters.
That was my first mistake.
Poopster, the sweet gray and white female with tons of charm but not a whole lot upstairs, settled in nicely, nestling on the floor board near my feet. But Shango, the tiger with white socks who was the brains of their operation, freaked out. Somehow he managed to wedge himself underneath the driver’s seat.
My second mistake was letting him stay there.
He’s scared, I thought to myself. If he feels safe, just let him hunker down there. What harm could it do?
Never once did it occur to me that, at some point during this cross-country trip, he would have to relieve himself.
I had that car another three years, but despite my best efforts at detailing and perfuming, the smell never really went away. More than a year later, it was still bad enough that my girlfriend refused to drive with me from Philadelphia to Detroit to attend a wedding.
Funny though. The Colorado state trooper who pulled me over for speeding, when that urine was really fresh and pungent, didn’t seem to notice at all while he was writing me up. Read more »