That night Mama pulled me out from the garage she took me to a 24-hour animal hospital in West Hollywood. The light in the exam room was very bright. The vet put me on the scale: 450 grams, 1 pound almost. He flipped me over, checked and prodded me. Put cold stuff in my mouth, ear, and under my tail. I did not like that last part. But with Mama in the room I felt safe. He said "It's a boy." I'm a boy? What's a boy? All I wanted was to be safe. And loved. And have a full belly. The vet said I was 3-4 weeks old, and he sent me off my way with a slew of medicine. I was watching Mama arrange my new bed and litter box in the bathroom. She put food in a small bowl. Was this my new home? She lifted me up and hugged me. "I hope you like it here, little man". As she kissed me a horde of fleas jumped onto her. I remember her screaming as she tore off her clothes. Papa rushed to the bathroom. His eyes lit up as she was brushing off the black specs from her neck, her belly, her legs. They were everywhere. "Honey?! This is NOT the time!" she yelled. "Get a plastic bag! And close the door behind you. Don't wanna spread this to the rest of the house!" As Papa retreated to the washer with the bag of flea-infested clothes she was on the phone in her robe shouting at the vet for not warning her. To which he responded not to worry, the fleas should all be dead by now.
I was watching Mama cleaning the black carcasses off the bathroom tiles for a very long time. While scrubbing the tiles on her hands and knees a new script idea was percolating in her mind: "Bloodsuckers", a movie about a government experiment gone wrong unleashing giant human-flesh eating fleas into Los Angeles. "Nah", she shook her head. She noticed me looking at her. "What big eyes you have! "She picked me up and started to clean me with a warm damp cloth "What big ears you have!" She chuckled. "You look like a bat, little man". She kissed me. "Your name shall be Batman".