So how did you wind up on the side of the enemy? Let me count the ways: Ignore him, push him away with your foot or hand, disparagingly speak about him (he could tell), kick him, refuse to share your roast beef sandwich with him. I could go on. He rarely forgave, and he never forgot.
On returning to the Boston area after grad school, I took up with some sailing buddies as roommates. George and Andy. George was a hard-working type, while Andy never attended a party he didn’t like. After living with them for a while, I realized that George kept to himself to avoid Andy. They were roommates for economic convenience, not because they were friends. Things could get boisterous when Andy returned from a good carouse.
George got on Clancy’s right side early – he shared his roast beef. The cat loved roast beef subs, preferably with hot pepper on it. So George was on Clancy’s right side. Clancy had never liked drunks, and Andy was one. So Andy started with a handicap. Then one night, he made the mistake of using his shoe to shove Clancy aside. A bean bag chair followed the shoe. I heard about it after I came home from work. Clancy sulked and bided his time. With him, the longer he sulked, the worse the revenge would be.
Andy used black trash bags for almost everything, from trash to housing clothes to storing valuables. One day when George and I were taking the garbage out, we put a big part of Andy’s wardrobe on the street. When he bought replacements, he kept them in a black trash bag. Clancy took the opportunity to sneak up to Andy’s room, pee on the bag, and join George and me in front of the TV. Have I told you that the cat had a perfect poker face?
Clancy was robbed of the ultimate pleasure. Andy did not blow up or stomp downstairs, screaming. It turned out that Andy had almost no practical sense of smell. The next morning he came downstairs and said he had to do some laundry because his clothing smelled a bit mildewed. George and I looked at him; Clancy looked at him. As soon as Andy left, the cat made a beeline upstairs. I did not attempt to check on what was going on. George found it hilarious and bought a roast beef sub, with hots for Clancy. I sped up my preparations for moving into an apartment of my own.
Andy moved out first. He insisted that he could never rid his room of the mildew odor. Our next roommate liked turkey club sandwiches. The new roommate shared. Clancy, being neither bashful nor shy, decided that turkey was good stuff and that Steve was an alright guy.
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