• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 08

Still Life

Don’t even think about it. His yellow eyes glare at me, his rotund gray velvet body off to the side as if distancing himself from the portraits. I wanted him to pose just long enough for me to capture his regal essence. But he would have none of it. It didn’t matter that I wouldn’t be literally dressing him up. The portraits were just headshots superimposed on artwork I downloaded. I wasn’t going to try and stuff him into an Elizabethan collar or ivory silk cravat. But he didn’t trust me.

I thought that ironic. A street cat for God knows how long, he came to my door one day, skinny and ravenous. His fur was a dull gray, and his ribs were pronounced. But his eyes, the egg yolk yellow of his eyes, were what captured my heart. I told him he’d have to be willing to share the house with the creamy orange tabby and the sleek gray cats who already resided with me. They welcomed him with suspicion, sniffing at the closed bedroom door where I kept him sequestered until he’d had all his shots. By the time I let him loose in the house, he was old news to them.

And I had already done their portraits, so they knew what was in store for him. They had been indignant at first. Cats in clothes—modern or centuries-old—was ridiculous, they argued with me. What do you take us for? Why should we be objects for amusement? We are not here to entertain, you know.

And well I did know. Yet I persisted, pointing out how I was the one buying and preparing food for them, not to mention cleaning their litter boxes and arranging their vet visits. Yes, I understood that I am “staff” as far as they were concerned, but a girl has got to make a living. The least they could do was pose for a headshot.

I turn back to the yolky yellow eyes. He was still glaring while I readied my camera.