I almost forgot to remember it was the 5th of November.

Waking up, groggily, in the office I took over from my predecessor, I had no idea what time it was, let alone the day. I’d worked long into the night, then into the still-dark morning going over resumes from potential staffers and my first interview was going to be today, whatever day today actually turned out to be. My phone claimed it was now 8:25 PM, the 5th of November.

I remembered!

I had to feed the neighbor’s cats!

Here’s the deal. My New York office isn’t a storefront, it’s a ground floor suite in an old apartment building, the kind used typically by eye doctors or orthodontists. Nate officed here for about twenty-five years and the rent, despite yearly increases, is pretty cheap, so I decided to keep it.

But keeping it meant I’d have neighbors. Like, regular neighbors. People with kids, old ladies. Not bad for a representative, really, keeps you in touch with the needs of your constituents. But it comes with its own, er, smells.

Like the full nasal smack of cat shit when I opened Jesse’s door.

Nobody was dead or anything and the place had been recently cleaned, but one of Jesse’s cats won’t use the box after the other has, preferring instead to grace the floor.

It’s the bathroom floor, naturally. He’s no animal.

Still, the olfactory assault can be intense.

First time I encountered this, I went out and bought Jess a second shit pan and a bag of pussy dust, but his bathroom’s so tiny, there’s no room for two boxes and he found himself stepping into one when he went to piss in the night. My solution would have been to piss in the box and quickly return to sleep, but his was to remove one of the boxes and clean the misplaced shit.

Except when he’s out of town.

Which is when I have to do it.

Christ, I didn’t think that fecal smell would ever leave my nostrils, but the across-the-hall neighbor was making pot roast and pot roast apparently trumps cat shit in the game of nose (one of many ways nature, majestic in its compensatory mystery, protects apartment dwellers). My office greeter/filing person/phone answer possibility was coming at 9:45, a time arranged to accommodate her present job, so when I returned to the office, I opened a window to clear out the slept here smell.

And then I remembered why I REALLY had to remember that it was the 5th of November.

It was election day.

The polls closed at 9.

And though I wasn’t running for anything and the municipal offices were faits accomplis, it wouldn’t do for a sitting (sleeping?) congressman not to vote.

I knocked on pot roast’s door (we’d not met yet), asked the lady to let the applicant in, stuck a note on the front door saying ring pot roast’s buzzer, left a note on my desk saying I’d be back and I was off!.

Right after wolfing down some neighborly pot roast.


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