My library closed for two days due to Christmas. Several of us decided that, because of this, it might be better for kafka, the library cat, to go home with someone, someone who is doing nothing for the holiday, someone who loves kafka, someone who has several cans of sardines in his larder, and someone who writes so winningly about kafka's exploits that he should never be too far out of reach of them. Who could this person be? Me! So I brought kafka home with me for a 5 day holiday.
I worked Monday night and when it was time for my wife and I to take kafka home he was out cold on a space in the shelves of the Mystery section. I picked him up and he purred heavily, but remained completely limp. Indeed kafka never woke up through all the tumult of our trip home. And yet, the moment we crossed the threshold of my small house kafka woke up. I set him down. He stretched and yawned and wandered off to explore. After ten minutes he came to me and looked at me as if to say "Wow, this is your whole house?" or "Entertain me." or "I know you from somewhere don't I?" or "Feed me." or "I am pleased." or "Hi dear buddy, what's next then?" Cats do have their inscrutable side, and it behooves us to respect that. Rather than pick one of those possible expressions above, I like to try as well as I can to understand it all as some strange kaleidoscopic version of "all of the above."
I pet kafka for awhile. I gave him some sardines. He went off on his own. Later, I went down to do some midnight writing in my basement studio. After I was down there for a few minutes I looked up. Kafka, with his usual penchant for unusual curling up spots had crawled into the trusses of my house and was sitting there, ensconced in the strange joints of the walls and the open ceiling of my basement, watching me.
And so I wrote this.