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Mr Muggles

by on November 13, 2010

Jack’s cat is a malicious thing, but no one’s noticed. Mr Muggles has a button nose and a twinkle in his left eye. He walks with a swaying feline swagger as if to tell the world, “I am here,” or perhaps, “Examine, ye, my untouchable beauty.” Only sometimes, instead of sashaying across the room, a prima donna, he jumps around and plays like a little kitten.

This is merely premeditated camouflage, an attempt to appear cute and docile.

When Mr Muggles plays it’s always with living things: a cockroach, a mouse. He plays without killing them. When he’s entranced enough, or self-satisfied enough, his guard slips and that twinkle creeps into his eye.

You might think that you’re safe, that a creature as small and cute as Jack’s Mr Muggles couldn’t play with you. But consider this: Jack has been in hospital this last week. He’d told his doctor, “I’m always tired. I’ve lost my appetite, I’m losing weight.” His doctor had said, “Son, if you look here,” and tapped on the x-ray, “that there’s a blockage.” He pointed to the glowing mass where Jack’s upper intestinal tract would have been if one could see soft tissue on an x-ray.

They cut into him to remove the blockage, a bezoar made solely of hair. A trichobezoar is usually made of long hair, but Jack’s hair is short and blonde and he swore he had never swallowed any.

He never asked why the bezoar was made of black hair, but that suits Mr Muggles just fine. When Jack comes home Mr Muggles will snuggle up to him, rub his black coat against his leg.

There’ll be a twinkle in his eye.

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9 Comments
  1. Oh, how like a cat! I enjoyed it. I often imagine my cats are out to get me – why else would they want to sleep on my face?

    • And also, why would they always wrap themselves around my legs while I’m walking down a flight of stairs? They’re definitely dangerous animals!

  2. Cool, man.
    Fun and cute but also sinister.
    Must be the “You might think that you’re safe” … eek!

    You’ve cracked out some great creepy ‘This could happen to you..’ vibes with the hospitalisation and cutting and x-rays, and portrayed Mr Muggles as Predator really well.
    I would not like to meet him in a dark alley.

  3. This is, as usual, beautifully paced and observed: the slightly detached tone works very well to convey the tension between the cute and the sinister. I really enjoyed the construction of the story through small details which build up into a horribly compelling picture. Bonus points for “sashay” and “Examine, ye, my untouchable beauty”, which are wonderfully atmospheric.

    If I have to nit-pick, which really the piece doesn’t merit, for me the sentence “the glowing mass where Jack’s upper intestinal tract would have been if one could see soft tissue on an x-ray” doesn’t quite work, it feels a bit clumsy and not entirely meaningful.

    • Thanks, Doc. The nit-pick is a good one: I personally think I was being overly pedantic with that x-ray description (not a good thing), and I cringe slightly when I reread it.

  4. cbraz permalink

    I enjoyed this piece a lot. Mr Muggles is beautifully described, and I love how the piece flows smoothly from fairly normal cat description to macabre and creepy fantasy. I particularly liked “When Mr Muggles plays it’s always with living things” and “But consider this:” (an excellent intro to the creepy bit and nicely detached)

    I agree about the x-ray bit, and also found the double “his” referring to different beings in “rub his black coat against his leg” a bit awkward.

  5. Good fun creepiness and a lovely perspective.

    I liked the creeping dread fantasy set within the very everyday world. I like the way your respect for the evil cat within is clearly displayed.

    Fav Sentence: ‘When Mr Muggles plays it’s always with living things: ‘

    I didn’t think the technical medical words really worked this time round – the piece is too intimate – Like someone telling you a warning story and not really cold and clinical.

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