(x) Days of Photography is a photography/ flash fiction collaboration with Austin Andrews of Disposable Words. This is Day Two.

Purchase (Austin Andrews)

He constantly checks his wallet in the back pocket of his pants, as if just by walking through the neighbourhood would see him lose it.

“When I saw him last he was unshaven, unsure of who his hairdresser was or what style she now cuts. But most of all he was sick and slow to speak and, all in all, sad.”

The streets were empty except for one black cat that lay curled in a bundle on the steps outside an apartment building.

He arrives at the jewellery stand on time with nobody to meet him.

“Good Health. Etcetera. These are not the things you can rush.”

Across the street a dog barked inside a house, but that didn’t bother this cat.

He looks down the street, lit by a half-moon; clothes hang from balconies and the street lights are out. Not a place to sell trinkets.

“A furnace with nothing to burn. What a diagnosis, poor darling.”

By the pitch of the yelp she could tell it was a small dog with a superiority complex born of an inferiority complex. Cat got your tongue, she thought. She was more concerned by the wait for someone to let her in.

He pretends to browse the table and picks up a bronze hair comb and runs it through his hair.

“So, slowly; sit and wait, sit and wait, while the lovers upstairs run around naked; anticipation heats them as it warms me.”

The building was taken from one plan many years ago, and was not suited to the hours and habits of cats, she thought.

His attention is broken by a wet-cough from the man standing right next to him, wearing a beige apron and loud red shirt. “Don’t think you can use it and not pay for it, young man.”

“It’s so surprising that he has gone out into the night like this. I can see you’re not too worried about him; this only makes me worry more.”

Her previous owners had bought her before they lost a child to wet lungs. She did not mind that, as it was a dog of a child: a layabout with no mystery to him.

If he were near home he could go home, but now he must be gentle with his words if he wants to stay out in the night and make it to morning.

“But, slowly, slowly, I say, you must sit and wait and you will worry too.”

She can only imagine they followed the fleck-trail of blood to find him, yet neglected to notice, or else ignored that he had not so much as a scratch on him. And any cat can tell you what is possible, and what is not, when blood is found.

(to be continued)

Photo Copyright ©2008 Austin Andrews