I had to get back into the Spam hamper with Bethel so that all of us could fit into the elevator. Mike still had Mrs. Shew at gunpoint. Bermuda Shorts, Little Old Lady and Big Old Lady had stubbornly crammed into the elevator when the doors opened.
“Press 14, please,” Mike growled, and momentarily waved the gun toward Little Old Lady. Little Old Lady obediently pressed the button, and the door obediently closed and the elevator obediently began its accent.
We all did what people do in elevators, which was silently watch the numbers of the floors light up as we reached them. A little Musak was playing for our enjoyment. Bethel was an old elevator pro. She watched the numbers light up and she listened to the Muzak. Then she cut her eyes at Big Old Lady and curled her lip, just for the hell of it. Big Old Lady scootched over a little.
When the elevator doors opened on Mike’s floor, he waved the old people out with the gun. I disenhampered so Moira and I could push the hamper into the hallway. The hallway was teeming with cats.
Bethel lit up like a klieg. Cats Were Very Exciting, Cats Were Meant To Be Dominated By Dogs, Cat Poop Was Edible and Actually Very Tasty, Cats Were Good For Fighting While People Recorded The Event. I grabbed her before she could scramble over the edge of the hamper.
Mike sneered at our elderly companions, “No pets building, eh?”
“Cats aren’t pets, cats are roommates,” declared Little Old Lady.
“Cats and books are life,” intoned Big Old Lady.
“You ladies are a couple, aren’t you?!,” exclaimed Moira.
Both old ladies almost jumped out of their support hose. “We are merely widows who share expenses and each other’s company,” murmured Big Old Lady.
“Dykes,” Moira said. “Dykes everywhere we go. She’s a dyke, too,” Moira pointed at me.
“The windows in the girls’ apartment were broken by the birds and they have been forced to stay with Millie on 12,” Mrs. Shew said.
“Girls? What girls?,” Mike asked, confused.
Mrs. Shew gestured at Big Old Lady and Little Old Lady.
“Oh,” Mike said, “those girls. Why don’t their damned cats go stay with Millie, too?”
“Poor Millie is allergic,” Little Old Lady said. “They can’t even stay in her hallway. She gets hives. We come down here to love them and feed them and change their boo boo boxes.”
“The boo boo boxes stink. Change them now,” Mike ordered, and waved his gun as if to say, “So it is written, so it shall be done.”
Little Old Lady and Big Old Lady turned for the elevator. “You won’t hurt them, will you?,” Little Old Lady quavered at Mike.
“Boo boo,” Mike said, and waved the gun again. They scampered into the elevator, hopefully to get fresh litter from upstairs.
Mrs. Shew opened the door to Mike’s apartment, and it was blessedly un-bird smashed into. I breathed a silent sigh of relief, because it had occurred to me that the old people might be planning to surprise us with a nightmare of broken glass and squawking small giant birds. We weren’t exactly getting along with the our neighbors.
“Now give me your key and get out, Mrs. Shew,” Mike ordered.
“I will NOT,” Mrs. Shew gasped, stunned. “This is MY apartment. I will be staying here, as will B.J.” “B.J” was apparently Bermuda Short’s actual name, because Mrs. Shew reached over and touched his arm below his Izod sleeve.
“Stay in B.J’s apartment,” Mike ordered.
“B.J. doesn’t live in the building,” Mrs. Shew admitted.
“Oh, ho! B.J. is your boy toy!,” Moira chortled.
“B.J,” Mrs. Shew huffed, “is my business partner. We are working on an idea for an internet auction site. I have all of these autographed photos of celebrities left over from my galas. B.J. thinks we can sell them to collectors all over the world. Leslie Uggams and Tim Conway…I have simply EVERYONE. B.J. has some very nice Hot Wheels cars that he thinks will sell, as well.” She discretely rolled her eyes so as to convey to us that Hot Wheels were crap, but that she didn’t want B.J. to know that she thought that.
“Fascinating,” Mike yawned. “Take your boy toy and get out, Mrs. Shew. We are tired.” He pointed their way to the door with the gun.
“I’m not renewing your lease, Mike,” she said. They kicked a few cats out of the doorway and left.