I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular when “Saturday He Fed the Cat” came to me. It may have been influenced by the death of our 15-year old westie a couple of months earlier (Katy – the namesake of the story’s protagonist, and the westie pictured on the cover.) In the original 250-word start, the story took place around a house in the country, and the property is being invaded by several ne’er-do-well cats. Somewhere after that, the setting morphed to the interior of an extra-planetary colony, with the squirrats as the main invader, but in the end it still wound up with a cat being poor Katy’s nemesis (nothing personal, cat-lovers.)
Here’s the blurb:
It’s a dog’s life.
What can a 9-pound westie do when faced with the injustices of a newly colonized world? Katy tries her darnedest, but learns that sometimes life just isn’t fair, no matter what planet you’re on.
And here’s the excerpt:
Katy padded along the service corridor behind The Man’s dwelling. The nine-pound westie stopped not twenty feet from The Man’s door and stiffened, her nose searching the air. Something was amiss. She sniffed again. That scent – she knew it. It was CATS! Cats should never have been brought along to the colony. They did nothing to help – sounded no warning, carried no loads.
Katy paused in her thoughts. She was too small to carry loads like some of the bigger work dogs, but she could pick up small things when The Man dropped them and they rolled under his bed. A cat wouldn’t even do that for you. Drop something and a cat would just look over at you from wherever it was lounging, like “what do I look like, a dog?”
They shouldn’t be marking so close to The Man’s home; this was Katy’s territory. Katy would warn them off. She walked to the corridor’s wall – the one that ran along the outer edge of the colony, and raised her rear leg high, but froze at the sound of metal wheels as a service bot wandered into the corridor. Katy hated the contraptions almost as much as the cats; not only didn’t they respect her territory, but they acted like they were in charge. The bot stared at Katy through its lens, daring her to misbehave and dirty something. She didn’t want to get shocked. She backed up onto The Man’s doorstep and looked away, as though the bot wasn’t there. That’s when she saw a cat stroll into the corridor from the other end, its tail held high.
Good! Katy thought. The service bot can get you instead.
But as the cat approached nonchalantly, the bot only seemed to have eyes for Katy.
Well, I can sound a warning, Katy thought, and she let loose her sharp DANGER – STAY AWAY bark, and listened as it echoed along the metal corridor. Hear that? All cats can do is hiss.
The cat paused briefly to lick its paw, then continued its drive-by of Katy’s stoop.
This was too much. Bot or no bot, Katy barked again and prepared to jump at the interloper.
“No! Bad dog!”
It was The Woman, standing behind Katy in The Man’s doorway.
Things had gone steadily downhill since she had moved in with The Man. He was the Alpha, but he had no sense; why couldn’t he tell that The Woman smelled of cat? Katy had given him warnings, but no matter how often she blocked The Woman from entering rooms, or growled, or chewed The Woman’s shoes, The Man didn’t seem to get the point, and to make matters worse he had banished Katy from their quarters most of the day. The Woman had even usurped Katy’s place in bed.
Katy wasn’t sure what to do, so she stood motionless in the no man’s land between The Woman, the bot, and the cat. The cat altered its course to walk around Katy and onto the stoop, where it began to purr obnoxiously as it rubbed and curled itself around The Woman’s legs.
“You’re a beauty,” The Woman said. “Beauty – that’s what I’ll call you.”
She reached down and scratched the cat’s neck. The purring got louder, and mingled with Katy’s barely controlled growling.
“That’s enough, you!” The Woman said. “Inside!”
Katy tucked her tail and squeezed past The Woman. The cat continued pressing its head against The Woman’s leg, but opened one eye as Katy passed by, as if to say “I hope you’re getting this, chump.” Katy couldn’t see how things could get any worse.
On Saturday he fed the cat.
Having now been banned by The Woman from roaming the corridor alone because “that vicious animal might hurt Beauty”, Katy was lying in the back entryway when she heard the joyful ring of kibble bouncing in her stainless steel food bowl. She got to her feet, wagging her tail rapidly as The Man walked into the airlock holding two metal bowls. She pirouetted in front of him on her hind legs, a furry little ballerina.
He likes it when I do this, she thought.
“Sit, Katy,” he said.
Katy sat down and puzzled over what The Man was doing. She watched him open the hatch, step into the corridor and set the two bowls down on the floor. What was he thinking? She never ate out there. Was this some new plot by The Woman? It might be, but Katy was hungry, so she headed for the bowls.
“No, Katy. That’s not yours,” The Man said, and he picked her up and waited by the stoop.
What did he mean, that’s not hers? These were her food bowls. That was her kibble. Of course it…was… No!
The cat ambled along the corridor, glanced up at The Man and Katy, and then made a b-line for Katy’s food bowl.
“No! No! No!” Katy barked. She struggled to get out of The Man’s arms, but he held her tight.
“Katy! That’s enough!” He said, and then unceremoniously dumped her inside. She struggled to get purchase on the smooth metal floor, and then scrambled back to the door just in time for The Man to close it on her nose.
Yeah, it sure does look like Katy’s getting the short end of the stick, but just wait until the squirrats show their ugly heads. Then what will Katy do?
“Saturday He Fed the Cat” is a dog’s-eye view (and a short, fiction), and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
“Saturday He Fed the Cat” is also included in the collection More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (If you purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code RAE50 you will receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for SIX stories – such a deal!):
Which is itself included in the mega-collection The Last Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’ :
William Mangieri’s next ePublication will be “Truth in Advertising”:
A paranoid marketer finds himself down a dark alley, just as he expected. But is it always a bad thing when they’re after you?
“Truth in Advertising” is a speculative fiction short story with a bit of alien marketing. The release date isn’t until June 21st, but it’s available for preorders now at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
William Mangieri’s writing – including his previous release “Date Night” – can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri