Texas Summers by Marisha Hicks

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A cat warehouse sounds like an incredibly stressful place to live. Never mind that it’s hot. Still a job is a job in this economy, right? I wonder what did send the narrator back to Texas. I like to think that it was homesickness after all and not the cats. Though it could well have been monotony. Send in your deadpans, your heehaws, your laugh-out-louds. Always: flashfiction@sacurrent.com. Happy reading.

—Lyle Rosdahl

Texas Summers by Marisha Hicks

I lose a cat.  I live in a warehouse, on the wrong side of San Francisco, full of cats.  We have different priced cages, but the cat owners who want one of the nice carpeted cages pay 400 dollars a week.  We’re not supposed to call them cages.  I pay 1,000 dollars a month for my room that, for some reason, gets hotter than a Texas summer.  I’m supposed to call it a good deal.  I share a kitchen with the cats. The cat I lose is cute and cuddly, but bigger than a cat.  He has a partner with long hair who is still in the cage.  I look under my bed, under the front desk, behind plants, in other cages, in the toilet.  I yell the cat’s name down the street.  “Ringo . . .Ringo . . . Ringo . . . Ringo . . . Ringo. . . here kitty, kitty, kitty.”   His name bounces off the warehouses.  I stop yelling in fear that someone out there knows him. I have to go into the bad side of the wrong side.  If the cat’s not there, I’ll be moving back to real Texas summers.  I walk behind the cat warehouse and I crawl though a hole in a chain linked fence under the freeway.  I’m at the mouth of a pocket of the bad side of the wrong side.  But it feels like a new city.  I see blankets and trash.  I see piles of ragged, dirt caked clothes. I see people standing still and buzzing at the same time.  They see me and dirty faces of all ages and colors look at me, but no cat faces.  I quickly slip back through the hole in the fence. I look in every cage and every toilet of the cat warehouse.  I can stay with Alison in Arizona on my way back to Texas.  I look in every cage.  I look behind every toilet.  I check behind the desk.  She has an extra bedroom.  I look in every cage, in every hole, under the desk.  I slowly open the dryer door with my face scrunched.  I wait a few seconds and then force myself to look inside.  No cat, thank God. I look in every cage. “Ringo?”  I look behind every plant. “Ringo?”  I look behind every toilet. “Ringo?!”  I look under the desk.  My hands shake.  I look in every cage.  I tell myself, “You’ve looked in every cage.”  My hands shake even more.  I sit on the cold concrete floor. I hear scratching on a wall.  I grab a chair and peer into a hole.  A hole too tall and too small for a cat.  A hole that I looked in too many times today.  I look in the hole and cat eyes stare back at me. This is not how I move back to Texas. --- Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com. Send your flash to flashfiction@sacurrent.com.

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