Q and A

Q and A

I’m sitting here quietly in my cell waiting for the guards to arrive. Today’s my big day. The state of Florida is throwing me a special party and I’m the guest of honor. Soon I’ll be strapped into a big chair and then I’ll get the shock of my life. Or death.

How did I come to death row, you ask? It’s simple really. I asked a question. That’s right, I asked a simple question and the next thing you know, the judge is banging his gavel and the courtroom is buzzing and whoosh… off I go to prison.

Before incarceration I was a simple, quiet guy. I loved to read, loved to cook and most of all, I loved my cat. He had the appearance of a miniature black panther, his sleek ebony coat gleamed in the beams of sunshine in which he loved to nap. Shadow. His name was Shadow.

The day before Christmas I left early to finish some last minute shopping for my grandparents, the only family I had. It was a cold December in the Sunshine State. Coldest winter in decades the weatherman said. Bits of snow still rested on the palmetto leaves outside my house from the light dusting we’d gotten the night before. Snow in Florida. What a novelty.

When I turned back onto my street, my gaze caught the lights from the fire trucks. Several vehicles were parked askew about 500 yards down.

“Oh man,” I thought. “Somebody’s not having a good day.” I had no idea at the time that somebody was about to be me.

When they finally allowed me to enter the charred remains of my home, I bolted towards the front door. I was met by a stocky firefighter who shambled out the entrance. He stopped me and asked if I was the resident. I told him I was, my voice quivering with fear and shock. He looked me in the eye and asked, “Do you have a cat?”

“Yes!” I sputtered back, wide-eyed. I hoped for the best.

“Well ya don’t anymore!” he grinned as he pushed past me.

His words sank deep and for some reason, the image of his face burned itself into my mind.

Later, I learned that Shadow had died not from smoke inhalation, but rather the searing air had scorched his lungs. His death had been painful and he’d been alone. I found him lying at the end of my bed.

I learned the name of the fireman that had given me the news of my cat. I learned his address. And about a week later, I paid his house a visit.

When he returned home, he found me waiting for him on his small porch. I assume he was not expecting company. He seemed rather surprised to see me, or maybe it was the blood that dripped from the axe in my hand that caught his eye. When he stopped cold in his tracks I felt it was the right time to ask my question. It was the question that landed me here.

“Hello, Mr. Taylor. Do you have a family?”

The guards are here now. I have to go. I’ll be seeing you.



Continuing Conversations With a Cat (5)

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

It was time to clean the litter box again. Not my favorite chore, but with three cats it’s a very regular task. I have one of those dome-shaped litter boxes that’s supposed to cut down on the smell and mess. I removed the lid and set it to the side and bent down to begin scooping out the girls “gifts”. Yay.

Autumn loves when I do this. She likes to play inside the lid and pretend it’s her private cat fort. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her dash inside the entrance and poke her little fuzzy face out. I let her have her fun while I finished my cleaning.

When I was done, I walked towards the lid to put it back atop the base. I heard a voice from underneath cry out “Halt! What’s the password?”

Continue reading “Continuing Conversations With a Cat (5)”

Continuing Conversations With a Cat (3)

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

I heard a noise coming from my kitchen. In a small apartment with three cats, I knew this was probably the harbinger of something I really didn’t want to see. None the less, I ventured into the kitchen to investigate. A paper bag was on the floor and I spied a long black tail poking out of it.

“Autumn, what are you doing?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

The tail disappeared and out popped a small black fuzzy head with pointy ears. “What?” she asked.

“I said, what are you doing?”

“I’m playing space cat, of course!” she replied.

“I see,” I said. “And how do you play ‘space cat’?”

Her head turned and she dove back into the bag. I heard her say “Vroom!” as the bag slipped forward on the kitchen floor. I guess that was my answer.

Continue reading “Continuing Conversations With a Cat (3)”

Continuing Conversations With a Cat (2)

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

Autumn came running into my office and jumped up on my desk.

“Hey!” I yelled. “Get off the desk.”

“I’m sorry, can’t hear you,” she said looking around. “Speak up.”

“Ha ha, very funny,” I replied. “Now get down.”

“Wha? You’re breaking up. Are you driving next to a mountain? I can’t… huh, what?”

“Oh, you’re hilarious. Seriously, get down,” I said, getting slightly annoyed.

Autumn gingerly danced over my desktop accoutrements and hid behind my laptop screen. All I could see was a long black tail and two black ears poking out from beyond the screen.

Continue reading “Continuing Conversations With a Cat (2)”

Continuing Conversations With a Cat

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

Autumn walked into my office.

“Hey!” she said loudly.

“Hey!” she said again.

“Hey, I noticed that there was no wet food in my bowl so… yeah. Maybe you could make that happen?” she asked me.

“There’s no food in your bowl because you don’t get wet food for another four hours,” I replied, not looking away from my laptop. “6 p.m. every night. You know that.”

“So does that mean now?” she asked. “Cats aren’t really good with time.”

I sighed heavily. “So I’ve noticed,” I replied looking down at her. “No, that does not mean now. It means later than now.”

“Why do you always speak in riddles?” she asked, looking annoyed.

Continue reading “Continuing Conversations With a Cat”

Still More Conversations With a Cat

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

I was sitting on my sofa watching TV. Autumn came into the living room and jumped onto my lap.

“Oh, well hello there,” I said to her.

“You can start petting me now,” she said with a tone that made it clear this was not a request.

“Is that so?” I asked with a slight smirk on my face. “I’ve been given permission to pet you, huh?”

“Yes, and please follow the instructions this time. First, start by scratching behind my ears and then the top of my head. Follow that by stroking me down my back. Once you get to my tail, scratch me at the base for no more than 30 seconds. You may then stroke my tail. Once that’s done, repeat several times.”

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Even More Conversations With a Cat

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

I needed to go to the grocery store, so I grabbed my socks and shoes and sat down on my sofa. Autumn walked in.

“Yay! It’s playtime!” she yelled and bounded over to me.

“What?” I asked.

She grabbed my left foot and started gently gnawing on it. “You’re covering your feet. That means it’s playtime,” she said happily.

“Ow!” I yanked my foot away from her. “No, it’s not playtime. I’m going out for a bit.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said. “We always play when you cover your feet.”

“No, you always come and attack my feet whenever I try to put my shoes on,” I said, feeling irritated. “There’s a difference.”

“Die!” she yelled as she pounced on my shoe.

Continue reading “Even More Conversations With a Cat”

More Conversations With a Cat

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

I was working on my laptop when Autumn walked in. “Why do you sit there staring at that window?” she asked.

“I’m working on some things,” I replied.

“But you’re just sitting there,” she said. “How are you working?”

“I’m writing,” I said, not really wanting to explain.

“Are you staring at birds?” she asked. “I stare at birds out of my window thing. It’s a lot bigger than your window thing. Are you staring at birds?”

Continue reading “More Conversations With a Cat”

Conversations With a Cat

Never argue with a cat. You can't win.
Never argue with a cat. You can’t win.

Autumn came running into my room. She was her usual excited self. “We’re under attack!” she cried frantically. I should expect these kinds of comments from her considering what a vivid imagination she has. Her comprehension of the world is very restricted, which is understandable considering she’s only seen small glimpses of it through the windows of my apartment. Granted, she wandered outside for the first few months of her life before finding me, but she was too young to really process much. Did I mention that Autumn is a cat?

Continue reading “Conversations With a Cat”