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Caspar 9 July 2018


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Cat’s Fault

The moon’s a fingernail clipping just rising over the eastern treeline. All’s well, presumably; the clock ticks away with reasonable precision, and strikes three. Nothing pressingly worrying.

Nonetheless, two people people lie side by side as they have slept for going on four decades, wide awake. 

He has awakened from a bad dream, a flashback to college physics, a class for him too far. He has entered the exam room in a rush, running late. An Asian postgrad pulls down the four blackboards to reveal four increasingly mystifying panels headed Phys 16, Phys 31, Phys 103A, Adv Phys 213. Our student sits down in the rear and tries to remember which course is he in? Hoping that some material familiarity with one of the four sets of ten questions will emerge. No joy; they’d just as well be written in High Church Slavonic.

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Is the rest of the night to be like this?

The cat, who has caused this awakening by stomping a transect across the twin human ranges of the bed, turns, and, threatening a return transect via the bladder, will be fed.

Acknowledging that the cat rightly expects her wee hours feeding, an indelible part of an intricate contract established during those early months whilst kitten trained cat-companion. Then, the nightly transect was cute. Tonight, your author grudgingly admits, it’s fortuitous, as in the dream he had just realized he had pen but no paper, nor was any to be had, and he was beginning to wordsmith a scathing review of the physics test, the testing environment, the quality of the lectures (every one of which he attended) and the complete lack of correspondence between lectures and tests on the blackboards – whichever one he was supposed to take.

Awakening was a gift. Stumbling out of bed, finding his robe gone to the laundry, he dizzily staggers across the room illuminated only by a binary clock in rough agreement with the downstairs chimes,

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Is the rest of the night to be like this?

The cat, who has caused this awakening by stomping a transect across the twin human ranges of the bed, turns, and, threatening a return transect via the bladder, will be fed.

Acknowledging that the cat rightly expects her wee hours feeding, an indelible part of an intricate contract established during those early months whilst kitten trained cat-companion. Then, the nightly transect was cute. Tonight, your author grudgingly admits, it’s fortuitous, as in the dream he had just realized he had pen but no paper, nor was any to be had, and he was beginning to wordsmith a scathing review of the physics test, the testing environment, the quality of the lectures (every one of which he attended) and the complete lack of correspondence between lectures and tests on the blackboards – whichever one he was supposed to take.

Awakening was a gift. Stumbling out of bed, finding his robe gone to the laundry, he dizzily staggers across the room illuminated only by a binary clock in rough agreement with the downstairs chimes,

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anxiously blinking the seconds. Tempus fidgits. 

 

Cat threads between feet daringly, her pathway predictable even stumbling in the dark, to the upstairs food bowl – a neighbor cat had found it when it was downstairs – for the nightly crunchie replenishment.

Downstairs where the food lives, a glass of milk and a square of cannabis caramel promises a restoration of night-time unconsciousness. Cat jets up the ladder to her current nest in the attic there to dream whatever cats do dream.

Partner, sighing, has, blessedly, also consigned herself back to sleep. Only your author is incandescently, irrevocably, awake.

And so, he begins this story.

It’s all the cat’s fault.

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- 2 -

The intention of this book: blames are us.

I regret to say, there may be sex involved, perhaps a lot. Let me illuminate: the cat’s ill offices were present when this story began. A colleague, a beloved teacher, a Rubenesque lady of more that a few decades, was troubled in her classroom by a young man’s attentive beauty. He veritably glowed with progress; we all could see it. Girls his age swooned (decorously and behind his back) and deemed him the epitomy of dudishness or whatever slang was then current amongst the young. Fascinated, no doubt, because he noticed them not.

He had eyes only for Herself, his comfortably rounded, maternal in a desirable kind of way, Teacher. And wasn’t ashamed to show it. He wrote a song and made it into a music video of surprisingly professional quality, and anyone who knew them could see that it was a love song for Her. Once He said to Her, “I wish you were my age.” Later He said, “I want to be as old as you.” In the song, the words were “Love don’t see age.”

Adrift at the end of her child-bearing years, with two launched teenagers of her own, possibly some lovelessness at home, She couldn’t ignore this appeal. At lunch one day, just us momentarily in conversation, she asked, “What should I do about..?” and waved her hand in what I took to be the international signal for “the young boy who has turned my head.” 

“. . . Whatever you do, don’t get him pregnant!” I concluded, only half jokingly.

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Here’s where the cat comes in.

In song writing workshop, She had critiqued an early revision of The Song, where it’s cuter than a speckled pup author had written of his “doglike devotion.” “That sounds like something you heard your grandfather say,” She objected. The small group of teenage songsmiths chuckled and nodded; followed by a lively discussion of the difference between cat people and dog people. Sides were taken. She found herself with the Raven girls and Stan on the cats’ side. He defected to join them, but everyone knew his heart wasn’t in it.

One Monday, He brought Her a kitten. A little three color, about the size of a teacup. “Call her Loo,” he said, “because that’s where her mother had her. Out behind the loo. She was freezin’ out there.” Loo mewed winningly. 

By Friday it was firmly established – patch cords chewed, tapes peed on – that Loo couldn’t stay in the studio, and against better judgement (ABJ), She agreed to take Loo home. He volunteered to help, and again ABJ, she accepted. You may infer the rest.

(If you’d rather not, or if your inference engine isn’t purring, let me suggest that his young slender Litheness and her joyful 39 year old Roundness were like a hot knife in butter, sunlight on sand, urchin roe on wild salmon sashimi . . . you know. Tasty.)

Three months later, and as unexpected as snow in Death Valley, She announced her next year’s sabbatical. “I’m having a late life surprise.”

It was the cat. But this story ends happily.

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