Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jonathan Fortin

The Man Who Ate Nothing But Kittens
Fiction by Jonathan Fortin

It’s amazing how many people object to the notion of eating kittens.
            Back when I was younger, I remember that people had always assumed that I was joking when I told them I ate kittens. Then, upon realizing I was serious, they asked if I meant that I liked ‘eating young pussy,’ because how on earth could I really enjoy eating kittens? It’s a sad world we live in that pedophilia is more acceptable than using our natural right to eat whatever is smaller than us.
            I remember one Thanksgiving—I was perhaps six at the time—I suggested to my family we eat tiger instead of turkey and they laughed. They thought I was joking. So I went to bed crying. I really had wanted to know what a tiger tasted like. I’d heard about the Make A Wish Foundation, how it had let a dying kid shoot a bear, and I fantasized about faking some kind of deadly disease and claiming I was going to die, so that they would let me eat a tiger.
            Though these desires persisted throughout my entire life, I did not act on them until I was fourteen, when my family moved to America. Most American food simply didn’t agree with me. It tasted processed, plastic, with an aftertaste that reminded me of machines, even more so than the English food I was used to. Even what I ordered at high-class restaurants would usually turn out to have faint stench of corporate influence. In the hopes of finding answers, I began to research the influence of conglomerates on cooking and quickly learned far more than I wished to know of the FDA’s corruption, of the terror of trans-fats fast food chains put into their food and what eating such food could do to a man. I was livid about it all, and deciding what to eat for each meal became a chore. And so, as the days passed, I began to have an increasingly powerful urge to eat something that seemed a little more…fresh.
            My parents remained ignorant of my desires; it was only when I swallowed my younger brother’s pet mouse that they began to think something was wrong, and only after I had killed and attempted to eat our next-door neighbor’s new pomeranian puppy that they were certain. They were quite frightened by the event and seemed to believe that my culinary compulsions might extend to cannibalism—that I might try human babies! Nothing could have been more preposterous but, regardless, they took me to various therapists, who always told me that there was something seriously wrong with me. For a time, I was actually naïve enough to believe them, even as they munched on chicken sandwiches and beef jerky filled with unhealthy, processed meat rather than natural, untainted deliciousness! Their attempts to change me proved fruitless, even though I tried my best; my desires were too intense for that. You cannot deny a man his right to eat, and to me eating most food was not eating at all. The pomeranian puppy had been too delicious for me to not be compelled to try again, so I hunted other pomeranians down and consumed them. To think that they had once been my favorite meal! I was such a silly child; how could pomeranians ever taste better than kittens?
It wasn’t long, however, before my tastes matured, and I found myself salivating at the sight of one of the neighborhood cats. It was black with bright yellow eyes and short, smooth hair—very cute, very cute indeed. I lured it to me with a can of tuna fish. Once it got close enough, I grabbed it. My teeth ripped into the squealing thing, my tongue licked the fur as it became increasingly soaked in warm, salty blood. Soon, I was swallowing whole chunks of fuzzy, salty flesh. The smooth fur felt strange in my mouth, but I enjoyed the sensation of it brushing its way down my throat. Nothing had ever tasted finer.
            I knew then that I had found my purpose in life: to sample every last possible style of kitty-cat cooking. I tried different breeds; I tried cooking them; I tried skinning them and shaving them; I tried eating them with a knife and a fork as well as with my bare hands. I tried adding salt and pepper and ketchup and mustard. While most men wished for pussy, I wished for pussy cats.
            It wasn’t long before I realized that kittens were far tastier than full-grown cats. Though they had much less meat on them and they screamed so adorably when devoured alive, but somehow this made them taste even better. One of the first kittens I ever ate was a Siamese. There was fear trapped in its beautiful, dead eyes; I laid the top half of its body on the plate while I sucked its tail like a spaghetti noodle. It was the perfect entrée.
            I knew I had to be discrete with my habits. Animal rights activists were on a constant prowl, and nobody liked the idea of cute little kittens getting eaten. There was a popular internet meme called “LOLcats,” which involved taking funny pictures of felines (some of which were digitally modified) and adding grammatically incorrect captions, the most famous being, “I CAN HAS CHEESEBURGER?” LOLcats made me salivate.
            Getting the cats proved problematic at times. The alleyways were full of cats, but they tended to be filthy and diseased. I preferred to get my kittens from breeders. This quickly proved too expensive to keep doing, so I ended up letting one of my kittens remain alive and grow to adulthood. Her name was Princess and I doted on her. I eventually adopted a mate for her and ensured that they bred. Princess’s kittens proved truly delicious. I never let her watch me while I ate them; I didn’t want her to know where they were going.
            Soon, I created entire concubines of breeders, turning my home into a venerable kitten factory. One day I realized that I was churning out more kittens than I could eat, and I wondered if there was any way I could share these delightful meals. Maybe I could even turn in a profit and quit my day job. Though I was afraid of being judged or imprisoned, the thought kept popping up in my head, and I realized that there was no way I could deny it. I had never been one to deny myself what I wanted, and I wasn’t about to start now. So, I expanded my home and turned it into a restaurant. It took several years but, when I finished, I knew it was worth it. I called my restaurant “Kitten Delicious.”
            Of course, when I began advertising, many took it as a joke. Others ignored me or told me that what I was doing was wrong, especially the local cat lady who threatened to “liberate” my breeders so they could join her mad flock. But, I showed the authorities that my cats were perfectly healthy and that their living conditions were considerably cushier than those of most animal mills. Any inspections proved me right. I was doing nothing illegal and anyone who attacked my business or my home would be.
            Business stayed slow for the first year, with only about three people coming in every day. Each person who was adventurous enough to try the food, however, told me that my cooking was surprisingly excellent and that they would tell all their friends. Slowly but surely, word of mouth spread and, by the end of my second year in the restaurant business, there wasn’t a time of day when someone didn’t come in asking to eat a kitten. Soon, I had to hire staff and expand my kitten factories. By my fourth year, the restaurant had become so popular that we had to move it to another location with more tables so that the lines would not be so long. By then, we had no less than ten large kitten mills, each one breeding a different type of cat. The Sphinx proved the most popular breed, for it was hairless and most people did not enjoy the sensation of fur caressing their throat, as I did. Calicos were the next most popular, for their mild taste made them the easiest to try for people who had not eaten kittens before.
            To help me manage the new business, I hired a Vice President, a man by the name of Edwin Schafer, whom I had long been friends with. He helped me amass a board to help make the endless difficult business decisions, and so our company grew. By the end of our first decade, we became a small chain, opening up other restaurants. And by the end of the next decade, we had Kitten Delicious’s all over the country. By the time we had our 30-year anniversary, we expanded out of the United States and into Europe and Asia—I was especially proud that Good Old Britain embraced it. Finally, people had stopped being hypocrites, had realized that there was nothing wrong with eating kittens. Even my parents came in to try my food once, after decades of disowning me. They didn’t come back, but they still told me that I was now free to visit them.
            It was only after I began to feel ill that I realized the kittens were beginning to taste wrong. I had never thought kittens could taste wrong but, against all odds, they did now. Indeed, they tasted so wrong that I found myself wanting to try other foods, something I could not remember doing.
I ran to the kitten mills, to see if anything was incorrect. Imagine my horror when I saw what was happening to the kittens strapped to the conveyer belt: above them were tanks full of growth hormones, syringes dropping down to poke the kittens and inject them with dastardly fluid. Sometimes the kittens would squirm to such an extent that their faces (even their eyes!) would be poked. I shook with fury. Only human teeth should be allowed to poke the faces of kittens, not these mechanized needles!
            “What are you doing?” I screamed at the workers. “We have to stop this! We cannot give these cats hormones!”
            My underlings looked at me blankly. They did not seem to recognize me. A white-haired man in an expensive-looking suit told me to come to his office. “You work for me!” I shouted. “This is my business!”
The man shook his head, smiled and said, “Our boss is the consumer, and this is the only way to keep up with the demand. Everyone wants to eat a kitten, now.”
“Stop it!” I screamed, feeling my blood boil. I felt as though my chest was twisting in on itself. “Stop this at once!” I shouted, but I was beginning to collapse, and my heart thudded and thudded inside of me, pummeling my skin, trying to pry itself free from my chest. I fell to the floor.
            I was taken to the hospital, where I was treated and tested. The doctor concluded that I probably had a heart attack triggered by stress. Unfortunately, even now that the attack had passed, my doctor looked at me with a sad face.
            “I am sorry to tell you this,” he said, “but you’re going to die, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
            “But why?” I asked. “Why will I die so young?”
            The doctor shrugged. “You’ve been living off of kittens your entire life. The fact is, kittens aren’t particularly nutritious. Especially not the hormone-laced kittens that your company has been selling as of late. Eat enough of that and you’re bound to hit an early grave.”
            The doctor forced me to stay in the hospital until he could make me healthy again. When I refused the fruits and vegetables the nurses tried to give me, they forced nutrition into my body with an IV.
            I called my executive board, and Vice President Schafer in particular. The board members all came to my bedside and were very generous and sympathetic, gave every indication that they were as compassionate as could be. But as I told them what was being done to the kittens and insisted that it needed to be stopped, my underlings gave me woefully inadequate smiles. Schafer informed me that they would have to confer with the board before jumping to any hasty decisions.
            “But you are the majority of the board!” I said. “Right now, in this very room! If you all were to vote as I demand then it would be a landslide!”
            A few of the board members exchanged skeptical glances, as if they could not take me seriously. I shook with fury. So what if I was on a hospital bed, perhaps days away from death? I still ran the company, did I not? But as I saw their smiles, I realized that I did not run the company—not anymore.
I said, “News of my collapse will break soon! Reporters will look for me! They will ask questions. And I will tell them what has happened to my company! I will tell them what you’ve done to the kittens! Don’t you see? Kittens must be pure and untainted!”
            The board flat-out laughed. “Do you really think anything will change?” asked Schafer. “People know that cigarettes are harmful, but they still smoke! Hell, I still smoke!”
            They shuffled out of the room while I sat there, trying to come up with something to say.
            The window to my right was almost perfectly lined up with the rooftop of the building next door and, only moments after the board left, I found myself staring at the rooftop in surprise—for a kitten was wandering across it. Soon, however, I saw another figure running across it—a little boy!—and within seconds he had caught the kitten, and tore into it with his teeth. I saw myself in that boy, and wondered how many were like him. Yes, I had lost my power; but I could not help but smile at the sight I had just seen, for I knew that I had changed the world.

1 comment:

  1. Equal amounts awful and wonderful. I love the ending.