Izzy is not a nice cat. It isn’t her fault. Her family of eight years left her in the hands of their cat-obsessed next-door neighbor when they moved. Rumor around town was that ungodly things happened to the many cats in that house, but when the neighbor died on a cold February day under suspicious circumstances, Izzy found her way across the street to my house. I am convinced she killed her previous owner. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night to her standing over me, meowing like she’s hungry for blood.
Because of her cold nature, I expected her to forget about me while I was away in Nashville for my first year of college. What I didn’t expect was for my parents to forget about me too.
First, they forgot to pick me up from the airport. LAX is a scary enough place, but it’s even worse when you’re forced to hitch a ride with an Ed Gein-looking character who swears he’s “not a serial killer.” After lying about my address to Ed—sorry man, but those flesh lamps in the backseat were very suspicious—I walked a mile to my house and knocked on the door. A man I’d never seen before answered and informed me that he moved in a month ago. He gave me my parents’ new address, and I finally tracked them down through the Find My iPhone app (thank you Tim Cook) and knocked on the front door of the house I would now need to direct all my Amazon packages to.
My parents threw open the door. My mom was wearing a black cocktail dress and my dad was in a sleazy suit with a coffee-colored fedora. They both looked at me in confusion; obviously, they were not expecting me to show up. I walked past them and stepped into a low-lit room filled full of strangers sweating, screaming and clutching wads of cash as they crowded around two roosters tearing at one another. I swear I saw my grandfather grasping a crisp Benjamin Franklin and yelling for his prize rooster to “put that sunuvabitch in the hospital.”
As anyone would do in this situation, I put my luggage away and began taking bets. Just because I was no longer thought of as family didn’t mean I couldn’t benefit from the family business. As I watched a fight break out over the winning rooster, I saw Izzy out of the corner of my eye. She sat queen-like on a throne, gazing down upon the commotion, petting a miniature white cat under her paw as all good villains do. She had obviously gotten her teeth done and possibly some cat botox. Even with all that botox, I could still see a smirk creeping across her face as she watched the chaos ensue below her. We locked eyes, and I gave her a wave. Not an ounce of recognition appeared on her face. Izzy turned back to the fight just as a rooster fell to the floor in defeat. Among the jubilant screams of victory and the exasperated sighs of failure, my parents reached into the ring and pulled out the dying rooster. Together, they carried the rooster to Izzy, bowed down, and offered it to her. Izzy’s jaw unhinged and she gobbled the rooster up in one bite, letting out a satisfied meow. I decided right then and there that I did not want to be a part of the family business after all.