Emily McPhillips has submitted a Cat Boat short story. thank you very much, Emily. good work. please submit any Cat Boat stories, poems, or sea shanties to chriskillen [at] gmail.com and i promise they will all be posted on here. it would be nice if there was a story for every one of the one hundred and fourteen cats on the Cat Boat.
here is Emily's story:
Her grace and poise made her the envy of all the lady cats.
Jackie O is at the stern of the boat, stretched out underneath a Japanese printed parasol. It is a fine day and the heat gently coaxes at her whiskers, and she is tinged with reminders of her late husband’s gentle nature.
The bug eyed sunglasses hide the glaze of her glassy eyes. She looks out at the sea, stares at the blue until all is sky and sea, all is cold and blue. The sun left without ever making a scene.
Jackie O lets down the parasol. She removes her sunglasses. She is a beautiful cat, a velvety black. Her movement is like a waltz and she waltzes to the very edge of the decking. She dances herself into the memory of all that are ever lucky enough to meet her. To them she is an intoxicating black liquor, a plight of wealth and good taste; a gloriously beautiful hangover.
A Diamond as Big as the Ritz watches her from a distance. Since the boat left the harbour he has been watching her. His looks are both innocent and sultry, a teaming of boyhood curiosity, and the wisdom that adulthood brings. He wants her. She is devastating. She is the stone cold wonder of the iconic Statue of Liberty. She has pulled apart all reason, all pride and all honour. She has done what the fear of war never could. She has taken this serviceman’s heart and claimed it in name and country. She has robbed him of all he ever had.
It is getting late and most of the cats are below deck, asleep. One cat is decorating the outer cabin with fairy lights; they are draped haphazardly, strewn and thrown in impassioned fever. Some of the bulbs shatter and the faintest tinkling of glass is heard pattering on the deck.
Jackie O weaves between the railings of the boat, weaves in and out like a needle and thread. Her slender form brushes the rails and sends ripples across her fur. A Diamond as Big as the Ritz is captivated by each and every moment, he lets out a satisfying purr, but Jackie O doesn’t hear, she is so lost in her own thoughts that the sea could swell leaving all to perish, and still she would be lost in wonder. A motionless embodiment of all that happiness could be. How peaceful she looks.
The fairy lights glow white. The boat must look beautiful in the middle of this ocean. Jackie O feels compelled by the light, it draws her in. A Diamond as big as the Ritz ushers himself more discreetly behind the cabin door, sighing as he does so, sighing at the light that so kindly lets him pay more detail to his unknowing sweetheart.
The strum of a guitar is heard. The Boss is tuning his guitar. He must be at the other end of the boat because neither Jackie O nor A Diamond as Big as the Ritz can see him. He plucks at the strings. The guitar is resting against the decking. He plays a song from the album Tunnel of Love. Both Jackie O and A Diamond as Big as the Ritz can’t contain their excitement, they both know this album so well. They both begin to stomp across the decking, dancing around each other, circling past one another. The Boss plucks at his guitar and he blows at his harmonica. He is a born entertainer. The dancing cats finally touch whiskers and they waltz in the dots of light. It feels like New Years Eve 1987.
A Diamond as Big as the Ritz sinks into the soft fur of Jackie O as though his paws were sinking into butter. The Boss sets some flares off, and the sky lights up in streaks of burning white. It is the climax of a sure fire box office hit.