Sure enough, after about 20 minutes or so, out walks this tabby that spies Gerald holding the treat. 

“Oh, hello there little guy. Would you like a nibble?” Gerald offered.

The cat was hesitant and stepped back once Gerald extended his arm. It stared at this behemoth of a man with broken yellow teeth and teeny eyes. Gerald continued motioning to the tabby to come closer and closer. Eventually, the cat inched its way to the meal. Just as it cocked its head to begin licking the candy bar, Gerald snagged it. The tabby shrieked and clawed. But his big flabby appendages made it virtually impossible to find any wiggle room. Two folks passing by Gerald at the elevator heard him say, “Bad kitty, bad kitty!” His logic was to avoid any suspicion that he’d kidnapped a random feral cat by scolding it, yet didn’t think to give it a name. Gerald wasn’t very bright.

Back in his apartment, he had to release the struggling animal because at that point, it had scratched him terribly. Gerald had marks on his face and neck that had begun to bleed and smear to the extent that it looked like he was in a car accident. The tabby sprinted to find protection and wound up hiding behind a dilapidated television console in the corner of the living room. Gerald went to the bathroom to see the damage the cat inflicted and subsequently dowsed it his wounds with cool water, then dried himself with rounds of toilet paper that broke into pieces and stuck to him.

“Here, here, Kitty, you little fucker,” Gerald summoned.

He figured his feline guest would have few places to hide since the bedroom door was closed and the living room was sparsely furnished. So he grabbed a broom, unscrewed the bottom, and marched toward the cat. As it fled, Gerald thrust the pole at the cat over and over, missing each time. Finally, as the cat was pinned to one of the table legs, he managed to get a good shot. The end of the broom handle pierced the cat’s belly so hard it squealed, and then Gerald struck again and again. The tabby stopped after one of the hits perforated its belly. There was a ton of blood that seeped into the carpet while the animal writhed less and less.

As Gerald stood there, he was in disbelief. Though he felt sorry for the cat and mildly grossed out by the murder, his stomach was in control of his dorsolateral prefrontal cortex at the moment. Driven by unfettered instinct, he grabbed the cat by the tail and flopped it on the table. He recalled biology in 12th grade during the dissection unit and seen enough survival shows that he knew he had to skin it. Gerald fumbled around the kitchen to locate a knife without, much luck. Then it occurred to him he had a buck knife in a desk he ordered online that was so fierce it could probably gut a mule in seconds flat.

Gerald began slicing the fur off messily. It was harder to strip it than he thought and he feared that he might ruin the meat underneath with his erratic sawing. But gradually, the layer of skin with the hide pulled off to reveal the smooth texture of red muscle that fit snuggly to the bones. He had already decapitated the cat because he couldn’t bear the sight of it’s face. It made him uncomfortable because he imagined that at any moment the tabby would look at him with a judgmental scowl as if to say, “Gerald, what the fuck are you doing? What is fucking wrong with you?”

Once Gerald was able to identify some of the anatomy, he assumed clearing out the organs was the next step. As he cut open the sternum and into the stomach, everything spilled out onto the table. He clumsily tried to prevent more bloody goo getting on the carpet by using his shirt to sop up the edge of the dining room table. Once he was confident that he thoroughly removed the organs, he searched for a pan. Gerald found a semi-clean skillet and dropped it on the stove-top, turned on the heat, and slapped half the cat carcass in the center.

As it started to sizzle, he thought out loud:

“Well, that wasn’t too difficult. I did mind the slaughter part, but hey, this thing has got a ton of meat on it.”  

The tissue fried, popped and snapped. After it had the blanched hue consistent with pork chops, he pulled it out, and then garnished it with some salt and pepper and hot sauce. He sat down without batting a lash and commenced to consume the pumpkin colored pet.  

As some money trickled in from here and there, Gerald was able to keep up with small groceries. But ordering out was impossible. If he called for delivery even twice, he would go broke again. This forced him to go to the grocery store, which was a traumatic experience all around. Gerald preferred to go at night and when he did, he wore baggy sweatpants, a long coat and a baseball cap. He moved as rapidly as his blimpy physique would carry him while avoiding eye contact with anyone. It was an enduring panic attack each time Gerald went out. His chest would tighten and he had to coach himself step-by-step by muttering misquoted 12 Step Recovery slogans until he got home.

Upon arriving to his makeshift slaughterhouse, the smell was shocking. The pungent mixture of his own stink with the rotting meat, dried blood and excrement could make a New York City sewer rat convulse. At this point, corralling stray dogs and cats was his vocation. Although he was freezing much of the meat, there was starting to be a shortage of animals that wouldn’t be missed, so-to-speak. Gerald began walking around the neighborhood in the evenings hunting for his meals.

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