And So Was Gertie
by Regis Boff
Mr. and Mrs. Stotnum Powder, renown for their rigidly synchronized postures, bumped their noses simultaneously against their curiously misleading living space. They had lived here together, from before memory, with the kind of Manhattan views, architects called pre-war, a term used for any near-permanent structural breath taken before things went bad. The Powders, of course, knew nothing of wars or even bad times. Stotnum and Gertrude could see all of where they lived, all of the time. The window, on which their world sat, showed them just the right amount of the outside, an outside they would never venture into even as entertainment.
Stotnum waved some uneaten food off their dining area and turned to face Gertrude; he bubbled, “ That cat was here all day, staring at me.”
“At us, you mean, don’t you?” Gertie shot back; much annoyed by the exclusion.
“Yes, yes, of course, us,” Stotnum felt confused by his apology, “It’s just that those big damn eyes seem to look right at you no matter where you are. They follow me, us, around like it hates us. Only the eyes move, haven’t you noticed that? It just sits there like we are all he cares about. Doesn’t he have friend cats? He looks like he is clean and well fed. What could he possibly want with us?”
“I know. I know, the poor thing probably has nothing to do all day and just wants company.” Gertrude was always thinking of others.
Why don’t the owners buy him a friend? Stotnum argued
“It must be hard to be alone all the time,” Gertrude offered brushing against Stotnum with her slightly arched back fin suggestively. “ What would you do without me around all day? “
“I never look that thing in the eyes. I am telling you it is sinister. It does not wish us well.”
They heard the splashing above them. Looking up the wave pushed them down hard into their gravel floor. The ceiling was cracking open and splitting apart. The Powders screamed, but a sound never carried far under water, and there was no one else to hear. Stotnum was first to see the cat’s face above them, and then the massive paw. The claws unsheathed. Then as quickly as it came, it was gone again, and so was Gertie.