The Rusty Lemon

Have you written lately?

*  *  32  *  *

“I honestly don’t see the point anymore,” he said for the third time that day. “Who cares?”

“Whether or not anyone else cares is certainly not the point. If you thought that was the point, you’re a fool.”

“Then enlighten me, oh wise one,” he sneered. “Regale me with your superior authority on all matters of import.”

“Fine,” said the cat. “I will.” With a flick of his tail and a gravity-defying leap, the cat perched himself upon the mantle. “We have been living in this house for three weeks now. Three long, boring weeks. Other than to pick up food and bring it back here, how many times have you left? I have been hinting and hinting that you need to go outside and do something since day two. It’s not because anyone cares if you show up for a party. It’s not because anyone cares if you go out and hit on chicks. It’s not because anyone cares if you bathe or brush your teeth.

“It’s because you should care.”

The man crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. “And why is that?”

“Because despite what you tell yourself day in and day out, you’re miserable. You can’t stand the idea that other people’s lives are moving on while yours is not. Do you know why your life isn’t moving on? Because you aren’t pushing it!

“Lives are stubborn things,” the cat continued. “They tend to persist in whatever gear you set them in. Overly busy people find it difficult to slow down. Their lives just blow past them out of control leaving them wishing they had brakes to slow them down.”

“And I promised,” said the man, “that I would never be one of those people.”

“And you have done a masterful job of not moving too fast in life.” The cat dropped from the mantle and in one swift motion, settled on the arm of the man’s chair. “Your problem is the exact opposite.” The cat paused to lick his paw for a long moment, seemingly waiting for his point to sink in.

After getting no response from the man, he continued. “Have you ever seen a car that hasn’t been used in years? It rusts. Things quit working. Getting it up and running again is a major chore. Your life right now is an old, rusted out lemon. If you don’t start doing some work on it, it’s going to continue to get worse until your only option is to sell it in pieces. Judging from the stack of empty bottles piling up over there, you won’t get much for your liver, and based on the amount of bacon on your plate this morning, I wouldn’t expect much for your heart either.”

“You know what?” the man shouted as he leapt from the chair. “I am so sick and tired of your condescending attitude. You think you’re so much better than me? What have you done to keep your life moving? Huh? Maybe your life is a rusty old lemming!”

The cat dropped into the chairs seat and began settling in. “I believe you mean lemon.”

“See? That’s exactly what I’m talking about!” The man was pulling his hair and flailing his arms in frustration. “You think you know everything about everything. But you know what? You don’t! You can’t read my mind. For all you know I meant lemming. Maybe I think your life is just waiting for an excuse to run off a cliff!”

The cat’s ears twitched. “Alright, then. Why would a lemming be rusty?”

The man screamed, “Because it’s a robot lemming!”

The sound of the front door forced the man to look up and see his roommate walking in with a sack of groceries. “Dude,” the roommate said. “Are you seriously yelling at the cat again?”

“He started it,” the man whined as he pushed the cat out of the chair and plopped back into it.

The roommate sat down the groceries and picked up the wounded cat. “You seriously need to get out more.”

The cat meowed in agreement.

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One thought on “The Rusty Lemon

  1. I enjoy your stories. They aren’t something to be skimmed quickly and put away like a summer beach read. They are deeper than what is read on the surface and make you think. They often have an unexpected twist at the end.

    Like

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