Two cats, a killer, and Craigslist: Time Travel with Nicki Ep. 2


It all started because I had two cats I needed to get rid of. And by get rid of, I mean give them away to a good home, not drown them in the bathtub or anything. I should tell you right now I am not a cat person. I am a bit of an attention whore and I need animals who will stare deeply into my eyes all day, follow me around, and laugh at my jokes. That’s why I have dogs now. Hell, it’s probably why I have a kid. But cats make you work for their love, and I just didn’t have the time.

It was 2003 and I was living completely alone for the first time ever. I had an adorable loft apartment across the street from a crack house on the outskirts of downtown. It was great. When your neighbors are prostitutes and drug dealers, no one cares if you have your stereo up loud at night. One afternoon I remarked to a fellow I was casually dating, “you know, I think I need a pet.”

The next time he came over he brought two tabby kittens. Obviously, Romeo didn’t know me very well. A sensible gentleman would have brought me a goldfish, or paid for me to go to rehab. But I bought all the necessary cat junk for the little fur balls and promised myself I would be a good cat mommy.

I used to break all my promises to myself.

Fast forward six months. Romeo is history, like many a Romeo before him, and I am dating Johnny Hollywood. (Remember him? The guy who bought me these.) I am spending most nights at his place, because it is nicer, and since he has a severe case of psychosomatic asthma, the cats are not invited. “Well, at least they have each other”, I thought, as I dumped three days worth of kitty chow into a bowl. I would even leave the TV on CNN so they could stay up to date with world events and not feel sequestered.

Two young cats left to their own devices can be real assholes. They shredded my vintage leather jacket. They shredded my Dad’s old Pottery Barn couch. They shit in weird places, like on my pillow and in my shoes. After a month of little human contact and sporadic feeding, they had become mostly feral and had taken to scrounging for old Taco Bell in the trash.

Meanwhile, Johnny Hollywood had invited me to move in. But first, the cats had to go. But where? Hollywood suggested I place an ad on Craigslist. I thought Craigslist was just something guys used to have secret gay sex, but he assured me it works like a charm for getting rid of unwanted pets. I placed my ad (adorable cats free to good home) and waited.

And waited. And waited some more. Two weeks passed. One Monday night, I was sitting at my laptop googling “how to humanely kill cats” when my email notification pinged. It was a message from someone calling himself Andy. He wanted to come see the cats, he said. He and his girlfriend would take them if they were healthy. I texted the number with my address and told him to come on over. Praise Jesus, I thought, breathing in the ammonia scented air, these jerks are out of my life for good.

Less than an hour later, my doorbell rang. I opened the door, and immediately I felt something was wrong.


Ok, it wasn’t that wrong. It was more like this…


He was a youngish white guy. Pasty, thin. Completely nondescript. But even as I was ushering him in, my spidey sense was tingling like crazy. He stuck his hands in his pockets, shrugged his shoulders, and smiled. With his mouth, not his eyes. His eyes were like two dead fish floating in a bowl.

“Hi. I’m Andy. I’m here to see those cute wittle kitties.”

I’m not kidding, he seriously said “wittle”. I started to feel panicky.

“Uh, yeah. Sure, sure. Um, let me go grab them. Uh, where’s your girlfriend? I figured she would want to check them out, too.”

“Sabrina’s at work. She trusts I’ll make the right decision. I always make the right decision. Ha! Well. We just really want…pets. Just some little things to love.”

“Umm, ok. They’re probably upstairs in my room. You just, um, hang out a minute and I’ll go get them.”

So I left him there, leaning creepily against the foyer wall while I climbed the spiral staircase to my bedroom. There were two thoughts swirling in my brain. One: something is up with this guy. He just doesn’t seem right. At all. Two: Once again I have proven to be too stupid to live. No one knows this guy is even here. Who invites some random Craigslist stranger into her home? All that reading up on serial killers, and I fall for the oldest trick in the book.

When I got to the top of the stairs, I stole a glance back down. “Andy” had moved over to the big windows on the other side of the room, and was peering outside through the slatted blinds. I crept into my bedroom and looked for the stupid cats. I finally found them sleeping in my closet, and stuffed one under each arm and crept back downstairs before Andy could locate the knife drawer.

