Written by Dan Lovatt.
The cats had barely finished fucking by the time he finally reappeared downstairs. I tried my best to not make eye contact with the receiver for twenty-five minutes. The female one had a lazy eye and as they purred and humped away in the corner, I tried to distract myself by thinking about whether I’d seen a cat with a lazy eye before. Can cats have lazy eyes? Or was the lazy eye a less dignified manifestation of a cat sex face? Curiosity hadn’t killed the cat; it laboured to not watch the cat get shagged. On my lap was a battered GQ magazine, an edition from 2016. I opened it in the middle and landed on an article that discussed the new dopamine-fasting craze celebrities had vowed made for a better, more wholesome life. Dopamine is basically deep-fried food on the new age pleasure scale now. A break from which purged the mind and soul of ghastly ordinariness. I turned the page to Gwyneth Paltrow’s testimony and a piece of white tissue paper slid out onto the floor. Given its position in the magazine, it was evident that no person or feline had paid a moment’s notice to their advice. Hedonism was on tap here. From upstairs, a recurring click of a lighter reaffirmed that fear.
As the cats scampered into the back room, he flung his limp arm in my face to reveal the purple scar that ran down his arm. He pulled out a box of tablets from his back pocket and conceded that, if it wasn’t for one of them with every meal, he would’ve lost his arm. Although I imagined that the tablets would have lost some of their potency when cocktailed with other, self-prescribed narcotics. One of the fuckers had bitten him, except it wasn’t one of the fuckers that was fucking. The wound quickly became septic. After leaving it to the grace of God for four weeks, he eventually swooned down to the hospital and made it in time to save his arm. There were ten in total, he boasted. Accommodated at a cost of £700 a month. A reasonable £50 a week on cat food. The absurdity of the cat coitus had somehow distracted me from the other six perched beneath coat pegs and on the arms of his Chesterfield settees- all either licking themselves or slashing at invisible mice. Quasi-Joe Exotic then confessed that there were another two fighting upstairs. I quivered at the sight of their dominance. The devils had pillaged his trade quarters and had now advanced upstairs to invade his one bedroom flat.
His skin, a pasty grey married with a piss tinge of yellow. A skin tone unprecedented in humans, perhaps only comparable to an ill pigeon. As he parted his lips to laugh off his ailment, he exhibited at least four black teeth at the back of his mouth. He’d lost at least two stone since quarantine. Decades of heroin or cocaine addiction were finally banging down the door. It was difficult to deduce which one, as he often fluctuated between effervescent and paranoid predictions of a looming one-party state, and accidentally clipping other customers ears with scissors. I was led to the chair and in those anxious four steps, he swiped two cats from my path with his foot. He took the scissors in his working hand, drew a unusually long breath and asked me how much I wanted off the top.
Image: Rob Hammer, Angels Barber Shop.
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