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You Killed White Claw

“I

made a cat into a hat once. Feel kinda guilty saying that. Found it washed up in a sewer with a bunch of plastic cups. But I tell ya, all that chocolate soup made the fur real soft. I still got it in the wardrobe. Could show you: it’s got ear-flaps and the tail hangin’ down the back. If I stuck it on a teapot it’d still look like a cat.

“Look, don’t look at me that way. I’m a ‘sterminator. An’ cats, well, you’re vermin, really. Ain’t chya? An’ you got shit for personality: buzz-saw through birds – and I don’t mind the little birdies by the way – and moochin’. Like you’re doing right now – rubbin’ ma socks over ma jean ends; the whatchya call it, purrin’; and all you want is that Gallo salami I got in ma lunch box. I could throw you a piece, but I got a whole building to fumigate. Rats up there, so big they could swallow you whole and shit out the collar.

“Ha. What? You not talkin’ to old Baz Kennedy ’cause he says it as it is? What are you? A kitten, or a cat? Don’t answer that. There obviously ain’t enough on ya to make a right-hand-glove for a Leprechaun.

“And get the F’ away from that box. Jesus-God, cat, you got a death wish or what? It’d be soooo damn easy to scoosh you down with this nozzle, right now: tank’s pumped up, trigger-guard up, target locked. Scoosh, scoosh. Meoweee!

“God knows what’s in them chems, but the rats don’t like ’em.

“Oops. Uh, man, damn thing leaks. Look at that, ma finger’s gone as yeller as lemon meringue pie!

“Scat! Clap, clap. Damn it. Okay, I’m takin’ the damn box away. Worst mistake a man can make is give’n a piece of his lunch to a God-damn cat.

“Hey, I move it left and you look left. Right, up, left, right again… that’s funny. Your head looks like it’s on a spring. You ejit!

“You want a piece of this? For real? Okay, I’m gonna gi…

“…eat it maself. Ha, you wuz too slow.

“Arp! Ugh, heartburn. Jeez, just like Aunt Annie.

“Gain? Okay cat, get that tabby fur greased – roll up yer little, furry sleeves. You wan’ it? You wan’ it?

“Ha. Too slow, I got it again. Man, you one stupid furball!

“Ooooh, is that, like, a little, tiny, cold cat-shoulder I’m gettin’ for teasin’ ya?

“Well, I guess, alrighty, then. What with you bein’ pissy n’ all. Here, a tiny bit, but only ’cause I’m stuffed, an’ ma yella finger’s burnin’ – that fingernail better not come off, is all I’m sayin’. No wonder them rats are goin’ off like bombs up there!

“Whoa, chewin’ that salami up like it’s one lip-smackin’ piece of griz – sounds like a wet welly stuck in mud. Yummmmmm… delicious lips n’ assholes. Eat up little kitty. Ugh, table manners of a tapeworm.

“So what is this? Fifth job, with you getting under ma feet? An’ I don’t feed ya. Well, mostly. You’se the closest I ever got to a pet, an’ you’se just a no-good stray.

“True that cats kinda zone in on people that don’t like ’em, ain’t it?

“Maybe I should ask you what’s-what, ’cause, well, hellova thing–

“What the? It’s a frickin lace, not a punchbag. Come here ya little–

“Like that was really worth huntin’ from the other side of ma boot? You cat’s can love some strange shit!

“Anyway, thought I heard a cat talkin’ today. Up the back of the warehouse. Rat ‘festation goes haywire tryin’ to get way from the cloud, all the exits taped, and blow me if some ugly lookin’ tom ain’t in the middle of it. Goes over like a sack of spuds. One eye, an’ white fur that was so grubby it looked wet, and a tongue hangin’ out, chipped fang, the works. An’ I coulda sworn. I coulda sworn it said somethin’.

“Now, ‘atween you an me, Frank (your Uncle Frank, I guess) has a piss-ant kinda humour, that’d have him secret-learnin’ ventriloquism for five years, just to give me a turn for two minutes thinkin’ a cat’s readin’ out the dog results. But, he was downstairs tossing rats to the refuse – swingin’ ’em by their tails like nunchucks and whizzin’ ’em into black bags. Three-hundred-and-sixty-eight. Not a bad count, now, is it?

“Anyway, the cat says…

“… an’ look, you’d tell me if you could talk, wouldn’t ya? Wouldn’t ya? Ha, ha.

“Anyway, the cat says, ‘You killed White Claw.’ That’s it. ‘You killed White Claw.’

“Weirdest thing.”

 

***

 

In the half-darkness, the kitten stopped batting around the man’s lace, though its claws were still extended like tiny fingernail clippings. It sat back on its tail, and tipped its head in an inquiring manner, eyes black and beady. It was almost as if it understood the man, whose beard was a little white at the end, and who smelled of death and the violence of chemicals.

