City of Cats 4: hearing, snowfall in the city listening to midnight blues, Winter Dreams

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

hearing 250 words

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Cats find a useful hunting addition to its eyes in its ears. As in humans, cat ears sense vibrations in the air, translate these into aural signals interpreted in the brain through the cochleas, as series of tiny bones hit thin skin drum which is particularly sensitive, suspended in the ear canal. Air pressure differential is eliminated by passage to cat’s mouth, this organ separate from balance. Sound waves are collected by the earflaps, which can orient, or prick- through more than dozen muscles-180 degrees, to the sounds in this way locating source, distance, and movement, which is useful function in tracking mice or noises of other prey. Cat ears are able to hear ultrasonic vibrations and much higher pitch than even dogs. Cats hear up to 60 000 vibrations per second. Catsmay locate different sounds only 5 degrees apart- about 8 cm at distance of 1 m- by judging subtle differences in time of sound to each ear. Cats also express emotions and social contacts by movement of conical earflaps, is alert to slightest dangers or familiar stimulus, and thus easily aroused from catnaps. Cats hear, as humans do not.

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snowfall in the City,

listening to midnight blues 2 500 words

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She rests on her square bed beside the telephone, level with the bar, besides swinging kitchen doors- as far as possible from the street door behind glass-brick entry wall. Even here she feels cold blast in for that brief moment when both inner and outer doors are swinging, one opening, one closing. She glimpses outside gleaming blue city street, smells gasoline, tires, garbage, human sweat, human breath, seductive aroma of grilled meat- a souvlaki cafe next door- over beer, other alcohol, starting scents of bar kitchen. Voices argue money owed out back, access at front,

Sorry man no room ‘less you got ticket,

I know I know I know but that the way it is,

Sorry man special party sax player and band nobody you know,

Sorry man no matter you do know,

Sorry man no room,

Sorry man no passes no room.

Hope.

She shifts time...

Hope.

She has anticipated one, two, three weeks. She has scant sympathy for those humans who have waited too long, have believed somehow they would get in, have believed anything, everything, could be bought. She knows herself in complete agreement with policy of the bar owner, rare human who senses how any gift of music should be shared. First, he had sold tickets to regulars, second, to those who came in person in respect, third, to select friends who knew worth they were getting, and after giving tickets to the Band none are left. It means nothing that you flash bribery under his dismissive snorting nose, to his affronted glaring eyes, not enough you are a producer, a big name, if you are friend, agent, producer, you would have already received a ticket. She watches humans playing against humans. Humans are humans. She sees falling snow, hears traffic, smells female scent entering with three beautiful young women, expensive clothes, exotic in lean narrowness, held together in unseen golden binding. She is cat, easily sees nervous fear, doubt, extreme youth. She sees two men- perhaps already drunk- jostling, laughing, following them, and in deliberate focus she recognizes predators, despite blue suits, black long coats, white and platinum-threaded shirts, there is a hungry red gaze on the girls- who are taller than either- and it is not golden warmth of love but possessive black desire not far different than hate, summoning hope they escape…

Hope.

She moves her perception along their gathering at a reserved table.

She looks for the bar owner who would surely ask How did these men receive tickets, How are they here. She wonders How is it no humans see danger from the men hunting the three young women. She can hear words spoken, jokes, words in true compliments used in false design,

Fast baby amazing, no way, you look older yeah you all look same age what eighteen, we take you out after here- did you come along just for him, musician man got girlfriends everywhere probably with one tonight never told us why baby we take you out after few sets we get you in bed on time- the two men talk past the girls to one another, laughing, pleased with double meanings in effusive phrases.

She hears their calculated deceit unspoken, thoughts, confirmation of her first listen- no words can overturn judgment of the men as predators…

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She gazes into the kitchen, where band members exhale smoke under the stovetop fan, waiting, waiting, waiting but not annoyed- rather eager,

You ever play with the man,

Say used to play here fore he got big,

Well took forty years to get big,

Why No Smoking, man,

Ask when he gets here man, he tell you what,

His wife yeah,

Addiction man, everyone got one,

Legal,

Legal way commit slow suicide.

She watches the cook absorb magnetic presence of band members, come together to backup musician, and are killing time- shifting yes but also ending it- in conversations no more interesting anywhere backstage.

She watches patrons all find chairs around their tables. Waitress weaves through topography of hailing voices, honey-dark skinned woman, not dark as owner bartender tonight, not dark as the musician. He arrives at kitchen backdoor with cold gust, clanging together hung pots, pans, utensils, knows the staff and greets them with gravelly, wry voice,

Brother hope you ‘member me, Sister you keep me on the wagon tonight, Brother I know where is that little spot you call stage, Brother just find place for John Lee, then he turns to band, Brother what it been, six seven eight year, Brother you just a kid, you do fine you keep up with us Old Men...

Hope.

She turns her thoughts curious, sees the musician and his young aid carrying sax in a box, medications in a purse- as he carries John Lee, an old, old longhaired cat whose tired eyes brighten on seeing another cat. She accepts jostling aside for space on her bed, does not complain, resist, or begrudge her new neighbour. She is proud of place here, willing to name familiar faces, regulars, now until all the tables are filled and the owner goes to put the sign in the door- then, seeing someone about to light up stop No Smoking, by order of our Brother musician, Only tobacco, No matter man No Smoking. At this the Offender packs his cigarettes with a sigh, does not argue but avid turbulence of desire is dispersed by innate and forceful silver- here more for music than smoke, notices no one else is smoking, no one else arguing, this night, it is a kind of burning drug by which humans shift time, brings last hacking breaths younger than expected for it is seductive poison. Humans are humans. She is reconciled to the usual dense blue cloud of smokers as usually fills the bar, but this does not mean she has ever appreciated it. When it is thickest she shifts time- but her body remains breathing here, so does not completely evade substance poisons…

Hope.

Snow outside, John Lee rumbles, Smoke inside- cold, well, winter come early. You never get outside- you are not missing much. You get here, you get to see the world coming here. She demurs, Not all humans come here. You follow the musician, he takes you everywhere, you are lucky- You have home, more- I know about you years ago- Cat sits at music bar, humans come in worship, Cat hunts not for food but sport, Cat got entire building in which to play- You travel, she rejoined, You have no memories of home, as I have not many memories of other lives in traveling- but those I have, well, I remember all in detail as I shift time, as I sleep, and such lives were more exciting than this. Sometimes I sense of just walking out that door to see if the real world matches my memories, fulfills my hopes, but I remember before even one step that the world outside is not always as kind as here, I have a building of rats to play, I have a man who feeds me, I have other humans who know to give me gifts, I have warmth, time, place to closely inspect all my various lives, compare to this one, and does any cat know whether he will live any more lives, no, perhaps I will incarnate in another being- but is there any creature higher than Cat on the cycles of life and death, perhaps for some flaw I shall return as human, well, who knows.

No arguments, John Lee agreed, I would have your calm, quiet, warm life, you would have my hectic, loud, cold life of which your memories are overly fond. No arguments. Live every day as if it is your last, for someday it will be- yet, live every day as if you will live forever… let us listen to my follower the musician...

Hope.

