Contest #187 winner 🏆

Mitzee’s Moment

Submitted into Contest #187 in response to: Set your story in a cat shelter.... view prompt

226 comments

Fiction

Mitzee was in prison for a crime he did not commit.


Well, OK, he probably had committed it once or twice. Who knew? Who kept count? But he was very sure that he had been incarcerated now because of something he didn’t do. He glared through the prison bars, plotting. He was Houdini, Al Capone, and Einstein rolled into one. There was nothing he couldn’t do… except break out of this prison, apparently.


If looks could kill, there would be no one left alive in this joint. If he could get out, he’d make each and every one of them sorry they were born. So he sat and glared, the unblinking, one eyed glare that unnerved his enemies. No one stayed before his cell for long. They moved on quickly, repulsed by his battered visage and death ray glare from his single working eye.


He looked around at his fellow inmates. Some lay resigned to their fate, their eyes blank with despair, others shivered and cried, wailing at their fate with terror. The two brothers in the cell on the end of the opposite row cried in fear. They were barely legal, mere babes, and he wondered what was their heinous crime? What had they done to be sent here to maximum security? Perhaps they were framed.


Directly across from him was Snow. Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, and she reclined like a queen surveying her subjects. She knew how to work the system, all the guards bent to her will, as she slowly batted her lashes in their direction, purring her delight to see them again. She was a master at manipulation, that one. He’d met her more than once or twice on the outside, and they’d even had a thing going for a while. She looked sweet and innocent, but she was tough as nails. They had worked one joint together in the old days. She was sleek and fast, in and out with her purloined goods. He had been the scout that time, surveying the joint, ready to set off the alarm or create a distraction. Snow had shared the loot, she was an alright sort. Just don’t get on her bad side, or she’d cut you without remorse.


A smaller visitor stopped before his cell, eyes wide with an emotion Mitzee could not name. Horror? Fright? Disgust? Pick one. He gave the small visitor his best one eyed glare and accompanied it with a snarling growl. The visitor moved on, just as he liked it. He enjoyed being alone. He really did. Less to worry about, less to factor into a daily plan, and Mitzee had a plan. Bath, eat, glare. It worked for him. There was nothing else to do. He was on the countdown to death-row, and he knew it. Not much point worrying about it, not much point wailing. Bath, eat, glare. Right until the end.


Snow obviously had other plans. She simpered in her cell as the small visitor passed, flirting shamelessly. She was a chameleon, good at becoming what she needed to be to survive. Mitzee was just too old for it, it took too much energy, but good for her. Snow’s antics entranced the small visitor and she wound herself sinuously into convoluted dance steps that were designed to hypnotise and mesmerise the audience. Captive became captor, and soon Snow was free. God, she was good! From her small, transportable travel cell, she crowed triumphantly. Off to minimum security prison for her. Mitzee wondered how long it would be before Snow busted out. He reckoned she’d be back here within a month, but it was unlikely he’d still be here to see her. He sent her his best ‘well f*ck off and to hell with you’ glare. She smiled like a cat who got the cream. Good to know they still understood one another, he thought.


The prison guards came and went, his cell was cleaned on a regular rotation and the litter was removed and replaced. If he didn’t dream of freedom, of following the butcher bird in the early morning dawn and pitting his wits against the noisy little bugger, he’d be happy, or at least content. But freedom was as long gone as his eye. This was it for him, and he knew it.


He watched as each inmate got their reprieve, their chance at freedom that was precariously perched in the hands of unsuspecting visitors, victims if you will. But no one came for Mitzee.


“I’m unlovable,” he thought to himself with a kind of twisted pride. “I have a face that only a mother could love, and I never knew my mother.”


“Mommy, look, this kitty’s only got one eye!”


Mitzee opened said eye and glared at the little visitor. She wore a patch over her half her face, and the eye that was visible stared into his cell with interest. He hissed and glared, showing all his teeth. The little visitor’s mouth opened wide, showing him all her teeth too. Mitzee was impressed. Some teeth were missing. This little visitor was a scrapper. Must have fought many battles to be so scarred and toothless.


“I want this one.”


“Honey, don’t you think you should have a good look around? This one’s quite old, and he looks quite beat up!”


