Iowa Writes

JUDY L. BUDDENBAUM
The Seductions


Charlie was a hepcat. He wore a subtle pinstripe suit. Like a ball of cashmere, his soft blond body rolled at our feet. The cock of his head and the look in his baby blues conveyed entire messages. He was the whole package and he used that to play with us. He could lean up against us one moment and then step around us like we were last week's litter box the next. The curve of his long tail was like a come-hither question mark. Almond shaped eyes, like Sophia Loren's, the color of a '98 Simi Chardonnay saw through us. His fluffy buff of tabby fur was what fingers were made for. Bribing for his purrs was useless; he rationed them out, but nothing escaped his pert, attentive ears. Charlie could hang on our words like we were the center of his universe and then dismiss us to study a corner where the walls and ceiling met.

He owned the most comfortable chair in our house and we allowed it. He kept us rooted and unbalanced. After preening his whiskers, he would slink into the night with nary a meow, keeping us up past our bedtime. Returning from his prowls, he seemed impatient to be in. Launching his body at the screen door he jolted us awake. We jumped from our chairs into consciousness. Or he would just hang on the screen door like a live trophy until we opened the door. We knew better than to ask questions.

Charlie was a hepcat. He wore a subtle pinstripe suit. Like a ball of cashmere, his soft blond body rolled at our feet. The cock of his head and the look in his baby blues conveyed entire messages. He was the whole package and he used that to play with us. He could lean up against us one moment and then step around us like we were last week's litter box the next. The curve of his long tail was like a come-hither question mark. Almond shaped eyes, like Sophia Loren's, the color of a '98 Simi Chardonnay saw through us. His fluffy buff of tabby fur was what fingers were made for. Bribing for his purrs was useless; he rationed them out, but nothing escaped his pert, attentive ears. Charlie could hang on our words like we were the center of his universe and then dismiss us to study a corner where the walls and ceiling met.

He owned the most comfortable chair in our house and we allowed it. He kept us rooted and unbalanced. After preening his whiskers, he would slink into the night with nary a meow, keeping us up past our bedtime. Returning from his prowls, he seemed impatient to be in. Launching his body at the screen door he jolted us awake. We jumped from our chairs into consciousness. Or he would just hang on the screen door like a live trophy until we opened the door. We knew better than to ask questions.

We were bewitched and life was good for fifteen years. When Charlie left us, he left us empty like the skin of a cicada hanging on an old tree trunk. Through our tears and grief, we vowed never again to let some feline mark our hearts.

But out of the blue, it happened. She came in through the basement window wearing red leather around her slender neck. It said "Bender Is My Name." She stepped softly, one elegant foot, and then the next. She was all in black, except for her ears, which were a delicate pink inside, like a seashell. Sleekly dressed to the nines, even spandex couldn't hug this well. The only thing missing was a string of pearls. She sized us both up with eyes the color of a cold Rolling Rock. Her purr was like Kathleen Turner in heat. She tried both our laps, but never really settled. Stretching her shapely legs and arching her back she ran a pink tongue over her shoulder. Gracefully, she folded her legs under herself. Her look said, "I'll be staying the night." She rested her chin on my leg and shut her eyes.

Our vow was off; we were smitten by this fine-looking feline. As the night gave way to dawn she stood, arched her back, straightened her whiskers and gave a restless look about. Pacing, she was looking for something but it wasn't anything we had to offer. Her restless eyes would not meet ours. The side-to-side movement of her ebony tail spoke volumes. Reluctantly, I held the door open for her. With a gentle swing of her hips she stepped down and out of our lives.

I saw her one morning as I was getting my paper. She was wearing the same little red leather around her neck. She looked well; the bohemian life and late hours never leaving a mark. She pretended not to see me. Unabashed, she was demurely seducing my neighbor with her eyes. She was clearly enjoying a new domination. My neighbor besotted by this false feline flattery was serving her sardines on her best china.

Gathering our pride, we vowed to never fancy a feline again. It's easy to be the Top Dog in a dog's world; a pat on the head and he'll wag his tail and be all over you with kisses. All he wants is to gratify and promise a lifetime of companionship. But a cat...a cat is closely linked to the nameless forces and invisible pulls of the universe; so all a cat really wants is a good domestic. I pulled out the Hoover and sucked the cat hairs from our life.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


JUDY L. BUDDENBAUM

Judy L. Buddenbaum writes: "I was encouraged by Ms. Gertrude Hilmer and Mrs. Virginia Rumble, both high school English teachers at Tipton Consolidated School. I'm retired and now a resident of Iowa again. I have attended two weekends at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and I have taken many writers' workshops. I'm a student-at-large."

This page was first displayed
on August 23, 2006

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