“Aww, there’s the cute wittle guys! Hey, kitty kitty! Hey, kitty kitty!” He cooed in a strange, loud voice. He reached out a pale and flaccid arm toward me. Both cats jumped from my arms onto the couch. Their ears were laid straight back on their skulls. One was actually hissing.

“They’re actually total sweetie pies” I said idiotically. “They just need time to get used to people.”

“Ohhhh, I can tell. I can tell you wittle kitties are sweet. Samantha is going to love you guys.” He was still smiling that weird smile. His hands were balled into fists. A muscle twitched near his eye. I crossed over to the windows. The blinds were always closed, because I lived across the street from a crack house and all. I opened them now, and looked out.  A lone hooker stood on the corner, hot boxing a Newport. As I watched, she ground the butt under her heel and walked away. The street was utterly deserted. No one to bear witness to my grisly murder.

“I thought you said her name was Sabrina.”

“That’s what I SAID.” For the first time, his smile faltered, and he looked nonplussed. “You think I don’t know my own girlfriend’s NAME? You need to clean out your ears. Hahaha!” He reached for the cats again. They darted behind the couch. He threw his arms out wide and smiled a huge crazy smile.

“I’ll take ’em!! This deal is too good to pass up. You said you would give me the carrier too, right?”

“Ummm, yeah, the carrier is included. I have half a bag of food too, and toys.”

“Just the carrier. Samantha already got them food and toys. And TREATS. Lots of treats for my new wittle kitties.”

“Ok, well. Ok. Like, you want to take them right now?”

“That’s what I SAID, isn’t it? I’m a busy guy. I took a break from my important JOB to come over here. Sabrina can’t wait to see these little guys, and I know better than to disappoint my Sabrina.”

My body was buzzy with adrenaline. My butt was all sweaty. I couldn’t think clearly. I just wanted this guy out of my apartment. And I hadn’t forgotten my objective, which was ridding myself of these cats.

“Their carrier is upstairs. I’ll go get it.” I climbed back up the stairs, back into my room, and was in the closet reaching for the carrier when I heard an unmistakeable noise. The light tread of footsteps on my wrought-iron stairs. I whipped around, holding the carrier out in front of me like a lion tamer with a stepstool, and he was in the doorway of my bedroom.


“What are you doing?” I said in a choked voice.

“I just wanted to see what was up here.”

I pushed past him, still holding the carrier in front of me. “It’s my room. Just my room. Do you want something to drink? Let’s go downstairs so you can get something to drink.”

He followed me down the stairs, and for the whole 6 seconds I kept waiting for his hands to close around my throat. They didn’t. I gave him a can of Mountain Dew from the fridge which he slurped greedily while I wrestled the hissing beasts into the carrier.

“Please take good care of them.” I was almost in tears.

“You know I will.”

And with that, he was gone. After I slid the deadbolt, I realized he never even asked the cats’ names.

Oh, man, I hope he didn’t kill my cats.

Oh, shit, I kind of think he killed my cats.

So. That’s the story of the time I met a serial killer on Craigslist. I mean, I’m pretty sure he was a fledgling killer, and I think by now he’s probably killed at least a few people. And what did I learn? I learned to be a little more careful about strangers. I realize most people cover this territory in elementary school, but alas, I took the road less travelled to maturity and adulthood.

I also learned that I am a complete asshole. I sacrificed those poor animals to save my own precious hide. But it didn’t bother me for too long. A week later I was on a flight to Amsterdam with Johnny Hollywood, and Andy and the cats were just another memory shoved down into the vault.


P.S. What do YOU think? Was Andy a killer or was this just my imagination gone horribly awry? Have you ever felt Stranger Danger? How did you deal with it? Tell me all about it in the comments.

P.S.S. Please don’t call PETA on me. I take lovely care of my animals these days.



