When I turned into the parking lot to put my old Ford to bed, I first had to relocate two drunks who had decided to make camp in my reserved spot. There were rather cantankerous as street winos can be but, in the end, they are usually quite harmless. But it worked out. They found a rather clean refrigerator box discarded by the Greek restaurant next door. The two old sots would have shelter for one more night, not much shelter, but still shelter.
The lobby of the Mallory Arms was rather busy that night, the men were gathering for a news conference by President Truman and the ladies were gathering for their weekly canasta night. I offered a few gestures of friendliness, but was rather restricted in my waves and handshakes by my overstuffed load of Chang's Chinese. It took a bit of juggling to get the elevator button pushed, almost lost a box of noodles but made a great save. When the elevator door opened, I was swept up by Gordie, our rather clumsy and a bit nosey building superintendent. Gordie was probably not the brightest bulb in the box, but he was diligent in his duties and when compared to most superintendents he was rather reasonable and responsive.
"Hey, Mr. MacKenzie. Sorry about your cat."
"What!" That probably was the one thing.that anyone could say that start me to fretting.
"I'm sorry, Your cat got out when I went in your apartment to check your heat. I looked everywhere but I still haven't found him. I put a saucer of milk by your door, hoping he might show up."
I was a bit relieved. Boo had more than once escaped to roam the building. He's really a rather crafty of fellow. And he's always come back, usually meowing at the door at about two in the morning. Boo's meowing gets Miss Sarah's dog to barking, then she calls me, and I open the door for His Highness to saunter in without even an explanation of where's he's been.
"Ah, don't worry, Gordie. Boo will be alright. He's probably out prowling for some action."
"Again, I'm sorry," Gordie was offering one last apology as the elevators closed between us. "...I was trying to be careful..."
As I left the elevator i came upon Miss Sarah, wearing her skin tight capri pants, her high heels, and a flowery blouse tied in a knot in such a way that her bountiful womanhood was accentuated all the more. She was pretty in a rather overly made-up kind of way. Rumors had it that she once danced with the Rockettes, but I sensed that was more a figment of an under-achieving life and an overactive imagination. She did have beautiful auburn hair that you could tell received extensive loving care. Yet it was her eyes that betrayed that this later had endured too many disappointments in her past and her future was not looking much better. And at the end of a pink-jeweled leash was Buttons, her mouthy pink-tinted, puffed and muffed toy poodle. I never could figure out how such a puny, mousy dog could have such a loud bark.
"Hey, Buttons." I tried being cordial. But Buttons just barked and then proceeded to chomp down on the cuff of my trousers and pull. I gave Miss Sarah a Cheshire grin that muttered through my teeth, "Lady, get this d*mn dog off me before I pull out my revolver and shoot 'em!" But no luck.
"I've got to go, Miss Sarah, supper's getting cold." And as I had her distracted I gave the little pain-in-the-rear a little kick in the chops.
I unlocked my door and noticed that the milk saucer was almost empty. And before I could get my hands clear and return to close the door, in dashes old Boo. And old Boo had gone and earned his keep, bringing home one dead mouse for dinner. But I knew that shrimp from Chang's trumps a dead mouse every time.