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She has always appreciated this about music, this way rare humans shift time, play with time, through works of art sounds, through their invented instruments or even only in their voices. Death may not be answered here and now, but there are consolations of philosophy in the hope of something transcending, of going beyond, just beyond, always beyond, altogether beyond. Hope. Time is music as music is time, but this is not an awareness most humans understand- those who do, they are most fortunate, and more than once she has thought that perhaps incarnation in such humans would not necessarily be less than as cat, only very different. After few moments the band members, the drummer, the pianist, the cello, come in.

In their tendency toward marking down symbols, trying to capture for all times the ways in which this time is altered, humans have invented some way to create similar sonic events, one, two, three, days or nights, months or years separate though of course the play is each time different, perceptibly so only to cats, as music is so embedded in our senses of the world. Humans are humans. As with any notation which presumes to describe time, subject, even what one calls object, from our heritage, our ancestry, these symbols are themselves inert and requires what some would call magic- some organizing force that incorporates and expresses what might once have been meant. Sheet of music is not music, no more than painting of pipe is pipe, no, must we also say that voice speaking or singing is nothing without ears to hear, such ears as cats have and can hear beyond the human range. In music there is some way that confirms truth of all our kinship with all other animals- even humans, who might refuse this knowledge, who might erect barriers of antipathy. Humans are humans...

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She senses that she is missing something that all those listening humans receive, way in which the music recalls to each their individual universes if they have heard him before, way that if new hearing forms here and now, into memory. She sees those multiple strands of emotion, turbulent, powerful, in this, that, then another colour, changing, swirling about the filled bar and drawing to the surface of humans aching desires, loves, which can alone be carried by music. She wonders if it is possible for those others, some few jaded, some distracted, somediscovering, to sense or feel under such plaintive notes- then she realizes for some this is as yearned, this suspension of a prison of rational thought, this freedom of being, such freedom as usually caught in that silvery web of human thoughts. She can gaze about the room, dim but nowhere too dark for cat, and sees the pulsing flow following the music, she can see this man and that woman whose energy diverts from an argument played dissolving in music, she can see that man whose usual despair leaps into rare joy, she can see that woman whose heart leaves her body in the gentle cradle of that music and she would weep at this sudden pleasure in how it seems the entire way of the world here and now, is absolutely coherent with her own desires, she can see another man and woman whose love is raised to try once again, to be seen anew in the music. She turns her thoughts last to the three girls and the two predators, seeing how such music is innocently pleasing to the girls even as it is reduced to crash against the intentions, the manipulations, of the men, who see it as no more than a tool, a way to achieve their desires. Humans are humans. And yet, in this music, a kind of music that allows no falseness, there is some way to reveal the falseness of their plans and- as the men refuse to stop talking, some regular growls harsh whisper Listen man, shut up and listen to the music- an inescapable dislike flows from this table of two men to table of the predators, Let the girls hear the music, man...

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She senses a mounting fury in the predators, shortly to act in error, to argue in loud voices and summon dislike from other customers- whose loving attention to the music is distracted by these two suits How’d they get in here, Who are they, Who gave them tickets- but suddenly the sax stops, the brushed cymbals, the piano, the cello join in silence and the room turns angry silence to the predators...

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You let the girls alone, the saxophonist growls, No idea who let you in but we sure can put you out, and at this all eyes in the room swivel to the predators- one flushes red, the drunker one decides this challenge to overcome and sneers,

Play the music Old Man, leave the ladies to us.

At this disrespect some few darker others direct stabbing eyes to that table, some murmur angrily, and some fight would start soon if the owner did not step forth and speak to the room as much as to the two predators,

You let the girls alone, man.

To this the drunker one snorts and reaches one hand to the shoulder of the tallest of girl- the owner knocks his hand away,

Said let the girls alone, man.

At this the drunker one leans up as if ready to fight, but laughs instead- the other, noticing perhaps for the first time they are two pale men in full room of some darker humans, moves towards the door.

Not legal, man, the first proclaims, sisters, girls only fifteen,

And you brought them in, you want me call the cops,

Come on girls, the first says again but now his hand is not knocked away but forearm gripped,

Said let the girls alone,

How else you gonna get home girls, come on,

We sure get ‘em home, the saxophonist announces, You two- leave, now.

Predators the strangers are, but not when faced by such hostile environment, so the one, the other leave only muttered curses behind as they search out the door, leave.

A dark van approaches down the alley. Stalls.

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Snow continues in cold, cold blue night, it is the time of gray shadows, but in the bar the band has only just started.

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And this is a correct moment to cease the circular ruin of argument, time to listen to the music...

Hope.

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Winter Dreams 10 500 words

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Silver becomes conscious, free, heart pounding, only momentarily afraid of that approaching subway train- and then, as suddenly arisen threat, so suddenly it disappears. He discovers reflective mind somewhere between this step, the next, and he is no longer in subway darkness. Silver is padding quickly down rapid stream of humans, warm and turbulent, collisions avoided by narrow margins and no human noticing that ghostly blur of a gray cat weaving past. He is shifting time, easily sensing when to move forth, move this or that turn, but in the crowded noise, the scent of human sweat and human breath, there is not so much room and he remains alert to this moment and dances each move. He senses no pursuit and senses no onrushing, shrieking, echoing train that would surely overcome his escape and not even notice the body it crushes beneath its wheels on the rails. He senses time not only here and now, but throughout all the lifetimes consumed in final construction of original building- now lost somewhere in each new addition, each new unfriendly resting place, for the purpose is to move as many humans as possible in from whatever entry- as this station for the subway. He passes the murmuring crowd under that music which is not music. He enters a new place as automatic sliding doors part, himself unseen, un-sensed, unsure where he drifts now- only that it is safe, promises warmth, food, perhaps even companions awaiting. Anguish, hunger, and danger of his lives in the tunnels are dead and gone. Anywhere would be paradise after cold empty boredom between moments of screaming terror, anywhere, though he is grateful for heightened appreciation of each life passed there- now proving a true sense of values, when one has lived the most horrific lives...

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Silver calls this place The Mall at the End of the World.

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The population of The Mall at the End of the World is endlessly replenished by visiting humans, through gusts of fallen leaves, through endless snowing, white that covers infinite parking lots which extend to white horizon and here and there climbs in white concrete levels or descends in darker underground levels, lit here and not there to no identifiable pattern. Feral cats stalk silent and invisible, cats who refuse to chance buildings despite warmth promised, for they have discovered, step to the side, leap up, there is world where this proud labyrinthine human structure is broken open in ruins where rats and other animals have taken prominence, true, there is some war there that has no beginning and probably no end, and so some cats compete for some food, some warmth, and some shelter with all others in some war of all against all. Some cats appreciate simple lives, obvious choices...

As Silver watches from one entry, drifts of cars endlessly circle for parking spaces occupied by cars that never leave, never move, never welcome tired, satisfied, content shoppers for that is not what this architecture intends. Illusions bring humans to these proudly crowded lots. Humans are humans. Often they come here despite rather than because of promising lies of the Idiot Picture, lies lies lies, there is no logic in claiming humans are best served as consumers according to this market that is not a market, for the father of the boys sees no morality in answering desires for mere material, mutters in derision, in distaste- finally overcome by practical concerns and becomes fleetingly like all other humans who flock to this place...

Silver recalls the stone stone stone subway tunnel but not the platform that leads to this place, no one can remember now how they came here, cat or human, for then that entrance could be an exit. No one is ever to leave. Silver searches for an exit, though he senses his search is fruitless, though he glimpses other cats patiently, sadly, awaiting recognition, he refuses to stop looking. Other cats are resigned to being trapped here, and ultimately they ask each other, Is it true there is somewhere beyond here, before here, I cannot remember...

Silver does not sense of The Mall at the End of the World alone in human terms, but the title he gives it in thought is less descriptive and more normative. Rather than try to refer to endless levels, of extensive and massive ever more encompassing stores fed by mindless crowds, urged here, captured there by boasts of such and such attraction, how it is the first, the only, the biggest, how humans need only imagine desires to find answering objects somewhere within. Silver tries endlessly to repulse this human world from occupying more and more of his mind, but perhaps the title given in his mind is melancholy recognition that freedom of sense or thought is doomed. Humans are humans. This place is evidence that in manipulation of the physical world humans never allow alternates uncorrupted of Their constant sifting of this material for that, They must be aware, They might have even designed it this way, that outside, before, is not only the weather but the signs, the advertisements which provoke anxious human response even as They are clearly unreal, and then that world we call Natural is truly only resource, that freedom of weeds, of grass, bushes, trees- is not cultivated for mere sensory pleasure. Indeed, were it possible, They would probably create an entire world according to the strategies employed here and now, and it is not many humans who might argue or denounce a way of living death so radically separate from our brethren animals...

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Humans are humans. Humans are animals. Rational Animals. Rational are humans. Silver is not the only cat that senses some lack, some missing quality, in these linked propositions. Nowhere more than here and now does this logical series seem more inadequate or mistaken or false. Humans are humans and this is perhaps enough for most cats, even most Wisecats, Why is this not sufficient for him, Why does he question, Why interrogate this puzzle. Humans are humans.

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Silver calls this place The Mall at the End of the World.

Silver has developed this human technique, this failing, of encapsulating given worlds at some given time in no more than one term which they then use for all other times as though there were something persistent, tangible, sensed in any way and judged real in an unreal way- refusing that infant wisdom such as continues in cat, wisdom that sees the reality of perceived world- with every aspect of perception instead madly reduced to something Objective, something that persists beyond all points of view, something that makes the rising sun the same as the setting sun or the midday sun. Silver knows that this place is more than endless galleries of shopping outlets, more, constantly more, for even in his own brief life he has watched giant earthmovers turning up emptied parking lots outside this door here, that door over there, and then how came structural pieces naturally unnatural in flat squares, in rectangles, in metal and plastic fixtures unlike anything that could have existed before humans extended this disease of imaginary sharp edges, right angles, squares, is it truly any surprise that spirits who thought in abstractions and not the here and now, should threaten the lives of all animals, all plants, with such reckless alteration of the physical world. Dogs, being dogs, can and do argue for the worth of gradually leading humans to a correct way of living. Cats, being cats, are less swayed by these assertions that human spirits were ever, are ever, will ever be open to honest emotional appeals, against which Animals are animals, Animals are confidently less than human, Do not be sentimental over animals, Absurd absurd absurd we humans could ever learn from the ways animals have lived, live, or will live...

Silver even entertains heretical questions other cats might violently reject, such as perhaps in being domestic animals cats are dependant in origin to evolutionary logic of humans, someone to hunt rats, mice, birds even, to defend stored materials against those animals who hungrily feed on the grains, the gardens, and earn their keep, as would agree any farmers, merchants, and traders...

Silver does not know where his questions come from, not that any others ever hear, his mind is his own and who would say there is not absolute freedom, here and now, who would say even the sickest thoughts, unexpressed and even morally disastrous, should be open to other investigators for denunciation when the better response should be to trying trying trying to heal those distorted illnesses. He learns that it is through careful appeals to dreams of the relevant human demographics, that the sellers of the Idiot Picture or even billboards, flyers, magazines, try to encourage ideals as only such and such some product will offer even temporary relief. It is again, always, some question solved by some change in their physical world that may address apparent errors of living as the cause- rather than explored through careful typical cat-nature, shifting time, experiencing moments again and again, in meditative, quiet recollection finding emotional anchors. He learns that such cat-nature attempts seem to require complete avoidance of usual human society. Humans are humans. This sacrifice is often answered by certain religious orders. The Mall at the End of the World is rather interested in no more than distraction or even denial of that tragic failure of all humans, that Fear of Time, Fear of Death, for it directs their thoughts to farthest, endlessly receding horizons in physical sense as well as temporal, rather than attend the wealth, the joy, the most dense moments here and now. Humans are humans.

Silver retains some natural sympathy with humans and insists- to all animal skeptics- that some cat learns great pleasures and incalculable knowledge in bonding with humans for he remembers, rests and recalls that idyllic time that always seems like summer when he lived with the family. He wonders should he ever see that father and mother or boys in this place, but there are so many, many links that would need intersect for their spirits to meet again, and clearly, in the case of the father, there would have to be some singular source of an object here and nowhere else in the world for him to venture to this place. Even could spirit of the father allow visit, his human mind would wrap itself in density of radiant defiant coils, in his human senses all abruptly denying pleas of this or that place, this or that lying promise, as if all humans are trapped in the Idiot Picture- and can escape only by anger asking so much energy that he would never come here long, he would never come far inside, he would never allow slightest pleasures from the act of purchasing here...

Silver has found this unique prospect to watch humans, this extensive network of girders that span above each broad hall of milling humans, as if in fact they would yet build above, but Where is there ever any actual open space, Where can this place become greater, from the first or the fortieth floor there is always another floor there. Silver now allows the presence of other cats to impress on his senses, but there is no conversation in a human way, What is there to say, he must explore and come to his own conclusions, there are places that might never be only described but learned by experience, How can we help, these are the implicit discussions of cats already familiar with this place...

Silver pads along these girders watching below as humans throng here and there, mill around some places, empty around others, and observes this place, this immaculate, invisible-barred prison. He wants to understand this persistent human ache for material comfort, as if Home is this fridge, those blinds, that oven, which they will replicate wherever they live, as if home is material and not emotion, and so they are too often lost, as this Idiot Picture that moves when they move actually maintains this illusion. Silver must admit that if that technology was able to appeal through other senses as are of greater import- scent, taste, touch, hearing, if it were possible to portray visions of emotional as well as mundane visible, if this were so perhaps cats too would be under this dominion. Silver watches humans below with sympathy rather than pity, when he thinks of this, though whether ever emotions could be so transmitted for such obvious and controlled desires, this he must defer only to artists, not art corrupted by consumption known among humans as Advertising...

Silver watches below...

The Mall at the End of the World (which others call the Universe) is of both space and time, composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite network of bays that serve unending human needs or desires. Each ‘bay’, opens to broad mirrored halls, at least double human-height, named ‘streets’ and occasionally ending in ‘closes’. Exits to nowhere or entrances to largest ‘department’ stores, or one of the ‘attractions’ or ‘anchors’ which may or may not be public amenities in private spaces, though such distinction has been for so many lifetimes blurred forgotten and finally meaningless. Once these definitions were subject of argument, disputes between one or the other store and Mall Authority, or one store to another, or factions within Mall Authority- which itself does not pretend to be democratic, or public, or transparent. Here, abstracted from natural obstructions that need be overbuilt or tunneled, there are no true disputes on larger assumptions of Consumer values, only philosophical distractions Political and hence here without worth. Here this indefinite and perhaps infinite series of bays, of opening, expanding or failing stores, can no longer be in dialectic conflict- everyone here knows that it is some Market as organization of human worlds which has triumphed over any alternatives, it is some Market for which we exist as relevant consumer demographics, it is some Market which gives us out mutable innumerable choices that reflect our common uniqueness, it is some Market which we must sustain until even the Idiot Pictures need no longer be out on that wall but inside the eyes watching, it is some Market for which we must eliminate regulations, it is some Market which will answer the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, if one does not know this truth then one is not awake...

