“SHARON!!!!” I shouted. She rushed in, fresh paint splattered all over her.
“What is it?”
“Sharon, did the realtor mention who used to live here?”
“Uh, I think he said an elderly lady. Why?”
My back was to her. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the ridiculous infestation that lay before me. I didn’t even know these kinds of infestations existed. She stepped towards me. I didn’t know how to say it so I just let her see for herself.
“Oh my God!”
“We have a…”
“Yup. We have a cat infestation.” The words were so awkward. I felt as though I were on a TV show and the crew would pop out and yell that I was “punk’d”. But that didn’t happen. I had opened a hidden door that was flush with the stairwell and had no handle. How did nobody know about this? The purrs and meows that came from the tiny room sounded like a demented orchestra on a Monty Python sketch: The Vienna Cat Choir.
At least forty cats stared up at me. I hate the shit out of cats. One hissed at my brother once when we were kids. Luckily a dog was also present and barked at the cat. From that day on, I was a dog guy. They have such piercing eyes of questionable color and intentions. Clearly, the old lady who previously resided here was a “Cat Lady.”
“What do we do?” Sharon asked after our stunned silence.
“I have no clue. Call the realtor?”
“What can he do? Everything is finalized and the lady is dead.”
“That is pretty final, “ I said.
Sharon turned to me. She put her hands on her hips in the usual way, telling me to take care of it, without words. Then she left the room and resumed painting. That was her last word on the matter apparently.
I devised a number of plans, most of which ended in the deaths of at least half of the felines. But I knew Sharon wouldn’t go for them.
Then it hit me. I took a bunch of empty moving boxes and created a box tunnel out of the secret door and to the front door. Having my tunnel of cat freedom constructed, I started shouting and making maniacal gestures at the cats. I believe I may have barked a little too. It worked! The cats darted out, not looking the least bit graceful. Unfortunately I did not tape the tunnel together and the cats exploded out the sides of it, scattering throughout the freshly painted living room. They fell against the wet walls and ran towards the door. Sharon screamed as they stepped in her paint tray, making painted paw prints on our new wooden floors.
Eventually they all left. I stood with my hands on my hips, like Superman. I was triumphant, and no cats were destroyed. Sharon did not share my moment.