An Excerpt from "The Discarded Feast" by Scott Semegran
I slid the key into the dead bolt of the door to my apartment, turned the door knob, and in we went, to-go containers from the P.W. in our hands, smiles on our faces when we saw Mr. Whiskers waiting for us by the door. He always waited for me by the door. He was a good cat.
"Hey buddy!" said I, leaning down to scratch his head. He purred loudly. "I bet you're hungry."
I turned the lights on and we made our way to the coffee table, setting our food on it, plopping on the floor, our dining area. Alfonso noticed a gang of slaughtered roaches on the floor next to the couch, still twitching, almost dead, flopping on the carpet. Mr. Whiskers pounced on them, jabbed at them for the last time, then promptly ignored them. He lost interest for some reason.
This was a typical haul for Mr. Whiskers. When he was on the prowl, he liked to crouch low to the floor, digging his claws into the carpet, his tail slithering side-to-side like a snake easing through a forest, his eyes narrowing into focus, his whiskers spreading out, stiff, quivering, waiting for bugs. The roaches made their way from the sliding patio door to under my couch and my dutiful cat would watch them, the bugs tip-toeing around dust bunnies and cigarette lighters and waded up hamburger wrappers and sticky bent straws. My apartment complex was surrounded by oak and cedar trees, straddling creek beds that fed Town Lake a couple of blocks away, making fertile ground for bugs and rats and mice and snakes. To say my complex was infested with vermin was almost a stretch (almost) but it was not unusual for roaches to make their way daily under the sliding door from the rotting wooden deck behind my apartment, and that was where Mr. Whiskers would lay, crouched on the hearth of the fireplace next to the back door, his eyes aimed at the bottom of the door where the sliding rails were, looking for tasty bugs, waiting to pounce on them and rip their legs off. He was an effective insect exterminator. The roaches under the couch attempted to make it to the kitchen like starving idiots. Mr. Whiskers wound up his hind legs, sprang into action, jabbing his front right leg under the couch, and pulled the roaches out, his claws ripping the roaches open in one swift motion. As the roaches flip-flopped on the carpet, Mr. Whiskers licked himself clean, setting his paw on the roaches whenever they bounced around too erratically, keeping them in check until their demise. He would leave the bugs to die, alone, in the middle of the living room--or actually, Alfonso's temporary bedroom--as a symbol of his love to me and my new roommate. Fucking gross.