Bartholomew and Geraldine had been dating each other for two weeks when Bartholomew asked her to come to his house for dinner and meet Oliver, his cat. Oliver felt he was responsible for Bartholomew since Bartholomew was so young and without his parents. When his parents had died, which was only two years earlier, he inherited the house, including Oliver. He had been just two weeks away from his eighteenth birthday when his parents died. By the time everything got sorted out by Aunt Josephine and Uncle Jeffrey, Bartholomew had turned eighteen-- old enough to inherit the house and live on his own if he wanted. If it hadn’t been for Oliver, Bartholomew had no idea how he would have survived the last two years. If it hadn’t been for Bartholomew, Oliver knew exactly how he would have survived.
Bartholomew put the soup on the stove over a low flame and set the table. He walked into the living room, grabbed newspapers, magazines and some books that were lying on the furniture. He picked up some socks from the floor and threw everything in the closet. He turned on some Dionne Warwick music. Oliver followed Bartholomew around the house.
“Oh, Oliver, I haven’t told you, but I have been seeing someone for the last two weeks. Her name is Geraldine. She is a very nice woman who really likes me. She will be here for dinner in about ten minutes.”
Oliver froze mid-step. Bartholomew sat down on the sofa.
“Come here, Oliver,” Bartholomew said as he patted the sofa cushion. Oliver jumped up on the back of the sofa and buried his head against Bartholomew’s.
“How come you didn’t tell me earlier? You know I like to know what is going on with you. You know I am responsible for you – purrrrrrrrr.”
“I wish my parents were here,” said Bartholomew. He sank further back into the sofa.
Oliver said nothing and climbed down into Bartholomew’s lap. He let Bartholomew rub his back, which made them both feel better. Oliver was settling in for a long back rub when suddenly all of his senses went on alert. He stood up in Bartholomew’s lap, his back arched. He looked at the door and let out a low growl and a hiss.
“Bartholomew, there is something out there! Something dangerous! Something unnatural! We should go hide in the closet.”
The door bell rang. Bartholomew stood up, dumping Oliver onto the floor.
“No Bartholomew, don’t answer it!”
“What’s wrong with you Oliver? Stop your hissing,” said Bartholomew as he walked to the door.
Oliver hid behind the edge of the sofa where he would be available, if needed, to protect Bartholomew.
The door opened and there stood what Oliver thought was a true-to-life monster. He bolted towards the door, “NO BARTHOLOMEW! STAND BACK! I WILL SAVE YOU!”
“OLIVER!” yelled Bartholomew as he closed the door on Geraldine. “Don’t make me put you in the bedroom! Now you behave for Geraldine.” Bartholomew opened the door again.
“I am so sorry. I don’t know why my cat is acting so strange. Come on in Geraldine.”
“Thank you, Bartholomew,” Geraldine replied with a smile and a very wet peck on his cheek.
After Bartholomew closed the door, he turned to show Geraldine to the dining room and found Oliver backed into a corner, his fur on end.
“Now stop it!” said Bartholomew to Oliver.
Geraldine smiled at Oliver. “That’s surprising. Most pussies like me,” said Geraldine.
“I don’t know what’s got into him,” excused Bartholomew.
Geraldine and Bartholomew moved to the kitchen to make sandwiches and salad. Oliver found it difficult to relax. He decided he needed to be in a safer place, but nearby. He jumped up onto a chair and then to the top of the china hutch. He lay quietly up there, watching, waiting in case he would have to strike.
Bartholomew and Geraldine entered the dining room and put their salad and sandwiches on the table.
“So is this like the appetizers or some kind of California thing?” Geraldine asked as she looked doubtfully at the food on her plate.
Bartholomew said nothing but walked over to the hutch, opened a door and pulled out a gift for Geraldine.
“Here, Geraldine. Here is a gift for you.”
Geraldine’s yellow eyes grew large and her hands immediately reached for it.
“Oh, Sweetypie, you didn’t have to get me anything,” Geraldine said without taking her eyes off the gift. She quickly removed the wrapping.
“Ohhhhhh!” Geraldine squealed when she saw a box from a jewelry store.
“Oh, Baby, YOU are so sweet,” she said with a great big smile.
She opened up the box. Oliver stuck his head out from the top of the hutch to see what Bartholomew had bought her.
“Aaaahhhh!” Geraldine screamed. “Oh, I love them! I love you! How did you know? These are so precious,” Geraldine said as she held the large gold earrings up to her ears and looked at her reflection in the glass door of the hutch.
“How did I know?!” Bartholomew asked. “You only talked about them for twenty minutes the other day, but I figured if that’s what my baby wants, that’s what my baby gets.”
Oliver’s hair stood on end and his claws dug into the top of the hutch. He knew Bartholomew shouldn’t be spending that much money on someone as monstrous as Geraldine.
“Come here, Baby,” Geraldine said to Bartholomew. “I am going to give you the biggest kiss.” Bartholomew and Geraldine stood with arms wrapped around each other and they kissed. Oliver could not bear to watch. It was a long, loud and sloppy kiss. Not only was Oliver mad, now he was repulsed.
