Here, Kitty Kitty

There’s a wild cat living in the tree fort out back. Discovered it when Marco the cable guy, stringing a line to a nearby pole, called to say, “Dude, I think there’s a mountain lion in your tree house.”


I took a look. Yep, that’s a wild cat all right. A bobcat, not a mountain lion. But sizeable, you know? Till I saw the tail I wasn’t absolutely sure. Could’ve been a young lion. In that case, where was the mom? On a nearby branch, ready to jump me?

It was an anxious moment in anxious times.

Two weeks later, she’s still there in the treefort. I call her Tigger, as per the storybook, but that hasn’t really stuck. I hope she’s up there ready to have kittens.

My buddy Steve, of “Bear Whisperer” fame, says that bobcats are an “indicator species,” meaning she is a sign of a healthy environment. Like bald eagles, bobcats can live anywhere they choose, and they won’t choose unsteady habitats. At least till now.

My granddaughter Catty Cakes (no relation) stopped by for hotdogs on Memorial Day, and I was sad the bobcat wasn’t around. Usually, the beautiful bobcat is there almost constantly, sunning herself on the treefort deck, which I built with 10-penny nails and Home Depot lumber in about 1998 or so. The neighbor kid, Max, later added another level.

On Zillow, this tree fort now lists for $1.7 million. “Needs a kitchen and some TLC. Comes with a cat.”

California real estate is just insane, obviously. Normally, anyplace I move falls on hard times. To date, I’ve left Des Moines, New Orleans and Miami in tatters, dropped home values and shredded the local vibe.

LA resists that trend. The longer I stay, the more expensive it gets. And the vibe?

The other night, I met Chance the Rapper at a gala. Don’t ask why or how, just appreciate it for the monumental pop culture moment that it is. Chance is from Chicago, I’m from Chicago. He’s a family guy, I’m a family guy. On the basis of those two things, long friendships are formed.

Keanu Reeves was at the gala too, lots of beautiful people, including Suzanne, who resembles the silvery actress Susan Sullivan, if you remember her (“Falcon Crest”).

Suzanne’s lustrous sister Lynda was also there and bro-in-law Blaine, wearing a black Stetson. Very stylish LA event. By comparison, I looked like a concrete lawn gnome.

Then, suddenly, I’m standing with Chance da Rapper, stumbling around, seeking something to talk about, beyond family and sports. He’s an influencer, I’m an influencer. At the end of the night, we’re just two fresh voices speaking truth to power, and hoping to get through the valet line by midnight.

Bottom line: Los Angeles is a strange and mystical little kingdom. A storybook place. Almost an ideal. Maybe a mirage.

The fancy gala was what they call a “green event,” meaning they don’t throw anything away, they just recycle everything into the next night’s gala…the pudding cups, the cod.

They had these little appetizers on the table, with pumpernickel soil, and you could eat the whole wad of it – the carrots, the cauliflower, the soil itself. By coincidence, pumpernickel soil is one of my favorite dirts.

Honestly, I don’t know how I wound up here either. Had to do with my new pal, Suzanne, and her well-connected sister Lynda. It was our first meeting, me and Lynda, and I never make much of a first impression. Or a second impression. Basically, I make no impression at all.

Earlier the same day, in fact, Suzanne caught me wearing socks with my flip-flops. Thought she was gonna die.

Back on the prairie, where I grew up, it’s considered quite chic to wear white socks with sandals. It’s what they call “a personal statement.”

To mask how appalled she actually was, Suzanne laughed very loud at my socks and flip-flops. Deep inside, in that little place she doesn’t let anyone see, Suzanne was probably thrilled. All these questions had to be swirling in her head: “I wonder, does he bowl? Does he have a nice tractor? He seems the kind of man who could actually drag a plow.”

Suzanne is just the nicest person, yet naïve in the way I find many LA women to be.

“Hey, wait’ll you see my bobcat,” I told her.

I’m really hoping this bobcat has kittens, which I’d give my friends as gifts.

In the cat’s favor, a cone of fertility has always hung over our house, which leads to frequent and random births. We’ve had roughly (no one really knows) a billion babies here: shortstops, singers, philosophers, wise guys, goldfish, hamsters, frogs, various know-it-alls on the economy, politics, arts, and music…all at this humble little house on the cul-de-sac.

