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The Cat’s Story
R.L. Corn


So you see, I was just walking down the street, and I’m feelin’ pretty good, ya know? It’s a Friday and the week is over. I am heading home to the missus and I’m feeling pretty frisky. Yeah, it is going to be a good weekend. 


So, as I say, I am strolling down just a couple of blocks from home and I sees this cat. Now, I ain’t no cat expert or notin’, but this cat is sitting in the boyd feeder on Ms. Johnson’s porch. That just ain’t right, is it?

Since I am deeply perplexed by the whole situation, I sez, "Yo cat, whatcha doing in the boyd feeder?” 


The cat sez, "Yeah—what's it to ya, four eyes?”


Well, I ain’t used to be talked to this way by a cat, ya know?  


I sez back to the cat, "Oh yeah, stupid cat. Just wait until I tell Ms. Johnson what youz doing and then we’ll see what’s what!”


Well, it’s as if the cat realizes who he talkin’ to and gets all apologetic and all.


“My apologies for being so rude, kind sir. Today is the anniversary of my dear mother’s passing and I am just a little down as it were,” he sez to me.“I was a wee kitten, just a few years ago, when my mom took me on my first hunting trip. We were going to go after the bird that frequents this very feeder. I was excited, ya know, and wanted to show my mom how good a hunter I could be. The bird had no more than landed than my mom darted across the road.” 


Well, this does not sound like a sad story to me since they was gonna to eat the bird, so I sez, “So I guess you and your mom ate the defenseless little boyd.”


Wiping a little tear from his eye, dis cat sez, “No—a garbage truck came flying down the street, hit mom, and smashed her flat.”

“Oh, that is terrible,” I sez, imagining this little cat’s mom laying all pancaked in the street. “No wonder youz sad today!”


“Oh no,” the cat purrs and all, “That’s not why I’m sad!”


“Okay, well now I am confused,” I sez.


“Well, the bird in the feeder was watching the whole thing, and the sweet thing took pity on me, she did.”


I squint my eyes a bit before I ask the obvious, but I am not sure what the obvious question is, ya know? This whole story is gettin' just a bit confusin’, ya know?


“Well, as I said, this saint of a mother took pity on me and adopted me. Not having any of her own baby birds, she raised me as her little chick. She brought me worms every day and even shared the birdseed that she was able to find.”


“Whoa, whoa, whoa! You want me to believe that you was raised to eat worms and boydseed since you was just a kitten! I was not born yesterday, cat!” I sez, not feelin’ as confident as I was letting on.


“I swear it on my poor mother’s grave, it is just as I say.”

“Wait,” I sez, somewhat confused. “On your cat mother’s grave or your boyd mother’s grave?” Well, the cat looks at me like I said somethin’ wrong. “What?” I sez, raisin’ my hands and shoulders.


“Anyway,” the cat sez, “she raised me as a bird. I hung out with all the other neighborhood birds. I even went south during the winter—you know the South Bronx. All the other birds in the area called me catbird as a little joke just amongst us birds. You know those little birds have a great sense of humor! Especially the little finches, don’t ya know, but I digress.”


“I bet the other cats in the neighborhood must’ve hated ya!”


“Ah Jim, it was a difficult life, to be sure, but me mom took the best care of me that should could. But it wasn’t all bad. Ah, we’d have a whale of a time, ya know.”

I’m dropping water down my face as I sezed, “So what happened to your little boyd momma?”


The cat, sitting right there in the boyd feeder, sez to me, “It was on this day a year ago.” 


I brace myself for the painful ending.


“We were playing with a ball of twine in the street. She was pushing it to me with her little beak, and I would swat it back to her with my paw. All of a sudden, she started coughing and could not catch her breath. Her last dying act was to cough up the biggest hairball I ever saw.”


The catbird and I stare at each other for a good minute. “Your sainted boyd mother died from coughing up a hairball?” I looked directly into his beady little cat-boyd eyes.


“As I am living and breathing,” he sez with sincerity, real sincerity! “Right there in the street; a hairball and my dearly departed mother with the tiniest bit of worm hanging from her mouth.”


I tried to let this sink in, ya know? “The boyd momma that adopted you as a tiny little kitten, who fed you worms and boydseed, died from a hairball?” 


Well, the cat is indignant and all. He gets all uppity and sez right to my face, “So I tell you the story of my life and that is what you take away from it—my bird mom should have died from something else? What? Had you rather she be eaten by a cat?”



I don’t know what to say. I mean, yeah. It woulda made more sense if a cat had chomped her. So how do you say that to the little cat that was raised by a boyd? My head’s hurting. I’m thinkin’ to cut my losses and skedaddle.


“Hey look, Mr. Cat, I’m sorry about givin’ you such a hard time about sittin’ in the boyd feeder. No hard feelings, right?”

The cat sniffed shook his head as if all was forgiven. I walked the rest of the way home thinking that I had loined my lesson about making snap judgements and all. The cat was not uppity; he was just sad. And who was I to judge?


The cat watched as the fellow headed home and rounded the corner. He let out a long and satisfying burp as several feathers blew out of the corner of his mouth. 


The cat looked at the sky and noticing a bird approaching, smiled—and licked his lips.

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