Silver is, as all true cats are, never consulted on veracity of arguments set forth on this childish exchange humans determine with other humans, this way of relating, is anything more than an error in spiritual elevation necessarily evolves, a forgivable if not forgettable error that leads to the truth of generous Gifts from one to the other. Cats absorb prattle of ignorance, humans to humans, only perhaps to ultimately dismiss the pretension of any humans to aspire to higher spiritual being, but Silver is beyond species bigotry, Must he argue that once they too, proud cats, were probably incarnate as humans or even lesser animals, Must he remind other cats that generosity needs include those thoughts, judgments and emotions to other sentient creatures…

Silver watches below...

Mirrors line all the vertical surfaces edging the stores, to help a passing consumer see exactly how she is not that beautiful, smiling, taunting woman in this or that poster, how she must buy this or that, how only then will she have something and become someone like her. All infinite regressions of cruel mirrors capture and distort her and far too soon she will pass by and again it shall reveal her needing yet another sweater, some shirt, some dress, some jeans- something, anything- for she cannot be expected to smile wearing what she had previously bought, now already outdated, with this haircut, lips not recent in that lipstick, some makeup mask and effaced wrinkles embracing some illusory smile, some certain grimace, so familiar she believes it happiness. How can she claim to be happy if she is not loved, and is love not some necklaces or some ring, which seem so much smaller than that some swooning woman in another image displays, with some private smile to that indeterminate man now public and impossible to avoid. In each store, new or ancient, subtly unique from some shared basic plan, as each rack or shelf or counter or even only the merchandise hawked, even in the case of there being more than one outlet, even when shoppers were confused, lost or vainly returning purchases, to whom insist polite ‘team members’ that they are now in the wrong store, Ma’am you have to go to the outlet you bought it at, I’ll show you the map, Sorry but we can’t walk you there, just follow the directions...

Silver recognizes fear in his memories...

Mirrors are disturbing to youngest cats, who are not yet learned to abstract themselves, to examine their actions at some distance, though of course later any cat carries this self-awareness that characterizes more than the simple, mundane visible spectrum reflected from some mirror. Silver allows himself to momentarily recall his kittenhood naiveté, his original fear, against mirrors, and thinks of how humans below are some of them no more able to retain a clear vision of themselves against those illusions of no depth from the surface of mirrors, from the surface of the Idiot Pictures that somehow delude human viewers they are anything as free of immediate restraint of space and time, that they are gods, they are beyond, surely some cat knows this...

Mirrors lead even to further enervating places of worship, some new source of uninhibited expense, how She is to look at some cosmetic counter this is emplaced as such some receding, elusive goal for Him- Silver watches humans contort, press, bend, press, curl beneath barbells and dumbbells and turn this way and that- His body is no longer itself but rather some fallible, ever-changing sign referring to some ideal of physical appearance strived for. He will be young, healthy, and beautiful as She is beautiful- after some laser corrective eye surgery, some breast and some face lifts, those wrinkles effaced, He after some muscular bicep swells to circumference same as his calves...

Silver sees that even humans’ bodies are recklessly incorporated in this failing violence against time...

Silver extends his vision to incorporate spectra of emotions...

Each store is in some ways unique, neighbours to other stores, close or far to Food Courts, on the first or the fortieth floor, Hot Hot Hot, Françoise S, Music Destination, Madeleine, Master Blaster, Electric Delights, BNM 13, Orange Juice Unlimited, Jose’s Cave… there are uncounted names, close or far to those places which playfully promise escape through false exits, to offer anchors or attractions, indeed there are maps some empty Information kiosks scattered throughout streets or each store or each server- but these confident pamphlets, papers, posters or people do not ever agree and so one never reaches destinations until even the original intention is forgotten, even should one come to that searched place, well by then one forgets those desires and one creates new desires. Some humans are simply standing motionless, questioning glinting flat metal shapes they hold up to their ears, I don’t know where the hell I am, it all looks the same. Some humans are flipping through advertising fliers, try to decipher some maps, so confused by some mythic expression of presence believing if it exists there is some sign on the map or if there is some sign on the map it must exist, but this is perhaps only human bias, desperate human logic. Maps perused replicate ‘streets’, ‘ways’, ‘closes’ lost in arbitrary scale, perspective, even as they mouth claims of equivalent damnation, It all looks the same, I am, I am looking at the map. Maps are all useless, some contradictory, some outdated, some lost, though whether accordingly so by some malign demon, by some personal failing, by nature of the question or whatever reason random or specific to cruel logic, well no one ever answers for no one here and now, who even comprehends that Question. Designers or nature of this design causes bays, streets, and closes, to change in ways too subtle to name, this to necessary purpose- that in fact roaming streams of customers are not meant to ever leave, or find where they are, or discover whatever desires they came here with cannot be satisfied in the countless sources, that ask for only the slightest of your time or life, that this conspiracy is so evident that no one can claim they did not know and implicitly agree to it, before they even entered here and now, or ever anywhere to The Mall at the End of the World...

Silver shifts time...

He is not here some body, so shifting between intertwined current of time, shifting to some past he can only watch, can never touch, and though he had thought his life here and now, could never intersect again with that family from the summer house, here they are...

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The Mall at the End of the World was once only some single level, open to the sides to some parking lots- only later enclosed by walls of glass and metal with each bay, each store, fronted with some single narrow door that came out and was printed on each lower half with hours of operation of only that one store. Each store, even if franchises, were often staffed by merchants who owned each and were thus personally connected and often named by their names, Sir we no longer carry that brand here are some other equivalents, Sir we have one-seventy-second scale airplane models back here, Sir the motorized ones only come this scale unless you are looking for battleships, Sir model railroads are their specialty but sorry we don’t have them here so take their number, these are the words of the owner of a hobby craft shop which reminds him of the boy David several lifetimes away. And so, in the manner any cat recollects memories past, resting in the shadows, invisible to visible spectrum and from another exterior perception he sees the actual incidence when the boys David and Michael and the mother came to this place...

It is winter but the city is warned in the wind such that snow has everywhere has melted, dirty white mounds by each post in the parking lot, wide puddles, slush, water, ice splashed by slow cars entering this place or cruising for an empty parking space. It is winter so the sun is low and shadows are long even at midday. It is winter, near to a human celebration, a cultural recognition of birth of a spiritual leader- many, many lifetimes ago and then probably actually two months past- and in all the wreathes, the fat red-garbed man chortling while dispensing gifts to all the children, there is some faint emotional sense of recreating that time, that gift. As always, such true cat’s ability to shift time is replaced by physical changes, but this is no regrettable error, this is only the way it is for humans. Humans are humans. Mother parks the car and the boys, both almost the age Silver had first met them, clamber out of the car in great enthusiasm, shouting joy, talking over each other, momentarily one first then the other, briefly interrupted Watch out for cars, she says- Michael pay attention, never guess the driver will stop for you, slow down, wait for them to stop, Yes mom, one boy says then joins the other I saw one the other day they’re cool, but David holds up the first step until the next car stops, he is an elder brother so even then will actively protect him, will quickly assume the position of authority of either parent. Michael now you follow your brother, Yes mom, yes mom. Together the boys move across the parking lot, avoiding puddles and splashes, pause for passing cars but it is not so far they must walk and so quickly come to glass door, held open by a shopper leaving who smiles, gestures to someone inside, And merry Christmas to you too...

