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CATNAP

Rodolfo Elías

Felix walked in the living room, just as I was watching the part of a documentary where Herbert Huncke says: “a cat doesn’t worry about whether he has black fur, or red fur; he gets along with other cats. And if he doesn’t, he scraps with them a little bit and goes on about his business...” Felix stopped for a moment and stared at the television; then at Herbert Huncke; and finally at me. He gave me one of those looks that only Felix can give.
It was a documentary about the beatniks, and it was really cool, Huncke’s observation and everything. Felix’s demeanor and majestic presence made me think of a poem I read long time ago, maybe by Borges or one of those authors that usually say off-the-wall things, but that sometimes are right on point, like Huncke:
              You, in the moonlight,
              are the panther figure
              which we can only spy at
              from a distance.

Felix proceeded to lie next to the reclining chair. As he lay there with his upright head, he resembled an ancient sphinx, watching me sleep. I started nodding out, and the voice materialized just like that:
“Being a cat is not cool, man. Why do I have to cough up so many hair balls? Why do I have to lick my butt all the time?”
“I don’t know,” I heard myself saying. “It’s just animal nature, I guess. The same way that we humans have a human nature that causes us to do odd things.”
After saying the last sentence, I got really scared and struggled to awaken myself. I thought in my slumber that if I was talking with a cat, something was terribly wrong. I was drooling.
I shook my head to regain some more consciousness, and turned to look in Felix’s direction. I could swear he was laughing at me, so I jumped off the reclining chair, like I was ejected. When I tried to grab the cat he was already on his way out. Before he jumped outside through the pet door, he turned, and I thought I heard him say: “Later, dude.”