THE TEXT

The Life of Henry Fuckit
(1950 - 2015)

 

63   Henry becomes violent

He climbed the stairs to his room. Olympia Residentia, Kalk Bay. Five years now he had been climbing these filthy stairs to the dark and airless corridor. The foyer and stairs were never swept. Cigarette butts and spent matches mingled with dust and grit, and the southeaster blew scraps of paper in from the street. They whirled in an eddy and were sucked out again. The stairwell smelt of rancid cooking oil from the fish and chips shop and there was the sharp sour stink of cats' piss.

He let himself into his room and shoved the door closed behind him. He immediately saw the cat curled up on the bed. Fuck it, he had left the balcony door on its hook. They stared at one another for a moment and then both moved. He sprang to the door, knocked aside its hook, and slammed it shut. Thin and mangy and grey, it crouched in a corner, a miserable specimen, a useless failure of a creature. A cold, unstoppable hatred welled up in him. He sought about for a weapon. There was only the straight-backed wooden chair. He picked it up, raised it, advanced on the cat. It cowered for an instant and then leapt sideways across the room. As it tried to climb the wall he swung the chair against it and it fell to the floor, screeching and hissing. One of the chairlegs had broken off. He picked it up and smashed it down on the feline skull. He hit the animal several times until it stopped twitching.

He felt warmer after the exercise and lay down on the bed as the light began to fade.

When it was dusk outside and dark in the room he roused himself, feeling stiff and cold. He turned on the light, it was after seven. Glancing at the cat in the corner he wondered what to do with it. Out on the balcony the wind was blowing without pity. In the street below Basil's lorry revved, its indicator lights flashing, waiting to feed into the evening traffic. Swinging it by its tail, he sent the dead cat sailing out in an arc to land amongst the empty crates as the vehicle pulled away.

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