When it came, the cat’s voice was thin, and high – as much a mewl mated with a pipistrelle bat – and its said, “You killed my brother.” Then, after an ear-flattening hiss, “White Claw will be avenged.

The man dropped the rest of the salami and backed away, but the cat ignored the forgotten morsel, which, a moment before, had been used to so richly tease it. It was too busy with the sounds and feel of its own bones popping in its flanks and guts, and now it was down flat on its haunches yewling and yewling, as a force ran through it, that pumped it up and up like a rag being shaken out, until it was nothing more, and nothing less, than a snarling mass of muscle and bone, twice the size of a Pitbull: jaws a bucket of knifes, claws like butcher’s hooks.

It ate the man, peeling off the rubber suit like a mouse skin, chewing off his head, playing with the carcass a little – as is the way of all cats – and then, somewhat bemused, it bounded up and out through an open window.

As it ran, the splash of gore that greased its fur turned from a bucket of blood to a thin streak of red, as the discarded flesh released a kitten… that skittered away, chasing a peppered moth across the cobbles. The moth’s delicate fluttering left a pleasing sparkle in the sunlight.

 

11 comments

1 Harry B. Sanderford { 06.24.11 at 6:00 pm }

“…thinkin’ a cat’s readin’ out the dog results” < ha one of many good chuckle lines

Loved your "‘sterminator" story. Baz Kennedy is a great character and it's clear you are familiar with the feline mind.

2 Stephen Hewitt { 07.01.11 at 12:55 pm }

@Harry — kind of sorry Baz bit the bullet in the end, though he did have that cat-hat in his closet. And, yes, the feline mind: 99% cat food, 1% what are you doing in my house? lol.

@John — thanks John. Bad kitty indeed 🙂

@Steve — thanks Steve. Yeah, you can pet it, but only behind razor wire… with a long stick… made of titanium…

@Lara — yeah, poor Baz, but he did have to go.

@Aidan — I had fun with these characters. Baz just started talking to that cat and I thought the one-sided dialogue really emphasised Baz’s frame of mind and the relationship between the two (it is, just him, mouthing off to the skritty thing, and you can just imagine it there, driving him nuts, but Baz actually quite liking it. The big softy.). Figured dialogue-only would be an interesting experiment, which was lots of fun in the end. I want to do more things like that — playing around with convention, where it helps to underpin things, of course.

@Icy — thanks Icy. You can have one, but you gotta be really careful with the tummy rubs. That’s all I’m saying 😉

3 John Xero { 06.24.11 at 6:50 pm }

Ah, bad kitty! 😉

Love it, the character in both the man and the cat is spot on and rich. The twist is almost incidental, but works, and the final lines are whimsical and perfect. =)

4 Steve Green { 06.24.11 at 9:52 pm }

I had visions of the “changing” scene from ‘ An American Werewolf In London’ That is one puddy tat you do not want to mess with.

Great write Stephen.

5 Lara Dunning { 06.25.11 at 5:38 pm }

Great build up to Baz’s destruction. Loved the last part where the cat changed to avenge his brother.

6 Aidan Fritz { 06.26.11 at 5:35 pm }

As John said, I love the characters in this story. I was also intrigued by the first portion where you managed to take that writing exercise of only dialogue and have it all one-sided. It worked very nicely and made for a good switch when we jumped to the cat’s viewpoint.

(I liked the, “I don’t feed them, well mostly…” comment 😉

7 Icy Sedgwick { 06.26.11 at 9:39 pm }

I want a shape shifting kitten! I love that opening, the one-sided dialogue, but then the descriptions of the end really tied it up.

8 justin davies { 07.01.11 at 2:47 pm }

This was many kinds of brilliant, but chiefly I enjoyed the lips and arsehole salami. (when i’m asked what goes into sausages, my reply has been known to be “tits and lips” or even “gobs and knobs”. So your line really amused me).

9 Stephen Hewitt { 07.01.11 at 3:18 pm }

Thanks Justin — ‘tits and lips’ and ‘gobs and knobs’ is the really good, export stuff. This is the ‘value range’ (at least in Baz’s mind). lol. St.

10 Joan { 07.11.11 at 5:22 pm }

Great the way the cat was washed up in a sewer with a bunch of plastic cups.
Love the character in this – the chocolate soup would make the fur soft, of course.
And you’ve got cats just right.
I’ve commented as I’ve gone through, but at this point – yes, I just got carried away with the story – good the way the cat ‘turns’ at the end. You were right in one of your comments – Baz did just have to go.

11 Stephen Hewitt { 07.18.11 at 11:58 am }

@Joan — that hat’d be kinda plushy, but don’t think I’d want to wear it. My girlfriend’s cat likes to experiment on me, so I’ve been paying attention to the cat madness. Normally they change into something that wants food. RIP Baz.

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