He’s in my cab for ten minutes when he mentions his hairless cat. I had picked him up at the Circle K on 10th and Perkins. Old skeletal man.

“You should see this thing,” he says. “No hair at all. Not even whiskers.”

“Not even whiskers?”

“Not a single one. People think I cut them off, but I would NEVER DO THAT. They just never grew in.”

“I’ll be darned.”

“I have to put a shirt on her when I take her outside or else she’ll sunburn. If I leave her out there too long, she gets sunburn marks on her arms where the shirt stops, like a farmer. Her head, too.”

“Poor little gal.”

“I put sunblock on her once, but she licked it off and threw up all over the place. You wanna see her?”

He pulls a photograph from his wallet and shows it to me.

“Here she is. Here’s my Fluffy.”

I glance at the photograph. It’s him holding this cat. He’s sitting on a lawn chair. It’s true: it appears to be completely hairless.

“I wonder what the point of not having hair is,” I say.

“It’s an ancient breed. The Peruvians bred them and kept them in their pyramids. They’re very spiritual, very close to God.”

“That makes sense.”

“I take baths with her sometimes. She’s not afraid of water; she just gets right in with me.”

“Is that safe?”

“She doesn’t scratch me. At first I was worried about the old satchel, but she’s never scratched me. She loves the water. That’s another characteristic of the breed. I’m gonna breed her as soon as I can find a male. I contacted a lady in town; I met her on the Internet. She says she has a male, but I’m not sure. She seems kind of crazy.”

“Gotta be careful these days.”

“I want to breed her and sell the kittens. They go for $1,500 a piece.”

“Jesus!”

“You know anyone that wants one?”

“Not off-hand.”

“I can offer a cabbie discount.”

“I’ll ask around.”

“Hey, here’s my trailer, turn in here. You want to come in and see Fluffy? She doesn’t get much company. The other cats in the neighborhood pick on her, so I have to keep her isolated most of the time.”

“That’s okay, I gotta get going. Gotta make money, you know.”

He looks sad at this news.

“Oh,” he says. “Okay. You’re the first cab driver who hasn’t wanted to come in and see her. All the other cab drivers have come in to have a look at her. She’s very affectionate. One cab driver even took a photo and sent it to his wife.”

“Maybe I’ll just take a raincheck.”

“You don’t like cats?”

“I like cats.”

“She’s not sick or nothin’. She looks strange, but it’s normal in her case.”

“No disrespect intended, it’s just that I got some bills that need to be paid and I’m kind of in a hurry…”

“Okay…” he says. He pays and gets out.

The curtain moves in the front window of his trailer like there’s a wind inside, but outside, it’s calm. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. I scrape the front of my cab backing out of his driveway. Then I take the wrong street in the trailer park trying to get out. It’s like a test, trying to find the exit, almost like there’s somebody watching me from above, making notes.

***

For all installments from 6 to 6, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Traveling Mercies
  2. Next Time, Take Skyline
  3. Suicide Lane
  4. Morenci in My Rear-View Mirror
  5. A Spiritual Adventure
  6. Sonja’s Ring
  7. A Pair to Draw To
  8. Grocery Day
  9. A Day with Melanie
  10. The Hot Light
  11. Drano
  12. The Cab Knows the Way
  13. Dodi’s Luck
  14. Don’t Die Before Your Mother
  15. Bob’s Big Day
  16. Nothing But a Human Being
  17. John’s Dream
  18. God Didn’t Get Me No Weed
  19. Ramirez
  20. What’s Going to Happen to Me?
  21. Do I Look Like an Indian to You?