People kept bugging him.
Winner of The Writer's Cramp June 22, 2021
The cat was named after the bookstore, and the bookstore was named after the cat. The owner of both was Olio Westerlies and where he got his name nobody knew or cared, least of all the cat who wasn’t much interested in anything other than being left the fuck alone.
The Bookstore Cat was a second-hand bookstore on 5th and Ortega Street and The Bookstore Cat lived there and could usually be found on the top shelf at the left-hand side in the last row of the Romance section.
Olio called the cat B for short, not that The Bookstore Cat paid much attention to what name people called him. He had gone by many names in his checkered past, so many in fact, he couldn’t remember them all. There was, “Mr. Snuggles” at one point; a name that didn’t last long after the family he lived with realized he didn’t like to be touched, much less snuggled, and quickly gave him away to a lonely old man who lived by himself and needed a friend.
The old man named him Louie Armstrong for no known reason and tried to buy the cat’s affection by feeding him fresh red snapper and salmon, which didn’t pay-off. By the time the cat ran away, the old man was covered in scratches with one in particular that came within a centimeter of taking out the old boy’s right eyeball.
There were several other names — “Socks” for one, but that family gave him away after they realized Socks had repeatedly tried to smother their baby daughter in her sleep.
So, for now, B lived in the bookstore, though he was far from happy with the situation. People kept bugging him.
There was this one old lady who came by every day…
“Oh, there you are, you lovey-dovey!” the old lady said in her sweety-pie voice.
“Oh, fuck me!” B thought to himself. He kept his eyes closed and gave no indication he'd even heard the old biddy. Every morning she came up the stairs and said the same thing, “Oh, there you are, you lovey-dovey!” He found her a major pain in the ass and hoped with all his heart she would go away somewhere and die a slow and horrible death.
B smelled peppermint and lilac and knew she was standing close and staring at him. He reluctantly opened one eye, saw that the old witch was wisely keeping just enough distance, and closed it again.
He knew she would leave as soon as she found a new trashy paperback. The chosen book would usually have a cover showing some muscular, shirtless man with blond, wind-blown hair holding a nearly naked woman with big bosoms in his arms. B hoped the old bag would find a book quickly and buzz off.
She did. Making a tsk-tsk-tsking sound, she clutched her new found used paperback and immediately headed downstairs to the register. The second floor went back to being quiet, the way B liked it—but not for long.
He had just nodded off again when another charmer showed up to disturb his sleep. “Look, Molly, a kitty cat!”
This was an unfamiliar voice. B opened his eyes to see a mommy holding a baby up in the air. “See the kitty? See the kitty?”
“For the love of all that is holy!” thought B dramatically. He raised his head and looked over at the hideous little cross-eyed newborn. It had pale-orange goo sliding down its tiny, dimpled chin. “Okay, here we go...Hold that up just a little closer… That’s right… A little closer… Come on now… Don’t be shy…”
B’s claws began to itch.
“Ma’am, ma’am, wait one second, please!” It was that fucking Olio! “I think it would be better not to hold your baby quite so close to the kitty!”
“Son-of-a-bitching bastard!” thought B. His tail began swishing rapidly back and forth and back and forth. He now saw the mommy sheltering the kid in her arms and backing away.
“Where ya going, toots? Where ya going? Don’t listen to him!” B stopped swishing his tail and rolled over onto his back with his four fluffy white paws dangling limply in the air. He knew his white paws were his strong suit. He looked sideways at the mommy now, his eyes slowly closing and opening, closing and opening. “Come back,” his eyes pleaded. “Don’t you want to pat the little puddy-tat?”
A tinkling sound came from the little bell over the door downstairs. Olio raised his eyebrows apologetically and backed away, saying, “If I can help you find something, just let me know,” then turned and hurried down the stairs.
B purred now, softly at first, then more loudly. He tried to look like an innocent little black and white cat of the commonly known tuxedo variety who might enjoy his tummy tickled.
The mom was still looking at him with skepticism. B's eyes were still opening and closing slowly. His little tongue was peeking out his little mouth just the right amount.
Mom and baby came several steps closer to him. His hopes rose.
“That’s a kitty, sweetheart,” the woman said, and came closer and closer and raised her baby up in her arms so that it could better see the cute kitty cat. The baby began waving its pink little arms around in some emotional infant state of kitty cat induced excitement.
B's heart was beating faster. He was doing his best to keep his claws sheathed and his demeanor calm. Saliva gathered in his mouth and his teeth began to ache with yearning to taste tender young flesh.
“That’s the ticket… here we go, a little closer, a little…”
The woman then attempted to squiggle her fingers on B’s stomach, and that was all she wrote. It was not a pretty sight. The baby was scratched up pretty good as was the mother, and the psyche of both were most likely deeply scarred for life.
The Bookstore Cat ran out the door that day and nobody’s seen the little bastard since. Most likely he’s changed his name yet again.