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

Anne Wilkins
21:42 Mar 18, 2023

I'm pretty new to Reedsy, so haven't stopped by very often, but being a cat person I definitely wanted to check out this story. I'm so glad I did. I love it! You know cats so well. The chameleon character of Snow was perfect, as was Mitzee's with his big, bad tough exterior. Love the little girl too with her missing teeth. Anyway a great read, congrats on your win.

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Michelle Oliver
22:58 Mar 18, 2023

Thank you stopping by and reading. I’m happy you enjoyed it.

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A.K. Pittman
14:14 Mar 18, 2023

I'm crying 😭 so good! Go Mitz!!

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Michelle Oliver
14:39 Mar 18, 2023

Hope they’re tears of laughter?

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Amanda Lieser
20:16 Mar 16, 2023

Hey Michelle! Congratulations on the win, and what a well-deserved when it was! After reading, which prompted shows, I immediately knew that this was going to be a good one and I thought that you did a great job of capturing this narrator’s experience. I love the way that a story had a happy ending in that final last line was such a fantastic point of imagery to be left on. Nice work!!

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Michelle Oliver
22:11 Mar 16, 2023

Thanks for reading it. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

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Viga Boland
15:06 Mar 16, 2023

Hey girlfriend…must confess I never got around to reading this until AFTER I read your this week’s upcoming “prequel”. This is so brilliant! And touching. No wonder this was awarded the grand prize: well-deserved. I’m heading back over now to comment on the prequel, which, dare I say is equally brilliant. Is there a Mitzee book in your future? 🙏🤞

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Story Time
16:50 Mar 15, 2023

I gave this one another read today because I was a little scatter-shot the first time around and I noticed so many new little details, which shows off just how fantastic it is. Well done.

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Michelle Oliver
22:09 Mar 15, 2023

Thanks Kevin. Scatter-shot…. Love it! I’m a bower-bird for words that are shiny and different. I’m might just collect that one.

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15:41 Mar 15, 2023

This story was such a ride. You think it's a man trying to escape his cell in prison when again it's just a cat in a pound and has given up on the chance to get an owner. Amazing story. Michelle.

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Michelle Oliver
22:20 Mar 15, 2023

Thanks for reading, I’m happy that you enjoyed it.

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Georgie D
23:16 Mar 14, 2023

"Minimum security." Hilarious! This was a good read and the narration read like an actual cat.

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Michelle Oliver
00:16 Mar 15, 2023

Thank you! I had fun and a laugh when writing it so I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

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Leasa Moore
14:41 Mar 14, 2023

Good read. Enjoyed it. My dog was from a shelter. Pete picked her out because she wasn't barky or barking. She was quiet and stayed at the back of the pack. I told him, he'd keep his mouth shut too if he ever found himself in jail. Her name was Mia. Sweetest dog ever.

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Michelle Oliver
15:27 Mar 14, 2023

Those shelter animals have lots of love to give and some incredible stories to tell. Thanks for reading and I’m happy that you enjoyed it.

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V. S. Rose
23:58 Mar 13, 2023

Michelle, I've been dying to get to this story for days! First of all congratulations :) No surprise on this one being a winner. I feel like this could be a Pixar short on Disney +. I'm not sure how the rights work on here, but you should consider pitching it. The voice of Mitzee was spot on, and they way you built the characters and the atmosphere of the cat shelter was so well done. The best part was of course the adorable relationship between Mitzee and her new owner. It was clever to have the joining together of two misfits because yo...

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Michelle Oliver
08:20 Mar 14, 2023

Thanks. I see the ending as a bit of mischief just waiting to happen. Hopefully there will come a time when I can tell that story too. I am happy that you enjoyed it and hope you had a laugh or two with this one.

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MJ Simons
22:35 Mar 13, 2023

Well-deserved win! This story is so cute. I love Mitzee just reading this story. Your description and Mitzee's perception of the shelter is wonderful. You did a great job with this prompt. Keep up the good work!

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Michelle Oliver
22:44 Mar 13, 2023

Thank you. It was a fun story to write. I’m happy you enjoyed it.

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Carla Ward
18:46 Mar 13, 2023

OMG, this story warmed every cockle of my cat besotted heart. Beautifully written, and any cat person will recognize Mitzee. I'd bet his escape plans never come to pass, but they'll provide a nice fantasy for the times he's not interacting with his little human. Thanks for a terrific read.

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Michelle Oliver
20:30 Mar 13, 2023

Thanks for you comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yeah I might have to write the sequel some day.

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Marisa Billions
15:05 Mar 13, 2023

Omg... I'm crying. Now I need to go redo my eyeliner. I love this.

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Michelle Oliver
20:35 Mar 13, 2023

Glad you liked it, I hope they are tears from laughter.

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Marisa Billions
21:26 Mar 13, 2023

Oh it is! Excellent job!

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Andrea Umogbai
13:09 Mar 13, 2023

I found this story very amusing. I couldn't stop smiling from cheek and to cheek as I read it. Thank you for this story. It is well written and lovely.

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Michelle Oliver
13:11 Mar 13, 2023

Thank you, I enjoyed writing it so I’m happy hat you enjoyed it too.

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Jeannette Miller
22:43 Mar 12, 2023

A fun one Michelle! This old cat still has some spunk and maybe a little room to accept love from the little human. Well done! Congratulations on the win :)

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Michelle Oliver
23:10 Mar 12, 2023

Thank you! He’s definitely a fun little scamp. Let’s hope he stays with his new found family I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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Hazel Jelagat
10:40 Mar 12, 2023

A good one...this story made me feel everything Mitzee was feeling. Sad but a good ending...I loved it.

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Michelle Oliver
10:52 Mar 12, 2023

Thanks Hazel. Mitzee was fun to write

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04:43 Mar 12, 2023

Wow! Nice story! I didn't even know Mitzee was a cat until the very end. Awesome storytelling!

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Michelle Oliver
06:12 Mar 12, 2023

Thanks

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Jeanette Harris
22:59 Mar 11, 2023

I like to think when every one can live a happy life human and animals a like

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Michelle Oliver
23:06 Mar 11, 2023

Let’s hope Mitzee makes the decision to stay put in his new life. I have written his prequel and a sequel is brewing in my brain.

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12:51 Mar 15, 2023

PLEASE OMG WE NEED THE PREQUEL

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Michelle Oliver
13:06 Mar 15, 2023

Prequel is written and submitted

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Sarah Paris
19:24 Mar 11, 2023

I really enjoyed this, Michelle! Nice work and congrats on the win.

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Michelle Oliver
22:17 Mar 11, 2023

Thank you Sarah, I enjoyed writing this cute cat character. I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

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Jose Gonzalez
18:27 Mar 11, 2023

Very creative. It wasn't until the end that I got the whole prison, cat shelter and that mitzee is a cat. Great job you are a good writer. Hope to read more of your stories

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Michelle Oliver
22:18 Mar 11, 2023

Thank you Jose. It was a fun story to write so I’m happy that you enjoyed it.

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Paul Sandford
18:17 Mar 11, 2023

Fantastic. Really liked the prison idea and the inmate characters. I’m a cat person and the only thing I’d suggest is “wash, eat, glare” being a routine that makes more sense than “bath, eat, glare”. Tiny tweak to a very enjoyable story. Well done on winning.

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Michelle Oliver
22:22 Mar 11, 2023

Thanks Paul. That line had me overthinking things too. It is a cultural thing I think. My mum would always say, “bath, teeth, toilet, bed” as a list of instructions when we were growing up. It makes sense in my head, but I get that it’s not grammatically correct.

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