June 28 1941
This cat I am going to tell you about is a very small cat, and in fact it is only a few weeks old, consequently it is really nothing but an infant cat. To tell the truth, it is just a kitten. It is gray and white and very dirty and its fur is all frowzled up, so it is a very miserable-looking little kitten to be sure the day it crawls through a broken basement window into an old house in East Fifty-third Street over near Third Avenue in the city of New York and goes from room to room saying merouw, merouw in a low, weak voice until it comes to a room at the head of the stairs on the second story where a guy by the name of Rudolph is sitting on the floor thinking of not much.
One reason Rudolph is sitting on the floor is because there is nothing else to sit on as this is an empty house that is all boarded up for years and there is no furniture whatever in it, and another reason is that Rudolph has a .38 slug in his side and really does not feel like doing much of anything but sitting. He is wearing a derby hat and his overcoat as it is in the wintertime and very cold and he has an automatic Betsy on the floor beside him and naturally he is surprised quite some when the little kitten comes merouwing into the room and he picks up the Betsy and points it at the door in case anyone he does not wish to see is with the kitten. But when he observes that it is all alone, Rudolph puts the Betsy down again and speaks to the kitten as follows:
“Hello, cat,” he says.
Of course the kitten does not say anything in reply except merouw but it walks right up to Rudolph and climbs on his lap, although the chances are if it knows who Rudolph is it will hightail it out of there quicker than anybody can say scat. There is enough daylight coming through the chinks in the boards over the windows for Rudolph to see that the kitten’s right eye is in bad shape, and in fact it is bulged half out of its head in a most distressing manner and it is plain to be seen that the sight is gone from this eye. It is also plain to be seen that the injury happened recently and Rudolph gazes at the kitten awhile and starts to laugh and says like this:
“Well, cat,” he says, “you seem to be scuffed up almost as much as I am. We make a fine pair of invalids here together. What is your name, cat?”
Naturally the kitten does not state its name but only goes merouw and Rudolph says, “All right, I will call you Johnny. Yes,” he says, “your tag is now Johnny One-Eye.”
Then he puts the kitten in under his overcoat and pretty soon it gets warm and starts to purr and Rudolph says:
“Johnny,” he says, “I will say one thing for you and that is you are plenty game to be able to sing when you are hurt as bad as you are. It is more than I can do.”
But Johnny only goes merouw again and keeps on purring and by and by it falls sound asleep under Rudolph’s coat and Rudolph is wishing the pain in his side will let up long enough for him to do the same.
Well, I suppose you are saying to yourself, what is this Rudolph doing in an old empty house with a slug in his side, so I will explain that the district attorney is responsible for this situation. It seems that the D. A. appears before the grand jury and tells it that Rudolph is an extortion guy and a killer and I do not know what all else, though some of these statements are without doubt a great injustice to Rudolph as, up to the time the D.A. makes them, Rudolph does not kill anybody of any consequence in years.
It is true that at one period of his life he is considered a little wild but this is in the 1920’s when everybody else is, too, and for seven or eight years he is all settled down and is engaged in business organization work, which is very respectable work, indeed. He organizes quite a number of businesses on a large scale and is doing very good for himself. He is living quietly in a big hotel all alone, as Rudolph is by no means a family guy, and he is highly spoken of by one and all when the D.A. starts poking his nose into his affairs, claiming that Rudolph has no right to be making money out of the businesses, even though Rudolph gives these businesses plenty of first-class protection.
In fact, the D.A. claims that Rudolph is nothing but a racket guy and a great knock to the community, and all this upsets Rudolph no little when it comes to his ears in a roundabout way. So he calls up his lawbooks and requests legal advice on the subject and lawbooks says the best thing he can think of for Rudolph to do is to become as inconspicuous as possible right away but to please not mention to anyone that he gives this advice.
Lawbooks says he understands the D.A. is requesting indictments and is likely to get them and furthermore that he is rounding up certain parties that Rudolph is once associated with and trying to get them to remember incidents in Rudolph’s early career that may not be entirely to his credit. Lawbooks says he hears that one of these parties is a guy by the name of Cute Freddy and that Freddy makes a deal with the D.A. to lay off him if he tells everything he knows about Rudolph, so under the circumstances a long journey by Rudolph will be in the interest of everybody concerned.
