NDN -- Cat Alley
There once was a neighbor who lived downstairs, directly underneath us. A short, stocky, little battle-ax with gray hair, always untamed, mangled in a bun. Her smile was conflicted with a lone rotten tooth apparent in gapping gums. We dubbed her the â€˜cat-ladyâ€™. Not to be confused with â€˜catwomanâ€™ sexy, fem, fatale! No, no, the cat-lady was mother to at least 15 cats and one permanently stoned adult son. Our apartment complex bordered a canyon. A five foot walkway between cat-ladyâ€™s apartment and that canyon was the playground for the fetid, sometimes farrell beasts she called her children. â€œMuffkinâ€, she cried in reference to her orange, flat faced, long haired, matted bundle of joy. Her constantly stoned adult son lived with her and her tribe. More than one conversation had been had with her about her brood, literal and fictional. Her excuse ridden stories were worth listening to and we frequently took a seat on the balcony to take in the festivities. Many inquired about the pungent odors escaping her dwelling; smells, some feline in nature and others of the more herb oriented skunky scent. While holding her one arthritic finger in the air, randomly pointing, she would dramatize brazen stories about â€œthe Coonsâ€ (Raccoons from the canyon) who were terrorizing her little tribe. Some of her other authored tales were reminiscent of neighborhood â€˜kidsâ€™ whoâ€™d come around and smoke the bad stuff, leaving their scent behind. It was all too often that weâ€™d hear, smell, and see her out on the catwalk with a can of scented deodorizer. Cat-lady sprayed with wrecklace abandonment, trying to permeate all the fusty oxygen atoms with rose scented sickness. All the shenanigansâ€™ were usually laden with a backdrop of Russian music. This was due to the fact that our other neighbors had recently immigrated from â€˜the old countryâ€™ and quite often held card games, and impromptu dances, on a stretch of the sidewalk next to cat alley. The â€œRussianâ€ stretch of the sidewalk we could see, smell, and hear from our bedroom window. It was always filled with fun, laughter, and much vodka, and other various liquors the Russians more often than not invited their neighbors to share.