The little visitor turned her head to glare at the older one who spoke. Mitzee was at once amazed and enchanted. The glare was awe-inspiring, and it obviously came naturally to her.


“Well, if you’re sure. How about we ask the staff about him?”


Soon Mitzee found himself in a room he had never been in before, but had seen other inmates enter—the meet and greet room. It was strange to be in such wide open spaces again and he crept slowly, stomach low to the floor, poised and ready to leap out of harm’s way at any given second. The little visitor sat cross-legged in the middle of the floor and beckoned with treats and soft noises. Treats! Mitzee had never seen or smelled treats, and, against his better nature, he was intrigued.


“He likes me.”


“It would seem so,” the prison attendant said in amazement. “I’ve never seen old Mitzee cuddle up to anyone before. He’s usually the spitting, hissing kind of cat. We thought to re-home him as a barn cat. Are you sure you want this one?”


The little visitor looked Mitzee in the eye, single eye to single eye. “He’s just like me. He knows how to feel different from everyone else.”


“If that’s what you want to believe, little visitor, who am I to disagree?” Mitzee thought to himself, but outwardly he purred.


For the first time in his life, Mitzee was bundled into the transportable travel cell. This was his big moment, the one he never thought to have. He was off to minimum security. The little visitor babbled about a new home, a bed, food and toys. It all sounded so good, so warm and loving to Mitzee. He yowled a long, “Goodbye suckers!” to the inmates still incarcerated as he was bundled out through the doors, before being settled into the back seat of a car.


He yawned as he watched the scenery flash past, and already he was planning his big escape. His single eye twinkled with glee.

February 26, 2023 00:49

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226 comments

Wendy Kaminski
01:41 Feb 26, 2023

This was sweet! I am low-key afraid of reading the shelter ones this week, in case any of them are sad... this was so cute, I'm glad I read it! Mitzee is quite a character, and I could easily envision his scenario! Favorites: - Bath, eat, glare. It worked for him. - lol :) - already he was planning his big escape - ah ha! There for a minute, I almost thought... but no! Defiant to the end! hehe Great story, as always, Michelle! :)

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Irene Duchess
03:23 Mar 06, 2023

I know! I love most every animal (not rats, I've had bad experiences with them before, and they're annoying lol) so I wasn't sure about this prompt... but this one's great. :) imprisoned or hurt animals break my heart, though, so I was rooting for Mitzee to escape, or mind a good home. :)

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Michelle Oliver
03:47 Mar 06, 2023

Thanks Lilah. It breaks my heart to see animals in shelters too and I wish to take all the “unloveable” ones with me, because they are the ones with the lowest chance of adoption.

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Irene Duchess
04:02 Mar 06, 2023

I agree

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Michelle Oliver
01:47 Feb 26, 2023

Thanks Wendy. I was writing this one, when Schrödinger popped into my head and I had to switch tracks and let the cat out of the box. So now I have two stories… how about that. Just like real life, cats seem to multiply.

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Wendy Kaminski
01:54 Feb 26, 2023

lol :)

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Wendy Kaminski
18:18 Mar 10, 2023

Congratulations!! :)

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Michelle Oliver
19:38 Mar 10, 2023

Thank you Wendy.

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Calm Shark
18:37 Feb 26, 2023

I agree with you Wendy, I'm a bit apprehensive about reading the ones about cat shelters since most of them could be sad:(

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Wendy Kaminski
18:39 Feb 26, 2023

Right?! I'm gonna definitely pay close attention to the tags more than ever, before taking the plunge...

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Calm Shark
18:40 Feb 26, 2023

Yeah😅

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LEVI WOOD
20:44 Mar 05, 2023

The biggest issue with sad stories, I would say, is if they end sad. if it ends happily and the happiness is well deserved, the reader gets a sense of contentment. If the happiness isn't deserved the story sounds boring. if there isn't happiness at all and, instead, a sad ending, the reader feels depressed. But that's just my opinion. #PleaSeREadmYStorY

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Wendy Lathrop
01:44 Mar 09, 2023

I had a little trouble with Mitzee being a male cat's name. But there are a number of intriguing aspects to this story. I like the phrase "Houdini, Al Capone, and Einstein rolled into one", the description of the haughty Snow (especially how "captive became captor"), and the comparisons the little visitor made between herself and Mitzee. It's a bit of a sad ending, though, because his plan will surely break the heart of the one who released him from prison. It's the twist that keeps this from being a fairy tale where they all lived happily e...