So Rudolph decides to go on a journey but then he gets to thinking that maybe Freddy will remember a little matter that Rudolph long ago since dismisses from his mind and does not wish to have recalled again, which is the time he and Freddy do a job on a guy by the name of The Icelander in Troy years ago and he drops around to Freddy’s house to remind him to be sure not to remember this.
But it seems that Freddy, who is an important guy in business organization work himself, though in a different part of the city than Rudolph, mistakes the purpose of Rudolph’s visit and starts to out with his rooty-toot-toot and in order to protect himself it is necessary for Rudolph to take his Betsy and give Freddy a little tattooing. In fact, Rudolph practically crochets his monogram on Freddy’s chest and leaves him exceptionally deceased.
But as Rudolph is departing from the neighborhood, who bobs up but a young guy by the name of Buttsy Fagan, who works for Freddy as a chauffeur and one thing and another, and who is also said to be able to put a slug through a keyhole at forty paces without touching the sides though I suppose it will have to be a pretty good-sized keyhole. Anyway, he takes a long-distance crack at Rudolph as Rudolph is rounding a corner, but all Buttsy can see of Rudolph at the moment is a little piece of his left side and this is what Buttsy hits, although no one knows it at the time, except of course Rudolph, who just keeps on departing.
Now this incident causes quite a stir in police circles, and the D.A. is very indignant over losing a valuable witness and when they are unable to locate Rudolph at once, a reward of five thousand dollars is offered for information leading to his capture alive or dead and some think they really mean dead. Indeed, it is publicly stated that it is not a good idea for anyone to take any chances with Rudolph as he is known to be armed and is such a character as will be sure to resent being captured, but they do not explain that this is only because Rudolph knows the D.A. wishes to place him in the old rocking chair at Sing Sing and that Rudolph is quite allergic to the idea.
Anyway, the cops go looking for Rudolph in Hot Springs and Miami and every other place except where he is, which is right in New York wandering around town with the slug in his side, knocking at the doors of old friends requesting assistance. But all the old friends do for him is to slam the doors in his face and forget they ever see him, as the D.A. is very tough on parties who assist guys he is looking for, claiming that this is something most illegal called harboring fugitives. Besides Rudolph is never any too popular at best with his old friends as he always plays pretty much of a lone duke and takes the big end of everything for his.
He cannot even consult a doctor about the slug in his side as he knows that nowadays the first thing a doctor will do about a guy with a gunshot wound is to report him to the cops, although Rudolph can remember when there is always a surefooted doctor around who will consider it a privilege and a pleasure to treat him and keep his trap closed about it. But of course this is in the good old days and Rudolph can see they are gone forever. So he just does the best he can about the slug and goes on wandering here and there and around and about and the blats keep printing his picture and saying, where is Rudolph?
Where he is some of the time is in Central Park trying to get some sleep, but of course even the blats will consider it foolish to go looking for Rudolph there in such cold weather, as he is a guy who enjoys his comfort at all times. In fact, it is comfort that Rudolph misses more than anything as the slug is commencing to cause him great pain and naturally the pain turns Rudolph’s thoughts to the author of same and he remembers that he once hears somebody say that Buttsy lives over in East Fifty-third Street.
So one night Rudolph decides to look Buttsy up and cause him a little pain in return and he is moseying through Fifty-third when he gets so weak he falls down on the sidewalk in front of the old house and rolls down a short flight of steps that lead from the street level to a little railed-in area-way and ground floor or basement door and before he stops rolling he brings up against the door itself and it creaks open inward as he bumps it. After he lays there awhile Rudolph can see that the house is empty and he crawls on inside.
Then when he feels stronger, Rudolph makes his way upstairs because the basement is damp and mice keep trotting back and forth over him and eventually he winds up in the room where Johnny One-Eye finds him the following afternoon and the reason Rudolph settles down in this room is because it commands the stairs. Naturally, this is important to a guy in Rudolph’s situation, though after he is sitting there for about fourteen hours before Johnny comes along he can see that he is not going to be much disturbed by traffic. But he considers it a very fine place, indeed, to remain planted until he is able to resume his search for Buttsy.
