Cat Food by Andy Dittrich

Costello came home around ten. He put his briefcase on the kitchen table and hung his jacket on one of the chairs. He felt a bit hungry so he walked over to the fridge, see if he could find something to eat.  As he stood by the fridge he felt his cat leaning into his leg. Purring. Costello hadn’t seen him since yesterday. Must of had a big night on the town doing, well, Costello never gave it much thought. Cat stuff, he figured. Whatever that entailed.

The cat’s name was Dave.

The story of how the cat became Dave went like this: Four years back when Costello adopted him, the lady working at the shelter suggested all these silly names like Kitty, Mittens, Patches, all the usual shit. Even Tigger. Tigger? Hell, the cat wasn’t even orange. When the lady pressed him for a name he looked at the wall and saw the Employee of the Month frame noted that the cheeky bald guy in the picture working harder than everybody else was one Dave Somethingorother. “I’m gonna call him Dave,” Costello said. And that was that. Since then he had been, Costello, thought, about the best cat a hitman could ask for. Certainly the easiest roommate to deal with.

Costello picked him up and cradled him. Dave was purring louder now and Costello knew what that meant.

“Hungry little guy?”

As if the cat would answer. Dave just purred.

Costello walked over to the cat bowl. Empty.

“Alright little guy, you just got to wait a minute.”

He could feel the cat against his foot, purring. He reached the cabinet where he kept the cat food and opened it. Also empty.

Well shit, time for a trip to the store.

“Hey now, I gotta go to the store to get the goods so I’ll be back in a few. I’d invite you along but I know how you feel about cars.”

Last time Dave was in the car was a vet trip in a red PT Cruiser Costello had borrowed from a guy he fulfilled a contract on. Little bastard voided his bowels all over the backseat. Not that Costello minded that much afterwards. It wasn’t his car anyway, and if anything, the smell inside suited the look outside.


Costello drove about a mile over to the 24-Hour Quick Mart off Main. On the way he had the radio on and tuned to the rock and roll station that he loved. It was playing “Pretty Thing” by Bo Diddley. He hadn’t heard that one in a while, he forgot how much he dug it. He always thought Bo Diddley was the most underrated of the original rock and roll guys. With the hip glasses and the square guitar, he was just cool. Hell, he thought, he even had his own beat.

He pulled into the lot. He arrived before the song ended so he sat and waited for it to end before he cut the engine. As he opened the car door he heard shouting from inside the store and walked over to look in the window. Inside he saw the cashier – a middle aged Indian guy – at the counter, and a burly guy in overalls holding a shotgun at him. Sawed off, pump action. Costello couldn’t make out what the guy was shouting but it was probably just some rookie outlaw shit. Don’t move or I’ll shoot and so on, the stuff guys like this hear on TV or in a movie. Costello thought for a moment: Who pulls a stick up in overalls?

He walked back to his car and opened the passenger side door. He opened the glove box. Inside were two guns, a .38 Detective Special and .44 Magnum revolver. The big Smith and Wesson model with the real long barrel. Dirty Harry style. He glanced back up to size up the guy and then looked back down at the guns. Both would do the trick for this situation. He thought for a moment. Reached into the glove box and pulled out the .44 Magnum. He decided it was a Dirty Harry kind of day. He walked back to the store and through the door. As he came in the guy in overalls turned to him.

“Hey what the fuck you think you’re-“

Costello fired twice into his chest and the guy hit the ground hard. He slipped the gun into his belt, walked into the store and turned towards the clerk. He was just staring in shock.

“Hey, uh, cat food, which aisle?”

The clerk raised a shaking hand pointed towards the third aisle from the front. Costello said thanks and walked over, stepping over the guy on the floor without paying any notice to him. The store radio must’ve been tuned to the same station Costello liked. They were playing “Baby Love” by the Supremes. He dug that one too. He stopped and turned to the clerk, pointing up at the ceiling speakers. Smiling.

“Good stuff, right?”

The guy didn’t say anything. Just seemed to nod. Costello kept walking towards the aisle.

He found the right brand and the right flavor (Dave could be picky about these things) and walked over and placed it on the counter. He reached into his back pocket for his wallet but the clerk stopped him.

“Just take it. Please, I insist,” he said. Still a bit shaky.

Costello smiled and put his hand on the guy’s shoulder. “Hey thanks man, I appreciate that. And my cat too, he really appreciates it.” He came in closer and softened his voice. “Now when I leave wait five minutes before callin’ the cops. When they get here, tell ‘em Dirty Harry did it. That sound good to you?”

“Ok,” he said, nodding.

“Great. Thanks again, my friend. Be cool.”

The guy nodded and as Costello walked out to the car. He checked his watch. The trip took about five minutes more than he expected it would. Little guy must’ve worked up quite the appetite by now.


Costello returned home a few minutes later. As he pulled in, the radio was playing “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees and he didn’t feel compelled to sit and wait for it to end. Hungry cat or not. He came in and went right over to Dave’s bowl, took it over to the counter and began fixing up his meal. He could hear Dave purring below him so he did it quick.

“Already little guy, it’s ready.” He said, and brought the bowl back down to the floor. Dave scurried right to it and began eating. Costello could hear the tiny munching sound Dave made as he ate and it made him smile. He then realized he was pretty hungry himself. Before he started on preparing something for himself, he walked into the living room over to the stereo system and turned on the record player. Walked over to the record shelf and pulled out a Bo Diddley record. He put it on and walked back to the kitchen, wondering what Dave would think of it.


Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author