eat a little something
takes place over two days and is told by a young man who
slowly begins to realize a great hunger is not only affecting
his cat, but also others around him. His journal tells
of this as he too begins to feel the pangs of hunger gnawing
at him. Bupkiss is a Yiddish word. It means "less
than nothing". A homeless person with a toothache
has less than nothing.
It is funny now that I think of it. Grandmother used to tell me
"Feed a cold, starve a fever". I wonder what
her advice would be now.
The real start of this story began yesterday when Bupkiss was noisier
than usual. Bupkiss, my cat, is my alarm clock. You could
not get a better wake up call or one more punctual than
that of a cat. Bupkiss wakes me up by sharpening her nails
against the door frame of my bedroom door. The whole frame
itself is a mess of splinters where she has steadily been
hacking away since I brought her home from the pet store
as a kitten. If I kept my door open to her, I'd never
get any sleep. Bupkiss tends to be more nocturnal than
Usually she does her little number at about 5:30 or so. It gets
my morning started. I shower and shave and then give her
a morning bowl of cat food. We have the routine down pat.
When I am ready to leave, she jumps up into the cut out
section of a wall near the door. It is her final demand
that I show her some affection before trudging out to
do that which keeps us both fed. She needs a daily ear
massage and that is all part of the ritual, too.
When I looked at the clock yesterday, however it was closer to
4 am and way too early for a cat with such regularity
as Bupkiss. I got up and opened the door. Bupkiss did
her usual carioca dance, which was her way of leading
me to her food dish. I looked around the apartment and
nothing looked unusual or out of place. There was nothing
different, except for the damned cat.
"Hey, don't you know what time it is?", I said
to her, as if she understood my every word. "I'm
not going to start getting you used to waking me up this
early, cat. I feed you now and we're going to go down
a dark road of me following your time schedule. No way
is that going to happen."
I picked her up and gave her a reassuring hug and a pat of the
head. I walked her back into the living room and put her
down in her chair. Normally Bupkiss would have been fast
asleep by 4 am. Nothing felt wrong about the chair and
the living room looked just as it always did. I couldn't
imagine what had disturbed her sleep as we are far enough
above street level for any noise not to reach us. The
neighbors? Quiet as church mice, which is just the way
Bupkiss was not having any of this nonsense about going back to
bed. She leapt from the chair and danced her way back
to the food dish, looking at me over her shoulder. I am
nothing but a sucker for the gentler sex, so I gave in.
I put a few pieces of her favorite Topini cat treat in
her bowl. The stuff costs more than my own treats, but
a cat has to be spoiled or why have one? Normally I'd
have dropped one or two in the bowl, but I wanted to practice
diplomacy so I gave her a rare reward of four pieces.
She's normally a very finicky eater. She will spend a good amount
of time inspecting the dish before condescending to eat
what is given to her. Not yesterday. Man oh man. She just
jumped at the bowl even as the first piece hit. She ate
it like a wolf and the same went for the other three pieces
I dropped into her bowl.
"Piggy today, aren't we Princess?" Bupkiss looked
up at me from her bowl with that "well, where's the
rest?" look she sometimes uses.
"That's enough for now. I'll give you breakfast at the
same time as usual. I'm going to try and get some sleep
now." I headed back to my room, closed the door and
behind it a plaintive yow, in that distinctively high
pitched voice she sometimes uses when frustrated. She
scratched at the door again and I had to shout at her
through the door to knock it off. Luckily the walls are
thick enough for the neighbors not to hear such nonsense.
A conversation like this in the bedroom would lead them
to think all kinds of things if they heard it.
Bupkiss scratched the door again at 5 am and then again at 5:30.
She was being a real bitch, but it never occurred to me
to wonder why her behavior was so unusual this day. I
would soon discover why.
To be continued...