An elderly couple got up and left and the waitress took her time clearing and cleaning their table, taking more journeys to and from the kitchen than was necessary in an attempt to draw out the work. To keep herself occupied, or to quicken the passing of time. He stared into his black coffee and considered what else, after tonight, could possibly bring him back to this place. He hated coming home.
Home is a funny place, isn’t it? In my case, it’s 17 Maple Drive, Taunton. That’s where I hang my hat, as it were, with Samuel and Samantha Smith, decent, regular folk who are kind enough to put out a bowl of milk and the occasional plate of gizzards. But that’s because I know how to play them, melt their hearts by rubbing against them and purring, with that plaintive look in my eyes.
I’ll let you in on a secret though. Sometimes I think I’ve outgrown the Smiths. I get this feeling that my real home is the streets, the sensation of prowling, alert and alive as I hunt. Home is the wait, tense and immobile, prey in my sights. Home is the kill. In fact I’ve been thinking recently that I’ve outgrown the whole of Taunton. I may be Lord High Clawncellor, feared and revered, but I think I was made for bigger and better things. My destiny lies elsewhere.
Coffee, Whisky and Funeral, Nicholas J. Parr’s story in Cat Tales, the anthology drawn from last year’s Book a Break short story competition, is full of desolation. The sort you find beneath a pier on an empty beach at night. Which is where the story ends. And I tell you straight, that ending sent a shiver down my spine. Still does, every time I think of it. What happens, you see, is that – uh-oh! Sorry! Can’t go there. Let’s just say that when you read it, you’ll see why I trembled at the end, awash with existential angst. And let me assure you it takes a powerful story for a cat like me to get an attack of anything existential, let alone angst.
In his own words: Nicholas J. Parr is an aspiring young writer based on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. A former architecture student and a graduate of the University of Brighton, Nick discovered he found far more enjoyment in writing stories than designing buildings. When not reading or writing, he’ll be at the pub. Or sleeping. You can keep updated on Nick’s progress at www.nicholasjparr.com
The proceeds from Cat Tales go to two charities, Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. So please don’t hesitate to spread the word and help us raise all we can. And of course, if you click on the button, you can read Nick’s story and get a dose of that angst yourself.
In a special promotion deal, the price of Cat Tales is just $1.99 for the whole month of April. Available as a PDF (or epub / mobi) complete with colour illustrations directly from this site* by clicking the button below. Also available in print (black & white, $9.50).
*Buying from this site results in $1.61 after the PayPal commission, as opposed to just $0.70 when buying from Amazon. An insecticide treated mosquito net, which protects on average 2 people for 3 to 4 years, costs $2.50. PLUS, if you buy from this site, you’ll get a personal message of thanks from Curtis along with a short story of his own (in which Nibbles the cat, I’m sorry to say, comes to a rather unfortunate end).