Northwords Now

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The Visitor

by Lydia Popowich

Sunday afternoon. Outside, the snow swirled from a pale ochre sky. I was cooking
a mushroom omelette when the cat dragged a tiny man head first through the pet door.
She placed him gently on the table by the fruit bowl. This one needs feeding up,
said the cat. She shook snowflakes from her fur before retiring to her hammock.
The little man lay prone for a few moments, wheezing and groaning. Then he sat up  
leaning against the bowl with one arm anchored around a banana.

Well, that’s the first time I’ve been rescued by a cat and madam, I am truly grateful to you and your courteous feline. I’ve been lost in your Rosa rugosa hedge for three days. You must give that jungle a trim. A person could die in there. Forgive me for being rude                   
but I’m so very hungry. The only thing I’ve eaten is stale bird seed.
He began to wrestle unsuccessfully with a grape so I fetched morsels of bread, cheese,
ham, apple and a thimble of hot tea.

The visitor was nine inches tall. He wore a green jumpsuit, an orange beanie and red boots. His eyebrows and voluptuous beard were laced with frost. He finished eating
and began to comb the snow from his beard using his fingers. I watched,
not knowing what to say. After a while I asked if he’d like to sit by the fire.
That would be fine and dandy, thank you. I need a wee rest and then I must complete
my mission so I can go home. I have important news to deliver but I forget
what and to whom and for why…His face folded like origami.

I offered to carry him to the sofa but he shook his head. He slid down the table leg
agile as an elderly pole dancer and curled up on the rug in front of the crackling logs.                                           Where’s home? I asked but already he was snoring. I noticed a burning smell. Shit!             My supper was charred beyond recognition. I threw the mess in the bin, chopped up mushrooms and was cracking eggs into a bowl when I heard the rattle of the pet flap.
A blast of cold air entered the kitchen. I looked around. The cat had vanished
and so had the messenger, leaving a damp patch on the Persian rug. I returned
to the kitchen and fervently whisked up a yellow cloud of forgetfulness.

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