This day was particularly long and dusty. I had to drive from Redondo Beach back to the San Fernando Valley and was bushed.
Carmen, the Hispanic housekeeper, was responsible for picking up the princess from school each day and driving her home. Thereafter, hopefully, getting her started on homework. How much homework ever happened versus how much TV watching was being done, was the question.
This particular summer day, Carmen was in the process of starting dinner. The princess was looking like she was looking at her homework. I decided a nice long hot bath would be just the ticket.
I stripped down and got into my big tan tub with the Jacuzzi jets in the ‘bamboo’ bathroom. The previous owners must have been trying for some sort of Asian theme as the gold and rust wallpaper was a bamboo print and the curtain, a rolled up ‘bamboo’ affair. Once you got the jets going in the bath, it was Calgon take me away.
It just so happened that I was doing a lazy scrub of my armpits when I discovered a lump in one armpit. I instantly panicked and the huge ‘C’ word loomed large in my mind. I was devastated. I began to plan my own funeral and then get very weepy that Scooter was going to lose her mother so young.
It was while contemplating my own death, that over the sound of the bathroom fan, I could make out a faint ‘wop, wop, wop’ noise. The nosie continued.
With a “What the hell?” I got myself out of the big tub, did a half-dry and put on my bathrobe.
Like a cop at a crime scene, I ventured carefully into the family room and followed the sound. At first, given the confusion, I couldn’t tell what I was looking at.
Scooter was screaming and jumping around, Paws was leaping repeatedly into the air. There was something grey and white fluttering around and around the dining room table. Carmen had the broom out, was waving it up and down and whacking the floor. This was creating the ‘wop’ sound I had been hearing.
My benumbed brain finally kicked into gear. Paws had captured yet another bird from the backyard and had brought his prize into the house to show off. As luck would have it, the unfortunate creature was still alive, trying desperately to get away from the cat who was trying equally hard to recapture him.
Carmen was ineffectually trying to ‘shoo’ them both out of the house and Scooter was helping by screaming and jumping up and down. I clamped my teeth together, yanked open the slider door, grabbed the broom and with one mighty ‘whack’ sent Paws out into the yard.
“Scooter, stop screaming!” I yelled. She gulped and shut up. I found the dust pan. Carmen and I managed to capture the almost dead bird and take him to the garbage can on the side of the house where he could rest in peace.
That done, I finally made it back to the bathroom, where the water was now lukewarm. I had forgotten all about my cancer when suddenly a thought popped into my head. I lifted my arm in front of the bathroom mirror and examined my lump. It was a very large, subcutaneous pimple, the kind I always got at a certain time of the month. I got some mud masque and plastered my armpit with it and put on some clothes so Carmen could go home.
Forty-five minutes later, dinner was done and on the table when the Master of the house had returned.
“So,” he queried, “anything interesting go on today?” He was looking down, slicing his chicken.
Scooter opened her mouth to tell the cat and bird story. I shot her a freezing look and cast a meaningful glance at Paws, lying casually on the rug, licking his fur.
Scooter stared back at me, then looked over at Paws. A momentary look of panic flashed across her face as she began shoveling down mashed potatoes.
“Na,” I said, “just another day, how ‘bout you?’
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