the cottage

Dramatis personæ et animalium:

Tangerine Amadeus – a small cat

Vivian – her owner who has lost her mind

Trefoil – Vivian’s Cashmere goat and Tangerine’s best friend

Oatmeal – Vivian’s guinea pig (non-appearance this snippet)

Drippet – Vivian’s bunny; Oatmeal’s friend (non-appearance this snippet)

Carmine – a homeless cat who hangs around sometimes and steals Tangerine’s food


Setting: They live together in a river stone cottage with three acres of land covered in wildflowers, clover, and aspen trees. They have two neighbors, one on either side, who also live in river stone cottages.


Story: The afternoon sunlight is honey-yellow and shines softly through the lace curtains across the windows above the one-basin sink in the kitchenette. Vivian sits at the card table-size dinner table and scratches funny shapes into a wooden disc with a bent fork. She doesn’t look at the work in her hands, merely gazes vacantly at a spot next to the window on the wall. Tangerine curls around her toes, mewing to go outside where Trefoil the goat chews his food. Vivian continues scratching her cryptic glyphs. Tange tries again, climbs up on the table and catches Vivian’s drawing hand with her paw, stopping the motion. Vivian looks hard at the cat, eyes focusing and says, “oh.” Tange bounds off the table, knowing she will get her way, finally. When Vivian opens the door, she stares at a post in her front lawn until long after the cat has joined Trefoil in the wildflowers and the honey-yellow sun has deepened to burnt amber gold. Carmine has already been in and out for supper.


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