  • Hi Nicki!
    Pasty, thin, flaccid white guy who picked up your wittle kitties here 🙂
    I must say, I was surprised to read about this since I thought I was the perfect model of normalcy, and niceness. I mean, here I was, picking up a nice gift for my girlfriend Samantha because it was her birthday, and I get painted as some kind of weird serial killer. Uncalled for. I am a human being too, and don’t deserve to be labelled this way. In fact, I would love to meet up with you again and prove that I am just a nice, normal, cool guy.
    Let me know!

    p.s. Sabrina LOVED the wittle kitties! Said they were the best Valentines Day gift she ever got;)

  • Who the f— lists an ad for free kittens on Craigslist?? Really? You see/feel the guy is disturbed and you give him the kittens, I just don’t get it. So sorry I read this, I guess you really do hate cats….

  • That was terrifying! Jesus, I kind of kept wondering if you were going to die in the end and then I had to remind myself that you were writing it, so that wasn’t likely. When I was 18 my dumb drunk ass came off a train at like 5 in the morning after a bartending shift and some random guy started keeping pace with me as I walked the six blocks to my house. We started chatting and for WHATEVER fucked up reason he got me to invite him into my place! It took about ten minutes for me to figure out I was most likely getting raped so I drove the conversation to a deeper level where I “confided” in him that I had AIDS. To which he said he was accepting of me anyway. Then he tried to have sex with me. Then he offered to PAY me five hundred dollars when I said no (btw, at the time that was a lot of cash. Actually, still is. Kind of surprised I didn’t take it) but he would have to owe it to me because he didn’t have it on him. However he said that was no problem because he could get it from his mom and come back and pay me tomorrow. He promised! Ended up after a lot of perceived haggling I threw some weed his way and he got the fuck out of my house. He came back two days later though and encountered my roommate who was just leaving at the time. I know this because my roommate called me while I was at work and said “What the fuck! YOU HAVE AIDS??”


  • I think Andy sacrificed the cute wittle kitties over an altar built around Sabrina/Samantha’s lifeless form, moved to Niagara Falls and got a job in the housekeeping department of my hotel.
    In fact, I’m certain of it.

  • “It rubs the lotion on its skin….”

    I’m pretty sure those cats are now lamp shades. Yikes.

  • If you’re in the Charleston, SC area, I may have met the same man that got your cats. I went and got a facial at this “Spa Day” at some Chiropractic Center once, and this skinny, pasty white guy looked at my face through some facial machine, and kept calling me “Sabrina” after everything he said. It was creeeeepy!

      • OK, Of course, I laughed so hard I was choking on my cereal! …at first. Then I felt the same cold sweat you so affably describe, as I realized you REALLY DID PUT YOUR LIFE IN DANGER!!! I think he sounded totally creepy. . You should have ran out into the street! Now I’m worried that you’re too trusting. Thank God you have Penny, I guess. The cats are probably fine, otherwise we wouldn’t be reading this post.

  • Hi Nicki, never did catch your name that day!
    The cats are fine 🙂 Sabrina, sorry ‘Samantha’ absolutely adored them. A little too much maybe…
    Anyway, she’s been missing for a while now so no great loss!
    Where do you live nowadays by the way?

      • Yeah…not really the best way of introducing yourself I guess, hahahaa!
        May I take this opportunity to say you are one helluva writer and enjoy your posts. Have just returned here after a lengthy lay-off and it’s good to have discovered you!
        Be well!

  • Cat people are weird. I know that, because I’m a cat person. He was probably just your normal everyday average run-of-the-mill cat person. He just seemed crazy because you aren’t a cat person. Also, he probably just seemed crazy because he was crazy.
    Those poor cats. :-/

    • All of you cat people have been awfully nice about this. I mean, even before Andy, I was not exactly giving those beasts the pampered life. It was like “here’s a bowl of stale food and maybe some water I’ll see you guys in a few days!”

      I can’t imagine doing that now. We had a neighborhood stray and I actually put food on the porch for her every day. Trying to make amends I guess.

  • This kind of bummed me out a little bit. For once, I wish you weren’t such a good writer. I think the humor tag is a bit of a stretch. It certainly sounds like the cats were in for a rough ride.

    I met the love of my life but when she’d visit my apartment, the dander from my two cats would send her into a choking, gasping fit. It was either the cats or her. The sex was terrific but the cats were there first and would still be there long after the sex became less than terrific. Meow.

