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Late one beer-soaked Sunday in May while entertaining a newly engaged couple from New York, we head for Snake & Jake's. In the dark, warm place, we ladies plop our rumps on a worn couch as the men retrieve cold drinks. I look into the eyes of the bride-to-be and listen while she tells of the awe and appreciation she has for her future father-in-law.

"He thinks of things I would never contemplate," she beams. Her face is sun-kissed from a whirl-wind weekend in the Big Easy. Having delivered our pints, the men remain at the bar, below the Christmas wreath and lights, and speak loudly about music.

I take a healthy sip of beer and let my eyes wander to the sound of the opening door. Of all the bars in New Orleans, this one, located in an Uptown shack, feels most like a sarcophagus, with only one exit apparent, the ceiling unusually low, and the air heavy and warm. I swallow another gulp and watch as a man wearing baggy shorts enters through the door. Then, I notice the tabby. The big orange cat rubs its cheek against an end table. I pucker my lips and make the universal cat kiss. The animal regards me and goes on with his scenting. I get more response from the man in shorts. He jerks his neck, seeking the culprit of the sound.

"I'm just calling that cat," I explain.

"You want what?" he asks.

I shake my head and turn my attention back to my guest who is still talking about her future father-in-law. "He comes up with these ideas like about DNA. Supposedly we all have the same DNA. Right? And if that's the case, then why are we different? Why don't people look more alike? Why aren't we all the same?"

I remember from high school biology some logical explanation for this, but at the moment, I cannot think of it. Instead, I try calling again for the cat.

At the sound of my kiss noise, the man wearing the shorts scoops up the animal in one arm; in the other he holds a bottle of beer. Then, he shuffles from side to side, jerking his shoulders and head as if trying to out hustle some invisible opponent. He stutter-steps and moves forward toward our couch. "I'm O.J. Simpson," he says.

His tight Afro is coming loose. He looks nothing like the famed football player with his small stature and slender limbs. The cat is pinned to the side of his paunch, indifferent to the man's imaginary game.

"Now is that something you would ever think of?" the young woman asks. "I mean, my God, what a mind."

I nod in her direction and watch as the self-proclaimed O.J. Simpson dances about the room holding a tabby cat to his hip.
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