Two Black Cats in the Garden

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Cats & things

Over ten years ago we adopted two black cats via the RSPCA, one dainty and friendly, the other fat and feral – they were sisters, two years old. The RSPCA were extremely thorough – they sent an inspector to visit us at home to check if we were suitable, then they inoculated and ID chipped the animals before we were allowed to take them.

two_black_cats_in_the_garden

This is the painting I did of the ‘Two Black Cats in the Garden’. It was sold a couple of years later. I miss it . . .

The piece below is what I wrote at the time.

There are cats; there are things. Sometimes cats are the things and sometimes the things are cats. Two black cats came into our lives. The big one disappeared for a week, then came back for food and wouldn’t come in or near us. So I trapped it, like a man, with a wooden compost bunker, a broken bamboo and a length of blue nylon string that my wife bought on Carmarthen market when she was thinking about making spinning wheels for a skills lesson on a teaching course last November. She settled for mini pompoms in the end, in fluorescent coloured yarn.

When I trapped the cat, it mauled me – bit through to the bone of the little finger of my left hand and left me with a cluster of deep scratches on the back of my right hand.

I held the beast tight against my chest and got it into the house, proud of my hunting skills – it was a macho affair. The cat pissed on me and hid under the kitchen units. The next morning she was still lurking under the sink and I decided she could have her way and her freedom; so I poked her out with the handle of a brush and shooed her out of the back door. I relaxed, thinking I’d never see her again.

I’ll never forget the images of that cat collected over those few days – a vicious feral beast, terrified and terrifying, with hard white teeth and crisp sharp claws – the smell of the piss, the fur, raised and dirty with cobwebs from under the sink, the eyes pleading, frightened, threatening. The lope as it ran down the garden path, and its teeth piercing the flesh on both sides of my little finger.

Then suddenly, two weeks after she left and immediately following the installation of a cheap cat-flap for the benefit of her sibling, she came back and called me from the living room with her meows because she wanted food. Then she padded around the house, soft and friendly as if she’d never been away.

The other cat got freaked out and they hissed at each other, so we coaxed big puss outside for the night and locked the cat flap.

A few days later, just as the cats were settling down at last, my wife got a massive allergic reaction to them that required steroid injections at the hospital.

Sadly, I took the lovely vicious felines back to the RSPCA.

PS: A few weeks later I got a phone call from a vet’s practice in Blackpool telling me that a black cat registered to me had been found on the loose in the town. She’d been recognised from her ID chip.

Click here for another post about the Two Black Cats

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Opening Chapters of Cheats and Liars

Updated May/June 2013

The first three chapters of Cheats and Liars. Publication Spring 2013.

CLFRont temp-small-resEveryone’s a cheat or a liar, or both. What happens when the Greatest Living Artist in Wales decides to stop playing the game?

Brian Llewelyn is an artist at the peak of his powers, in fact he’s the Greatest Living Artist in Wales. Despite his success, or perhaps because of it, his life seems worthless. He decides to redeem himself by investing heavily in a community arts project.

Following this altruistic path exposes the fragile foundations his success is built on. His life disintegrates and his career evaporates as the corrupt liars and cheats propping him up turn on him.

Cheats and Liars is an exploration of success and its fallout set deep in the psyche of Brian Llewelyn, The Greatest Living Artist in Wales.

* First rough draft is complete. Here’s the first 3 chapters while the rest of the book is being edited for self-publishing in Spring 2013 – unless a publisher makes me an offer before then 😉

* Update May 2013 – Proofreading almost complete – nearly there

* Updated with new small edits – June 7 June 21, 2013

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

CHEATS AND LIARS

You should know that I am a cheat and a liar.

 

O N E

“Are you ready?”

I’m in the kitchen snaffling a crumpet dripping with raspberry jam. Of course I’m not ready. I’m never ready. I am a work in progress.

“Come on. You don’t want to be late for your own exhibition.”

I gulp. A crumb of crumpet sticks in my throat. I cough and the crumb dislodges. Jam stained spittle dribbles over my lip.

“Look at you.”

She tuts and picks up a damp dishcloth.

After she rubs the goo from my mouth and from the lapel of the blue linen jacket I grab the car keys.

“I’m driving,” she says, taking the keys from my hand. “You can drink. You always do. Just try not to offend too many people.”

“What’s it matter? They stick like dry shit whatever I say.”

“Brian! You may be known as the Greatest Living Artist in Wales but nobody likes an arsehole.”

“Like? What’s like got to do with it? They don’t care and I don’t give a toss. It’s not real Lizi; it’s a performance.”

“Then perform, pretend.”

She’s right, and I’ll need to drink so that I can stomach the unspeakable pricks. Every year I bare my arse and they come like slime to a stagnant pond, for I have no talent and they have no taste. This isn’t my life. This is some jerk spewing on cotton canvas and picking the overfull pockets of the privileged and the gullible. The gentle boy in me is lost; he’d feel sad to look through these eyes now, to see my betrayal with its parade of pseudosmilers and its fake humility. I am a hollow husk, devoid of depth. I am dead. Continue reading

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