    That shitting on the pillow thing is showing you who’s boss. But you got the last laugh.

    • I don’t know if I got the last laugh. Obviously I still feel bad about it years later. You’re right, humor might be a bit of a stretch. Especially for you cat people.

      That’s one way I think I still need to grow as a person. I use jokes to mask things that bother me. Honestly, I vacillate between thinking this guy was some weird gamer and probably harmless and trusting my memory of the situation and feeling awful that I gave him two animals.

  • First off, congrats on your survival.

    When you’r feeling the tingly things on the back of your neck……it is right. Never wrong. There is a book I would HIGHLY recommend to everyone to read. “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. It talks about these type situations in great detail. from first hand accounts.

    Very good and entertaining read.

    p.s. I hate to say it, but your cats where probably dead before the sun went down.

  • Um, Nicki, he was a vewwy bad man….those poor wittle kitties….thank god you weren’t turned into a skin suit and worn home though – cos that would’ve sucked!!!

  • Nicki, I sell lumber on Craigslist. We have commercial contracts but CL sales are for cash & cash only which is useful. I generally get two types of CL buyers, rural landowners like myself from the surrounding counties who buy at the source for the bargain innit, and then there’s the others who come from all over. When a suburban type building a whateverthehell drives 3 hours from Ohio and then 15 miles off US 421 to get to my gate, he thinks he’s in a foreign country. Then when he drives a half mile back on our place, out of sight of anything but the woods & my sawmill & crew a lot of times he’s one nervous Nellie. We just do the business & get ’em on their way but I know fear & anxiety when I see it… 😉

  • I can’t tell you if you overreacted or not, but what I do know is that some people have been scared of me for no reason whatsoever. Ok, I’m not quite as creepy as Andy, but I more than make up for it with a thick foreign accent (and one of the scary ones, not some cute British or French) and more menacing appearance than your description of Andy. If I’d shown up at your apartment, I’d’ve probably scared the crap out of you too. (possibly just by using “I’d’ve” contraction 🙂

  • Daahling, I want you to think about something. Yes, you had a possibly-but-not-in-reality life-threatening experience when you were a messed-up thing. You believe you have learned from the experience.

    Yet, despite that learning, you are publishing a blog and Facebook page with what is presumably your real name, photos of yourself, the name of your hometown, your workplace, and lots of other information. It doesn’t help either that your name is close to that of a porn actress (I didn’t know that until now, honest!).

    Stalkers are, by definition, not rational, and they don’t always look like Tony Perkins so you can tell at a distance. Now that you’re blogging, you might want to think about your “personal space”. Not trying to scare you, but jus’ sayin’. You have a higher profile now, and bright lights attract pests.

    And when I say I want to drag you off to my cave in Oregon, I mean that in a completely non-creepy, non-stalker way, OK?

    • Thanks for the heads up, you big scary beast. I’ve thought about taking my workplace off my private Facebook, but it’s a public place and if someone wants to come in and be creepy, join the fucking club. My home is another matter entirely. But my name is not my legal name. I did this to protect my criminal past and to provide me a layer of protection on the internet. As a last resort, I have a very large husband with a concealed carry, a pit bull who follows me everywhere, and I’m pretty handy with a gun and knife. I’m not as dumb as I look.

      • Sweetie, you don’t look dumb at all, quite the opposite, and I’m glad you’re looking out for yourself. Good to know about Ryan’s concealed carry, though, for when I sneak up on him to carry you away. I’ll bring a steak for the dog and we’ll be good.

  • He was a psychopath. You are lucky. Always sacrifice the kitties. When I moved away from home many years ago, a friend of mine suggested that I get a cat. Then, when the psychopath arrived at MY home, I could throw the cat at him and run. I got the cat and he ran away.

    Dogs are better. Dogs will protect you. They will die for you. They will not let you open the door to a psychopath. It is a much better exchange for the cost of pet food.

    • Dogs for the win! The only downfall is they require walking. But once I get out and do it, I’m happy for the exercise and it really clears my head. Not in this cold though. They can suck it.

