Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Stigma" by: B.G. Bell

by: B.G. Bell 

PRO SE PRESENTS Fantasy and Fear #2


          It was a nice apartment inside. But outside it was still an old motel, decaying concrete and rusty iron staircases. When the passing traffic had stopped paying to stay the night some realty corporation bought the place, sprayed some paint on the building and waited for it to fall apart. The people who could afford an outing stopped coming, and the people who couldn’t afford to get out moved in.
          Some of them brought pets.
          The cats outside the door were hungry again.  Robbie didn’t have to hear their voices to know that. They were always hungry. He knew as soon as he stepped outside he’d be blasted by the grating yowls that pass for begging amongst felines demanding to be fed.
          When the cats had first moved in he had tried to ignore them, but eventually the begging kittens grew into aggressive panhandlers, their repetitive mewing transformed to a sonic assault. So he’d taken some scraps out to them. Feeding the cats had turned into an everyday thing, and now they were surrogate pets.
          “Morning, Red. Morning, Black.” The two cats ignored him, devouring everything in the bowl before he had even gotten out the door.
          He noticed the trash bags piled on his neighbor’s front porch, as if the extra hundred feet to the dumpster was just too far to carry them, their green plastic stretched transparently thin near the holes where too much garbage had been stuffed in, the edges of the holes frayed where the cats had clawed, searching for food or playing with vermin.
           The front gate was still open, so on his way out Robbie made sure to close it because, unlike his neighbor, he didn’t want to invite every crack addict in the neighborhood in to rob the place. The two cats followed him to the corner and then scattered off to beg from the other neighbors.

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