I DIDN'T GET ALONG WITH HER CAT, Onion Ring. I didn't start it. The first time I came into contact with him, he hissed at me. He attacked my feet. We made light of the whole thing. I said to her, "Your cat is pure evil."

"He's just getting used to you."

Sure, I could understand that. She was just getting used to me too. We had been seeing each other for a little while and it wasn't too long before we decided that we wanted to live together. Just the three of us in a small apartment.

Onion Ring was a white cat with eyes that could easily become red. She had rescued it from a shelter when she was in college. You and I both know how sinister a white cat can be. They have lousy attitudes. They often just sit there in a miserable ball, it's eyes in tight slits of hate staring at the rug with it's paws tucked under itself like it's sitting on a demonic egg.

For the first few weeks of us living together, the cat stayed clear of me. After an adjustment period it decided that every time I got out of my chair at the kitchen table to get a new cup of coffee or whatever that it was going to make itself comfortable in my spot. I would turn back and there he would be.

"Get out of my chair, cat." I would say.

"He's just keeping it warm for you." She would say.

Sure, funny at first. Look at the cute old cat licking it's ass on my chair. After a steady never ending routine of this, it quickly became annoying. There was never a break from it. The cat would be vigilantly waiting unseen in the shadows for the slightest chance for it's opportunity to steal my chair. Now, don't think that I came into the house and stole his favorite spot. I said to her, "Did he always like to sit in that chair?"

"Only since you got here."

Of course, it goes without saying, Onion ring never took her seat when she got up for a moment. He only took mine. Also, initially, I would always find the spot open. He would wait for you to sit there. I suspected that he took great pleasure in this. He also took great pleasure in ripping my hands and arms to shreds when I tried to pick him off of the seat.

"You should feed him." She said. "That would make him like you more."

"I'm not feeding that cat." First of all, why would I give sustenance to a creature that hated my guts down to its very core. Also, the wet cat food, that she insisted on giving him (because it was chock full of essential nutrients) really made me gag. I would practically dry heave when I had to smell her opening up a can for him. Just the thought of having to do it myself made my stomach sour and my mouth sweat.

So I never fed him.

Something of a wedge was placed between me and her because of this cat. My lack of an attempt to compromise with the animal and meet it on friendlier terms was driving me and her apart. "What can I say, your cat is an asshole."

"So are you."

There was no arguing that line of defense.

A series of random attacks were always in line for me. Nothing major. I mean, it was just a five pound cat but nonetheless, I would be walking around the house in my socks and the cat would latch onto my feet and bite the living hell out of me through my socks. I'd actually leave a blood trail on the living room rug. Once, I was crouched down in the hallway getting some new sheets out of the closet and here comes her maniac cat, he jumps up on my back, digs his claws in and bites the hell out of the nape of my neck. Before I can even react, it bounces away, practically running up the side of wall, disappearing behind the couch.

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About Bud Smith

Bud Smith lives in NYC, and works heavy construction in New Jersey, building and maintaining power plants and refineries. His books are the novels Tollbooth and F-250, the short story collection Or Something Like That and the poetry collection Everything Neon. www.budsmithwrites.com
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The Halfway House:

ZERO Morning ...
The Halfway House
by Robin Wyatt Dunn