People kept bugging him.
|The cat was named after the bookstore, and the bookstore after the cat. The owner of both was Olio Westerlies and where he got his name, nobody 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 in the last row of the Romance section.
Olio called the cat B for short, not that The Bookstore Cat paid much attention to it. He had been called a great many names in his checkered past. There was, “Mr. Snuggles” at one point; which didn’t last long once 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 thought he needed a furry friend.
The old man named him Louise Armstrong 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 man’s right eyeball.
There were several other names — “Socks” for one, but that family gave him away too after they caught Socks red-handed trying to smother their new-born daughter in her sleep.
So, for now, B lived in the bookstore, though he was far from happy with the situation.
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 heard the old biddy. Every morning she came up the stairs and said the same thing, “Oh, there you are, you lovey-dovey!” B found her a major pain in the ass and hoped she would go someplace else and die a slow, horrible death.
B smelled peppermint and lilac and knew she was standing close and staring up 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. He was right. Five minutes later, making a tsk-tsk-tsking sound, she clutched her newfound smut book and 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 irritant showed up in his section. “Look, Molly, a kitty cat!”
B opened his eyes to see a woman holding a baby up in the air. “See the kitty? See the kitty?”
“Oh, for the love of God!” thought B dramatically. He raised his head just enough to look at the hideous little cross-eyed brat. Pale orange goo was sliding down its dimpled chin. “Okay, here we go... Hold that thing up just a little closer… That’s right… A little closer… Come on now… A little closer…”
His front claws tingled.
“Ma’am, ma’am, wait one second, please!”
“I think it would be better not to hold your baby quite so close to the kitty!”
“Bastard!” thought B. His tail began swishing rapidly back and forth and back and forth. He saw the woman now sheltering her disgusting baby and backing away.
“Where ya going, toots? 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 kitty...?”
A 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 was purring 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 and might greatly enjoy his tummy rubbed.
The mom was still looking at him with skepticism. B's eyes were still opening and closing slowly, like he was falling asleep. His little pink tongue was peeking out his mouth just the right amount. His heart was beating a hundred miles an hour.
Mom and baby came several steps closer to him. His heart picked up even more speed.
“That’s a kitty, sweetheart,” the woman said 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 was doing his best to keep his claws sheathed and his demeanor calm. Saliva gathered in his mouth.
“That’s the ticket… here we go, here we go…
The woman reached her fingers toward 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 without doubt, the psyche of both were scarred for life.
The Bookstore Cat ran out the door that day and nobody’s seen the little bastard since. Most likely, he’s out there somewhere under a different name.
— 995 Words