Chapter 38

10 2 1

by DeeJAY

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by DeeJAY

Gramps sways me off the plane
inside the kitty prison
the hoomans call a cat carrier

while I meow at a lady
curling her lip
at his t-shirt with
the screen-printed loading bar
for incoming farts.

Then we're beyond the terminal,
riding an escalator
towards a neon-lit deck
where taxi drivers
pick up tired travelers.

Some travelers
can't afford a taxi
because of the gig economy,
yet Uber drivers are forbidden
from picking them up
at the airport
due to an agreement
with cab businesses.

I've never figured out
how humans determine
which jobs to choke dry
in the name of progress,
and which to preserve
in the name of
delaying the inevitable,
but it seems like many
hoomans are uncomfortable
with the arrangement.

Still, through the crosshatch
bars of the carrier,
as we exit the taxi
onto the Old Strip,

I see a group
of whooping young people
seemingly happy enough
by their fortune
to dance around
crowds of other Homo sapiens
while recounting memories
of a thing they call
the craps table.

Grandpa walks through
brilliant splashes
of vibrantly hued lights,
from puddles of red
to swathes of blue,

beneath a swaying
row of bungee cords
with families screaming down them
into the electrified dark,

before entering
a cologne-infused hotel
with plush violet carpet

and riding an elevator
up thirteen floors
to a hallway marked
the fourteenth floor.

Seven rooms down,
Gramps has a one-way
conversation with a key reader
that he thinks
should have a hole
when he just needs to swipe
near the glowing box
scintillating on the wall.

I think about explaining
how the card reader works
until a guest walks by
and crescent moons around
the mid-fifties man
f-bombing an innocent wall.

If too many hoomans
find out about Feline Society #337
or any of our annexes,
it could blow our cover.

Then Feline Society #338
would have to travel to Earth,
and I doubt
Kursant Tinker
would be thrilled with that.

So I stay quiet
save a little chirp,
like if I were watching
birds out the window.

Grandpa hollers
a loud woo-hoo
as the door clicks free
and I jump so suddenly,
my back slams
into my plastic prison.

Thankfully, we get inside
before any neighbors
pop their head out to see
who's making a ruckus
with a fart shirt
and a cat
in a hall
in a hotel
in the City of Sin.

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