  • I’ve hung out with many a stranger. Nothing like this, though. I did have a cop pull me over when I lived in Boca because my tag was expired and I driving with a suspended license. (don’t ask) – anyway, this guy, thissss guuyyyy, he shows up at my house 2 days later in his freakin’ uniform and asks me out on a date. My dad was there, and daughter was barely a year old. I told him no. He stuttered when he asked me out and I’m fairly certain he broke some sort of “cop code” by showing up at my door like that. The only reason he knew where I lived was obviously because he saw my license. (He did let me go though, with no ticket or anything). I saw him policing my neighborhood a few times after the incident. Total Creeper.

    Your post could have easily been a scene out of Criminal Minds. It makes me wonder if men who say things like “kitty wittie” are impotent.

  • Sabrina was his python, and not the giggity-goo kind. He fed the cats to his snake(s). Those reptile people can sometimes be an odd bunch, not always, but sometimes. But yeah, that’s why he didn’t need food or toys, just a carrier. Free snake chow.

  • I applaud your honesty, but you realize you just put a paper plate with a steaming pile of shit, right in front of the proverbial fan?

    People are going to go apeshit over this. I hate cats and even I was like “that’s fucked up”.

    Just saying to prepare. Death threats, family threats, etc… They’re coming once this goes viral.

    Keep your head up.

    • I don’t think this post is in any danger of going viral. Cat lovers are generally a more peaceful lot than those self-aggrandizing hipsters.

  • I can’t freaked out every damn time I sale or buy something on Craigslist. I always make sure to actually speak to the person prior to meeting up. I like hearing an old lady on the other end of the line, especially if it’s not $1.75/minute. The wife got a cat, it hates her and loves me. I didn’t even want it, but we’re cool now.

  • WTFuck. You let a Craigslist person into your house?! That is what CVS parking lots are for unless you were actually planning on killing HIM then yes, your house is the place to meet. I can’t believe he followed you up the stairs. This is exactly why I have weapons strategically hidden all over my house.
    Also– this totally reminded me of a story about a guy with “a girlfriend” that I need to blog soon.

    • me too, Aussa! I’m not allowed to have the guns (hubby keeps those in a safe) but I have my five million volt stun gun and a nice knife that I keep handy-dandy.

    • Not only have I let a Craigslist person into my house, but I’ve been dating him a year and a half now. They’re not all creeps!

      …But most of them are. Like seriously. And this Andy dude definitely did something creepy to those cats. The important thing is you made it out okay.

      • That’s amazing. Ah, Craigslist love….sometimes when I’m feeling down I like to read the “missed connections”. I love hearing someone try to find some random person that they made eye contact with while buying cigarettes at the gas station…

        • I do that, too. I like to convince myself every one written about a brunette is in reference to me. (This most often happens during period, day one.)

  • I’m not a cat person, so my worry was less with the furballs and more with you. Craig’s List terrifies the beejezus out of me. I met a woman on there who was supposed to be selling me Magic cards (don’t judge me) and she ended up finding me on every social network platform possible and sending me emails about her issues with having sex with her husband. It was creepy…funny and non-life threatening…but creepy.

    I’m glad you are safe.

    • My friend uses Craigslist all the time to buy and sell, and she has told me stories like yours. Are people so desperate for friendship that they will attach themselves to anyone they come into contact with? This is why I stay home most of the time.

      • I suppose so. Although, there was a point in my life (being home with three children, no phone, and no computer) where I was desperate enough for adult conversation that I would walk our mile long dirt driveway to catch the mail man and hold him hostage while I asked him about this day.

        • Oh, poor dear. I would never let myself be without internet. Although I’m sure it would benefit me. I would read more actual books I’m sure.

