It has always bothered me when some people have to explain beyond the facts why they need my help or want my friendship. Friendship is the worse explanation of the two for there being the leverage of need.
Ramon is a creature of honor, so his few impositions are never taken badly here. We have been speaking freely for several years now, and at times his infectious smile on a black moon face, with it's long jagged scar down the cheek, eased to plain talking when he told me why my help was needed. On one such occaission he told me that a bargain is a dinner table, across which the pork and gravy is said. That was something that I already knew, and needed to hear from an other.
It was getting to the end of the month. I was eating spagetti with my fingers, taking a few strands directly from the collender in the sink, lifting them over my head and lowering them down the hatch. Noodles was finishing a can of Nine Lives beef chunks in gravy, skewering the last of the chunks with a paw hook and lifting them over her head and into her lovely mouth.
Ramon came to the door, I let him in, and we sat together in the kitchen for a few minutes trying to put one another at ease, as the smile on the giant alley cat's face was in storage till his work was done.
"Bruce. Bruce. My family has been doing well of late, as you know. We have had woodchucks with meat like a Brahma bull, and we have had birds that flew too close to the sun"
"You mean they flew too close to those powerful paws of yours, Ramon," I said, to break up the tension a little. The joke was not wasted and Ramon was able smile just a little. But there was a reason for the visit, and it showed beside the scar and a broken whisker. "Bruce, this time it is for a friend of my family. A friend who has not been well. He has colitis and is unable to digest the foods my family has so enjoyed this great harvest season."
Noodles listened as carefully and fully as did I. Her white and pumpkin fur coat covered every grace in the world. And, too, she could be a cynic among cats and people who thrive among these complexities. "What the fuck, Bruce, I got extra food," she said, in a brash tone that, ironically, salved the hurt of need. "Will two cans of Nine Lives get your friend clear for a few days?"
"Yes, Noodles, two cans will permit my friend to regain his strength."
"It's in the closet over the sink, Bruce."
"Yes, Noodles, I know where we keep the food."