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FICTION
Orange, Non Orange Ball of Cat
Sarah Bex Rice

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Whatever the equal-opposite of red + yellow is, is the opposite of orange but quite like exactly the same thing. I think. Like brown but orange. Puke-like, crappy brown, sort of a purple mixed with something horrifying, like yellow, the worst of them all. But then, also, just orange. Like a rainbow of all oranges, navel, tangerine, plain orange, baby orange, blood orange juice, and everything in between. Trying to use words to describe the nuanced mixture of thousands upon thousands of tiny 1-inch long strings that have terms like “hair” or “fur” attached to them, but also attached to a cylindrical looking animal, with four little cylindrical stumps sticking out of its underbelly. Help it move, help it walk, prance, purr and hide. And a spherical thing resting at the front - often, called: a head. And then a worm, a loose stick of flesh and fur-hair-strings that twists and curls in response to human surroundings. Also food. Treats make the wormy stick erratic and erect, turned on for something far better than a sexual craving. Appetite! A hungry cat, petted and fed, is a happy one. Human learns well.

His name is Bobby, but often, he responds to the call of Booby. We are grown, up, but he stays Booby to the best of us. Who would name a cat Bobby or Booby? Beats me. Like orange and its equal-opposite. They are nothing alike but look exactly alike with one’s mundane quality and the other’s peculiar, childlike nonsense, existing right around the same number on a scale of 1-10 - on some numerical scale that probably resembles stupidity. Or bored-ness. What did I say about humans learning? Double B’s name falls at around a solid 3. Take that on whatever end of the scale you will.

I like the way Booby-Bobby responds to my touch. Not quite needing me but taking it and trying to make something out of it. Like a negligent lover that takes but never gives. However, you enjoy the giving part and give to yourself well enough to get by, without really ever needing to take. “Yes, yes, this is quite nice”, the Boobster hisses in his little sphere’s probably smarter-than-thou’s brain thing. “Yes, very agreeable. Keep doing it. I shall accept this.” And so I abide, pretending we have some sort of telepathic powers between the two of us, where the two of us “things” understand each other’s creature makeup better than all the rest. Little LED light strings, overpriced hipster fairy lights for approximately $29.99 a strand, connect our inner-upper workings. Brains? Circuitry. I pet the softness, he purrs. Yet, we feel nothing and still somehow find contentment in that emptiness, offering a something that resembles a nothing to each other, powering up and lighting up electronic-like bulbs that sway between our frontal lobes. I imagine wet clothes hanging and drying from them because, waste not/want not. One thing, two purposes. To connect feline and human; to clean your garments.

I often wonder what it would be like if Bob the Boob was gray, or black or white or literally colored by any other shade other than his puke-worthy, multi-color combo. So ugly. So inviting. Would he strut the same? Be aloof the same way? Would Bobby no longer be a Boob or a Booby, not even a breast, tit, or god forbid, part of a…chest?! And what would I be without this non-orange ball of orange fur-hair-particles tangled between the gaps of my own 5 skinny, long cylinders, growing out of the moonlike palm of my hand? He’s not even mine. I can’t even own him. I have to borrow this kind of comfort. The kind of comfort that isn’t really comforting at all, in all comfortable honesty. 

I grab something soft in my hand, practically flaccid, but furry. I feel nothing except a vibration. A purr? Or a rumble. “More food please”, his stomach reminds me. Why do I want it? Why do I continue to touch, and pet and stroke? Why do I continue to give, but not really give what he wants? Bobby takes it anyways and sighs without really even doing such a thing because I do not think his type can even do such a thing. A mere boob. But smarter than you would assume. He pretends not to know because how can he? He doesn’t think. He’s a cat. But those LED lights flicker, somehow, even though I think they aren’t supposed to, because they know better and also know better. I’m the boob. And Bobby, a fixture that I think helps me onto the next moment. But I don’t know the next moment, do I? I don’t. I think the best, and then, the worst creeps, tucked, waiting and not watching because, hey, feelings don’t have eyes. Just sense and senses to adapt and give what you unexpectedly kinda expected all along. A grab of fluff, a shoo-away and a very human sigh emits from yours truly. Not him, Bobby. But me, the human. The dumbass. I get up and walk away to the next bit. A non-conflict to make a disaster. He stays with those dumb, half-closed cat eyes, softly gazing up at me. 

Google it - they tell you, that’s love.


Sarah Bex Rice is a film & exhibition studies graduate that dabbles in experimental filmmaking, programming, writing, music and pretty much all things that go well with a good beer. With a background heavy in archival work, she tries to achieve everyday living that promotes the resurgence of analog enjoyment as well as the importance of exploring and remixing our own memories.