Advantage

In her recent interview with Success magazine, Ruth-Allen Kapoor related the advice her father gave her time and time again throughout her childhood. “If you give anyone a chance, they’ll take advantage of you.”

Following this adage, Kapoor founded her first company, a local bakery, at age nineteen. In but a few years, her cutthroat business instincts had made her cupcakes a household name, and following that empire, she expanded into tech. Whatever else might be next for Kapoor, we know she’ll come out on top.

As the news blathered on, she set her cat on the floor again. “When will you learn? You’re not allowed up here.” The cat looked up at her, and in a minute had forgotten the upheaval, back on her lap. Ruth-Allen stood up.

Her husband would be home soon. If he wasn’t, he was sleeping with his boss. According to their email correspondence, they met once or twice a week, usually during business hours, but sometimes they liked to do something nice to pretend they were a couple. Confronting them seemed pointless for now, but someday, the knowledge would come in handy. Ruth-Allen had the emails archived.

The cat mewed at her. “No. You don’t get anything unless you’re quiet.” The cat mewed again.

Her father was dying. He wanted help with medical bills, but then who knew what else he’d want?

As the cat mounted its designated sitting spot, Ruth-Allen rubbed its fur in even strokes. “Don’t think I’m going easy on you,” she said, feeding it. “Don’t think I’m not in charge.”

#authority, #business, #cat, #cupcakes, #cutthroat, #cynicism, #microfiction

Infested

The house was sterile most days. The nights even more so; not only still, but quiet. Only in the mornings as the people left and in the evenings when they returned did anything happen at all.

This was fine. Ollie spent his time alone asleep. Twice a day he would make his rounds, lest the house lose his scent, but otherwise he was content to lie asleep on his favorite person’s bed. She smelled like him now. When she came home, she made clicking sounds and gave him food. He didn’t even have to ask.

He heard her clicks and ran to the kitchen. The floor slid under the force of his paws. He approached his bowl and looked inside, though he could tell it was empty from a distance. He looked up at the people gathered around him. They laughed, and he felt his coat bristle.

His favorite person held up her hand. He wasn’t sure what she was doing, and he looked around for answers.

Next to him on the floor was a strange glowing circle. It wobbled slightly, and he lifted a trepidatious paw. They were watching him, more attentive than usual. They wanted him to get rid of the circle, and they were withholding his food until he did their bidding.

He made a lunge for the intruder, but it seemed to dissolve at his touch. It waited next to him, unafraid. That arrogance would not go unpunished, and he made another swipe. He thought he had it, but it darted away from him. At his next attempt, it careened wildly, and as it came to a stop, disappeared without a trace.

They laughed again and dispersed. She poured some food and left him on his own.

The house smelled like the dot.

#animals, #cat, #laser-pointer, #microfiction, #uncertainty