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Science Fiction Ramblings

The Fable of Old Flat Head: Part Three

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This is a draft of an opening scene.  It is only a draft.  Do not pass ‘Go’.  Do not collect $200.  Before you get to the draft, let me provide some commentary.  First, once I start writing, I try to keep going even if the story seems to be careening off of a cliff.  Second, this story in its current form is not a fable.  I’m thinking of renaming it ‘The Ballad of Old Flat Head’ but a ballad implies singing and that’s something you don’t really want me to do.  It might be prudent of me to keep the title, cut a lot of dialogue and compress the form.  Third, the story right now focuses too much on the kids.  My gut is telling me that I need to skip the origin story and pick up with the cat after she has her kittens.  Hence a lot of this is destined for the cutting room floor.  I’m posting it anyway because I want a record of everything, false starts included.   Lastly, space ships.  Where are the bloody space ships?

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There once was a cat named ‘Polly’ but no one ever called her that. Instead they called her ‘Old Flat Head’. Polly earned her new name one Halloween night when she was unlucky enough to be caught outside. Now, most of the trick-or-treaters either didn’t see her or pretended to be afraid of her. She was a black cat after all. But late that evening, when the older kids were out, the biggest and meanest of them came looking for some fun.

“Here now,” the boy said when he spotted her. “I’m not going to put up with any bad luck from you.” Then he grabbed that cat, gave her a shake and stuffed her into his bag. Polly was shocked, of course, but she’d grown up with nice people. “If I purr and act cute”, she reasoned, “He’ll let me go.” But despite her purrs and eventual yowls she spent the next three hours getting buried in candy corn and mini-Milky Ways. When the boy was done, he met up with his two brothers to compare their take and make trades. He dumped his candy and the now disoriented Polly out in their back yard.

“Someone gave you a cat?” the youngest and stupidest brother asked.

“That ain’t no cat,” the mean one said. “It’s a demon. Look how the eyes glow.”

The middle boy grabbed Polly by the scruff. “Looks like a cat to me. I’ll give you a Three Musketeer for it.”

“I’ll give you three Three Musketeers,” the youngest one offered. “One Musketeer for each life.”

“You can’t keep a demon as a pet.” The biggest boy didn’t really believe in demons, but he thought it sounded cool. “Go get a shovel,” he ordered the middle one.

“You got legs. You can get it yourself”   The middle one petted Polly’s head, but didn’t let her go. She tried a cautious purr.

“Hand over the cat, and get a shovel, or I’ll beat the stuffing out of you.”

The middle boy had had the stuffing beaten out of him before. He passed over the cat, stomped towards the garage, and returned with a shovel.

Meanwhile, Polly decided she’d had enough. She puffed herself up, growled and flailed all four paws. The big boy just tightened his grip on her scruff.

“See. Demon-cat.” He thrust Polly at the youngest boy and laughed when his brother backed out of range. “I don’t see you trying to pet it now.”

The youngest stuck out his lip and muttered, “you’re hurting her.”

“It’s what I do. Now dig.”

The middle boy pushed the shovel into the lawn and pried up a lump of grass.

“Faster, Dip Shit.”

His brother leaned on the shovel and turned over a bigger clump.

“About this deep and this wide.” The boy held the cat up. “Now! Now! Now!”  His face was red and spit was flying out of his mouth.

The middle boy worked the shovel as fast as he could. It still took fifteen minutes of digging to get a cat-sized hole. He backed off sweating. “I did it. Can I go?”

“You going to bury that cat alive?” The youngest one whined.

“Not me. You. And not all the way. And you can’t go. You need to bring me the mower.”

With that, the boy smacked Polly’s head into the fence.   The world went wobbly, but she woke up a little when the youngest tamped the dirt down around her neck.

“Aren’t you glad I smacked it? It’s a demon all right and that hole’s too loose to hold it if it wasn’t dizzy. You pack it in good.”

“Just let her go,” the small boy snuffled.   His face was crusted from wiping his snotty nose with a dirt-filled hand.

“No. We’re having fun. Start the mower.”

The middle boy pulled the cord. The mower coughed, bucked and started. Then the older boy grabbed the handle and pushed the mower right over Polly’s head where it was sticking up out of the hole.. She squalled like a baby and loud enough to be heard blocks away even over the sound of the mower.

“Someone’s going to catch us.” The middle kid shouted and grabbed his brother’s arm.

The boy stopped the mower and cuffed his brother. “We’re done here anyway. That demon’s dead.” It seemed likely. The mower had made a thunk noise and the squalling had stopped. “Take the mower.”

The middle boy backed away. Then he grabbed the youngest boy’s arm. “Let’s go,” he whispered, “Be glad it was her this time.” Then he pulled the stunned kid towards the house.


Author: KMolyneaux

Author, Knitter, ex-Academic

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