(If you have never read “Breakfast Smoothies” you might want to read the short introductory page. Explanations about the most blatant lies usually follow the essay.)
This smoothie is called the Tom Swift Electronic Smoothie, I said.
“Because the blueberries make it electronic blue?” asked Ben.
Well, it’s actually named after Alicia’s blue cat.
“The one that’s named Tom Swift because he’s not, very?”
We sipped our smoothies.
“What’s that humming? It’s not the pool filter.” Ben was listening to some distant sound.
No, that’s supposed to turn on in the middle of the night, but it’s off schedule because of the power failure a few nights ago. I haven’t reset it.
“What is it? The computer back-up?”
No. It’ the electronic potty box.
“What?!” said Ben.
Well you see, Don called me up a few weeks ago – you know he and Marlene have eleven cats now.
“Yeah. I know. Sad.”
And scary. Well, he talked me into needing this electronic potty box they didn’t want any more.
He said it would help.
“With what?” Ben was neglecting his smoothie.
He gave me the specs: floor space, about 2.5 feet by 3 feet; near an electric outlet; and enough head room for the cat to sit in it. They also needed to install ductwork in the floor to drop the globs into the potty sump.
“They needed to install? They?” Ben hesitated.
Yeah. He and his maintenance guy came over.
“His maintenance guy?”
Yes. They needed to plug it in, install the ductwork and the sump, and show me how the liners fit. They showed me how to clean the filters, daily, and how to clean the sump out every two weeks. They also had to show me how to extricate the cat.
“Extricate the cat?”
Yeah. In case the “in use” kitty monitor fails and the unit starts up while Tom is doing his thing.
“That must be painful.”
Not pretty, but Don insists that rarely happens.
“So. Does it work?”
Well since it is always on standby it uses electricity constantly. The plastic liners are not biodegradable. The laser disintegration device tends to clump up. The sump tends to stink if we only change it every two weeks, and the thing usually wakes me up at 4:00 in the morning.
“What does Tom, think?”
He seems a little nervous.