Inside the store is crowded with customers, men and boys serious, intense, and certain of what they search out and then some few women obviously not buying for themselves who look around politely lost. David and Michael go directly to the model car section, this not some large section, some large store, so their mother arrives soon after they and looks at the box the elder points out, Are you sure this is for your father or is it for you two. In their response there is desperate certainty, Dad said he has always wanted one but can’t afford a real one, This car in particular, Yes really, Motorized, Yes really see it only takes four batteries and this is steering wheel and dashboard, Radio-controlled Mom see, And both of you want to give it to your father well that will be it, you won’t be able to get him anything else, Please Mom Please, the boys voices carry golden strands of love that join hers and completely links to overcome not very powerful red and silver gold of rational disputes, Okay if that’s what you two want...

Silver deliberately extracts from that memory, for as it is now located he will never fear losing even the most precise details, and there are many connected memories that follow links to links, that there are indeed nearly infinite recollections that open from that one incidence, but he is searching for something else...

The Mall at the End of the World was once only some single level, was once only one place no matter how many, many descendant structures in this or that suburb, this or that city, for after discovery of use in summoning humans to purchase, to buy an illusory escape, to buy a moment reprieve from inexorable currents of time- for this, humans will propagate resident equivalent physical structure here or anywhere. Humans are humans. Not few humans will believe this place is an answer for all the losses they will suffer in time, so search, so build, so crowd with persons, all their varied needs or convinced desires, this place replicated that one perceives there comes a point in time, an evening, an afternoon, a morning sunrise when it is true that the place is not built by and for them- no, they themselves are built, they themselves are for these places. Humans may claim themselves free of the entire superstructure, the cause rather than result, the free and absolute determining selves of their world. Humans may claim many, many errors as truths.

Silver is cat whose self decries in every moment, in every gesture, how he himself has been created by humans, from before his great great great grandmothers were born to after his furthest descendants will die, but this is not a thought which he finds reprehensible, or feels less independent in each his lives. Silver sees that himself as much as humans must be, is limited in each practical desire- he will not fly because that would be a life with wings, he will not swim for that would be a life with gills- and so on and on, but in the end as the beginning it his choice that such limitations matter or not, this is his final, original, absolute freedom to recognize such limits as meaningful. Cats such as Silver, well there are many great dreams and so requisite many great disappointments but he is not human, he never need suffer anguish against limits, all is his choice, his alone. Silver may shift time, once, twice, who knows how many, many times- he can face or flee this freedom, he decides, though there will always come to that point where he must recognize that if he makes a given choice he is becoming unrecognizable as himself. And this is what un-cats have done, clinging onto some aspect of their lives fiercely, that in doing so change themselves into unrecognizable beings- no longer cats, no longer than any true animal, he has told himself he shall never extend through that choice but who knows how many Who are now un-cats, Who claimed they would rather die than be so cruelly twisted into falseness, Who knows how one will face that final intersection when one can no longer see the other side...

The Mall at the End of the World was once only some single level, opening to the south, even then somewhere else was being introduced those entirely enclosed structures, this must have been some human city far away- where it is perhaps ridiculous building for it is never there cold, rarely rainy, never snowy, unlike this city which suffers true blizzards and temperatures widely divergent even from morning to afternoon to evening during all the wintry seasons. The mall street from that searched hobby shop to the anchoring department store seems long walk to the two boys, who look often in the bag they share carrying, as if uncertain the present will disappear or will persist until wrapped and given to their father. This constant checking is like to the game with infants played where eyes are covered, uncovered, when this or that person mocks great surprise on each discovery when their eyes are uncovered, this play is like that but who other than themselves are playing. The two boys are skipping, pausing, drifting ahead or behind a few steps from She the most beautiful woman in the world- their mother- and chattering, questioning each other simply to have something to talk about, Will Dad like this colour, What are we going to wrap it in, Where will we put it under the tree, Are we going to get a card...

Silver finds this memory escaping his grasp and now it moves according to the desires of the two boys and their mother- none of whom, then or now, are aware each step is so closely followed from somewhere beside them, though the younger, Michael, often gazes directly at the point from which this memory is perceived. No, Silver then decides, no he does not see me, no, but at this confident decision he becomes aware that perhaps another watches them all, words words words, not simply in vision but in that complex combination of memory and imagination. Silver wonders briefly Who, How, from Where, Why, and even What that other watches, for is not simply himself or the two boys and their mother who watch, rather it is everyone who reads those markings of paper pages in one of those human creations that fill the shelves of this store, of that store, of all those places to all eyes of indiscriminate other humans. And this, his most private thoughts and senses, is offered for judgment and veracity through those other lives here and now or wherever, forever, this is further proof that humans are omnivorous and will eat whatever is put before bodies or minds and they are told nutritious. Humans are humans. Silver feels far more exposed than whenever summoned on stage of the theatre, Cross your fingers, more than any of those actors must have suffered in stage-fright, What do you mean he’s not ready, for it is not simply his body and his interpretation of character offered to however many patrons filling enough of the amphitheatre, whose senses are focused on something as always somewhere between the stage and their minds- it is more than this, it is Silver. He might like to believe he is in fact only to those other eyes no more than ghostly thoughts, that it is not true they are naked to the eyes of the world, well it is only this book and not everyone will read it, not one book forever reprinted, not one book that is not determined true or false or accorded status at which this is a significant decision, Only books, Only fiction...

Silver watches the boys and their mother walking down the sidewalk, the coldness of shadows out of winter sunlight, and the many human families all passed through- bound only in elastic threads of red love and golden warmth which of course are invisible to the humans. Music that is not music blares overhead with tunes of the seasons, over nauseous smells of gasoline, tire rubber, garbage, human sweat, human breath, over faint sharpness of the souvlaki storefront of the Food Court. Textures of concrete are harsh and unyielding under his paws. Signs everywhere are promising material objects apparently far less than their true worth. Towards an anchor department store the mother sees an outlet for favourite beverages which will reward the boys, bring some order, assure their co-operation in the clothes department some minutes farther ahead, Boys, be quiet now, be patient and I will buy you each a drink here after. At this the boys nod eagerly and halt their noise, their tumbling, their chatter, for their mother always keeps this promise…

Silver is at that moment able to gather again to his own direction, to force his senses to his own plan- to find again whatever dispersed, frayed, insistent and vivid memories, whatever his recall searches.

Silver is cat.

