His jaws chewed on the kitty, with a grin. “I’m tired of eating pussy,” Hubbard said. “One day, I want to die.”

“That’s morbid—have you considered seeing a psychologist?” I asked.

“If you listen to the tapes from pop psychologists, you will get a dose of propaganda, that makes you crazy. The interesting fact, about that, is that everybody in society will affirm that you are sane, after you drink the cool-aid. They will tell you it’s normal to mutilate yourself as a man, or to question whether or not you even are a man. All one has to do to understand people, is to read books 100 or 200 years old. If we get rid of books, we will only be able to read the present reality, and because books are online, the old ones, the unpopular ones, the wrong ones, the “racist” ones, will be deleted. The public will applaud, and there will be no need to burn them.”

Morgan looked at Hubbard, the way a fireman looks at a cat in a tree. He had to go up there. It was his job, but he didn’t want to. Hubbard needed to be rescued. He had lost his mind.

“Sir, why are you eating cats?”

“Not just any cats,” Hubbard said. “They’re black—haven’t you noticed?”

“I guess I have, but why?”

“They keep me alive. The black cats have green eyes and nine lives. When I eat one, I absorb their power. I don’t know if you boys know anything about reincarnation, but those cats are female demons and witches from the past. If they are let loose on society, they will kill the male cats, and the females won’t be able to reproduce. Then they will try to be adopted by lonely bachelors who feed them and take care of them, and these beta-males will wonder why their cats don’t love them back.

I could tell Morgan was wishing he had a strait jacket. Hubbard had spent too much time by himself. That’s what thinking and too much reading will do to a man.

“Sir—you need medical help,” Morgan said. “You’ve been isolated for too long. You need culture. You need to listen to the radio and watch the news. I recommend the latest Star Wars movies. They will show you that women with purple hair should be running the galaxy.”

“I have culture, young man. I read Crime and Punishment. I gaze at Van Gough. I watch eternity in the stars. The people in your town are like dogs. They need a master and they can’t live on their own. Jiles!”

The manservant entered.

“Escort these trespassers off the premises.”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’re not going anywhere,” Morgan said.

“Then you will die.” Hubbard raised a double barrel shotgun to eye-level. “I’ve got one shell, for each of you.”

Then Charlie ran into the room—our Asian cat catcher, and fired a dart into Hubbard’s neck that swelled like a grapefruit.

“I do it for money,” Jiles said. “I don’t believe his ideas.”

“Okay. You can go.”

“It’s good to have an Asian cat catcher on call,” Morgan said. “Now, why don’t we let the cats go, and take Hubbard to the hospital.”

“But what if what he said is true?” I asked.

“You don’t believe in magic?”

“Actually, I think I do. The glass vanished, remember?”

“That’s because it was never there in the first place,” Morgan said. “It was an illusion—just like all of those library books he stole to fill his bookcases. There’s nothing worth reading—it’s just fine print. Nobody reads the fine print.”

He unlocked the main gates, and the cats walked out in single-file.

“That’s weird,” Morgan said.

“What are you going to do with the library books?” I asked.

“I’ll call the city major, and have them burned. Those are lies from the past. Hubbard, was full of lies.”

We left the house on the hill, but the knowledge left behind, kept itching at my mind. It was a place I couldn’t scratch. I would have to read, in order to scratch that itch.

That’s why, I made several trips to that house, in the dead of night. I recovered one volume at a time. There was enough for 7 swimming pools full. Most of them, went into storage. I paid, under an anonymous name.

In the town, cats were being killed every night. It put Morgan and I out of business.

“I’m going to have to deliver pizzas for a living,” he said.

“Do you think it’s the black cats?”

“You don’t really believe that guy? Maybe they need to lock you up.”

“I don’t know what I believe.”

“Well, that’s the difference between you and me. I listen to the news and the radio. I’m informed.”

Across the nation, female cats were being murdered, by anonymous ninjas. It was thought that there was a virus, but the scars, and slash marks, and piercings were undeniable.

I started reading in my spare time. Soon, I made-up my mind. Not long after, they burned Hubbard’s house down. The old man had been smart. He had a whole section of his library devoted to feminism. He wanted to study the enemy. Well, that’s what I left in his library. The firemen burned them up, without reading them, which doesn’t strike me as very strange. We don’t contemplate a match before it burns.

Charlie got a job, working for the mental hospital as a janitor. I met him in the corridor one day.

“Why are you here?” He asked.

“I just wanted to check-up on Hubbard, to make sure he’s doing okay.”

“That old man is crazier than a bag of books,” Charlie said

“Well, I like talking to him. He is well-read, and I like discussing things with crazy people.”

The End


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