  • People need to be careful, and I think it’s good to trust your instincts. Doesn’t really seem to be enough evidence for a conviction though 😉

  • Poor kitties. I’m glad you’ve changed enough to take care of your animals. As for the guy, I’m sure he turned into some crazy killer somewhere. I’ve been in those situations, well without the kitties. And I didn’t let them in my place. But I did ‘meet’ a crazy killer. I was sitting in my car one day years ago waiting for someone to come out of this boat store. I felt someone starring at me. So I turned my head and sure enough some weirdo guy was staring holes in me. He had dead eyes too. My spider sense was yelling at me to get out of there! But I couldn’t leave my friend. When my friend finally came back I didn’t waste anytime getting the hell out. That guy stared at me all the time. A couple weeks later I was reading the paper and saw his picture! Him and his ‘girlfriend’ were picked up for killing several women. They would take them home and beat and torture them to death! No shit. I just stopped breathing for a few seconds. So yeah, always pay attention to your gut feeling. I’ll never forget the guys name either. Ricky Lee Green.

    • Holy shit, Jackie, I just googled him! That’s crazy. He looks scary.

      And yes, I’ve changed a lot. I still look back on this situation with regret. I shouldn’t have accepted the animals if I wasn’t going to care for them properly. I could barely look after myself.

      • Yeah, he was a crazy dude. I’ll never forget looking into those dead eyes.

        We all make mistakes Nicki, but learning from them is where it takes balls. And you got balls. Or as my late father used to say, brass balls.

  • You either provided him with two actual relationships which surely became sexual, or provided ‘guinea pigs’ for some sort of drug lab that later proved cheap mascara will blind cats.
    Either way, you preserved
    your crack apartment for the next basket case.
    🙂 glad you didnt end up stuffed in the carrier!

  • Oh, yeah, I’ve done some pretty stupid things, like letting guys I’d just met share my hotel room with my friend! They were nice guys, but like I knew this? I only knew one was hot. Duh.
    That guy you’re talking about does sound creepy. I’m picturing weird cat experiments. I also gave my cats up to strangers, but they didn’t seem creepy. Except one still wanted my extremely psycho cat . .. well, maybe he was just better with animals?

  • So scary! I’ve found when someone gives you that creepy vibe, it’s always right. It’s ok you sacrificed the kitties. It was a smart decision to just get him out. So glad it didn’t turn out badly!

  • I don’t blame you for getting him outta there as quickly as possible. I don’t know if he was a serial killer, but he was definitely creepy.

  • “Stranger Danger” is just that……DANGER! I’m glad you came out of this one unscathed, and now (or then) lesson learned. I’ve been in a few situations similar to the such and been on my toes the same. A very real danger out there, it perplexes me that there are people who can have such “evil” intentions in this world. Accidents happen and situations can get out of control, but sometimes there are people who are just simply beyond comprehension in their decisions and actions. Always keep your trusty sword handy (and sharp), for one knows not the horrors that lurk in the shadows of a dark soul.

    • Those are wise words indeed. The world is filled with creepy people. I’m creepy too, but I’m the good kind of creepy. If that exists.

      • I trust any sort of creepy you are is in fact the good and cute kinda creepy. What’s the opposite of spidey sense? Whatever it is, I think that’s what I’d be vibe’ing’ from you if I was sitting at your bar.

        • I’m creepy because I like to hide from people and sometimes I creep up behind people and whisper something creepy in their ear. But in a charming way, of course.

  • Holy shit, Nicki! I hope along with pet care you’ve also learned a little about self-preservation. (Says the girl who almost maced her cat a week ago over a strange noise.)

    • Bwahaha I’ve accidentally maced myself. Yes, I’ve learned a lot. Our two dogs are treated like pampered children, and I am extremely cautious about not getting myself into stupid situations. It only took 30 years, but I got there eventually.

  • I’m not a cat fan either (way prefer dogs), but if it had been me, I’m afraid I would not have let them go with ‘Andy’ and would have tried to rehome them through a cat charity. I’m thankful I seem to have a 6th sense about people, and maybe I’ve got an overactive imagination too, but if this guy had knocked on my door, NO WAY would I have let him in!

    • That’s what the me of today would have done, too. We got one of our dogs through a rescue and they do awesome work for animals. Unfortunately, up until about six years ago, I was self centered, drug addicted, and basically, kind of a shitty human being.

  • I’m just so glad you’re alive after that. That was definitely some true stranger danger. My memory is swiss cheese so I can’t recall any stranger danger of my past. I’m sure I’ve had my share though.

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