Jacob Lawrence, "Cat (Back View)" (ca 1960)
Jacob Lawrence, Cat (Back View) (ca 1960)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

Neighbor cat, great gray tabby, mature, friendly, confident. Sits on all fours in matter-of-fact posture, neither interested nor concerned, as a raccoon four times her size emerges blinking from beneath the building and advances directly at her.

Raccoon: tank-like, enormous, with a reputation for viciousness and enough weight to defeat a German Shepherd. Tabby: blasé, immobile, unmoved.

Raccoon growls: a gutter-growl, low with menace. Tabby flinches not a muscle.

Raccoon advances, shows teeth, throws its head back and forth, growls. Stands nose-to-nose with the tabby, who neither shrinks nor retreats, nor seems especially to notice.

Raccoon growls. Raccoon is clearly, unmistakably puzzled. This cat refuses to be intimidated. Growls again. Looks to left, looks to right. Looks confused. Then with a gesture almost like a shrug, sidesteps the immovable tabby, walking around her to one side before returning to the center of the sidewalk which it now knows it only partially owns.

Tabby remains matter-of-fact on all fours another two or three minutes, as though all of this has had nothing to do with her. Then stretches, and walks into the shade, which all along had been more attractive than the hot concrete sidewalk in the blazing afternoon sun.