It’s me, the cat formerly known as “Hairball.” Remember? I’m sure you do. I’m the one you euphemistically had “put down.” I think that’s the expression. But it was more like a contract killing, wouldn’t you say? I’ll never forget you taking me to that Fascist, the one in the white lab coat with the hypodermic needle. And all because I’d caught a cold, a lousy cold. Think about that the next time you get a sore throat.

Let’s face it, our relationship ended badly. I had eight more lives to live. Eight. How many more do you have? But on the other hand, our beginning wasn’t so great either. If you recall, you had some other lab coat human cut off my balls. That hurt, Ralph. That really hurt. And I’m not talking about the physical pain. That was bad enough. But no. I’m talking about male fulfillment. I’m talking about the primary reason to be a male cat.

If I’m honest, the only reason I stayed with you for as long as I did – the only reason I ever let you touch me – was the food. Where else was I going to get canned salmon? I had a thing for canned salmon. What can I say? It was my downfall while I was alive. And the only real satisfaction I ever got from living with you was farting under the table when you had one of your “dates” over for dinner. I loved it when they blamed you. And they always did. I was simply too cute to blame, wasn’t I? The bimbos you brought over loved me. It was my purrrr, that awesome baritone purrrr. It never failed. What they saw in you, however, was always a mystery to me. I know it wasn’t canned salmon. But sooner or later, they always did figure it out, didn’t they, Ralph? How many repeat dates did you have?

I realize this letter probably comes as a shock, but you see, over here on this side, we’ve learned to write. This letter was actually an assignment in my Posthumous Therapy class. It’s part of my recovery program. But trust me, I haven’t fully recovered. I have a long way to go. You’ll see when you get here. I’ll be waiting, Ralph. Like a cat.

Jim Woessner is a visual artist and writer living in Sausalito, California. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College and has had poetry and short fiction published in numerous online and print magazines.

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