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General

Tap. Tap. Tap. The sounds of my fingers typing away on my most recent project are quite soothing, almost rhythmic in its song. This, the song of my childhood twirling around my head like ethereal notes from a piano. Happy. My head unbeknownst to me slightly tilts to the left as usual when my creative juices are flowing.


Shit.


Those creative juices were actually the remaining few swallows of my breakfast Pepsi, which I absolutely remembered to move out of harm's way. Why is it now racing its way toward my laptop?


That bag of bones cat I've called my best friend for the last 13 years-13 years of cuddling and cursing and binge-watching shows together like the most recent documentary about some stupid, toothless, red-necked, tiger lover-knocked it over.


As a stupid, albeit toothed, domestic cat lover, I am constantly coming up with new names for my old timer. Max just doesn't always fit. The other names may not sound endearing, but they really are special names for a special boy when he is acting the part. Trying to work from home has placed me in the hands of the cat gods and the predicaments they feel necessary for this little jerk to get into while I work. He DESERVES these names.


After cleaning up the toxic waste of liquid sugar and corroborator fluid that threatens to corrode away not only my stomach, but my keyboard, I decide to rejuvenate with a little water and a light pat on the top of Jesus Christ's head. His purrs instantly cheer me up, and I pick up the old man for a quick snuggle. That's all he ever wants. That's what gets him into trouble in the first place. That, and he's a cat.


Knuckles cracked and ass situated, I allow my brain to go back to that place before the rude interruption. Words, seamless and simple form on the computer screen. My inner child runs through the lines of yellow in a field of sunflowers. Pearly teardrops of laughter run down my rosy cheeks as my brother and I race through this golden field, hearts pounding from excitement and the thrill of the chase. Laughter envelopes us like the flowers themselves as we fall to the ground.


BAM!


My actual heart skips a beat. When it starts pounding again, in my brain, I look toward the sound of the kerfuffle coming from above my head. There in all of his Olympian glory, my old, skinny, check his breath with a mirror cat dangles from the outdated chandelier I was wanting to replace anyway.


He must've had it under control for a bit while he got himself in that most precarious of positions. Not sure if his arthritic limbs just couldn't bend the way they used to, but now he was clawing for his life. The chandelier was bucking like a young bull seeing red for the first time with a Matador who is not what he used to be.


In a panic, I clear the table, my childhood dreams dissipating with each swipe of my arm. Hopping up on the table, I manage to grab the chaos mid swing right before the matador is hurled from its sharp horns. Relieved, I allow the little monster to dig into my skin and jump from my arms at a much more doable distance for an old matador.


Jesus Christ. There it is again. I am thinking about renaming him after that miraculous display of fuckery.


My heart seems to have gotten itself squared away and starts beating at an acceptable BPM. Max cleans the bad juju from his fur in a sliver of sunlight he found on the floor by the back door. Amazingly enough, his not so limber left leg of earlier is now pointed straight up to the sky with gymnast precision as he cleans his rear end. Bull fighting a feisty chandelier does make one filthy.


Before going back to my work, I decide I need a little fresh air. It will do me good to fill my lungs with something nippy. As I open the door, I see movement, and, yes, of course, Mister Clean runs out onto the patio and off to the ground below.


I am barefooted and bra less.


If I know one thing, I know Max doesn't like to come back inside from one of his outdoor escapee adventures. If I take the time to get some shoes and a bra on, Usain Bolt here will take off and won't be back until much later. And although I am livid at this point, I also know the outdoors are no place for a 13-year-old geriatric and surprisingly adored cat.


Tiptoeing across the patio, I look over the side to see him eating a bunch of grass. I know I'll be cleaning that when it comes back up later, but that's not my concern as of right now. He hasn't caught wind of me yet. He's enjoying his little snack: how is it that his head is tilted to the left just like mine? We are soul mates.


