Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cleo's Revenge - unedited

Who the hell was he, as a self-professed “dog person,” to smart off about her cat? He knew nothing about them, and a cat had never been known to like him either. Cats can sniff out the haters, you know. One particular torty she had used to get into the purse of anyone who came to visit, sniffed out their chewing gum or something, and pull things from within those confines. She’d warn her suitors how that little Tortoise Shell girl stole wallets. Some of them didn’t get the joke, which served as a good litmus test of their compatibility.

This particular feline-adverse fool had no cat sense. He watched the lovely calico go about her casual ways - lounging in a cozy ray of sunlight that crept in through a gap in the blinds - with no unnecessary hurry in her step. An aged cat leads a well-deserved life of luxury, but his scornful look proved he didn't approve. 

Cleopatra’s long orange, brown and tan hair and white stripe running the length of her nose, mixed with that look of intent longing when hungry, bore into her owner’s soul. She swooned as the cat wound in a figure-eight around her ankles.

The woman’s last boyfriend didn’t also experience the same attraction to Cleopatra. He had a cute face but a cold and ugly heart. If Cleo couldn’t chip away at his icy soul with her saucer-like eyes, then nothing could reach him. He was a lost cause.

Proof came when he asked why she was so lazy. Lazy? Cats are increasingly sedentary as they age. Cleopatra’s sore old bones and instinct tell her to nap throughout the day if no one is home.

Unless another kitty companion is with them, no other conceivable activity is worth their effort.  Especially not the expectations of an otherwise disinterested human who provides no sustenance, under-chin scratches or catnip. Someone like him simply doesn’t matter in the leonine world.

Cleopatra tried to warm up to him by bumping her head on his shoulder and rubbing her cheek against his shoe as he sat on her owner’s couch. She meant to leave her mark on him, just a little oil from her skin to make sure he knew it was her house and he was only a guest.  The disgust in his glare dripped off his face and onto her shiny coat, almost tainting its beautiful sheen. She felt dirty with his disdain and retreated to a corner to groom and rid herself of his condescension.  

He questioned her owner, “Why does it just sit there?” She huffed in reply and spat, “It? Her name is Cleopatra. You could at least say her.”

Ignoring the answer, he further inquired, “Why doesn’t it run around like a normal cat? It should pounce when you try to play with it.” Lip curled with displeasure, his unspoken hatred was obvious.  

Cleo was aghast to be left in that beast’s care when her owner went out of town for a whole week and left the cat at his apartment. He had grudgingly agreed to care for her but made no promises to scoop the litter box or pay her any attention whatsoever.

The jerk had no tolerance for a grimalkin such as her. He’d stomp in her direction and say, “Scat! Get out of here, cat!” He clapped his hands and shooed her away. He had no idea his downfall was imminent. She had plans for his undoing.

Her owner arrived on Friday afternoon to find Cleopatra cowering under the dining room table. After rising slowly to her mistress’s call of, “Here, kitty kitty,” wise Cleo limped slowly to the woman’s side and emitted a pitiful, ”Rorrrwl” in greeting before releasing a heavy breath and sinking back down on the carpet. The woman quickly scooped her from the floor for closer examination. Another pathetic and seemingly painful mewl elicited exactly the reaction she’d hoped.

The woman gasped, “Oh, you poor thing! What has he done to you?” She cradled the old cat gently in her left arm as she crafted a Dear John letter to her boyfriend with the other hand. It read:

“I don’t know exactly what happened to Cleopatra, but you’ll remain forever unforgiven in my heart. You are truly a monster, and I never want to see you again!”

Upon returning home, he was at a loss for what could have caused such a mysterious breakup.  He was perturbed at the ingratitude, having read the angry note just before he found the small brown gift Cleopatra left him on his pillow.   

(This was the initial version of a Studio 30+ prompt with a much shorter word limit.)

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