Author Topic: Short Story - Shop Girl  (Read 98 times)

Offline Sunnyb0ne

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Short Story - Shop Girl
« on: May 22, 2020, 06:08:57 PM »
Itís no goodóthe question just wonít go away. Itís burrowed under my scalp and itches worse than a second-hand wig. I worry at the void in my knowledge the same way my tongue keeps investigating that cavity where my tooth used to be.

I have to find out.

OK, switch on the computeróGod, it takes ages to boot up. While Iím waiting, I make the 6th cup of Java of the morning and try to control the twitching. My heightened, caffeine-boosted senses endure the nano-eternity of my PCís wake-up routine.


At last.

I double click the browser icon and Google awaits. With trembling fingers, I type; ĎHow many ways are there to skin a cat?í

There's little agreement in the options which appear as I click the various links. Maybe the answer depends on why you want to skin the cat in the first place. If you just want the meat, then I guess the cheese-grater option suggested in one of the replies on a Yahoo forum could be considered viable. But if you want to make a hat, or maybe a nice stylish pair of mittens, then itís a pretty useless idea. It still counts as a way to skin a cat though...

My butterfly mind leaps off at a tangent. Iíve got this book. With illustrations. Itís called, Ď101 Uses of a Dead Catí. I think my favourite is the pencil sharpener. None of them say anything about skinning it first though.

I click another link. Just some random numbersósome people have just picked one and posted it. Some of them just say one, and thatís nonsense. I can think of more than that. One guy says thirty-five, but I donít believe him. Anyway, there are no details.

I find a link to an article about Chinese bootleg fur traders. Man, what I read is sick. They keep all these cats in tiny cages and skin Ďem without bothering to kill Ďem first. I mean, why do that? You canít do a good job skinning a cat if itís wriggling all the time. It doesnít say whether they got more than one way of skinning Ďem either. I guess itís only logical though; you find a quick way that works and you stick with it. I click a few more links, but I start going round in circles. This is useless.

I make another cup of Java and smoke my 37th roll-up of the day. Time to engage the brain and start thinking for myself. Thinking for yourself is what marks out great minds from the hordes of Helots populating the world.

I pick up a pencil, but itís blunt and I donít have a dead cat to hand, so I put it down again. I find a biro at the bottom of a drawer and test it on the back of my hand. I barely notice the nicotine stains on my fingers. The pen works. Now all I need is some paper. I grab an old envelope, a white one, A5 size. Itíll do for a start. I try to write but my hand is shaking so bad that I have to take a break before Iíve put down more than 3 ways to skin a cat.

I light another roll-up, number 38, and make another cup of Java while the fag hangs from my bottom lip. Ash drops into the cup but I donít care. The smoke gets in my eyes, but I donít care. I need to take a piss. I care about that. My bladder is bursting. I step to the john and fumble with my zip and try to control my aim and the piss comes out blacker than when I used to drink Bacardi and Coke all night, blacker than Mugabe, blacker than an SS uniform.


It looks and feels like my soul is draining into the bowl. When Iíve finished I go back and drink the coffee I made with the fag-ash flavouring and light another roll-up from the dog-end of my last.

My hands wonít stop shaking. I canít read the spidery scrawl on the envelope. Thereís only one option left. I gotta do what great minds do. I gotta experiment. I go out and I stagger to the shops and buy a net, a sharp knife, a cheese grater and a lot of cat food.

Here, kitty, kittyÖ.

Itís late, Iíve run out of coffee and thereís no more tobacco. And thereís this hammering on the door. With eyes that can barely see I register the flickering of light outside the windows. Lots of different colours. I canít tell if itís real or just my eyes playing tricks. Thereís colour in the room too. Red: a lot of red. Red up the walls; red on the carpet that used to be blue; red on my arms, my hands, my clothes and on the pile of small skinned carcasses in the corner of the room. There are quite a few. I count forty-one. Forty-one, and all skinned differently. The pelts are neatly stacked on a chair and the gratings are in the wastebasket. The hammering sound makes a change from the sound of meowingóthatís stopped.

Then the hammering stops too and right after thereís the sound of splintering wood and then boots on the stairs. Lots of boots. I hear someone being sick and I feel the blows of fists and sticks. Itís a relief when everything goes dark. My last thought is, 'forty-oneóbut I ran out of cats...í