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Silver senses The Mall at the End of the World is more than retail outlets- here for various fashions of clothing arranged according to age, to wealth, endlessly repeated with minor alterations in cut, in material, in emblematic displays of Names- here in selections of most recent Idiot Pictures, arrayed with proud declarations of size, range of viewing, number of pixels, colour and clarity, with connections to this stereo, that image-box where certain material can be traced and so release works of filmic arts as were made only yesterday or a hundred years before- here in music and motion of silvery discs, in miniaturized personal devices humans carry everywhere and avoid ever being anywhere. More than this constant, compelling, ever-increasing consumption, there is an entire reality that supports material and unseen labour, there is a world beyond and before this insulated unreality. Silver discovers this in endless searching for something or anything, searching first for Why he searches, though targets, pattern meanings of his quest may never be revealed until he has found the thing searched for. Humans will discover she no longer wants it, cannot recall ever wanting it, sees that now she wanted something else that the Idiot Picture linked to it, words, images, thoughts, lies lies lies. Humans are humans. In creation by rapacious engorging of all resources of the world, humans can only too rarely become aware of their unsustainable ‘progress’- for the process by which resource becomes reshaped to satisfy human desires, these many steps from mine or forest or field, to this counter, this department, this store, is for customers invisible even as it is inevitable to those working each transformation, from mine to metal, from tree to furnishings- trees once proudly home to so many, many animals, now this table and those chairs, from field to fabric, cotton raised, picked, transported across country or sea to become these shirts that proclaim Porn Star or Yes, I know I am Beautiful, or raised in illusory value by human names promoted blatantly or discreetly. Humans are only rarely free of this idea that the ways things are, is the way things must be, though in their madness these things are rarely identical. Humans here in these multiple wandering, distracting, seducing malls that are truly only one mall of indefinite perhaps infinite scale, cannot see residual spectrums of emotion that envelop their purchases, do not sense all poverty, pains, fevered work which results in these or those shoes, clothes, furniture, all this to cat inescapably sensed. Silver knows his awareness requires senses humans did not, do not, will possibly never have. Silver cannot so easily condemn humans, he has learned so much from companion dogs, humans who so proudly claim to be Rational. Silver knows sympathy for humans trapped in a spectrum of the mere visible, for whom time flows in one direction, and escapes ever more desperate grasping...

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The Mall at the End of the World is more than retail outlets, more than one floor, more than one city, more than one year or many years- in time as in space it is indefinite perhaps infinite- and if one starts pacing at one place, continues in one direction, one returns to that same place many, many, many years later...

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Only by dress of visiting humans can Silver learn celebrations, seasons, weather beyond or before- against winter white on parking lots it is endless summer inside, in this or that store, in streets, cinemas, Attractions, and Food Court, forever year-round shirt-sleeve temperature, where once in days and nights, it is now 24 hours without a break, shift work favouring no single time zone as if an International Airport...

Silver comes to plaza of a great glass wall window to an immense swimming pool, an Attraction sealed to human shoppers, an Attraction that features constant, heaving, regular waves towards a distant, artificial, white crescent beach. Humans play in false surf, rest in beach chaises on this one of several false beaches, backed by fauna of cultivated trees, bushes, palms, flowers, gently brushed by artificial sea breezes. Far above a series of lights reveal a false spectrum of artificial sunlight, far beyond are balconies, windows, glass doors of temporary human residences that recede into clouds of mist beneath massive arches that hold up the sky...

Silver gazes in wonder at this massive illusion, this false world where only consumers are real, where glass barrier prevents any true sensory portrait, touch, taste, smell, warmth, orientation, sound, where false is true, and no humans will complain, in time lounging in hermetic dissolution there is no difference. Artificial display of sunrise then sunset, but this, as everything else here, has no relationship to the putative forgotten white winter, and happens every twelve hours day versus twelve hours night. Clouds in vibrant design, cast as in neon and translucence regularly follow a schedule of illusion so that one knows what sort of sunset or sunrise is due. And so regular nights are offered, for moonlit romantic strolls, beach barbeques, torch dances, drums for archaic or perhaps invented ritual dances- but constellation stars mimicked are only pin lights, sometimes burnt out so replaced by maintenance workers who hang from ropes that drop from robots under the arches, a process hidden from by daylight clouds, by camouflage, and sunlight. Even the moon follows its usual circuit of forms, even the occasional comet or meteor shower or transit of other planets or human space stations. The Mall Authority hears some discussion that with their holographic technology, they might emulate skies of other planets, dreamed planets, but such will follow perhaps after a display of What the Sky Looked Like After the Eruption of Vesuvius or Krakatoa, What the Sky Looked Like on 20 July 1969 When We Landed on the Moon, when relevant computer glitches are solved. There is some dispute within Mall Authority, whether the False should refer outside itself, should accidentally remind shoppers there is someplace Outside...

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The Mall at the End of the World is, truly, in the process of selling sizzle rather than steak, so perhaps we should not refer to slaughtered cows...

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Silver watches above all distractions in welcomed assaults to tired humans… so observes on this side of the glass wall there is a sort of amphitheatre of folding chairs around a raised platform not unlike a stage, but there is no pretence of playing at multiple ways of being human by other humans, there is only one spectacle for the audience, one aspect of the humans displayed, and this is not human but rather minimal swimming clothes of skeletal-thin beautiful young women and brooding handsome men. Thumping, mumbling, shouting music comes from everywhere that is nowhere over placid audience- lumpy, overweight, humanly real bodies watching the promenade of swimsuits displayed down the raised dock to occasional camera flashes, walking coat hangers gazing vacantly, dismissively, annoyed, over this audience as if their purpose and being is no more than chairs on which they sit. To the left by great curtain wall, Silver sees two human male predators hungrily watching tall bodies of three young, young, beautiful girls darting into a changing area, changing swimsuits, wraps, sunglasses, towels, emerging not to attend that false beach but to display once again to shoppers their spectacle...

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Silver watches this consumer ritual not unlike images that constantly swarm by few, repeated, dull stories told again and again by Idiot Pictures that all humans observe for clues on How to be Human, for that gift of being a human actor is that you never need be in one place to act, that curse being that you never stop acting, even if it is clothes you wear that speaks and you remain mute. Encouraging laughter pulses from those many, many Idiot Pictures here in this electronics store beside the plaza- though its staff of young men are watching the beautiful people writhing a dance down then back the dock, somehow never bored by this repetitive sight. Many humans here live on the blurred border between organic and electric- Silver cannot know the era, here and now, because personalized technology sometimes is fully integrated and through media, through music that forms a comfortable personalized environment, they are often here only by body default. Music appears on flat screens of Idiot Pictures, on far speaking devices, which share refreshed images of the other end, I am watching a fashion show I don’t know where, there’s a beach, there’s a wave pool, It all looks the same, I am, I am looking at the map. Are these humans anymore, well Silver has decided that this alteration of unreal reality is nothing more than a common phase of humans, separation of mind, sense, and bodies is a reflex perhaps engendered by technology. Children watch unseeing as accompanying adults pause throughout migrations to gaze upon swimsuits and tremble under noxious assault of the music, and soon it is Where are the horses, I’m hungry, I’m bored, I’m tired, I want to go home. No one listens to children. Humans are humans.

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Silver sits under a rare bench and shifts time, but such technique does not free him from pulsing crowds- he senses now this place never closes, these services are never suspended because of night- there is no true night, not here, not on that false beach, there is no true moon as there is no true sun. The Mall at the End of the World is more than real to even all those who do not know these places, whose only connection to it is as being those who create this or that material object for its shoppers, for whom their desires are This Idiot Picture, That Musical Box, This Personal Coordinator, and so they never find here what they search for and so are often lost. Only humans could make so unreal a reality. Humans are humans.

