A Boy and His Cat

2 min
Image of Short Story
Rudolph Jäger boarded the 9 o’clock to London. It was a dark night—with his coat flapping in the wind and his black cat at his side, Jäger seemed more Dracula than dancer.

Jäger was a dancer.

The London skies poured rain onto the train. plop plop plop went the rain. clickity clackity went the train. Sheltering his cat from the rain, Jäger got off the train.

Jäger liked rain.

He glanced at the departing train and something beyond the station caught his eye. It was a large wooden sign—No Pets Allowed. Jäger spied another one across the street: Casino Noir, all aswirl with neon blues and yellows and greens.

It piqued Jäger’s interest.

He pushed through the double swing doors. There were eight, nine people. Two at slots, seven sitting around a table in the poker room.

Off night, thought Jäger.

He pulled up a chair. Without looking up, the dealer said “Five grand.”

The game started slow and Jäger slowly built up a chip lead. Soon there remained three people in the game: a white man with grey hair, a striking woman in her late twenties, and Jäger. Jäger noticed the absence of a ring on her finger.

He closed out without any difficulty.

As everyone prepared to leave, the woman gestured at Jäger—a wink and a “come here” with her finger. They slipped off onto a side street and she spoke.

“You should come to my place.”

Jäger had three glasses of a nice, expensive wine he liked at the table. The only things he was thinking about were her luscious red lips and curly hair.

The first thing he saw after walking through the door was a cat.

A stuffed cat, to be precise. It bore a remarkable resemblance to his own cat, which was—

Oh, thought Jäger.

—right behind him.

Ah, thought Jäger.

“Your cat looks like my cat,” he said without thinking. He noticed the same tail stub and rent-up left ear.

“Ah yes. I have a habit of collecting cats. They are just so adorable, don’t you think?”

Jäger couldn’t understand a word she said. When did they get on the couch again? And he couldn’t possibly be drunk, he had been sober after the poker game and how was there another drink in his hand? And those two empty bottles on the coffee table suddenly seemed so far away and the familiar weight of his cat disappeared from his lap and suddenly he was weightless and floating and

I’m drunk, he thought drunkenly.

And the drink in his stomach also was weightless. That wine definitely tasted funny, he thought. And it suddenly flew out from his mouth and onto a pair of hands.

A woman’s hands, with red nails and no ring.

And a jagged knife.

And a sleeping cat.

Jäger snapped back into reality. His head felt much clearer post-vomit, and he saw a gun pointed between his eyes.

As he lay there, he thought he heard a voice say “This cat is so adorable,” but he couldn’t be sure. That is to say, he remains unsure to this day.

Because he died on that couch.

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