Attracting Cats

Submitted by Terry r Barca to Contest #26 in response to: Write a story about a musician struggling to find work during wartime.... view prompt

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There is something about a trumpet that attracts cats.

I’ve never been able to work it out.

Back in the day I played in big bands and did very nicely thank you.

But that was then.

These days, I have a tidy but tiny room, at least two meals a day and I don’t think much about back then.

I live close to the theatre district and one of my friends from ‘back then’ manages one of the larger venues. He pays me to keep the patrons entertained while they wait for admission. He doesn’t have to, but he does. It’s only a small amount per night, but when you add it to my pension, I get by.

I first noticed the cats when I was playing a Miles Davis tune. Cats like jazz, and so do I.

I worry that they might get run over. Fortunately, they are wiser than I and rarely venture into the traffic.

The people I play for take my presence for granted, but the cats pay attention — never distracted.

They don’t follow me home, and as soon as I’m finished playing for the night, they saunter off to where they came from. I like their style.

Not having anything better to do, I walk. Past bombed out buildings, piles of brick and rubble, pipes bent and twisted. The bodies have long since been taken away to where ever it is that they take them -- out of sight.

Every street, every bombed-out building seems to have a cat perched on top of the devastation. At first, I thought they must have come from neighbouring areas that were less affected, but now I think they used to live there, where the house used to be. Where were they when the bombs hit? How did they survive when the humans did not?

I'm unlikely to learn the answer. No one tells me anything, and the cats aren't talking, at least they aren't talking to me. The bloke who lives in the old bombed out post office says that tell him all sorts of things. Maybe I'll get him to translate. Perhaps then I'll know.

I like my life, and I hope it continues for a while longer, but who knows?


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