I have been left with no other choice for this entry than to write about my cat, Maurice. My wife is out having drinks with friends and he is sitting at the front door meowing his furry little head off. Every so often he’ll strut back down the hallway from the entrance to fetch me in whatever room I am hiding in to join him at the door in anticipation of her crossing the threshold. I suppose I have the option of meowing as well while we wait, but I always demur. I have tried various diversions, among them food, cat toys, both with and without catnip, and a crumpled ball of aluminum foil that I throw around the living room. He is having none of it, looks disdainfully at my attempted distractions, and remains focused. I would use the expression ‘doggedly’ except that it is a gross understatement. The word ‘cattedly’ should become part of the English language, as should the expression ‘cattitude’. Maurice has a major cattitude. I know that when the roles are reversed and my wife waits for me to come home, upon entry I will find the two of them slouched comfortably on the couch, watching television. He won’t have uttered a sound or spent two seconds near the front door, unless perhaps to stretch his legs. My wife is very amused by this. I try not to take it personally.

I would rather be editing the proof of my novel or playing an instrument or watching a hockey game on TV or doing most anything else than listening to him, but I have no choice. There is no escape and I feel like I’m in some Edgar Allen Poe story serialized into Cat Fancy magazine. His fortissimo caterwauling, though constant, is not rhythmic, so I can’t let it recede into the background the way I could if there was someone working with a jackhammer on the street in front of my building, or even in my apartment. Clearly, my preference for the sound of a jackhammer in close proximity should give the reader an idea how near I am to the end of my tether. Nor is he interested in sharing a cocktail with me and mellowing out. On the other hand, that means there’s more vodka for me and I’m starting to need it.

One option, and I do use this on occasion, is to place him and his food dish in the bathroom near the entranceway and shut the door. The bathroom also contains his litter box, so there is no need for anyone to call a pet shelter to report my cruelty. If there is someone out there who knows of an association to help distracted writers, you may wish to report Maurice. I would myself, but I fear retribution. The bathroom is not a good solution anyway as, after a few minutes, he resumes his entreaties. He weighs fifteen pounds, but I believe most of the weight is distributed in the muscles around his opera strength lungs and a mere bathroom door is about as useful as tissue paper in producing  a sound baffle. For music fans out there, this is akin to going to a Metallica show to give your ears a break from listening to Motorhead.

So now at last we sit here next to the door on the floor of the hallway, Maurice and I. He seems content and is purring, resting his head on my leg as I balance my laptop on my lap. Odd that this is the first time my laptop has actually ever been positioned on my lap. This is not a comfortable way to type. My wife is going to think it to be a strange scene when she eventually walks in and hopefully I can quickly give the impression that I had fully intended to spend some time here when I hear the key in the door.  I have my pride and refuse to meow on command.

About chris

Chris Semal was born in New York City in 1959 and has lived there all his life. He is aware that other places exist and likes to visit them from time to time, but the city is a hard mistress to resist and he keeps going back to her. A musician, singer and songwriter, he has played pretty much every rock club in Manhattan at one time or another since the late 70s and went to school at the University of Miami to study Music Engineering, coming back north to do the only obvious thing possible, becoming a municipal bond broker and eventually working as a consultant building financial models. In the early part of the millennium, between both consulting and band gigs, he thought it might be interesting to see what would happen if he expanded on the 80 or so words he used in writing song lyrics and went for the 80,000 he would need for a novel. And so Trial Of Tears was born, along with a passion for developing plots and characters.
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