Never looking up from the intense game of Connect 4 I was playing, I replied, "Don't have any plans. Debating whether or not I want to drive all the way out to the apartment, just to turn around and come back a couple of hours later. Why?"
"Good, then Music Geek and I are taking you to get your Christmas present." the tall blonde replied, satisfaction radiating off of her in waves.
That made me look up from the game. It would be lost in three moves any way, and Magic Bed Guy was grinning far too smugly.
"Oh? What is it?" I asked.
"You'll find out on the way." Music Geek piped up, skulls and crossbones emblazoned across her chest.
No amount of pleading or wheedling on my behalf would cause either girl to relent, and so I had to wait until we'd finished the latest show of A Christmas Carol to find out.
Finally, all of the students were out of the theater, and I made my way back to the green room were the others were waiting on me.
"Ready to go get your present?" Magic Bed Guy asked, as apparently he was driving us.
"Yes, but what is it?" I mock-wailed, thoroughly enjoying myself.
Music Geek and Drama Manager exchanged a long look as we headed out towards the car, as if debating how much longer they could stay mum before I hurt them.
"We've decided to get you a cat." Drama Manager declared as she and I crawled into the back seat.
I had made no secret that I loved cats and dearly missed Tiger. They had all heard my reasoning that a cat is easier for a theatre person to take care of than a dog is.
"We're taking you down to the SPCA to get a cat." Music Geek clarified.
If I thought the students had taken forever to get out of the theater, it was nothing compared to the excruciatingly long drive to the SPCA.
Twenty minutes later, we walked through the door.
A long counter ran down the right side of the room, behind which a ragged woman was processing an adoption for an energetic ball of licky fur that I later found out was a black lab. Another woman told us to feel free to look around at the animals available.
Next to the counter were four cages, each of which contained a cat. Inside the top cage was two cats about a year old. The first, Austin, had white fur with black patches/spots, similar to Sherri's Oreo. The second was a pure black cat standing protectively in front of his brother.
"Well aren't you a cutie." I said, sticking my finger through the wire mesh at the black cat. His name tag read Nelson.
Nelson batted playfully at my finger, then stuck his cheek next to it in a clear command to scratch it. I complied.
"Let's go see some of the other cats." Drama Manager said, gesturing towards a room further back.
I told Nelson he was a handsome lad, scratched under his chin one last time, and headed towards the back room. Two steps later I felt something catching on my shirt, and when I looked back, Nelson had reached his paw through the gaps in the cage to catch my shirt.
"Don't worry, I'll be back." I reassured him as I disentangled his claws.
Music Geek wanted to go look at the dogs before we continued looking at the cats, so we wandered back to the dog area first.
"Aren't pugs precious?" she wondered wistfully, as though she didn't already have one.
"I like labs myself." Drama Manager replied. Her boyfriend had recently gotten one to train as a hunting dog.
"Don't have the time or space for a dog, unfortunately." I told them, and then went back to where the other cats were. Music Geek and Magic Bed guy stayed behind with the pups, but Drama Manager went with me.
Kittens were cavorting with a bell. A couple of the older cats were curled up towards the top of the cat trees in there. Tabbies, calicoes, a Manx, two Siamese cats, and several tuxedo cats stared up at me from behind the glass.
None compared to Nelson, though.
After several minutes of Drama Manager trying to interest me in the kittens, I wandered back to the front room where Nelson and Austin were.
Nelson was at the back of the cage with Austin, but when he saw me he wandered back up to where I was.
"You know I can only take one of you, right? I can't afford both of you right now."
Well, more accurately I couldn't even afford one; my friends were getting me a cat for Christmas.
Nelson gave a sad look back to his brother, then meowed at me. It was the prettiest meow I'd ever heard.
"Okay then." I told him, scratching his chin.
Drama Manager told the lady behind the counter we were getting Nelson. Thirty minutes later we walked out with a very frightened cat in a cardboard carrier.
"I don't care for the name Nelson, though." I murmured to him through the box as we bounced over railroad tracks.
A very frightened meow answered me.
"It's okay, we're almost there." I assured him.
Drama Manager, Music Geek, and Magic Bed Guy made suggestions the entire ride back to my apartment. Like any good group of theatre technicians, they had numerous creative names, from pop culture to literature to names like Spot. As I thought about their creativity, I suddenly knew what my black cat's new name would be. Just then, we pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex.
"Welcome home, Techie."
|Here he is, four years later.|