At Least We Still Have Animals

The house was mostly quiet. The television was on, and the sound was turned all the way down. He was sitting on the couch, watching, but could no longer stand to hear the voices. From the kitchen, the cat meowed. Looking over, he saw a masked figure with a curved blade in one hand. As the armed intruder began rushing toward him, he just sat there, observing.

Finally the figure stopped just short. “What are you doing? Can’t you see I’m about to kill you?” A man’s voice, though the age was indeterminate.

“Yes. It is quite obvious.”

The cat entered the living room and walked wide around the would-be attacker, eventually hopping up on the couch next to him.

“Aren’t you going to run? Try to defend yourself?”

“I wasn’t planning to.”

“At least scream a little?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

The cat, keeping one eye on the intruder, nuzzled against his hand. He obliged its insistence for some attention.

“But you’re about to die!”

“Fine.” Bored with the conversation, he turned back to the television. “Just don’t hurt the cat.”

“Don’t you care?”

He gestured at the screen in answer. “Look, thousands of people dead in the latest natural disaster. And see there, in the crawl? White men hanging on to power no matter who they trample. Why should I care if I die? This world is hell already.”

The intruder lowered his blade and slumped onto the couch. “And that is…”

“Yeah. A child whose parents both died in the flooding.”

“And in the crawl…”

“A 70-year-old man born into wealth telling us how hard he had it.”

The intruder stood up and began walking to the door.

“Where are you going? I thought you were here to kill me?”

“I’m going home to pet my dog.”

As he left, the cat meowed to remind him to keep scritching its chin.

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