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Cat Story

I'm trying to read George Saunders in a backyard on Sullivan when I notice some lipstick residue on my dead white Kindle and know my wife's been at it again. We'd eaten sushi takeout from a place on Prince and finished it off with matzohs and Israeli wine; it's Passover week. Just back with the grandkids from the new whale show at the Natural History museum where we were crushed by spring break. Each time a cloud comes over I slide back into winter. Easy to do after the s-n-o-w last week. Yesterday I met a man in Central Park with an accent as broad as the Bronx; he was walking his cat Chelsea on a nylon leash tied with a hangman's knot. We chat a while about how he gets a cat to do something like this when it's time to take the kids into the children's zoo. Before we part he tells me I can just type Chelsea, cat walking in Central Park on YouTube and see her do it again. In New York everybody's on the web, everybody's a star. And just like that I'm on YouTube twice, like my father would say after going to a bad restaurant, the first time and the last time. It’s so boring. When I look at his video all I see is a cat walking along a curb, then hopping on a bench; in the Bronx Man’s voice not a single secret is revealed. I've never had a cat lick peanut butter from my face so I can't use that and Claude is too lazy to climb on my desk when I use the computer. You can’t sell a screen saver to a cat who’s often playing dead. Of course how would I know: dogs have owners but cats have staff. There's a dog here where I'm staying who barks his head off when he’s got to go pee; at my age I just run like hell.





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Michael Salcman is a physician and teacher of art history. I was chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland and president of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. He is a well-published poet whose work has appeared in many journals and literary magazines.