C.W. looked up from my laptop and said nothing. He began to type, biting on an unlit pipe he uses as a prop when he prepares his reports to the Falloonian Elders. He assumes the shape of, oh, I don’t know, Arthur Miller or some playwright. I waited until he finished typing and had looked up at me before I asked again. “What are you writing about?”
“Ailuromania … a passion for cats.”
“Oh,” I said, “like the way some folks allow them to rule their lives? I’ve heard that can happen.”
He looked at me over wire-rimmed glasses and said nothing.
“What?” I said. “We only keep four cats at this old farmhouse. Well … sometimes five, but never more.”
He continued to look at me for a moment and then turned to the laptop. He made a couple of strokes and looked back. Without removing his gaze, he turned the computer screen toward me.
“That’s just BuddhaCat,” I said. “She looked so cute I had to snap that shot and post it.”
“And why,” he said, “do you call it BuddhaCat?”
“It’s a she,” I said. “A she. Don’t hurt her feelings.”
His gaze bore into me.
“She may be a little overweight,” I said.
“She enjoys eating,” I said. “Isn’t she cute?”
He punched a key. Another image arose. “And?”
“Oh, I said, “that’s Sarah Palin walking on the piano. You should have heard the sound. I called it ‘The Catwalk Rhapsody’ and was going to record it but she jumped down.”
“She’s not the smartest cat in the county,” I said. “But she’s so pretty.”
He punched the keyboard again. “Look at that,” I said. “There’s Buttons sleeping on my wife’s lap.”
“Why does Mrs. Big Dope display that strained expression?”
“Oh,” I said, “she was needing a bathroom break. Real bad.”
“Why didn’t she take one?”
“What,” I said, “and wake Buttons up?”
“And you posted all of these on your VisagePage?”
“On FaceBook, yes.”
“Let me read you some of what I’ve written,” he said.
“Oh, pray do.”
He returned the computer screen to his document and read: “Approximately 33 percent of American households domicile a creature know as a ‘cat.’ More than half of those homes have more than one cat in the house. This creature—scientific name Felis catus—is an arrogant, selfish, uncaring, insensitive …”
“Stop,” I said. “They’ll hear you.” I ran to the door and closed it.
“Greedy and self-centered species that allows humans to care for it and attend its every need without displaying any gratitude whatsoever. Humans become quite obsessive about caring for cats’ needs and will even take sick days from work to stay home and tend a cat that pretends to be ill.”
“She only did that once,” I said, “and that was a long time ago.”
“Otherwise mature and sensible humans have been known to dress their cats in fake outfits and post their photographs on social media outlets.”
“Did you see the one with the little vest and necktie?” I said.
“They are most devious and secretive in their habits and display a marked tendency toward demonstrating their low regard for their keepers.”
“No,” I said. “Ours would never do that?”
He looked at me. “Would you be interested to know,” he said, “that I caught the three females gathered around your laptop this morning?”
|If this creature is "a little overweight," then I'm a visitor|
from "a little ways away" from here. - C.W.
He punched the computer and turned it toward me again. There, in a highly evocative and erotic design, was the home page of a site called “Cat-Sex Fever,” purporting to offer scenes that would delight and titillate the discerning and (term deleted by editor) female and to “get her fancy footwork in gear for her Tom.”
“You are being unfair and gratuitously scandalous,” I said. I was going to say more but was interrupted by three loud crashes and the sound of broken glass from the kitchen. “I’ve got to go,” I said. “We’ll discuss your libeling of these sweet creatures further.”
“What happened?” he said.
“Nothing,” I said. “That’s just their way of letting us know that they are ready to be fed.”