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Silver abandons this crowded place and weaves unseen through the crowds that surge from point a to point b only by passing as many stores as possible according to architects’ and the Mall Authority’s intentions, for though he is cat and so immune to appeals to define himself as Consumer, there is a sickening, pervasive scent of Fear with no identifiable cause, here on this street, that street, any street. Knot of curious shoppers stands as if in shared mourning around the body of one shopper, who appears largest laid out on floor tiles- massive, empty, with bags of purchases splayed around him, Heart Attack, runs the whispering, Unhealthy, They should take him away, they should not let the children see this, God but he is fat of course he’d be a walking coronary, Oh gross what happened, these are the murmurs from surrounding crowd as four men load him onto a stretcher then stretcher onto an electric cart. These humans are wearing uniforms that mock those of policemen, that also resemble those of Hotel Doormen, Mall Security, Car Mechanics, anyone else whose authority is mostly in appearance rather than fact, in specialized un-specializations whose usually minor range of duties is thereby more seriously, solemnly performed. Only one of the men seems to know what he is doing and begins to perform some familiar ritual of resuscitation on the fallen man, he wears a band with a red cross on one arm, but he is in fact a Lifeguard whose shorts, bare feet, unnatural tan, muscular body almost marks him another species from spectators. He is speaking to a sliver of chrome on his lapel, speaking quietly, calmly, surely aware this place dissipates, that stores, bays, broad hallways now translucent and receding into a background of no interest- he is on stage, performing, stage that is not stage. Starting CPR, he announces to another, questioner on his cellular microphone, One and two and three, he chants as he presses his crossed hands against the sickly white bloat of the man’s gray-haired chest, checks the neck for pulse, lowers his mouth to the other’s and blowing in breath, pulls back, repeats, One and two and three...

Silver senses focused anxiety of the Lifeguard, against hungry, aroused terror of this audience, for this is what the Idiot Picture rarely shows and then usually only as context of this or that story, and if you are not voyeuristically attracted to that display of Death and all those human techniques learned to refuse it, well switch the channel. Will this be new ghost to haunt the halls of The Mall at the End of the World, human spirit, phantom consumer only more obviously, invisibly trapped among than blinkered shoppers, yes, no, better not to ask...

Silver follows the slow cart as it weaves slowly down the street by oblivious consumers but it is easy to leave here and now, by death, by final release- but perhaps this dying man will never leave- though certainly he will never discomfort those consumers, for it is only as corpse and only according to others, to relatives, to children, to siblings, that he will serve as warning that nothing can buy off Death... best ignore this natural this unavoidable thishuman tragedy. Instead, it is the pungent tang of another sense of Death that exerts such powerful lure to Silver, sense of Death in that particularly human desire to surpass, to transcend, that draws these other humans down this other street, some great halls of playing institution where humans play not with other humans but rather that invisible abstraction called The House...

The Mall at the End of the World is in fact, here and now, The House, which seduces the unwary, the gullible, the unending flow of those their staff call Patrons to their faces, but Marks amongst themselves. At one time these were all adult humans and a subcutaneous infiltration of the sexual, the feverish, theconstant susurration of desire, in visible conflict of rare Luck and common Losers- but in recent years games of chance have become family entertainment in which even the children are playing for toys, for bubblegum, for false paper money useless beyond confines of this or that hotel, this or that casino, or stores in a certain mall, and any protests against necessary corruption of children are lost in prehistoric era, for the next generation of Marks must come from somewhere. This is what the consumer wants, so necessarily this is what she is given. The House has diversified, its moist grasp slithering into entire realms of family pleasures, evading uncomfortable, pestering, enquiry that even in querulous comments that could possibly suggest any other way of the world, well in all truth how can you presume to know better what is desired, what we offer here, is not so identical. No dispute is allowed here, as no union, no guild, no association embraces all the front line of this massive money spinning industry, no, there is only what The House deems necessary cosmetic therapy, disguised under layers of distracting playful noise, bright dancing lights. Odds favour The House in all its games, rigorously maintained by a planes-clothes platoon of security operatives who watch for card counting or other modes of behaviour aiming to soften the overwhelming, steep, slope of Odds. Somewhere, invisible from the entrance, there are indeed private caverns where unconscionably huge scores are played, but all all all gambling- on Boxing, Greyhounds, Thoroughbreds, true Football, American Rules Football, Australian Rules Football, Rugby, Cricket, Lawn Hockey, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Badminton, Squash, Skiing, Motor Sports, College Sports... on anything that promises winners and losers- yet all of these incredible sums do not equal leavings of unspectacular Marks, much lost to one armed bandits, lost to deceptive horizontal wheels that spin their passengers nowhere, much that is invisibly played and parted from anywhere wired or wireless throughout the human world...

Silver need not worry of discovery as he follows loud, brash, overconfident group of four men who are eagerly fortified by alcohol and claim one, two, three all know a Lady called Luck, they are so loud they do not even realize that weaving invisible between their strides is blurred gray cat. He has no control where they go, so that first they go somewhere to overlook false beach at night with false displays of fireworks, watching those others not even ants beneath their feet in the security of a hotel casino. He shifts time, coming back just in time to move again, to stride under the Marks’ sudden, whooping hilarity, past a massive extension of a jungle thick with perfume and stench and humidity, with tree house hotel rooms and such convincing starlit sky that it would be a real world, outside, where many Patrons are descending or ascending to casino tables. Humans are humans. Someone must have told them that the odds are here forever against them, but here they come in tuxedoes and evening gowns, brittle, flashing smiles and iconographic coils of smoke rising from their death-sticks. And then down another corridor of mirrors, through glass double doors that trap away warmth and moisture, past an ice-skating rink always busy with graceful, swirling skaters, past an entire series of midway rides, immense Ferris wheels, roller coasters twisting upside-down and corkscrew, water slides, jointed slings shrieking metal and rubber, noises overcome with frantic joyous screams of humans riders, past a bowling alley where play uniformed teams of Jorge’s Garage and Derrida’s Gas Furnaces, past stables and massive covered span of racetrack for horses- finally satisfying this or that voice, Where are the horses, Mommy, I’m hungry, I’m bored, I’m tired- and Silver knows these possibilities only further multiply, but how can they matter to cats, no, there is nothing he is learning from this company...

Silver is exhausted by the constant necessity to continue his unnoticed progress, for there are so many points of view he must avoid, though mostly noticeable only to very young children, and nobody validates or even hears human children. No one listens to children. Humans are humans. And, of course, it is these least empowered who are most truly aware in their multiple unvoiced senses, before adults will induce their own Objective perspective, their Rational palette of the world. Memories return to him of investigating that great painting in the Art Museum of the Park, the dismissive, simplified tones, the claim ironically voicing highest praise, Child Could Do That, for there are dimensions, realm of perception, nearly as clear and distinct as those of cats, in human children. Here there are whiffs of food under this human atmosphere which so completely eliminates the scent of grass, of giant trees, mulch of spring flower gardens, instead pungent with the unnatural perfume of this or that store, over human sweat, human breath, human clothes. Door closes this promise of food somewhere but he is not disappointed- the four humans seem to be drawn to gifts of promised food to lure them to play at this casino and not that, so move into a surging crowd, only momentarily distracted by thudding music and shrieking explosion of humans in stadium watching two humans batter each other to unconsciousness, or into a judged victory, or into disputed failure. He is horrified yet deeply engaged by the deliberate process of each muscular, angry, distorted rage exhibited in ways that only humans could sanction and even encourage, for it is known some humans will even kill other humans, and this display is never far short of that ultimate irreversible result. He does not understand this disease of self-hate that prompts one, two, three youthful humans, to offer his body, his mind, his life to that earnest destruction the other offers- for even catsinnocent and uncomprehending knows that the essential truth is not inflicting pain on the other, no, it is the honest anguished sense of accepting pain in turn. Here, more than in any other human behaviour, comes to that Great Asymmetry which characterizes life- that so many, many aspects of being must co-operate to generate that which unites all Life without adding anything there- yet it is only some single gesture, some single failure, to bring such Life to Death...

