Here’s a good friend of the site chosen by another good friend of the site. Leila has picked out a story by Adam Kluger and this is what she said:
“Gifted with the high perception, I lack the low, enjoying power; damned most subtly and most malignantly! Damned in the midst of Paradise!”–Herman Mellville, Moby Dick
The brilliant line above was written a hundred and fifty years ago; along with the opening soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Richard III, it is as fine a description of frustration as you’ll ever find. And it is the topic of frustration which resonates figuratively and symbolically in Adam Kluger’s Fat Cat.
Good News!!! This story isn’t for stupid people; that means it is written for people like you.
Q: This is very well done. You show magnificent disregard for persons who’d go “What’s with this sea captain? I thought it was a rant against cats?” As you know, not too sound snooty, there are people out there who don’t get this story. Does it bother you that folks who move their lips when they read denounce your writing? After all, there’s money in those guys.
Q: The mariner gave up a promising career to do something he loved. The MC continues to be a Fat Cat doing stuff no one can possibly love. Since he “wrote” it, he must be aware of the parallels. Is there something he’d rather be doing than producing the insincere? Or maybe he does love that and feels bad about himself because he has no fancy “higher calling.”
A: Leila: As always, so very honored to have one of my pieces of flash get selected by you as a Re-Run (Hey Hey Hey! …an obscure American Sitcom reference that I don’t expect you to get at all, from an ’80’s TV show called “What’s Happening,” which aside from being totally inane, would also be considered highly offensive and tone-deaf today, so please forget I even mentioned it! ).
Ok. Down to brass tacks. I’m not a cat guy. I think they are beautiful animals but I’m terribly allergic to cats. When I once visited an allergist years ago, after he had conducted a stick test on my arm, he walked out of the room and came back. From outside the room, he saw what looked like a small volcano on my arm, as he commented, “wow. you are really allergic to cats, aren’t you?” Yes, Doc. I am. Many an amorous evening with certain cat-loving girlfriends would end with me leaving prematurely with snot running down my nose, tears running down my face, and my tail tucked between my legs. I had been “pussy-blocked” by a number of furry-faced felines and finally, with Fat Cat, it was time to vent. Now, I know you love (wuv!) cats Leila I can see it written right across your puss, that sly Cheshire smile. And that’s totally cool. I liked my little turtles in grade school, Sunshine and Rainbow, until of course there was a news report tying toy turtles to an outbreak of Salmonella, and then one dark day when little Adam came home from school, the turtles were gone, probably left to frolic joyfully with the baby alligators in NYC’s friendly sewer system.
But I digress, and I will mention too, lest you think I am one of those “humans” that I was also a proud card-carrying member of the Wildlife Fund and an ardent fan of Ranger Rick (a raccoon, which is sort of a cat) on the cover of the monthly magazines. And I loved the morning TV show the New Zoo Review with three delightful animals wondering what to do… And I also watched Wild Kingdom on TV (Sponsored by Mutual of Omaha) with the distinguished, mustachioed wilderness expert and host Marlon Perkins, who would explain with detached, granular, scientific detail the life and death battle between a big cat (Lion) and a poor defenseless, dim-witted Wildebeest. I ask you Leila when the cat came back the very next day, I thought he was a goner but he just couldn’t stay away. Doesn’t that tell you something about the insidious, inscrutable nature of these nocturnal creatures who hang out with witches on Halloween when they aren’t defiling trays in bathrooms? P.U.!
OK, to the questions at hand. Are the “people” denouncing my writing really even people at all, or are they actually cats? Maybe cats in hats? Like the four-legged creature described in our little piece of flash fiction (and by the way, not to burst the bubble of any cat critics out there who have already voiced their disapproval of my writing by lining their litter boxes with this story–the MC (Main character of this story is not Mr. Fluffystuffigans (or whatever the name was) at all, but, in fact, Elmer Bialystock,(or whatever his name was) who, to the consternation of that growing chorus of catcalls, is decidedly human, Leila. Just like the both of us. Humans. As for the ancient mariner who was once a musical prodigy, there is a method to the madness, sorta, and the method is this, my dear human friend, It just doesn’t matter. But it does meander.
This story is all about meandering, pondering, and wrestling with human nature. The desire to explore vast seas (yes, I know cats hate water Leila, everybody knows that– even me) and pursue personal happiness instead of fully mining one’s supposedly pre-written destiny. So yes, free will is also a part of this cat tale that also explores the sudden revelation that some cats have little cat penises. Someone needed to let that cat out of the bag (groan! Ok enough). Which leads this winding path to Moby Dick and the leviathan horror that lives underneath the calm Ocean like a “tiger’s velvet paw.” That’s Melville, Leila. I rest my case.
But seriously, call me Ishmael, I’ve been called worse by cat owners, I’m sure. Fat Cat is just about having fun. Being free to put down on paper that inner dialogue about the oft-times absurd nature of the world, full of mystery and wonder. Cats and sailors, boats and bartenders, musicians and mug-a-lumps which are imaginary furry creatures that our son and I made up when he was young. That’s what you do when you are a parent who is allergic to cats, you create mug-a-lumps named Fred, Murgatroyd, and a couple of other names I’ve forgotten. But I will never forget when we brought our son home from the hospital long after I first saw him “emerging” in the birthing room where he looked kind of like a small alien with light purple glop all over…but when we got home his mom put him on my shoulder and chest and he snuggled up against me and burrowed into my heart as I stood very still (initially terrified and then suddenly a door opened up inside me) Standing very still was I, in utter bliss listening to this little creature snore softly as my world turned completely upside down. So all kidding aside–be it a human, a dog or, yes, even a cat…it’s all good if it’s about love. And that is what many a good story is usually about, Leila. Love.