Well, after a while Johnny One-Eye wakes up and comes from under the coat and looks at Rudolph out of his good eye and Rudolph waggles his fingers and Johnny plays with them, catching one finger in his front paws and biting it gently and this pleases Rudolph no little as he never before has any personal experience with a kitten. However, he remembers observing one when he is a boy down in Houston Street, so he takes a piece of paper out of his pocket and makes a little ball of it and rolls it along the floor and Johnny bounces after it very lively indeed. But Rudolph can see that the bad eye is getting worse and finally he says to Johnny like this:
“Johnny,” he says, “I guess you must be suffering more than I am. I remember there are some pet shops over on Lexington Avenue not far from here and when it gets good and dark I am going to take you out and see if we can find a cat croaker to do something about your eye. Yes, Johnny,” Rudolph says, “I will also get you something to eat. You must be starved.”
Johnny One-Eye says merouw to this and keeps on playing with the paper ball but soon it comes on dark outside and inside too, and, in fact, it is so dark inside that Rudolph cannot see his hand before him. Then he puts his Betsy in a side pocket of his overcoat and picks up Johnny and goes downstairs, feeling his way in the dark and easing along a step at a time until he gets to the basement door. Naturally, Rudolph does not wish to strike any matches because he is afraid someone outside may see the light and get nosey.
By moving very slowly, Rudolph finally gets to Lexington Avenue and while he is going along he remembers the time he walks from 125th Street in Harlem down to 110th with six slugs in him and never feels as bad as he does now. He gets to thinking that maybe he is not the guy he used to be, which of course is very true as Rudolph is now forty-odd years of age and is fat around the middle and getting bald, and he also does some thinking about what a pleasure it will be to him to find this Buttsy and cause him the pain he is personally suffering.
There are not many people in the streets and those that are go hurrying along because it is so cold and none of them pay any attention to Rudolph or Johnny One-Eye either, even though Rudolph staggers a little now and then like a guy who is rummed up, although of course it is only weakness. The chances are he is also getting a little feverish and lightheaded because finally he stops a cop who is going along swinging his arms to keep warm and asks him if he knows where there is a pet shop and it is really most indiscreet of such a guy as Rudolph to be interviewing cops. But the cop just points up the street and goes on without looking twice at Rudolph and Rudolph laughs and pokes Johnny with a finger and says:
“No, Johnny One-Eye,” he says, “the cop is not a dope for not recognizing Rudolph. Who can figure the hottest guy in forty-eight states to be going along a street with a little cat in his arms? Can you, Johnny?”
Johnny says merouw and pretty soon Rudolph comes to the pet shop the cop points out. Rudolph goes inside and says to the guy like this:
“Are you a cat croaker?” Rudolph says. “Do you know what to do about a little cat that has a hurt eye?”
“I am a kind of a vet,” the guy says.
“Then take a glaum at Johnny One-Eye here and see what you can do for him,” Rudolph says.
Then he hands Johnny over to the guy and the guy looks at Johnny awhile and says:
“Mister,” he says, “the best thing I can do for this cat is to put it out of its misery. You better let me give it something right now. It will just go to sleep and never know what happens.”
Well, at this, Rudolph grabs Johnny One-Eye out of the guy’s hands and puts him under his coat and drops a duke on the Betsy in his pocket as if he is afraid the guy will take Johnny away from him again and he says to the guy like this:
“No, no, no,” Rudolph says. “I cannot bear to think of such a thing. What about some kind of an operation? I remember they take a bum lamp out of Joe the Goat at Bellevue one time and he is okay now.”
“Nothing will do your cat any good,” the guy says. “It is a goner. It will start having fits pretty soon and die sure. What is the idea of trying to save such a cat as this? It is no kind of a cat to begin with. It is just a cat. You can get a million like it for a nickel.”
“No,” Rudolph says, “this is not just a cat. This is Johnny One-Eye. He is my only friend in the world. He is the only living thing that ever comes pushing up against me warm and friendly and trust me in my whole life. I feel sorry for him.”
“I feel sorry for him, too,” the guy says. “I always feel sorry for animals that get hurt and for people.”
“I do not feel sorry for people,” Rudolph says. “I only feel sorry for Johnny One-Eye. Give me some kind of stuff that Johnny will eat.”
“Your cat wants milk,” the guy says. “You can get some at the delicatessen store down at the corner. Mister,” he says, “you look sick yourself. Can I do anything for you?”