Silver is cat.

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Silver escapes this place, where all human sacrifices are more than eager, where humans victimize other humans as if only in this way can they share the gift of living, where it seems probable if not inevitable that they should descend to that human madness of slaughtering their own kind. He escapes simply enough by allowing his nausea to lead him away from the cohort of four men plunging ahead to the pleasant, hypnotizing, mutating menu of sounds and lights distracting them from that darkness of death, surely humans see this- no, no, no, no. He will not watch this horror, will rather wait, secure, and later accept this or that tale from other cats, such as he discovers through a swinging door to a crowded, hectic kitchen, here and now busy at any hour he shifts time to capture an envelope of peace. He dances aside the harried flow of humans here as no more than servers, cooks aligned before this or that large cauldron boiling, pots and pans clanging, grills flaming, the heady attraction of fumes of various meals. He momentarily pauses in fascination at the truly industrial scale of the kitchen- larger, busier, louder than he could have imagined, for as this is a part of all malls here at The Mall at the End of the World, so this is The Kitchen at the End of the World- every kitchen, in time or space, accessible in that way of cats as for other animals when the universe is infinite in all directions, when other dimensions are no more than a step aside or a leap above. He pauses in his careful dance around occupied humans carrying Lobster Thermidor, Cedar-Plank Salmon, Scallop Pizza, serving countless creations, too busy in haste to stop and taste the worlds within reach. Silver moves swiftly or the world slowly, for there is no anxiety that they will collide, no matter how much he might fleetingly desire to rescue such busy, mindless, helpless humans. Humans are humans…

Silver inhales one, two, three, ten thousand flavours in this kitchen, and would in fact linger if never taste what is not given, think what is never thought, for despite his hunger he can only pity those humans, here and now as much as then and everywhere- he knows that food of the emotions cannot be corrupted in such un-cat behaviour. He moves deeper into the kitchen and with some effort disregard those aromas that summon anticipatory saliva. He is soon as near center of lives lived as he can imagine, knowing he waits but not Why or For Whom-

Brother, hails cat not a body-length to his right, you are not here for humans. Humans are humans. Come.

Where, Silver wonders even as he comes beside the other and dampens the immediate reflex of flight or fight against the sudden appearance of the other. Curiosity follows his leisurely drift to find an angle that presents solidity- a body he can strike if this strangest meeting should become a fight. He sniffs naming glands, forms a pacing circle with the other, tail to nose, nose to tail. He smells Time, nothing more, nothing less, Where,

Come, the other replies, we have been waiting...

Who, he wonders even as he begins to follow the other. He knows better than to expect an answer, senses that this is not their first meeting nor shall it be their last, that the spiraling pattern leads not to the infinite zero that all time comes to spiral, no, he is caught in that strange attractor of a non-linear pattern. Chaos is merely order yet to be discerned, chaos is not his lives, not playful infinity of non-linear patterns, chaos is not forever deferred ending of his lives. Someone- some many- might have called him ‘Silver’, but that illusion of solitude becomes here and now clearly a way of being that must be shed to come to this future, ways he perceives he is one cat as all cats. He is the city of cats. And in this way Silver recognizes his spirit restless to view, to think, to communicate with all other sentient creatures- from cats, birds, dogs, horses, bears, to ten thousand at least of other beings, even to recalcitrant, disbelieving humans. Humans refuse to learn from all these other spirits with whom they share that gift of being. Humans denigrate obvious truth that in sharing common ancestors, from which evolution has borne even them, means that animal spirits are only different in degree and not in kind. Humans are humans. Humans might calculate, so confident the infinite universe can be ever adequately explained by finite minds, yes, they have such large brains crippled by so limited senses...

Come, the other replies, we have been waiting...

Silver remains respectful and silent, pacing after the other, and quickly, without and within his body begins to absorb that translucence of this place- no longer The Kitchen at the End of the World, no longer The Mall at the End of the World, now there is The End of the World-this human, artificial, portrayal of that world which had awaited arrival of those animals gifted with consciousness, and it is an illusory fragment of a world not yet drowned in the Greenhouse Flood, place that has been clear-cut despite these being the largest and oldest trees of the entire world. Madness of humans, humans, humans who claim how above and dominant over the world rather than supported and supporting, touching and touched, enmeshed bodies with the world, yes, in time will those humans come to understand how they have destroyed that intersubjective world that had once allowed their propagation without fear- the world, the world is so vast, how can we begrudge the least of their interventions, yes, no, better not to know. Humans will surely sense how what they are destroying what they had thought inexhaustible, had been previously replenished over many, many millennia, now if only there were humans who were accountants of natural resource- it would be in the language of invisible transaction, of capital, of deficit, of loss and debt- it would necessarily be in that language to convince humans of their collective madness. Cats are usually pessimistic, as dogs are optimistic, that through force of shared thought humans will soon recognize their errors and cease if not reverse their endlessly increasing fouling of the world, well perhaps in some worlds no more nor less than of hopes and dreams, but this world does not encourage belief in enlightenment of humans...

Silver senses deferred possibilities...

And so here come the pleas of ignorance, mercy, knowledge unheeded, We knew we used more water than fell from the sky yes of course we knew our water table was drained to serve our ten thousand golf courses, We knew that our water there came from those icepack built over unused millennia, but infinite green green green suburban lawns of our cities, our endlessly thirsty hog factories we call farms, our oil reserves that required increasing injections to force more oil to our pumps, all needed ever more volumes of water. We knew, humans will in time admit to each other, We knew but believed this day would never come, We knew our ways were unsustainable, We willfully blinded ourselves to the many, many ways we extracted our true or frivolous needs from the world with no thought of tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, We knew and changed nothing. Humans are humans. Claiming such being to each other as excuse for actions, After all, we are only human, or claiming exemption from responses, We are human, you cannot do this to us, well this is the diseased distortion too common in humans, it is humans who do this to humans. Dogs would share the sorrows of their masters, but cats can spare little sympathy from all the biodiversity of species habitats- if not species directly- that are destroyed by those humans of great brains yet so limited senses...

Come, the other replies, we have been waiting…

Here come the memories of this life and lives before, dreams true or false or beyond that distinction. He is cat, and as cat this strange meeting beyond Rationality, beyond Objective, for he is all spirit as all body, no more and no less, a locus of being as a philosophical movement dedicated to describing the structures of experience as they present themselves to consciousness, without recourse to theory, deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines such as the natural sciences. Humans are humans.

Silver is cat.

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