Joey Cifelli ’23
October 31, 2022, Part 1 (Featured Image)
Two cats sat next to each other on the windowsill, looking down at the people crossing the black roads and gray sidewalks at various speeds. Some of them waved their arms in a panic, and some of them moved so slowly that they seemed trapped by something too large to name. Most of the people kept their heads looking at the ground a few feet in front of them, walking in broken unison. The cats sat like loaves of bread on the sill and didn’t move except to send a ripple through a tail or lick the pads of a paw to scratch behind an ear. Occasionally a slow blink, as the people passed by underneath.
“It might be nice to be a person,” said one of the cats. This one was a gray tabby. The other tabby, who was straw-colored, slowly blinked. “You wouldn’t have to do anything. You could just dress up in a suit and think about mortgages and marriages. No pressure on you at all.” 7.8/10
October 31, 2022, Part 2
The straw-colored cat closed its eyes and settled its large head down on its paws. Its concave face smushed into the paws until every edge disappeared within a soft weld. The gray tabby watched the world through the window, serious intent in its eyes.
“All they do is play. Zero consequences. If they feel like it, they go on vacation, they go to the store, they wait in line. They vote. Or they don’t vote. Could their lives really be so simple? Could they possibly be satisfied with such shallowness?”
The gray tabby looked over at its companion. The straw-colored cat’s eyes were closed, but the presence of sleep was not clear. Its ruffled side eased up and down. This, too, was no clear sign. The gray tabby resumed staring at people on the street. 8.3/10
November 4, 2022, Part 1
“I mean it’s basically hedonism. They even make sleeping and eating into play. I’m almost certain that’s the definition.”
A sharp twang from the kitchen caused the gray tabby’s right ear to flick open toward the sound, waiting for further development. None came. The ear flicked back like a switchblade. It was just one of those sounds.
“The only explanation I can think of, to explain their sanity, is that their minds are as shallow as their days. It must simply never occur to them to have complex thoughts. Could you imagine living like that? Never grappling with the core issues of being, in fact those issues never presenting themselves to be grappled? I would go crazy. I know I would.” 8.6/10
November 4, 2022, Part 2
The straw-colored cat rolled over onto its back. It splayed its legs in all four directions, paws bending like warm taffy. Its nose twitched now and then, perhaps smelling something, or perhaps only twitching. The gray tabby sneezed.
“Ach, excuse me. They were supposed to vacuum today. Maybe they forgot how it works. Wouldn’t that be funny? Imagine them poking at it with their fingers. Grabbing it, even. Ha-ha. Well, it would be funny if it weren’t such a nuisance.”
The gray tabby furrowed its brow, thinking. The straw-colored cat blinked, looked at the gray tabby, and shuffled over. It leaned against the gray tabby and purred. The gray tabby seemed to sigh, and its face uncreased into a smooth patch of fur. A minute later, when things had settled down, a gray tail curled around a straw-colored tail. The two cats sat together like that. And below, the people walked by, living whatever lives they lived. 8.5/10