I am often inspired by photography, and this week’s story was inspired by a photograph found in The Atlantic of a new form of art created by Japanese artist Sachi, which features a three-dimensional cat portrait made with felted wool. I hope you enjoy this far-fetched tale. Happy Sunday!
The narrow gallery is stuffed to the brim. Curators cram towards the front, as the gallerist takes center stage before a drawn black curtain. After opening remarks, there’s a toast. Raising a glass in this crowd is near impossible as vases filled with cattails decorate the perimeter. A cylindric spike pokes my cheek as I take a tiny sip of the bubbly pink beverage and activate my voice recorder to capture this momentous occasion. Two teens in head-to-toe fan gear chit-chat in front of me while we await the big reveal.
“It’s a knock. I can tell.” The taller girl with plastic kitty earrings holds up a specimen framed in cherry wood.
“No way, I got this from a legit dealer.” The other girl’s glittery black cat ears swivel right to left.
“Look. Touch the whiskers. Can’t fake those.” Both girls give the whiskers a firm tug, not surprised when one pops free. “You got scammed, sweetie. But, hey, don’t worry,” Cat ears puts her knock-off in a rucksack, “camp out’s totally gonna be worth it. I go loco for those albinos.” She bounces, grips her bid number between her teeth. “We gotta get one this time.”
“ Yeah, yeah, the whiter the better, that’s what they say.”
While the pair continue to strategize, I make a voice memo: the young audience members camped for three days in parking spots outside the gallery doors hoping to be the first to get a peek at Sachi’s latest Catromancy line-up. It’s rumored they wouldn’t leave their posts to charge their personal devices; now that’s true commitment.
Tink tink, the gallerist raises her glass for a second toast. Clinks all around as the famous Sachi ascends the stage wearing a yellow silk kimono decorated with marigolds, a favorite of most felines, I note.
Before she can reach the microphone to speak, a single, “meow” echoes above the hush.
“Hear that?” Cat ears is on her tippy-toes scanning the crowd.
“Are the new Kitty Busties talking? Eek! I’m so excited. Oh. my. god. Maybe they purr?!?”
Is it possible, I wonder, as a disruption ripples through the crowd. People part as if some unseen phantom is moving in their midst.
Gasps from the curators as a full-size tabby cat saunters onto the stage. No one has seen an adult cat in years, not since Kitty Busties became the big addiction. Why let a perfect kitten mature when top coin could be made turning it into a masterful work of forevermore art?
The artist bends to stroke the tabby’s fur. “Found me out,” she says in the mic. “Fans, critics, I want you to meet Grimlakin. My oldest friend.” She bends down as Grimlakin arches her back, shivering from nose to tail from a full body pet.
Picking Grimlakin up, she continues, “Without further ado,” Sachi tugs on the operating line parting the curtain for the big reveal. A group-wide gasp, the whole crowd taking the same dip on an unseen rollercoaster. The highly anticipated new line is lit up on full display. Busties, yes, all framed, but not the furry kind.
“I thought it was time to give our four-legged friends a break,” Sachi strokes Grimlakin, nuzzling his nose, “and besides, there’s nothing more adorable than your very own newborn to cherish forever.
The gallery erupts. Rivals bump each other to try and be the highest bidder for the more rare specimens of Newborn Busties, sure to be the next big craze.
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