But Rudolph only shakes his head and goes on out and down to the delicatessen joint where he buys a bottle of milk and this transaction reminds him that he is very short in the moo department. In fact, he can find only a five-dollar note in his pockets and he remembers that he has no way of getting any more when this runs out, which is a very sad predicament indeed for a guy who is accustomed to plenty of moo at all times.
Then Rudolph returns to the old house and sits down on the floor again and gives Johnny One-Eye some of the milk in his derby hat as he neglects buying something for Johnny to drink out of. But Johnny offers no complaint. He laps up the milk and curls himself into a wad in Rudolph’s lap and purrs.
Rudolph takes a swig of the milk himself but it makes him sick for by this time Rudolph is really far from being in the pink of condition. He not only has the pain in his side but he has a heavy cold which he probably catches from lying on the basement floor or maybe sleeping in the park and he is wheezing no little. He commences to worry that he may get too ill to continue looking for Buttsy, as he can see that if it is not for Buttsy he will not be in this situation, suffering the way he is, but on a long journey to some place.
He takes to going off into long stretches of a kind of stupor and every time he comes out of one of these stupors the first thing he does is to look around for Johnny One-Eye and Johnny is always right there either playing with the paper ball or purring in Rudolph’s lap. He is a great comfort to Rudolph but after a while Rudolph notices that Johnny seems to be running out of zip and he also notices that he is running out of zip himself especially when he discovers that he is no longer able to get to his feet.
It is along in the late afternoon of the day following the night Rudolph goes out of the house that he hears someone coming up the stairs and naturally he picks up his Betsy and gets ready for action when he also hears a very small voice calling kitty, kitty, kitty, and he realizes that the party that is coming can be nobody but a child. In fact, a minute later a little pretty of maybe six years of age comes into the room all out of breath and says to Rudolph like this:
“How do you do?” she says. “Have you seen my kitty?”
Then she spots Johnny One-Eye in Rudolph’s lap and runs over and sits down beside Rudolph and takes Johnny in her arms and at first Rudolph is inclined to resent this and has a notion to give her a good boffing but he is too weak to exert himself in such a manner.
“Who are you?” Rudolph says to the little pretty, “and,” he says, “where do you live and how do you get in this house?”
“Why,” she says, “I am Elsie, and I live down the street and I am looking everywhere for my kitty for three days and the door is open downstairs and I know kitty likes to go in doors that are open so I came to find her and here she is.”
“I guess I forgot to close it last night,” Rudolph says. “I seem to be very forgetful lately.”
“What is your name?” Elsie asks. “And why are you sitting on the floor in the cold and where are all your chairs? Do you have any little girls like me and do you love them dearly?”
“No,” Rudolph says. “By no means and not at all.”
“Well,” Elsie says, “I think you are a nice man for taking care of my kitty. Do you love kitty?”
“Look,” Rudolph says, “his name is not kitty. His name is Johnny One-Eye, because he has only one eye.”
“I call her kitty,” Elsie says. “But,” she says, “Johnny One-Eye is a nice name too and if you like it best I will call her Johnny and I will leave her here with you to take care of always and I will come to see her every day. You see,” she says, “if I take Johnny home Buttsy will only kick her again.”
“Buttsy?” Rudolph says. “Do I hear you say Buttsy? Is his other name Fagan?”
“Why, yes,” Elsie says. “Do you know him?”
“No,” Rudolph says, “but I hear of him. What is he to you?”
“He is my new daddy,” Elsie says. “My other one and my best one is dead and so my mama makes Buttsy my new one. My mama says Buttsy is her mistake. He is very mean. He kicks Johnny and hurts her eye and makes her run away. He kicks my mama too. Buttsy kicks everybody and everything when he is mad and he is always mad.”
“He is a louse to kick a little cat,” Rudolph says.
“Yes,” Elsie says, “that is what Mr. O’Toole says he is for kicking my mama but my mama says it is not a nice word and I am never to say it out loud.”
“Who is Mr. O’Toole?” Rudolph says.
“He is the policeman,” Elsie says. “He lives across the street from us and he is very nice to me. He says Buttsy is the word you say just now, not only for kicking my mama but for taking her money when she brings it home from work and spending it so she cannot buy me nice things to wear. But do you know what?” Elsie says. “My mama says someday Buttsy is going far away and then she will buy me lots of things and send me to school and make me a lady.”