I creep down the steps and place my left foot on the cold, wet lawn. Feels so gross, and I start getting angry that I am out here for all the world to see as I quietly sneak up on the stupid cat. I can just feel the neighbors looking, complaining to their husbands that the well-endowed 40-something is outside with no bra on again. I have quite a fan club of golfers in their seventies.


Surprisingly, I get right above Max without him noticing, and I swoop down for the scoop. He ALMOST gets away, but I am able to snatch him up by his tail. He is writhing this way and that trying to get back to his snack. I am the victor this time though as we head back indoors where the old man belongs.


Back inside, I realize the bills are starting to pile up on the counter like usual. I always tell myself I will do them right away when they come, but it never quite happens that way. If my local grocer doesn't stock up on paper goods, I'll just use these to wipe away the crud that builds up in the kitchen --and the bathroom. Damn hoarders.


Number 2 pencil in tow, I start entering the bills in my fancy journal chart that does nothing to keep me organized. As I continue the entries, I hear a soft landing on the table. Mr. Cheeks decides he needs a good scratching and head butts my hand. I oblige just to hear the purrs. He is lucky he is cute.


He weaves his way around me and my pile of defeat. It's like he knows these bills are something that are extremely important but terrible at the same time. He towers over the papers and puts a lead-weighted paw on one. I pull it out from under his delicate, but really freaking heavy paw. The corner rips.


ARGHHH!


Max becomes bored with my irritability and saunters away. I get back to work: pencil to paper, writing numbers furiously in my flowchart or whatever this stupid thing is called that I purchased with the other office supplies I didn't need. Most of them are still sitting in a bag with the receipt to return.


As the pencil moves back and forth, and I become more engrossed in my adulting, I am interrupted yet again. Curiosity eventually kills the cat, and Max decides to chomp on the end of my pencil. With each stroke, he takes another bite. His face looks pissed, but his little mouth keeps going. I have to admit it is kind of cute. The cuteness wears off when he swipes at my hand now with his paw, all nails out and ready for business. Next thing you know, he abruptly stops and jumps off the table.


Back to my computer, I open the laptop. I just need a few hours of uninterrupted time to work on this piece. A few minutes in, I realize that Max is gone. He always takes a little cat nap around this time, so I expect to not see him for a little while at least. The story starts to finally take shape.


About twenty minutes later, I hear a familiar noise-a noise every cat owner has heard in the wee hours of the morning. A sound that makes you fear for your life, because you don't know quite where the sound ends up producing its end product. This time it is in the middle of the day, and it is right at my feet.


Partially chewed grass, hair, and saliva lie in a neat pile beside the table. Max sniffs it and looks satisfied then heads for the sofa. At least he did it on the hard floor this time. Thank God for small favors.


Now, for the cleanup. Maybe I'll grab the sewer bill.









April 25, 2020 03:22

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10 comments

Pragya Rathore
04:03 Jun 02, 2020

This story was eloquently written, with brilliant development... Amazing! Please review me too Julie..

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Julie Wagner
18:03 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you so much! Look forward to reading your work as well!

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Kavita Rawat
14:25 May 25, 2020

Would you like to check out my latest story and give feedback on it? It will be a great help from your side if you do it.

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Clyde Roan
04:10 May 01, 2020

This is great! Characterization is excellent in this story and the narrator's personality shone through and drew me in from the beginning. The changing of names for the cat throughout was definitely a nice touch! Loved it!

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Julie Wagner
19:35 May 01, 2020

Hey! Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words!!!! Congrats, by the way!!!

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D. L. Capio
15:17 Aug 03, 2020

Wow! You have such creative words. We love it. Keep it up!

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Julie Wagner
18:02 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you so much! I look forward to reading your work too!

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D. L. Capio
02:19 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you. You might as well check out my first story 'The Shadow' :)

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Jessica Buford
23:48 Jul 28, 2020

You were spot on in your descriptions of cat ownership! This story gave me a good chuckle. The names for him were very clever. If you could please take the time to follow me back, and comment on a story of mine I would appreciate it. Keep writing!

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Julie Wagner
18:03 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you!

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