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John Del Rio
18:23 Mar 10, 2023

Perhaps Mitzee is the name he gave himself. I have a story on here titled "Guardian" that features a large Rottweiler who wears a tag that says Killer, but who tells the other character in the story that his name is Daisy.

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Michelle Oliver
11:03 Mar 09, 2023

Thanks for reading it and sharing your thoughts. I was going for a name that was cat like but a little bit different, as if no one had thought to give him a proper name with regular spelling. The name itself almost makes him a misfit.

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John Del Rio
18:23 Mar 10, 2023

Perhaps Mitzee is the name he gave himself. I have a story on here titled "Guardian" that features a large Rottweiler who wears a tag that says Killer, but who tells the other character in the story that his name is Daisy.

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Brooke Peterson
16:42 Mar 13, 2023

at first, ignoring the prompt, i thought this was about someone in jail😂

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Michelle Oliver
20:32 Mar 13, 2023

Haha, gotcha! Glad the bait and switch was effective. Thanks for reading it.

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Sanjog Hamal
14:42 Mar 14, 2023

I thought the same lolll

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Chris Campbell
13:09 Mar 12, 2023

Michelle, You understand cats very well. I liked your line, "Off to minimum security prison for her" when a cat was adopted. I often think my cats feel my home is just an "Open Prison" to them, where they can leave at any time. However, like all pets, they respond well to food, and that keeps them coming back. Well, that and the love they receive. It is such a sad existence for some animals waiting such lengthy periods to be chosen for their furever home. However, I'm so glad Mitzee found a home. This was very well written and an enjoya...

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Michelle Oliver
13:34 Mar 12, 2023

Thanks Chris. I’ve had a few Mitzee’s in my life. Scrappers who only put up with us because we are able to give them something. Thank you for reading about this one.

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Tammy Green
20:14 Feb 26, 2024

Thanks for the great review on my story and the tip to read this one. Congratulations on winning this contest. It’s a great story. I love how Mitzee compared himself to the visitor. I can see a series involving these two!

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Michelle Oliver
22:03 Feb 26, 2024

There are five in the series altogether. Thanks for giving this one a read.

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15:08 Oct 10, 2023

That was heartwarming and heartbreaking a he same time. I wonder if my kitten's planning something similar, thinking something similar to Mitzee?

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Michelle Oliver
18:39 Oct 10, 2023

Thanks for reading such an old story. This was the first piece in a series that I wrote about this cat and his new family.

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Vania Mason
03:12 Sep 07, 2023

I didn't even read the prompt, I just clicked on the story, and as soon as I started reading, I was like "wait a min, this ain't a human inmate haha" Loved the creativity behind this! Kudos from the Caribbean!

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Michelle Oliver
09:50 Sep 07, 2023

Thanks for reading. Mitzee was a recurring character in a few of my stories if you want to check his journey out.

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Ayndy Lou
20:44 Aug 11, 2023

This is such a cute story! I love the personality you put into your characters and the way you used metaphor to show visuals.

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Michelle Oliver
23:05 Aug 11, 2023

Thanks for reading the one. It’s the first in. A whole series of stories based on this cat.

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Ayndy Lou
15:34 Aug 13, 2023

Aw, that's awesome! I'll be eagerly anticipating the next part of the story. 😁

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Ty Warmbrodt
06:31 Jul 23, 2023

A deserving win!

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Michelle Oliver
06:32 Jul 23, 2023

Thanks for reading it. Mitzee’s a little reoccurring scamp!

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Zatoichi Mifune
09:40 Jul 17, 2023

Wow. I was almost afraid of ruining the perfect 200 but I couldn't leave it unliked. I didn't realise that Mitzee was a cat until “Mommy, look, this kitty’s only got one eye!” Very enjoyable. Very well written. You have my respect. Congrats on the win. It's well deserved.

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Michelle Oliver
09:56 Jul 17, 2023

Thank you, I appreciate the feedback.

