Flash Fiction * The Tom and Dwight Flood
He was staring through my window in his dingy wife-beater undershirt, sullen, short hair comically slanting backward. I hadn’t seen Dwight Flood land in my flowerbed, but my train of thought easily followed the cursing, the name of my cat, the cat leaping through the small door flap in the entryway and skidding across the tiles.
The property manager’s face loomed, a lone impatiens blossom dangling on one side of his head. As if he could feel me looking at it, he brushed the flower aside with the hairy back of one hand. His eyes looked about to leave his head. I thought it best to go ahead outside and address the issue.
“Want some coffee?”
Dwight Flood made a quarter turn to glare in my direction. He was seething. I continued the friendly patter.
“Cement’s slippery when it’s wet. Thank God for the flower bed, huh?” I ventured a friendly smile, which was shot down by piercing eye-arrows. It was no use. Dwight Flood and my cat have held a mutual blood-wish since they met three years ago.
Before we paint the man vividly with shades of prejudice and inhumanity, let me clarify: he didn't like animals living in apartments. Basically, if it has four legs, it should be staked out in the yard, or shot, or both. That’s inhumane, but not prejudiced.
It could be said that the cat liked Dwight Flood. Maybe Tom chose to sharpen his claws on the property manager’s window screens out of friendship.
Dwight Flood operated with some misunderstanding that spraying a cat with water would make him stop catting. Tom just climbed up the second-floor window screens to the rooftop and watched as Dwight Flood’s flipflops hydroplaned across wet concrete. Once the concrete was clear, Tom had scuttled back into the apartment.
Folks, language cannot be empty. Even when it appears to be sparse or absent, like with a cat or a property manager of few words, language is very, very full.
“Ain’t no bed. Fucking hard as a rock,” Dwight muttered. And that was it.
Those words spoke volumes to me: the battle was over, but the war would continue, and I’d best watch out for my own personal well-being if I knew what was good for me. Dwight Flood, after all, had keys to just about anything that mattered to me, especially the laundry room.
As he turned to walk away, just the tip of his butt crack peeked over the sagging waistline of his striped boxers, a Moon of Moderation.
It’s karma, I thought to myself. No matter how much one hates someone else’s cat, one should not try to hose it down. Cats will come and cats will go, and it’s best to let them just do so.