In Haruki Murakami’s stories, the black cats are wise. They are able to communicate with human as well. There’s something in the eyes of the black cats that makes them somehow haunting, like owls. At times, when I see a black cat, I stare into their eyes and try to communicate. I am a Murakami fan, you see. No luck so far.
I usually meet black cats during the nocturnal hours. Perhaps it’s just me overreacting to these usual encounters, as some friends said. Like how I am always able to catch 4:44 pm on my watch.
Returning from the pasar malam last Sunday night, I was still trying to get rid of the smell of the stinky tofu from my mind when a black cat jumped out of nowhere as I opened my front gate. More angry than shocked, I stamped the cement floor, sending it running for its life. I was very close to flying my slipper at it, even.
It was a really huge black cat, somehow well maintained too. I was not able to catch its eyes though. It also wore bells on its neck, sort of like Doraemon’s. It didn’t occur to me that perhaps the black cat was trying to tell me something or lead me to a place were lost cats can be found. I don’t blame myself as the last time I touched my Kafka On The Shore was like, two years ago?
The incident haunted me for awhile. Not so much on imaging that perhaps the cat was trying to make acquaintance but the stream of bad luck that may follow. Superstition runs in our blood, like it or not. It doesn’t help much if you are a follower of AXN Beyond’s programmes.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, an impulsive act of hanging a sagacious, black feline on the tree by a man has led to a chain of frightening events, including the murder of the man’s wife as she tried to stop him from killing another similar black cat. He was later hung after the police found the decaying body of his wife, hidden behind the new layer of wall. It was that similar black cat, with its cries, that alerted the police as it was walled alive, together with the decomposing wife.
Looking back, I can’t imagine the consequences I’d face had I flew my slipper at that cat. Perhaps it would have appeared in my worst of nightmares, scratching my face with its wolverine-like claws and as I die of excessive bleeding, it says "Don’t you dare mess around with us pussies".
Well, something did happen. I baked a couple of bacon rolls using the dough from the samsa recipe and it turned out quite alright. But when I took a bite the morning after the encounter with the cat, it was surprisingly bad. The texture was harder than I expected and the bacon was tasteless. Perhaps I kneaded too long. Or the quarter cup more of water that was poured into the dough. Or maybe I should have used butter instead of canola oil. And the fatty type of bacon instead as it is more flavourful?
But the biggest question is, how could the rolls have turned from alright to bad overnight?
It’s the cat.