“Mmmm, you taste so good,” said Geraldine. “You know what I wanna do with you now, Bart?”
“What do you want to do to me, Gerald…deen?” replied Bartholomew
BART! Oliver couldn’t believe his ears. Bartholomew never lets anyone call him Bart. Why was Bartholomew so possessed by her? Why couldn’t he see how bad she was for him? Oliver peered over the side of the hutch to see the two of them still embracing, still kissing. Geraldine reached down and grabbed Bartholomew’s right hand and placed it on her breast. With her right hand she reached down and began to rub Bartholomew’s crotch.
“MMMEEEEEOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!” Oliver leapt from the hutch, claws extended. He landed on Geraldine’s head and almost fell off, pulling all of Geraldine’s bushy hair with him.
“OLIVER!” shouted Bartholomew.
Oliver tried to swat at Geraldine from on top of her head, but her hair was so full of knots and snags that his claws became entangled. Bartholomew tried to hold onto Geraldine so she wouldn’t fall over while also trying to grab Oliver. Geraldine grabbed onto Bartholomew’s belt and continued rubbing his crotch.
“Geraldine,” cried Bartholomew over the loud meows and hisses coming from Oliver, “you have a cat attacking your head!”
“Oh Bart, I want you so bad,” Geraldine said, barely audible above the sound of furniture moving and plates and glasses crashing.
Then the smoke alarm went off and Bartholomew and Oliver noticed the smell of burnt soup coming from the kitchen.
“Oh no!” said Bartholomew as he tried to rush to the kitchen. But Geraldine had a strong grasp of his belt and her hand was still between his legs, so he fell to the floor.
Geraldine was on him in a second trying to undo his belt with a crazed cat in her hair, alarms going off and smoke starting to fill the room. Bartholomew threw her off, got to his feet, and ran to the kitchen. He grabbed the pot off the stove and threw it in the sink. He turned off the burner. He scrambled onto the counter and was reaching up to turn off the alarm when Geraldine grabbed Bartholomew around the legs - her face at the same level as his crotch. She murmured “Oh, Bart,” and buried her face into him.
Despite all of the chaos, Bartholomew suddenly had clarity. He calmly turned off the alarm. He reached down, grabbed Oliver around the stomach and helped him get his claws unstuck from Geraldine’s mass of hair. Bartholomew threw Oliver into the dining room. Oliver immediately resumed his station on top of the hutch.
Bartholomew looked down at Geraldine, who was licking the zipper on his jeans and making some kind of animal noises. He carefully moved Geraldine out of the way so he could get off the counter. She wrapped her arms around him and started kissing his neck.
Bartholomew pulled her close and whispered into her ear, “Geraldine, did you notice my cat attacking your head?”
“Yes, I did,” Geraldine said in a pouty kind of baby voice. “And you were so bwave and stwong to come to my wescue. Let me reward you, Bart.”
“Geraldine,” Bartholomew said, peeling her off one arm at a time, “my name is Bartholomew.”
“But, but…,” said Geraldine.
“Maybe we should have this dinner another time. I need to air out the house and calm down my cat. Then I need to clean up this mess. Let’s try this again later, okay?”
“OK,” she said as she rubbed his nipples through his t-shirt. “You’re so smart. Where’s my earrings?”
She found them on the floor, picked them up and walked to the door. She turned and beckoned to Bartholomew with her finger. He walked over to her.
“You call me. Maybe you can take me out for steak next time. Maybe see a show.” She gave him a peck on the cheek and walked out the door.
Bartholomew turned to witness a disaster site: dining room table and chairs knocked over, glasses, plates and food on the floor and smoke still hanging against the ceiling. He began to clean up, and then he heard Oliver on top of the hutch.
“And you!” Bartholomew said. “You! What got in to you? Your behavior was totally insane. You are an insane cat!” Oliver leapt down and skulked over to the sofa.
After cleaning the dining room, Bartholomew finally sat down with Oliver. Bartholomew reached out his hand and began to pet him.
“Purr - didn’t I warn you something dangerous was at the door? Why don’t you listen to me? You shouldn’t be seeing her. She is shallow, just wants you to spend money on her and is obviously in heat all the time.”
“Oh, Oliver,” said Bartholomew. “Sometimes I am so confused. I know you don’t like her, but she calls me sweet names and says nice things about me all the time. And I don’t have anybody else. I’m twenty years old, and I am still a virgin. I know that’s not that bad, but I couldn’t even imagine being close to someone the last two years while I was dealing with my parents’ deaths. But now I want someone. I’m tired of being alone.”
Oliver flicked his tail and wrapped it around Bartholomew’s arm.
“You have me,” he purred.
“I’m so glad I have you Oliver. I don’t know what I would have done these last two years without you. But…you’re—you’re not a person. You’re not a girl.”
Oliver crawled into Bartholomew’s lap wishing to resume the backrub that was so rudely interrupted.
“Well, we could have you spayed,” Oliver said cattily.
Written by Mark Granlund
Illustrations by Mary Esch