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Sunday Times Books LIVE

Byron Loker

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Black cat

So I Iost one of my four temporary charges–three black cats and a black dog–for a day and it was a short trip from there to despair and searching of the soul and such matters. I got to thinking about how I should be somewhere else, in my own home (with my own dog) and not wearing someone else’s for a week like a sorry hermit crab, talking to someone else’s beloved pets like a crazy man–they just stare back in what looks like alarm and then bolt and hide for as long as they’re hungry–and to hell with cats anyway, who just want to run away for good as soon as they find the gap to a better life.

The little one, Pip, however, seems to like me, comes over a-purring every so often, now lies contentedly over there beside the wood-burning stove. Old, sweet Shadow is a fine companion too; tolerates me towing him out for his walk, like this morning, a fine mist of snow suddenly sprung in the air from the fall–very late in coming. There he’ll go, limping along slightly ahead of me on his leash, nose to the ground, sniffing out who knows what mysterious delights, just peachy with this whole state of affairs, while I stomp along, scanning for a runaway black cat, darkly prognosticating.

Then, towards sundown, there she is, the lost one, peeking at me over the top step of the basement staircase and running back to hide.


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