WHERE I LIVE
by Amy Ozols
Welcome to my apartment. Can I take your coat? Please make yourself at home.
This is my cat.
It’s a studio apartment, so there’s not much to see, but let me give you a quick tour anyway. Here’s the kitchen. It’s not very big, but there’s a ton of cabinet space, which is nice. Here’s my desk, where I do most of my writing, and that’s the bathroom over there.
Here is another cat.
This is a picture of my family from last Thanksgiving. Here’s my mom—she’s a real pistol. I think that’s where I get my sense of humor. These are my sisters. My dad’s the tall guy in the back. And that’s my grandmother, with a cat on her lap. And that animal crouched menacingly on top of the picture frame—that’s an actual cat, far more knowledgeable and terrifying than the cat in the picture.
This is my couch, where we can sit and watch a movie later, and then maybe make out awkwardly while three to six cats stare at us.
This cat over here—the one burrowing into your overcoat—belongs to my neighbor. But he comes over a lot, so I feed him and buy him toys and take him to the vet and stuff like that. He’s a pretty great cat, so I sort of just let him live here and systematically destroy my clothing and furniture.
This is an antique gramophone I inherited from my grandmother. It’s worth a lot of money, but I’m never going to sell it, on account of how much it means to my family.
I’m kidding, of course. It’s not really an antique. Or a gramophone. It’s a cat.
Do you want a drink? I think I have some beer, or there’s a pitcher of water in the fridge. It’s tap water, but it’s filtered through one of those Brita things, so it tastes pretty good. I also have some bottled water, which I save for the cats, but you’re totally welcome to one of the bottled waters, if you want to be a dick about it.
You can probably tell that I’m more of a cat person than a dog person. I’m more of an “all animals” person, actually. I like animals way better than people, because they’re friendly and they don’t eat very much, and they don’t tend to fuck twenty-six-year-old flight attendants under adulterous circumstances, the way humans do.
Are you allergic? There’s some stuff coming out of your nose. Don’t be embarrassed; it happens to me all the time. In fact, if I’m being totally honest here—and, let’s face it, I’m being totally honest here, perhaps unsettlingly so—I haven’t breathed freely since the Clinton Administration. But it’s a small price to pay, considering how much joy these cats bring into my life. These watchful, almost eerily numerous cats.
I’m sorry about the smell—that’s sort of a litter-box issue. It’s tough to have eight cats in a studio apartment, but I think while you’re spending the night here—the first of many, many passion-filled nights you’ll undoubtedly wish to spend here—you’ll find that it’s well worth the smell to have the selfless companionship of these seventeen reeking, dander-encrusted animals. I said “eight” before when I meant to say “seventeen.” That’s the number of cats that I have.
I understand that you need to step out for some Claritin, but I’m really looking forward to your coming back. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, you and I, watching movies and eating popcorn and having workmanlike intercourse on the fold-out sofa—all under the penetrating gaze of the vile feline minions with which I have inexplicably chosen to share my home.
I am begging you: please do not tell them I said that. Should they deem it distasteful, we would have zero chance of survival.
Anyway, I’ll see you soon. And thanks again for coming over. It’s always such a treat to have guests.