FYI, my wife Posh once got pregnant here just from drinking half a can of Coke.

This cone of fertility is still going very strong today. It is like those high-pressure systems that hang over the Southwest and will not budge for nothin’. Some nights, the cone of fertility shows up on Dallas Raines’ AccuWeather Radar.

Now, there might be more babies a-brewing in our guest house/treefort.

As they say on the prairie: If you build it, they will breed.

Please mark June 26 on your calendar for a Happy Hour Hiking Club adventure, starting and ending at a La Canada Park, where we will enjoy a free evening concert. Details to come. In the meantime, check out my books, gin glasses and more at Cheers!

16 thoughts on “Here, Kitty Kitty

  1. I am so glad you provided pictorial proof of you hob nobbing with rappers and bobcats and eating edible “dirt.” Clearly, Suzanne has magical superpowers that are rubbing off on you. Your life is getting more interesting by the day. Thank goodness you are still grounded by your white sox and sandles. And Catty Cakes and hot dogs, of course.

  2. This is the time I’ve heard of a “cone of fertility” in a back yard. I had one once, but it was in the backseat of my 1954 Ford two door coupe. Good looking Bobcat.

  3. “Normally, anyplace I move falls on hard times.”

    Wow. That is exactly what happens to the men in my life: When we meet, they’re stellar, but years later I leave them tattered in some gutter. So glad you found Suzanne! I coulda been a Contender! but something tells me she’s actually got a heart ; /. o well. Not a fair contest! OK, & I’m guessing she’s got 20 years on me… or is it the other way around??

    PS: When I posted about the look in W Fang’s eyes– one given to eternal jealousy, the other to murder– I failed to mention I then concluded Suzanne took the photo. Smartacus may protect you both from a good mauling. First come, first served, after all.

    PPS: I guess Posh didn’t know if she was gonna drink half a coke, it should have been the first half ; /.

  4. Chris, we all know you’re the coolest cat in town and now your own personal bobcat proves it!

  5. My former mother-in-law once told me about a trend in Cambridge, Mass., where natives habitually wore Teva kayaking sandals, even during the cold New England winters. During the winter, they just added a couple of pairs of thick socks. I don’t know if the socks were white or not. Probably red, for the local baseball team.

  6. I am so puzzled by this one that I…oh never mind. Every Tom deserves a chance with a wrapper, though it often results in breing tangled up in the ball of a yarn, or chasing a spot of light darting around on the pavement in a cul de sac…Where was I? And a bond is a bond (but to believe this, you must forget the feline variability of their tranches during the 2008 crash, and the derivative rapping sound rock stars make when they fall for their own rhyming words) which is where I think that relationship with the kitty in the back yard is headed. Watch the switching tail. When it’s sound begins to rap, that cat has got to go. Ummmm. Which brings me to how the whole ball of string is saved from unraveling by the sinuous purr of that sleek Siamese kitten Suzanne as she twines and rubs against the elongated but still shaky legs of the sentences. If that’s rap, who wouldn’t get lost in the words…..but wait, wait…where am I ?

    In the thirties, a guy named Bunny Berigan sang a song called,”I Can’t Get Started”. Which proved he had never met a writer on the hot tin riff of a page, when movement of any kind is imperative, the instant deadlines of heat notwithstanding. And so it goes, leaving so many of us catatonic, with only a creative muse to parse the paws that refresh us. Now the cat’s got my tongue. What happened ?
    Dead cat bounce ?

    1. Often, there is one phrase, sometimes several in fact, that jumps out. In this case, “the hot tin riff of a page.” Thank you, my friend, for your way with words.

  7. Lucky!!! I want a bobcat. The closest we get is the red tailed hawk that nests in our huge mulberry tree, and the raccoons and opossums that are fruitful and multiply in our yard year by year. Good luck on the baby bobcats.

  8. I have been thinking about your interlude with ‘rap music’. I remembered the first rap song I heard, in 1980. It was also the first rap song to hit #1 on the charts (in’81). It is the only rap I have in my subversive collection of music. It is called ‘Rapture’ and it is by Blondie. Time to listen to some Blondie as I read Debbie Harry’s memoir. Give ‘Rapture’ a listen. Great song for my Saturday Dance Party.

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