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A cat shows up on an old woman’s balcony—whether she wants it there or not.

David Gane
David Gane
4 min read
I was carspotting at sunset in Wiesbaden when I found this cat sitting at the window.
Photo by David Peters / Unsplash

☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.

The cat showed up on Tuesday. Hazel looked out on her deck and saw the orange cat with a white stripe on its chest sitting by her flower bed on the balcony.

“How the dickens did you get there?” she asked as she stepped outside. She was on the seventh floor, and unless it fell from a floor above or crawled up the side of the concrete, there was no way it should be there.

“No matter.” She emptied a box of Christmas decorations and shooed it inside with a broom before putting on the lid.

She considered leaving a note for the other residents, but that seemed too much work.

She carried it down in the elevator, stepped outside, and dumped it on the grass. It landed and took off toward the street. She didn’t care if it got hit.

She told her daughter that night about it but seemed shocked about her careless disregard for the cat’s safety.

“It’s not my problem.”

The next day it was back on her deck, and this time she ignored it and left it out there. The day was hot and sooner or later, if she didn’t give it food or water, the cat would move on. She closed her curtains and watched tennis on the television.

It was still there the following day, asleep on one of her chairs. It had also knocked over two of her planters.

“Alright, enough is enough.” She tried to shoo it into a box, but it must’ve learned because it avoided it altogether.

“Fine. Do whatever you want.”

She closed the balcony door and locked it.

She called her daughter by mid-afternoon.

“The cat is back.”

“Maybe he belongs to someone.”

“I don’t care. He’s on my deck.”

“So? Is he hurting you?”

“He ruined my plants.”

“Well, then take him in and call the humane society.”

“I’m not bringing him in here.”

“Well, then I’m not sure what to tell you.”

This answer seemed typical of her daughter. She was never one much to help.

She tried to ignore the cat, but by evening, it started meowing by her open window.

“Go away.”

The cat didn’t go away.

She called her daughter again. “The stupid cat won’t stop bothering me.”

“He’s probably stuck out there and wants to get back home.”

“Well, then he should go.”

She hung up shortly afterward. Obviously, her daughter was an idiot who couldn’t help.

The cat continued meowing at her window. She shut the window, but the cat continued. She worried the neighbours would complain.

She brought the cat inside and shut it in her spare bedroom. Tomorrow, she’d write a note and leave it downstairs at the entrance.

The cat meowed and scratched at the door.

“Enough of that. You’re going to get me in trouble with the neighbours.” the woman said.

The cat ignored her.

Maybe it was hungry or thirsty. She searched through her cupboard of canned tomato soup and chocolate pudding but thought neither would appeal to it. She had thawed a chicken pot pie in the fridge the day before, so she pulled it out and microwaved it.

She spooned a bit into a saucer and mixed it with milk. As she opened the door to slip it inside, the cat rushed between her legs into the room.

“Stupid thing,” she grumbled. By the time she turned, the cat had disappeared.

“Where’d you go?”

She searched her kitchen and living room, but there was no sign of it. Her condominium was no bigger than a prison cell, so it wouldn’t be hard to find it.

She checked the bathroom. Nothing.

That left only her bedroom. She shut the door and looked in the corners. Again, nothing.

“Don’t be wrecking my clothes,” she said as she opened her closet. She pulled back her dresses, her old coats, and her luggage—no sign of it.

The only place left was under the bed. But if she kneeled to look, she’d never get back up.

To hell with it. This cat was more trouble than it was worth. Tomorrow she’d call someone to take it out of here.

She went back into the kitchen and grabbed the leftover meat pie, along with a chocolate pudding, and sat herself down in front of the TV. Tennis was over, but golf had started.

She’d barely had a bite before the orange cat was on her lap, its butt in her face.

“Get off now,” she ordered, but the cat ignored her.

“Go on.” She gave it a push. It shifted, readjusted, then plopped down on her lap.

“Stupid thing,” she muttered.

It started to purr.

“Don’t think about eating my supper.”

The cat sniffed at her spoon as she took a bite.

Tomorrow the cat would have to go. But tonight, she’d call her daughter and tell her all about it.

Writing notes:

My sister gave me this idea, so she gets all the credit. I don’t have much to say about this one, except it is both the easiest one I’ve ever written and the longest. Take that as you will.

I’m pretty sure I could write a book about this woman.

Fast Fiction

David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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