Dear Future Publisher,
I have a confession to make. I would get a lot more accomplished if I didn’t have a cat. Now, I would never not have a cat, possibly because I’m a masochist who doesn’t want to have nice things. But the point remains: without my cat, I would get so much more done in a day.
Let me give you just one example of what it is like living with a cat.
I am sitting, writing.
Things are going well.
And then, the cat suddenly appears at my feet. He stares at me. I try to ignore him.
HUMAN. HUMAN, IT IS TIME FOR EATS.
No, no it isn’t.
YES, IT IS TIME FOR DINNERS NOW HUMAN.
No, it really isn’t.
IT IS, HUMAN. I AM HUNGRY.
No, you aren’t. You only think you are.
THERE IS NO THINK, THERE IS ONLY HUNGER.
Yeah, I’ve noticed that there’s no think.
HUMAN IS MAKING A LAUGH?
Human is making a truth.
(a beat, in which I recommence writing)
HUMAN. LOOK AT ME, HUMAN. LOOK.
I AM HUNGRY, HUMAN.
No, you aren’t. It’s 3:30. You don’t get fed for an hour and a half.
No, not now. In an hour and twenty-eight minutes.
BUT HUMAN. I WILL WASTE AWAY. I AM STARVING, SEE. SEE, HUMAN, SEE HOW I AM WASTING AWAY? SEE?
You are not wasting away. You were fed this morning, and you will be fed again soon, but you have to wait. I’m writing.
BUT I WILL PERISH. I WILL DIE BEFORE THEN. SEE, I AM WEAK. OH, WOE. WOE UNTO ME I AM DYING. SEE, HUMAN? SEE? SEE HOW I AM DEAD?
Well, if you’re dead anyway I don’t have to feed you.
THERE IS STILL A GLIMMER OF LIFE. FEED ME NOW AND I MAY LIVE.
No. Mommy is writing. Go away, and come back in an hour.
(cat wanders away)
(I scratch my leg)
(cat careens back into room)
HUMAN MOVED. IT IS TIME FOR FOODS.
No, no it isn’t. It’s been five minutes.
HUMAN MOVED. WHY ELSE WOULD HUMAN MOVE?
Not everything I do is for you.
(cat, looking hurt)
IS TRUE. IS TERRIBLE. ALL THINGS SHOULD BE FOR ME, HUMAN.
Well, they aren’t.
(cat skulks away sulking)
(cat comes back)
HUMAN? LOOK, LOOK, SEE, I BROUGHT YOU A STUFFED MOUSE. NOW WILL YOU FEED ME?
(cat lopes away)
(cat licks empty dish in kitchen lavishly)
IT IS EMPTY HUMAN.
Yes, I know that.
FILL IT, HUMAN.
Not yet, cat.
(cat wanders back in purring)
I LOVE YOU HUMAN.
I love you, too.
SO YOU WILL FEED ME?
Stop with the emotional blackmail.
IS NOT WORKING?
Is working a little bit but will not lead to being fed!
(cat leaves, makes weird noises in hallway)
FEED ME AND I WILL SHUSH.
(cat returns, chases tail in middle of floor, tries to climb furniture)
FEED ME AND I WILL STOP IT.
(cat attacks other cat)
Stop beating up your brother!
DO I NEED TO SAY IT, HUMAN?
It isn’t his fault you aren’t being fed.
IT MUST BE. HE IS HERE.
YOU ARE NOT LOGIC, HUMAN.
(cat disappears again)
(sounds of crinkling plastic)
What are you eating?
YUMMY PLASTIC IS YUMMY, HUMAN.
No, it isn’t! Stop.
HAVE YOU TRIED IT?
Of course not. Plastic isn’t food.
DO NOT KNOCK IT HUMAN TIL YOU TRY IT. WANT A BITE?
IF YOU GAVE ME FOODS I WOULD NOT NEED TO EAT PLASTICS.
But you would anyway.
So, there’s no advantage to me feeding you.
…I AM THINKING THE ANSWER TO THAT IS NO.
Just spit out the plastic.
(sounds of vomiting)
(getting up to clean vomit oh boy)
Now, wait patiently until it’s time.
WHAT IS PATIENT? I DO NOT KNOW THIS WORD.
(back to writing)
(cat walks in and stares at me pointedly from directly beside me)
(cat inserts self between me and laptop, and types 19yas6fuvk08YS with his butt)
No, it isn’t…
(looking at the time)
Yeah, okay, it’s time.
IT IS GOOD I REMINDEDED YOU OR YOU WOULD NOT HAVE REMEMBERED. I MUST DO THIS EVERY DAY OR THERE WILL BE NO EATS.
No, really, you don’t have to do that. I’ll remember.
DON’T WORRY, HUMAN. I WILL. I GOT THIS.
No, please don’t.
STUPID HUMAN. SO INCOMPETENT. I WILL REMIND YOU. I AM CLEVER.
No, really –
SHHH HUMAN. SHH. I AM HELPFUL.
Yeah, you’re a peach.
NO I AM A CAT.
It’s a metaphor.
I DON’T CARE. GIVE ME FOODS.
And so it is with cats.
And time that could have been spent writing is spent having arguments with a being that can convey with nothing but meows and waves of indignation a truly astonishing variety of accusations and theatrics in his relentless pursuit of little dried up kibbles.
If only I could do the same.
HEY, HEY CAT. CAT, FEED ME. MAKE MY DINNER. I AM HUNGRY. I MIGHT WASTE AWAY. CAT? HEY, CAT, LOOKIT. LOOKIT ME. CAT!
Oh, he’s sleeping.
I WILL STOP POKING YOU AND MAKING NOISE IF YOU FEED ME.
Not so much as a look of disdain.
Guess I’m on my own.