This was a normal mortgage refinance closing that was scheduled to take place at their home in Nowhere, Louisiana right around dusk. As I approached the door, I could see enough to find my way, but the light was fading fast. What I could “see” was an odor leaking onto the entrance way. It sort of smelled like cat pee. You know the cat urine smell right? It has that ammonia thing that you can almost taste as it makes your eyes water.
I knocked on the door, waiting to see if a horde of cats were inside. I’ve done closings at crazy cat peoples’ homes. I’m almost used to their homes smelling like a litter pan gone wild, so how bad could it be, right?
The person that answered the door looked like a witch. She seemed to be 60 or so (the prime age for crazy cat lady fever), she had that Presbyterian thing going on with the denim blouse and wrinkled long sleeve top, and of course her hair was in some sort of crazy bun with strands flying about. Yep, crazy cat lady for sure.
I should have been primed for the nasal assault by the smell leaking outside, but oh my God I was not prepared for the odor to be found when she opened the door! This was the thickest fog of cat piss that you could possibly imagine! I didn’t just taste the ammonia, I was gagging on it! It was so dark inside the doorway that I couldn’t see a thing, but that’s probably a good thing because I bet there was a yellow cloud engulfing the living room. Let’s put it this way, the smell was so bad that my first thought was to puke! This is no exaggeration at all.
After I gained my composure, I introduced myself and she invited me inside. They had all of the lights turned out, except for a small lamp in the distance. We wandered between their belongings that were stacked up to the ceiling, working our way down the yellow cat pee road that led towards that dim lamp in the distance. I was certifiably freaked out.
We made it into the kitchen where that light came from. Sitting at a table that was stacked to the ceiling with books, dishes, cups, an old computer, and who knows what, was her husband. If she was the cat witch, he was the creepy wizard. He had thick glasses that made his eyes look big. The top four or five of his buttons were undone. His thick, gray hair was standing up, sort of like Einstein, if he was a creeper that is.
I introduced myself as we shook hands, but it was hard to focus because there were sounds coming from everywhere. I still couldn’t see very much, but I could tell that “stuff” was piled up everywhere. As I scanned the walls of the kitchen I could see something that looked like boxes. This noise, whatever it was, seemed to be coming from those boxes, and the boxes were almost everywhere.
I found a chair and set down by the cat wizard. There was nowhere to put my papers down, so I just held on to them while I was shaking. The noise! It was hard to define. It sounded like toys that shake going off everywhere.
My eyes started to adjust to the lack of light. I soon realized that those boxes stacked up everywhere were not boxes at all. They were cages, kind of like rabbit or hamster cages. Since the only smell like the one enveloping this house, that I have ever smelled, was from cats, this must have been cats, I assumed that they were using these cages for their cats, but there must have been hundreds of them piled up from the floor to the ceiling all over the entire house! Could these people really be the ultimate cat weirdos?
I had to confirm with them that the smell, noises and cages were coming from their cats, so I popped the question, “Wow, you guys must love cats. How many do you have?”
The witch replied, “Cats? We hate cats.”
Now I’m in freak out mode number two! They hate cats, but their house is full of cat cages, I can hear the cats moving around everywhere, and there must be enough cat piss in here to float a boat!
Of course I asked her why she has cages full of cats everywhere, and why can i hear them, and why can I smell them? She explains, “Those aren’t cats. They’re rats. We run a rat rescue company. People call us from all over if they see a rat. We rescue the rats and bring them here to love them.”
So this house is full of thousands of rats. So I can hear them scampering around all around me. So I can smell their urine that is soaked into every inch of this house. So I am about to die in this rat infested house with the crazy rat people!
My eyes have fully adjusted to the low light at this point. I can see all of the cages clearly now. I can see what must be rats running around in them. I can see that there is what can only be rat feces covering the floors and the table. I can see that I am a piece of cheese that is completely screwed!
Of course a normal person would run like hell and get out of there, but did I do that? Of course not. If I left the closing, I make nothing. If I sucked it up, rat piss and all, I have a good day and live (hopefully) to see another day. I stayed. I shoved some of their crap off of the table, made myself an area to work on that was maybe half as wide as the papers, and told them, “Sign here, sign there, hurry and sign!”