As I’m posting some of my existing short-short work (still avoiding writing new short-short work for the moment), I’ve been going out of order, so I’m afraid I may be repeating myself. If I’ve done this one before and have overlooked it, sorry about that. It’s based on our late cat Judas, though it’s really a fictionalization.
January 2, 2004
I decided to vacuum because of the cat litter scattered all over the bedroom. Our cat has never learned to operate her litter box. She climbs in and out indelicately, tromping through her own piss, dragging litter out between her fuzzy cat toes. I hate it. It would be like dipping my hand in the toilet and flinging water all over the house. It’s not only unsanitary; it’s just plain rude.
But then our cat has never had any manners. She likes to sit on your chest in the middle of the night, just when you’ve drifted into the deepest of sleeps, the kind that brings dreams of the pasts you’ve lived through and the futures you hope to see. The sweet images of a former lover disintegrate, fade, and you open your eyes to see a ten pound cat staring in your face, her claws prickling your chest.
Last night, for the fifth night in a row, she ruined a great dream. She leapt onto the bed and landed squarely on my crotch. I cried out and sat up, instinctively throwing her off the bed. She landed on all fours near the closet, gave me her best go to hell look, and padded away to conduct some other cat business. I discovered this morning that she had ripped the duvet when I shoved her away, three neat holes gaping up at me where her paws had been. I can’t explain why she failed to rip four holes. Perhaps she thought it would be in poor taste.
So today I vacuum her litter, her shit nuggets, probably her fur as well. I do so with aching balls. I do so with my torn duvet smiling at me like a jack-o-lantern. The litter crashes against the insides of my vacuum like gravel against the undercarriage of a car. From the hall the cat watches me, suspicious, and washes her ears.