I was too clever not to notice that I was being constantly tested. I saw them on the first day. They wanted to know if I loved my Solar Cat™.
I do not love my Solar Cat™.
When all the cats, the real cats, disappeared, they manufactured Solar Cats™ to take their place. They curl up in the sun in the daytime, charging their power packs, and then they stalk around at night, climbing trees, chasing mice, licking paws. Cat things.
But they are not real cats. They are Solar Cats™. And I do not love mine; it is not the same.
They watch me to see if I respond to its affections, to see if they have created a suitable cat replacement. My Solar Cat™ licks me with its little rubber tongue, and for a minute I give in and stroke its back — the fur feels real and its titanium rib cage rattles with a lifelike purr, but then my fingertips graze its charging panel and I remember. It is not the same.
They chose me for testing because I had three cats, three real cats, before the disappearance. Zelda. Hank. Tonya. I have not named my Solar Cat™.
They want to know if they got it right, because then they will roll them off the assembly line in three colors: orange, black and limited edition tortoiseshell.
I tell them that there is just something missing, but that I cannot be more specific. I fill out their forms. Fur texture: does not meet expectations. Tail curl: does not meet expectations.
But I do not tell them the worst thing about my Solar Cat™, and that is that on cloudy days, I have to wait longer for it to wake up and love me.
Front page image by Anita Carril.
GHOST WRITER is a project by Tracy Danger Mumford. New sections are released every other Sunday. If you’d like to receive email alerts—and that’s all you’ll get, a short email—saying the new one’s up, sign up here: