It was spring, finally. The Westerosi-esque winter had finally departed, but on the first beautiful day NYC had in 2014, my partner and I were not frolicking in the park like the sane people, but wading through a "Hoarders" meets "Chernobyl Diaries" landscape: a scent memory that surfaces and spins at inconvenient moments like the little rainbow-wheel on a frozen Mac. Two friends donned homemade haz-mat suits made of shower caps and black plastic bags from the liquor store while our roommate followed us through the putrid maze, dabbing a "apartment-claiming" spell she'd whipped together made of vinegar and a dab of her own urine. She's never done a lot of spellwork before, but frankly, the New York Real Estate race will make a Witch out of anyone.
'I'm going to write about this, and I'll wish I were joking,' I thought as I watched the teenager from down the hall roll around on the linoleum in the hall, groaning, "I CAN'T! IT SMELLS TOO MUCH! I CAN'T!"
Our neighbor had been evicted and she abandoned 23 frightened, malnourished cats in a two-bedroom apartment stacked so high with years of garbage, walking through the halls required a weird little dance I'd only performed in Twister, before. Through a series of frustrating events, my partner and I ended up as wardens of the kitties. By the time we got into the apartment, the little ones had been alone for at least three days and there were no signs that they had any food or water during that time.