A Short Story
Sometime this morning, I don't remember when exactly, I heard the doorbell ring. Must be the postman, I thought. Probably with one of the books or CDs I'm waiting for. Maybe something from overseas. Yet to my surprise, it wasn't the postman, but our neighbour's cat, who said in quite a serious tone, "Kid, we gotta talk." And before I could say anything, in she came. "Now I'm curious," I stammered. "I just made coffee. Want some?" "If it makes you curious, no thanks," replied the cat, heading straight for the kitchen, "but a warm bowl of milk and some crackers would be nice."
Just as I handed my guest the milk and crackers, she began, "You know I live right next door, and I hear you s... sort of singing songs all night. But never happy songs. No, nothing but sad and sorry stuff that makes me all depressed. Songs about suffering and dying and... Honestly, I often think, come on, kid, do it, get it over with, so we can all sleep in peace again. You really gotta do something about this. Some creatures got a life, you know. I've got responsibilities. I've got kids to feed. I can't be kept up all night, feeling sad." Spoke it, and started chewing away on a cracker.
"But that's how I feel and I need to express myself," I replied calmly. "Okay, but don't bother the rest of us with it," the cat went on. "Nobody wants to hear that. People don't really care about lyrics anyway. All people want are some happy tunes that make them feel good about themselves."
"But I do care about lyrics," I countered, feeling the need to defend my work. "Then, for Cobain's sake, write something more upbeat. Something that makes you and others happy. Something funny. Something about animals maybe." "Well how about a song about a bird?" I asked. "Another cracker, Polly?" "Very funny," snarled the cat.
"I could write about a talking dog," I said, "I can imagine that." "A talking dog," she sighed, "as a stand-in for the author I assume. Great idea. One of the oldest gimmicks in literature. Everybody's done that. How original you are! Why not use a fast country beat underneath your lyrics, you know, to give your song a Pogues kinda feel! That would be new and refreshing!"
"Alright, alright!" I interrupted. "What about the story of a cat then? Everybody loves cats. No doubt about that." After a brief pause, my guest replied, "Hm, that I like. We could actually make a trilogy out of that."
"But what should it be about?" I asked. "Well, let's make one about epic battles, wizards and creatures with pointed ears..." "Cats, you mean?" "Yeah, right."
"And what if I can't find the right tune to go with it?" "Then just forget about the song and tell everybody you set out to write a short story."
"God, you're pretty clever for a cat. I bet you could think of a good, catchy title as well. Some play on words, maybe. You know, something like The Cat in the Hat or The Cat on the Mat." "Battles, kid, I said battles. No, what we need is something powerful, majestic yet mysterious. Something that sparks people's interest but doesn't really give away anything."
"I've got it," I said. "The Duke. Pretty cool, huh?" "Oh yeah, if John Wayne was still alive. No, but if you wanna go for something short, what about The Lord?" "... of the Cats?" "If it makes you happy."
Copyright 2003 Andre Bollier