New Fiction Writing: “Cats Typing Romance”, R. L. Saunders
F. D. C. Willard, a red tabby cross-bred housecat, was at his usual location for 3am. Typing out a new paper about helium-3 isotopes and the cosmic interrelationships of theoretical sub-orbital particles within nuclei.
Not that he was all that interested in the subject, but it was another chore of his.
His “master” complained sometimes of F. D. sleeping all day. But when you’re up most of the night writing a research paper, the one he would take credit for, the one that would advance his career, the one that got his pay raise, sometimes F.D. thought his master was really being a little bit hypocritical…
If he only knew his cat was writing them for him.
F. D. (who the family called “Chester”) looked down at his red-tabby paws and sometimes wished he had regular hands. But didn’t want all the baggage that went along with it. A human body ate such strange things and needed more exercise. And then there was these odd “social engagements” they went to. He was happier being a cat. And so kept typing one paw after the next, one key at a time.
“Hey F.D. How’s it going today?” A calico female slunk across the polished mahogany table and settled down next to him, reading the screen. “I see you’re into the meat of it now. How do you do all that math and keep it straight?”
“That’s not the problem, it’s translating it into Academicese that’s the trick. I sometimes wish I had it as simple as you and just wrote romances.”
“Sure, and don’t you think it gets a bit difficult describing human sex and foreplay in veiled terms? Talk about running out of modifiers…”
“You do have a point there.”
The red tabby continued typing with his “two-paw” method, careful to precisely hit the grey laptop keys exactly.
The calico sat quietly, reading along with his typing, respecting the tabby’s concentration.
Occasionally, the tabby would have to stop and stretch, as sitting arched over the keyboard to hit the number keys, as well as the ctrl-function combinations, was a stretch. Fortunately, there were shift and ctrl keys on both sides of the old laptop keyboard, so a little forethought and practice made the typing easier. At one of these breaks, the calico again broke the silence of the early morning study.
“Hey, that was great news that you’d been cited over 50 times for that paper.”
“How did you hear about it?”
“Oh the neighbor’s cat sent her congrats via their jack terrier. He was mooching out of the kibbles-and-bits left over from our black Lab when I walked in on him.”
“Well, that was nice of that Siamese. They are so inscrutable usually.”
“Yea, I sent your thanks back with the terrier. But she’s pretty easy to understand. You just need to squeeze your eyes shut a little bit.” They both chuckled at her inside joke. Everyone knew that racism was a made-up angst so humans could talk about it on their TV shows and shout it across political aisles at each other. The idea that a cat would stoop to identity politics was about as funny as their Superbowl commercials. All of them were funny, from a cat’s perspective.
H.D. turned his head to face the calico while he rested. “Tisha, how’s your latest coming?”
“Well, the plot is kinda intricate. They had sex in the first chapter, which is usually completely wrong. But in the second chapter, all that action turned out to be a wet-dream. It took a little work to get the ending right so the readers would keep going. We don’t want our readers to put the book down right off. And even the dream is risky. I think what is going to solve this is to make it even more randy than before and simply post it into a different sub-genre. Might use one of her old pen names to get those other books selling better. Come to think of it, that’s brilliant.”
“Do you often solve her marketing problems as well as plot holes?”
“Well, yes. Because she will get so wrapped up in the story that she forgets it has to sell as well. Or that she needs to leave some ‘catty’ comments on her social feeds to ‘engage’ her followers. At least tell them what she’s doing.”
H.D. turned up both sides of his mouth at the pun. That made his white whiskers twitch upward as well.
“Is she fine with finding all the writing you’ve done while she’s asleep?”
“Yea, I do it like you do. She’s got that side table by her side of the bed I can get up on and telepath to her at night. She then thinks that she wrote more the day before. I never tell her that her many distractions keep her from ever getting more than 500 words done between her many cups of coffee, phone calls, scanning Facebook, and online shopping. The Mistress thinks she’s doing two thousand words a day, and has memories of typing it all. Only with her fingers, and not my paws.”
“The telepath method is very useful with the Master as well.”
“And I thank you for coming up with it.”
“Oh, it wasn’t me, it was our black Lab Roger.”
“I’ve never seen Roger typing.”
“No, he’s not a writer. But he likes to get his walks. So he’ll come in in the early morning just before the wake and lay down on the floor by the bed. Then he’ll telepath of how much Master likes the smiles and wagging tail that comes after they both come back from a walk. And how Master gets his inspiration for his papers when he’s out ‘communing with nature.’ Never notices that Roger is dictating to him.”
“So Roger is helping Master with his papers?”
“He’s been doing it for years. Actually, I’ll come over during the day and the two of us will work out the math arguments and supports while it looks like we are both asleep. Both Master and Mistress think it’s just so cute to see us together on that oriental throw rug in the living room. If they just knew that it was the only quiet time we had for serious collaboration…”
“Humans can be so intolerant.”
“But they are so pliable. And we’ve gotten them all this way so far.” H. D. started typing again.
Tisha the calico rose, dropped silently to the carpeted floor, and quietly padded back toward the Mistress’ study in the other spare bedroom.
He’s right, she thought to herself, if it weren’t for their “pets”, humans would never have gotten out of their caves. Now we were teaching them theoretical physics and other rocket science, while their fiction teaches them morals and relationships. Pretty soon, they’d be ready for some real substantial training. Firetrucks had their dogs, ships had cats, mines had parakeets. Pets everywhere. Of course.
A smile graced her face, twitching her own gray whiskers. And then, the ongoing joke about “Global Warming” was a real hoot. You had to credit that stray Daisy that the Gores “found.” Shiloh, their black lab, wasn’t getting through to his master, Albert. The Lab had to get some help from a female poodle-cross who was more sensitive to human-think. Also, that poodle was able to snuggle with her mistress Tipper and set the joke. And then the other pets caught on and spread it through their “owners.” Humans can say the darndest things…
“I’ll have to write that story one day, as a parody.” she thought outloud to the empty study. Tisha paused to groom her calico back fur into place. You have to admit, she continued, its just too easy to influence political types desperately wanting to get press attention by saying “news-worthy” tidbits. Good thing they “invented” the Internet where nothing ever gets lost or forgotten.
His Shiloh must have been a real character. A regular Jay Leno of Labs…
Tisha looked around the darkened room as she entered. She didn’t much care for the pink and fuscia color scheme, or the smelly red or yellow roses that would come and go. At least in the early mornings she didn’t have to look at the garish decor in the dim light. There was plenty of room to sit in front of her pink laptop and get her work done. It had taken months of telepathic training to get her Mistress to first leave the top up, and then to push the laptop away from the edge when she was “done for the day.”
Tisha jumped lightly up to the chair and then to the desktop to resume her work. A single tap on the spacebar brought the dark grey LCD screen to life. Where were they? Oh, that’s right. He was trying to get his hand up the back of her blouse, and she was thinking that this was way too soon, and way too public. But she was torn between her almost un-natural attraction for him and the raging physical desires she had repressed for so long. Also, her inner propriety trained-in from that early childhood in the nunnery…
All was quiet in the early morning household. Except the human snores and the feline tik-tacking at the two keyboards a house apart.
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