Then Elsie begins skipping around the room with Johnny One-Eye in her arms and singing I am going to be a lady, I am going to be a lady, until Rudolph has to tell her to pipe down because he is afraid somebody may hear her. And all the time Rudolph is thinking of Buttsy and regretting that he is unable to get on his pins and go out of the house.
“Now I must go home,” Elsie says, “because this is a night Buttsy comes in for his supper and I have to be in bed before he gets there so I will not bother him. Buttsy does not like little girls. Buttsy does not like little kittens, Buttsy does not like little anythings. My mama is afraid of Buttsy and so am I. But,” she says, “I will leave Johnny here with you and come back tomorrow to see her.”
“Listen, Elsie,” Rudolph says, “does Mr. O’Toole come home tonight to his house for his supper, too?”
“Oh, yes,” Elsie says. “He comes home every night. Sometimes when there is a night Buttsy is not coming in for his supper my mama lets me go over to Mr. O’Toole’s and I play with his dog Charley but you must never tell Buttsy this because he does not like O’Toole either. But this is a night Buttsy is coming and that is why my mama tells me to get in early.”
Now Rudolph takes an old letter out of his inside pocket and a pencil out of another pocket and he scribbles a few lines on the envelope and stretches himself out on the floor and begins groaning, oh, oh, oh, and then he says to Elsie like this:
“Look, Elsie,” he says, “you are a smart little kid and you pay strict attention to what I am going to say to you. Do not go to bed tonight until Buttsy gets in. Then,” Rudolph says, “you tell him you come in this old house looking for your cat and that you hear somebody groaning like I do just now in the room at the head of the stairs and that you find a guy who says his name is Rudolph lying on the floor so sick he cannot move. Tell him the front door of the basement is open. But,” Rudolph says, “you must not tell him that Rudolph tells you to say these things. Do you understand?”
“Oh,” Elsie says, “do you want him to come here? He will kick Johnny again if he does.”
“He will come here, but he will not kick Johnny,” Rudolph says. “He will come here, or I am the worst guesser in the world. Tell him what I look like, Elsie. Maybe he will ask you if you see a gun. Tell him you do not see one. You do not see a gun, do you, Elsie?”
“No,” Elsie says, “only the one in your hand when I come in but you put it under your coat. Buttsy has a gun and Mr. O’Toole has a gun but Buttsy says I am never, never to tell anybody about this or he will kick me the way he does my mama.”
“Well,” Rudolph says, “you must not remember seeing mine, either. It is a secret between you and me and Johnny One-Eye. Now,” he says, “if Buttsy leaves the house to come and see me, as I am pretty sure he will, you run over to Mr. O’Toole’s house and give him this note, but do not tell Buttsy or your mama either about the note. If Buttsy does not leave, it is my hard luck, but you give the note to Mr. O’Toole anyway. Now tell me what you are to do, Elsie,” Rudolph says, “so I can see if you have got everything correct.”
“I am to go on home and wait for Buttsy,” she says, “and I am to tell him Rudolph is lying on the floor of this dirty old house with a fat stomach and a big nose making noises and that he is very sick and the basement door is open and there is no gun if he asks me, and when Buttsy comes to see you I am to take this note to Mr. O’Toole but Buttsy and my mama are not to know I have the note and if Buttsy does not leave I am to give it to Mr. O’Toole anyway and you are to stay here and take care of Johnny my kitten.” “That is swell,” Rudolph says. “Now you run along.”
So Elsie leaves and Rudolph sits up again against the wall because his side feels easier this way and Johnny One-Eye is in his lap purring very low and the dark comes on until it is blacker inside the room than in the middle of a tunnel and Rudolph feels that he is going into another stupor and he has a tough time fighting it off.
Afterward some of the neighbors claim they remember hearing a shot inside the house and then two more in quick succession and then all is quiet until a little later when Officer O’Toole and half a dozen other cops and an ambulance with a doctor come busting into the street and swarm into the joint with their guns out and their flashlights going. The first thing they find is Buttsy at the foot of the stairs with two bullet wounds close together in his throat, and naturally he is real dead.
Rudolph is still sitting against the wall with what seems to be a small bundle of bloody fur in his lap but which turns out to be what is left of this little cat I am telling you about, although nobody pays any attention to it at first. They are more interested in getting the come-alongs on Rudolph’s wrists but before they move him he pulls his clothes aside and shows the doctor where the slug is in his side and the doctor takes one glaum and shakes his head and says:
“Gangrene,” he says. “I think you have pneumonia, too, from the way you are blowing.”
