I’d edited CORRESPONDENCE past the last item any inserted plate would refer to and saved it.  I was saving it as rich text when the screen went white and froze, the computer in fugue in a way I’d never seen it do before but with enough presence of …mind to offer the usual false choices of which only one will work.  This repaired the comments but regressed the text so that I might have had to do all the work all over again.  I found a text which did have the most recent work intact and plumped for that, the comments in complete disarray, quite uncorrelated to text but, at this most crucial of half-hours, totally dispensable. 

A neighbour bewailed the putative death of her cat.  “If it does come back, it is not coming back from the dead,” I felt the need to preclude any schizophrenic interpretation on her part.  I dreamt of the cat.  Next night she was at my door again just as I was about to watch ‘Waking the Dead’, part two.  She got short shrift for that and another reason.  She has this catch phrase ‘to cut a long story short’ and I kept cutting into her long story with, ‘yes, you told me that,’ in order to get to the nub: the dying cat had indeed come back and, being taken off by a vet, was crying to its mistress who said she comforted it.  “You couldn’t do that; it was going to its death,” with the implication, on her decision.    

In the morning, I called in at her door.  She didn’t like my use of the word, killed, night before, preferring the phrase, put to sleep.  “That’s a euphemism,” I said, taking my leave as the door was closed on the face of truth. 

She apologised.  I was making a bee-line across the road for a paper when I saw her having tea and stopped.  The cat had wings in cat heaven.  “Was that a dream?”  No, reality.  It wasn’t people heaven where her dead boyfriend was but the one could be seen from the other.  “You know Christians deprived other animals of souls?”  She wasn’t a Xian; she had her own religion.  “So do I!”  She laughed at my idea of waiting till the bad neighbour, who’d refused to phone for me on my being beaten up and she doesn’t like either, really wanted my help, when I’d refuse and shut the door on him, as in the saga where a woman bides her time to exact exquisite revenge.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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