So, I’m trying to write a terrible novel for National Novel Writing Month. The purpose of this is to just belt out a 50k word novel in one month, and even without editing that takes a sizable chunk of time and your mental capacity. This is the first 1000 words. I’ll try to have a real blog later but for now deal with seeing something that was done quickly!
Americans would like to think our culture is built on unalienable principles; on unwavering ideals that no one can fight. The truth is that society is built on something much simpler: cats.
Yes, there, I said it! It’s built on cats. Everyone has a very specific, distinct reaction to cats, whether it be those who like them, those who can’t help but let out a completely unmuted, “Awl,” at the sight of them, and those whose physical beings literally violently react when in the presence of felines.
And, of course, there are those of us who unabashedly love cats.
My name is Mary. My cat’s name is Spuffs. I’ve actually had two other cats in my life: Mr. Booties was a tabby who choked to death dining on a particularly fat bird (I did always tell him to chew his food better); Sir Meowsalot met his end when I was 6 and he tried to jump into the back of our minivan and my mother, distracted as always, slammed the trunk door down on his gentle head. I still haven’t forgiven her.
Spuffs is a noble creature — perhaps the most noble creature out there. He’s a burnished golden and grey Bengal Cat, and he enjoys nothing more than standing on the perch that is the top of my bookshelf and looking down on his kingdom. He roams my apartment freely, and, I must admit, sometimes when I come home I feel like I’ve just sublet a room here and he’s the true tenant.
Spuffs and I live on York Street in Brooklyn. We spend most of our nights in eating sushi and watching reality television, which is my guilty pleasure (you might think, aren’t your cats your guilty pleasure? And I would psychically think back to you right now if you asked that, no; I have no guilt about my love for them).
I’m not a superhero. I know that. But I think my life is pretty amazing, and these are the chronicles of my friends and I.
Wherein I Keep My Priorities Straight
I arrived at work late one day —
Spuffs was acting a bit finicky with his dinner so I had to stay and make sure he ate it all. I swear, sometimes he is so infuriating! He can’t just eat his food. Doesn’t he know I just want what’s best for him?
— I arrived at work late and the manager, Mr. Fitzpatrick, noticed, his pigeon eyes homing in on me like I’m a hairball stain on a white blouse. “Mary,” he intones, his buzzard nose flaring in my general direction, “You’re late. Again.”
“Yes, I know.” I have crippling social anxiety, not a mental disability! “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again!”
“See to it that it doesn’t,” he drawled, his nasal passage blocked as always. He loped off, like a carrion monstrosity that stalks the fields to feed off the only organisms worse than himself.
I don’t really like Mr. Fitzpatrick.
I sat at my desk, abashed by Mr. Fitzpatrick and his cantankerous attitude. The nerve!
I work as a night auditor at a hotel in Manhattan at night. Unfortunately, the Ritz it is not. Being a night auditor is a solitary task; I do some light accounting and check in the occasional guest, who generally come in one of two varieties: the families or out of state businessmen who don’t make enough money to afford the nicer hotels or people having affairs.
In a sad way, I envied both groups, however pathetic they were. How I longed to drive away to some unknown land with Spuffs in his cat carrier (which he hates. A lot. I have scars to prove it), or be in a tawdry love affair like the novels I read (my current favorite is Adding It Up: A Romance of Math Teachers).
That night was little different from any other, sitting at my desk, idling jotting down figures and doing my best to pretend that that 62 year old man was definitely not about to go to bangville with the 21 year old girl he brought with him, when my boss and the owner of the hotel, Lady Esmeralda (her name is Ella but I think this is boring so I have changed it in my own mind), came to me.
Lady Esmeralda is a small Greek woman with a hefty bosom. I say that as her only descriptor because I have what men have called “large gozangas” in my infrequent interactions with them — I can’t recall a time I had breasts smaller than a C cup — and I am put to shame by The Lady. Unlike that cadaverous Fitzpatrick, she seems quite fond of me.
“Mary,” she purred, her voice haughty with pride, as if she was not a lady who ran an establishment that has played host to the filming of 5 porn movies in the two years I’ve worked year since coming to New York. “You do very good work. I have an offer for you.”
My eyes winded to the size of Spuffs’ watering dish. “Oh?
“Right now, I am understaffed in the mornings. If you were to come in and manage the front desk for me until I can find a replacement, I’ll give you a sizeable raise.” A sizeable raise for this job probably meant $1.50 an hour more, but think about all the wrapping paper I could buy for Spuffs with that!
“I will do it!” I practically shouted, my body brimming with energy like a nuclear reactor.
“Good. You would start this morning, then. You will have a half hour break for breakfast and will return by 6:30.”
“T-today…?” I stammered. Wait. Half an hour? What!? My mind raced. “But… That’s… 14 hours of work consecutively?” My mind was finally putting this plan together, and I realized my folly.
“Of course. Did you not understand?” She asked me this with a mix of concern and sarcasm.
“Well, what is the problem? Do you have plans?”
“Well..” Did I have plans? Not specifically. “I guess not.” But I did have dreams. “I’ll do it…” Spuffs was not going to be pleased.