“I know,” Rudolph says. “I know this morning. Not much chance, hey, croaker?”
“Not much,” the doctor says.
“Well, cops,” Rudolph says, “load me in. I do not suppose you want Johnny, seeing that he is dead.”
“Johnny who?” one of the cops says.
“Johnny One-Eye,” Rudolph says. “This little cat here in my lap. Buttsy shoots Johnny’s only good eye out and takes most of his noodle with it. I never see a more wonderful shot. Well, Johnny is better off but I feel sorry about him as he is my best friend down to the last.”
Then he begins to laugh and the cop asks him what tickles him so much and Rudolph says:
“Oh,” he says, “I am thinking of the joke on Buttsy. I am positive he will come looking for me, all right, not only because of the little altercation between Cute Freddy and me but because the chances are Buttsy is greatly embarrassed by not tilting me over the first time, as of course he never knows he wings me. Furthermore,” Rudolph says, “and this is the best reason of all, Buttsy will realize that if I am in his neighborhood it is by no means a good sign for him, even if he hears I am sick.
“Well,” Rudolph says, “I figure that with any kind of a square rattle I will have a better chance of nailing him than he has of nailing me, but that even if he happens to nail me, O’Toole will get my note in time to arrive here and nab Buttsy on the spot with his gun on him. And,” Rudolph says, “I know it will be a great pleasure to the D.A. to settle Buttsy for having a gun on him.
“But,” Rudolph says, “as soon as I hear Buttsy coming on the sneaksby up the stairs, I can see I am taking all the worst of it because I am now wheezing like a busted valve and you can hear me a block away except when I hold my breath, which is very difficult indeed, considering the way I am already greatly tuckered out. No,” Rudolph says, “it does not look any too good for me as Buttsy keeps coming up the stairs, as I can tell he is doing by a little faint creak in the boards now and then. I am in no shape to maneuver around the room and pretty soon he will be on the landing and then all he will have to do is to wait there until he hears me which he is bound to do unless
I stop breathing altogether. Naturally,” Rudolph says, “I do not care to risk a blast in the dark without knowing where he is as something tells me Buttsy is not a guy you can miss in safety.
“Well,” Rudolph says, “I notice several times before this that in the dark Johnny One-Eye’s good glim shines like a big spark, so when I feel Buttsy is about to hit the landing, although of course I cannot see him, I flip Johnny’s ball of paper across the room to the wall just opposite the door and tough as he must be feeling Johnny chases after it when he hears it light, I figure Buttsy will hear Johnny playing with the paper and see his eye shining and think it is me and take a pop at it and that his gun flash will give me a crack at him.
“It all works out just like I dope it,” Rudolph says, “but,” he says, “I never give Buttsy credit for being such a marksman as to be able to hit a cat’s eye in the dark. If I know this, maybe I will never stick Johnny out in front the way I do. It is a good thing I never give Buttsy a second shot. He is a lily. Yes,” Rudolph says, “I can remember when I can use a guy like him.”
“Buttsy is no account,” the cop says. “He is a good riddance. He is the makings of a worse guy than you.”
“Well,” Rudolph says, “it is a good lesson to him for kicking a little cat.”
Then they take Rudolph to a hospital and this is where I see him and piece out this story of Johnny One-Eye, and Officer O’Toole is at Rudolph’s bedside keeping guard over him, and I remember that not long before Rudolph chalks out he looks at O’Toole and says to him like this:
“Copper,” he says, “there is no chance of them outjuggling the kid on the reward moo, is there?”
“No,” O’Toole says, “no chance. I keep the note you send me by Elsie saying she will tell me where you are. It is information leading to your capture just as the reward offer states. Rudolph,” he says, “it is a nice thing you do for Elsie and her mother, although,” he says, “it is not nearly as nice as icing Buttsy for them.”
“By the way, copper,” Rudolph says, “there is the remainders of a pound note in my pants pocket when I am brought here. I want you to do me a favor. Get it from the desk and buy Elsie another cat and name it Johnny, will you?”
“Sure,” O’Toole says. “Anything else?”
“Yes,” Rudolph says, “be sure it has two good eyes.”