Short Fiction

The A-to-Z Challenge — The Feral Cats of Carteret

If the feral cats of the Carteret waterfront were to hold a beauty pageant it wouldn’t even be a contest:  Charisma would win.  Not that the colony had time for such nonsense, but every cat would agree.  She was a lithe yet muscular feline, but it was her face that melted toms’ and tabbies’ hearts.  Nobody could recall her mother, but her father was a mean old coot from Staten Island who met his demise one cool autumn morning under the hood of a Mack truck parked at the Holiday Inn.  He was old and probably sleeping off a bad night.  He never knew what hit him.

It was another cool October dusk before the clocks fall back, and Charisma was grooming herself in anticipation of the night’s prowl.  Cats may not know about the constructs of Daylight Saving Time, but they did notice that the mice and birds were disappearing earlier and making their hunting more of a challenge. Charisma was under the clock on the square when Sharkey passed.

“Hey, Char.  How’s it going?”

Charisma was no snob.  She yawned in Sharkey’s direction as if to say, “Nothing new.”   Besides, she liked his laid-back style.

“You looking for a little company on your prowl this evening?”  Charisma was as savage a hunter as she was a beauty so she didn’t need any help, but Sharkey could prove a distraction and enable her of a quick getaway if necessary.  She knew he wanted to get with her.

“You know, Char, you and me?  We could rule this town.”

“Yeah?  Well let’s start with taking down those damn filthy pigeons,” Charisma said as she began her languid stroll.

And Sharkey fell into step right behind her, his alpha alley cat.


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