you and me – POSTCARD #36
Thank you for number #36, LMB.
This is maybe my fourth cat-themed postcard. Sometimes people can just tell.
The others in the alley were used to not looking at her hands. It wasn’t the grime. All their hands were dirty. Hers were swollen and malformed from the infections. She liked stray cats.
Ya gonna get fuckin’ cat aids, ya dummy.
He yelled when she returned to their tarp with fresh scratches and welts, cradling a cat.
She’s hungry and look, I think it might be Alby.
She held up the worn magazine clipping she carried everywhere, a watercolour painting of a cat amongst purple flowers. She said it was a photo.
She smiled when he pointed out the huge set of balls on the thing.
All cats are girls and all dogs are boys, she explained in her singsong voice.
She didn’t have the same high-pitched whine of the others around them.
You think there’s enough food? You go get it then, you fuckin’ retard.
His whine echoed off the heritage-listed bluestones of the alley, the mortar between them long receded, now filled with mud and shit and rubbish. The same glue that kept them together kept the alley together.
Please. I don’t like doing it.
She buried her head into mangy fur until he returned with glazed eyes and an empty goonbag hanging loosely from his fist. He pushed the cat away and pushed his hands under her thick layers, starting with her breasts, twisting the nipples hard. She looked at where the cat sat cleaning itself and then squeezed her eyes closed.
Good girl. You want some kitty food?
When the cat disappeared. She held up her crumpled picture to the others and asked if they’d seen Alby.
No one knew where to look when the nasal whine crept into her voice. Especially not at him.
So they looked at her hands instead.