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Sherry Bazley
00:41 Jul 15, 2023

I do LOVE your feline tales, Michelle. The closeness you have with them comes through every line. Do you know of an English illustrator named Ralph Steadman? He's written a few children's books and illustrated them as well... "Jones of Colorado" is one of my favorites. The lines of his pen-and-ink drawings capture the essence of C-A-T the way your stories do.

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Michelle Oliver
00:55 Jul 15, 2023

Thanks for reading Sherry. I appreciate your comments. I will look up Ralph Steadman.

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Nina H
14:25 Jun 20, 2023

Oh, I just love this story so much! But, I hope he resigns himself to a life of minimum security with his little kindred spirit 😊

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Michelle Oliver
22:30 Jun 20, 2023

Thanks for reading it Nina. I did write two more stories about this character, a prequel and a sequel if you want to know more.

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Nina H
23:54 Jun 20, 2023

Yes, I’d love to read them! I’m new here. How do I find them?

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Michelle Oliver
01:09 Jun 21, 2023

https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/edyvjz/ this is the sequel https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/7p1fa6/ this is the prequel To find stories just click on the name of the person and scroll through their back catalog of stories.

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Nina H
09:59 Jun 23, 2023

The link gives me an error code - if I scroll about your stories, what titles should I look for? 😺

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Michelle Oliver
10:52 Jun 23, 2023

The stories are Mitzee’s Memoir and Mitzee’s Revenge

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Madeline Hurning
23:34 Jun 05, 2023

I am obsessed with this story - what a beautiful, charming, and heart warming read. You really embodied the persona of a cat, and the character of Mitzee was so well curated.

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Michelle Oliver
00:41 Jun 06, 2023

Thank you. There are two other stories about this character if you want to find out a bit more.

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Myranda Marie
21:00 May 02, 2023

Awe ! I felt this ! I used to work for our local SPCA and often speculated as to what our charges were thinking and feeling about the people as well as the other "inmates". Loved the very happy end to the story. Every pet should find their person !!

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Michelle Oliver
22:22 May 02, 2023

Thanks for reading and I’m that you enjoyed it

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Micah Thompson
17:04 Apr 26, 2023

Great story it took me awhile to realize the story was about cats lol but it was good anyway :D

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Michelle Oliver
22:21 Apr 26, 2023

Glad you enjoyed it

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12:59 Apr 07, 2023

I really liked your story! At first, I thought it was about a guy in jail. I knew the contest and thought maybe a cat would help him break out, then I read the prompt and it all came together. You did great!

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Michelle Oliver
13:01 Apr 07, 2023

Thank you

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13:03 Apr 07, 2023

No problem! I like how you worded the phrase "He was Houdini, Al Capone, and Einstein rolled into one."

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Michelle Oliver
13:08 Apr 07, 2023

If you like the character, I did write a prequel and a sequel to this story.

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20:12 Apr 07, 2023

I saw. I will check it out in my free time.

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Graham Kinross
10:29 Apr 07, 2023

This is great, no wonder you won.

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Michelle Oliver
10:56 Apr 07, 2023

Thanks, it was a fun one to write

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Graham Kinross
12:15 Apr 07, 2023

I can tell.

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Michelle Oliver
12:22 Apr 07, 2023

I did go a little ‘Graham Kinross’ for this one and, due to popular demand, wrote the sequel and prequel in the series.

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Graham Kinross
13:58 Apr 07, 2023

Nothing wrong with giving the people what they want!

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Michael Clark
13:41 Apr 06, 2023

Exploring, I read this tale without checking the prompt. I low key thought Mitzee was a person, so when you revealed that he was a cat I was quite surprized! Loved this story!

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Michelle Oliver
13:44 Apr 06, 2023

Thanks for reading it, and I’m glad you liked it.

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Sasha Brokaw
18:56 Mar 23, 2023

You have the exact writing style I wish I had myself.

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Lari Levey
20:06 Mar 20, 2023

I have a feeling Mitzee didn't give a damn what his name was. What an enjoyable read. Kinda hope he stays, though.

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Michelle Oliver
22:02 Mar 20, 2023

I have written the next instalment if you want to find out.

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