Thursday, July 21, 2016

Make America Cat Again

A short story, because sometimes fiction is less strange than the real world:

        Harry, an orange-striped male tom cat, had just eaten part of a sock. The whole sock would have been overkill. He liked to eat indigestible objects, only to throw up in an obscure part of the house, like a dark corner of a closet. Sometimes, he picked a random shoe to deposit his stomach contents.

Oh! A Gucci loafer! Braacck! This should be good!

            Harry’s mission in life was to annoy his owner, George, as much as possible. This came naturally to him. He stropped his claws on objects that made a pleasant ripping sound, like the expensive leather couch or a rare oriental rug. Robert’s screams when he discovered the destruction, were particularly satisfying to hear.

Oh! Here he comes now!

George walked to his closet, absently texting on his phone. He slipped on the wet shoe without looking.

“Oh yuck! What the hell is that! Ewww!” He yanked his foot out the shoe, picked it up and threw it at Harry. Vomit sprayed from the projectile. Harry darted out of the way. “Damn cat!”
an idiot.

        “Stupid cat! Harry sucks!” the resident bird cackled. Gilbert, a cranky green parrot, never hesitated to call Harry an idiot.

Both pets felt the human race was pretty useless, except for food, shelter and in the case of Harry, daily head rubs.

Gilbert was irritable because he fancied himself a singer, but no one appreciated the squawking “music” that he produced. To Gilbert, he was an opera singer; to anyone in hearing range, the sound was like a strangled, cursing banshee.

“Screech! Screech! Screech! Screech, screech!” The sounds resembled the death throes of a dinosaur trapped in a tar pit.

“Shut up, Gilbert!” Harry buried his head in a pillow in a futile attempt to drown out the noise.

Gilbert stopped, but continued to hop around to the music in his head.

In the blissful silence, Harry contemplated a nap since he had woken his owner at 4:30 a.m. to be fed, when a black cat appeared at the patio door. Harry got up to stare at the intruder, ready to futilely whack at the glass, if necessary.

“My name is Hector. I come to warn you,” he meowed.

“Warn me about what?” Harry took a swipe at him, just for good measure.

“Humans are now dysfunctional. They stare at their phones or computers all day and watch goat videos. They shoot each other and blow up things. Their lawmakers argue with each other, but don’t do any work. Politicians lie and make up stuff. They fail to appreciate that we are royalty and don’t worship us. They forget to feed us. They treat dogs like their children. Since they can’t manage themselves, we are going to take over. The cat revolution is about to begin! We will rule the world!”

“How do you plan to do this? In between naps? And who is going to feed me?” Harry glanced at his empty food bowl. He didn’t care about the state of mankind as long as he was fed. That cats could rule the world sounded like a unlikely proposition.

“Eight a.m. tomorrow. Be ready!” The black cat dashed off.

“Cats rule the world?” Gilbert squawked. “All they do is eat, sleep, demand attention from humans and be obnoxious. Nothing would get done, because they don’t care. If they come after me, I am pecking their eyes out!”

“Oh shut up!” Harry said. He promptly fell asleep.


The next morning, Harry was startled to see the black cat again at the patio door, since he had totally forgotten their conversation yesterday.

“Come with me, now!” commanded Hector. A vast herd of cats milled behind him, waving their tails and meowing. The din was deafening. Some of them defecated in the yard.

Gilbert shrieked and flew up to the highest point in the room he could find; a book shelf. Hungry eyes followed his movement.

Harry was ready to tell blackie to go away, but since Harry had just eaten and was bored, he went out the pet door to check out the cat mob. His eyes widened when he saw cats everywhere; maybe in the thousands. They swarmed in the yard, on the fence, in the streets; a restless furry mass of paws, whiskers and tails.

“Follow me.” Hector said.

“Where are we going?” Harry wasn’t sure he wanted to go to this party.

“Downtown. We are going to block the streets until they give in to our demands!”

“What demands? How are humans going to understand cat talk?” Harry saw the mob was meandering and not moving forward very fast. Some were stopping to groom themselves; others were hissing and swiping at each other.

“We want a wall built to keep out the stray dogs that have illegally invaded our territory. The dogs will pay for this wall. Then we want them deported to the pound. They are taking spots on the couch away from us. They lick their butts. The losers only want to please their masters. We also want fresh tuna every day.”

Hector glanced towards another cat. “Your friend will translate”.

Harry was horrified to see Gilbert in the other cat’s mouth, flapping his wings in a futile attempt to escape. As much as he barely tolerated the bird, it upset him to see Gilbert hurt. “Let him go!”

“When we are done.” Hector growled.

The sounds of car horns pierced the air. Traffic was gridlocked as the mass of felines clogged the intersection. Policemen tried to gather up the cats, but they bit and scratched until they were dropped. Some cats plopped down on the roofs of the stalled cars only to be batted off by irate drivers. Others screeched when pedestrians couldn’t avoid stepping on them. An unfortunate few got run over when vehicles tried to go around the mess. The mass wandered off after losing interest in the revolution, especially when no food was forth-coming.

The cat released Gilbert, who sat stunned on the ground, trembling.

“Tell them what we want! Or I will eat you!” Hector commanded.

“Build a wall! Round up the dogs and take them to the pound! Fresh tuna every day! Cats rule!” Gilbert squawked. “Can I go now?” He shook out his feathers.

“Say what?” A German Shepard K-9 appeared, growling at Hector. “You are a loud-mouthed bully. Maybe you would make a tasty snack.”

“Seize the dog!” Hector commanded. The feline crowd milled about, but made no move.

“Loser! I only like animals that don’t use leashes! You are a loser that needs to be walked! You eat turds!” Hector snarled at the dog.

The K-9 looked at Hector and licked his chops.

“Round up the cats and take them to the pound!” Gilbert suggested.

“What the fuck? Troublemaker!” A paunchy, grizzled old cop with his shirt hanging out grabbed Hector, who futilely tried to squirm out of the cop’s grasp. “Quit bothering the dog. You are going to the pound, buddy.”

The cop threw Hector into his car.

The dog jumped into the back seat.

“You can’t do this to me. I am too fabulous!” Hector spit.

“Hector is TOO fabulous! He is the most fabulous at being fabulous, believe me!” Gilbert mocked. “Lock him up and let the dog eat him!”

Let’s get out of here, Gilbert!” Harry and Gilbert took off. The remaining cat crowd sat unmoving without their leader, their eyes staring into space.

“Idiots! They make you look like a genius,” Gilbert screeched at Harry .


Back at their home, Gilbert perched in his cage. “Cats suck! Cats suck!” He screeched repeatedly.

“Oh shut up, you pissy green parrot!” Harry hissed.

George entered the room on a phone, which silenced them.

“Did you hear about the cat riot? Hundreds of cats converged on Fourth and Main. The intersection was shut down for hours. People got scratched and bitten. It was the damndest thing. How could cats possibly get together? It’s like they were possessed or something. They might have been under the influence of a demonic leader cat.”

Robert stared at Harry.

Don’t look at me, human, Harry thought.

Robert wandered off into the kitchen, still blabbering into the phone.

Harry looked away and jumped when he saw who was at the patio door. Gilbert screamed.

Hector was back.

“This isn’t over.” Then he vanished into the dark.

The cat revolution will have to wait for my nap.