Mom always made a casserole for Tuesday dinner. We could never eat it all, and sometimes the leftovers lasted through Thursday. I got really tired of those casseroles, let me tell you. Made me wish Albert, my cat, was a dog so I could slip him some of it under the table when she wasn’t looking. But Albert didn’t like the casseroles either. There was no meat in them, just rice and stuff.
I ate as much as I could, filling up instead on buttered bread, then picked at it until Mom couldn’t take it anymore.
“Leave the table then, Harry,” she said, shoving her plate away and looking at it balefully. She didn’t think much of Tuesday dinner either. I think we were both wanting a good juicy steak, like the old days.
Albert and I escaped to my bedroom, where I pulled out the watercolors and a sheet of scrap paper. Albert played in the water cup, sticking his paw in, then pulling it out to watch the drips. He used to lick at them, but I guess he didn’t like the taste of the paints, and he quit doing that.
I made a mess; I usually did. So did Albert, but I couldn’t be mad at him. Dad brought him home for me just before he left. Found him wandering in an alley, he said.
“He’s naught but skin and bones, Harry.” He’d handed him to me. “You’ll have to feed him up, get him nice and fat again. He’ll make a good mouser, he will.”
Albert, resting in my arms, had looked at me with big green eyes. Under my hand, I’d felt his small sharp bones, and there’d been a patch of grease on his back. He’d need a bath, too. I’d wondered how kittens felt about baths, and an hour later, soaked to the skin, I found out. Continue reading