Thick-skinned Cat's Can't Hurry Love

Thick-skinned Cat's Can't Hurry Love

Well, this is the first of what I hope will be a regular installment here.
Each month (give or take) I plan to post a piece of fiction from a guest contributor.

This month’s
Story Of The Month comes to us from Kyle Hemmings.

Thick-skinned Cats Can’t Hurry Love
Kyle Hemmings

Kat is looking for a boy with green pumpkin eyes, the kind that glow in the after-glow. Darkness may be his sister who died at a young age, falling from a tenement window. Nobody heard the sound. Nobody can confirm the progress of their own deaths. It's just another unspoken lie, the consistency of peanut butter eaten from fingers. Kat thinks she met this boy one night at the Soho club, Detritus from Stars. She was too drunk to laugh at the number of krazy girls falling on their asses or pretending to be suicidal cherry blossoms. It was obvious that nobody on the dance floor had any kind of glue.

The boy with green after-glow eyes was saying something about sole or soul, then he whispered into Kat's ear that they could both have type XX blood. He disappeared and Kat went home with a stranger who had an arthritic mother still living with him. On an old army cot, a real collector's item from the 4th Ave. Wars, they were quiet, palm against each other's mouth, dancing without the need for amphibious feet. In the morning, Kat slipped past the snores and goat-sounds of the arthritic mother, who slept with her shoes on. At home, Kat had the sensation of green fur falling from her life, which she associated with the boy she never got to know. She thought about him throughout her day at the paralegal office, among the Tupperware parties and the bosses banging shadows against walls, among the men who had given up on speaking and those who had become high-tech walkie talkies without the need for charging.

Kat visits the old magician, Octosullus, on the second floor above an antique lamp shop in Chinatown. She tells him about the boy who had whispered code into her ear, about the dream-type they might both share. Octosullus listens patiently; he has miniature fir trees in his eyes. The boy who will love you, he says in a voice of spark and red leaf, has a double X cut into his heart. But be careful at night. This is a city of serial killers who work slow and without electric drills.

The old man says that he needs to see Kat's heart.

Kat stands and pulls off her Tee shirt, the one with The DeathRock Mutants design. Octosullus reaches inside the body cage and pulls out the heart with the ease of pulling rabbit tails from under the streets. Yes, says the old man, inspecting the tortuous vessels, it has a double X near the coronary. He must have touched you in some way. You will find him on the outskirts of the city. Only at night. He can't sleep. He collects the edges of all sorts of things. He is bleeding from your wireless love. He might return to you when you feel love is impossible.

I never thought love was impossible, says Kat in a soft, wiry tone. I always thought it was improbable. But then again there are pigeons in the air.

Yes, says the old man, nodding, there are pigeons in the air.

Kat twists her head and torso through the Tee shirt. She sits down and stares pensively at the old man. His eyes are tired; the fir trees sink into a red dusk. She listens to the rustle on the pre-dawn street, the tough talk of jealous lovers: man to man, girl to guy, self to self. She sees herself and the green-eyed boy lying side by side near dumpsters, the next casualties in the 4th Ave. Wars. Perhaps murdered by the loveless mutants living on L-shaped streets, turtle-shell sub-lets. But the moon will still rise. Young girls with odango hairstyles, who loved being called "Bunny," will still pose before lonely mirrors. And the cats. The cats will survive too.

Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poems: Avenue C (Scars Publications), Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), and Amsterdam & Other Broken Love Songs (Flutter Press). He has been pubbed at Gold Wake Press, Thunderclap Press, Blue Fifth Review, Step Away, Elimae, and The Other Room. He blogs at