Virl and rescued cats in condemned house on West Columbia, near North Center--2007

The day I met Virl for the first time, he warned me about the alley behind his huge, rambling house. He told me that the crack
whores and pimps who worked there would "whip that camera away." He spoke bravely about trying to drive them away in order
to protect his family, and he nodded protectively toward the second floor of his house. A few years after that, he let me into the
house and I saw that his "family" was cats he had rescued. The air was so sharp with the sour tang of cat urine that my throat
constricted and I couldn't speak. Virl was also a collector, and took me on a tour of his house. Shower curtains, bright plastic
toys in their original packaging, first edition comic books, art reproductions, iron stoves, dolls, lamps, advertising, games, salt
shakers, globes, beds, Elvis paraphernalia, and kitsch of every sort filled most of the rooms almost to the ceiling. He had plans to
sell all this one day and buy a piece of land outside town where he could keep his rescued animals in peace.
Springfield, Ohio