Cat Man Do

Shana is still preparing spew stew, so this afternoon, the DOG and I took her to the vet. We’ve long suspected that our regular vet has been duping us on the bill by charging exorbitant sums for “tests” performed behind closed doors without our supervision. The DOG wondered if indeed any tests were being administered at all. Still, we didn’t know if we should believe one of Taxi’s shiftier friends, a Rottweiler I’ll just call “L”, when he told us after his last visit, “They water down the shots there, man.”
We gave L the benefit of the doubt and, on his advice, decided to take Shana to a vet down in Chinatown. We’d never heard of the guy, but L swore he was the best. “He’ll give you some sort of secret Chinese herbs,” L whispered at the dog run before we headed down. “But don’t, like, ask questions. He knows his deal.”
What an ordeal it was, finding this place. Chinatown winds this way and that, hither and yon, to and fro, and back again. Storefronts blend into one another. Faces blur. Pushing. Shoving. Gawking tourists buying cheap knockoffs of designer dreck. Fish heads, buckets of tofu, store-owners covering one nostril and shooting phlegm from the cannon of the other nostril — onto their own bok choy.
Shana started mewing like mad, and I tried to console her, but to no avail. The DOG’s arm was stretched out to 1-1/2 times its regular length from having carried 14 pounds of cat through so many streets.
But we found the place, we did. We made a left, a right, a right, a left, another right, some more lefts, and then walked up four rickety flights of stairs inside a building that smelled of mildewy musk, heady jasmine, and, oddly enough, eggplant parmigiana.
The door was the only one on the landing, and from behind its frosted glass a light shone dimly. There was no bell and no knocker. I touched the door with a hesitant fingertip, and it slowly swung open.
To be continued …