The Cats Pajamas: Stories

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Hidden Stories: The Cat's Pajamas

He tells her that he can't stand her, but loves her sister. So there is a love triangle that remains unsolved. Time passes them by. A man decides to go back in time to save Scott Fitzgerald from himself. He wants Fitzgerald to finish writing The Last Tycoon. He plans to carry medicine through time, bribe some people, threaten others. The overall intent is to let Fitzgerald finish his masterpiece. The man goes back in time.

After a while, the friend he let in on the secret goes to a bookstore and buys the completed Last Tycoon. Three girls think that some teenagers who have sex in their lawn are ghosts. They see their outlines in the grass in the morning. Their father does not like the intrusion and threatens to go out and shoot them. He moves poison ivy so that it is where the teenagers lie at night. The girls are distressed that the ghosts have stopped coming. They remove the ivy, and when "the ghosts" come the next time, one of them goes out. She finds out that there are no ghosts, just "nasty people".

The girls believe that the ivy permanently scared away the ghosts and that the people only came after they removed the poison ivy. A man is leaving his wife because of all the times they were in Paris, they never had sex. He is sad that they never did it in the city of love. He gets two tickets to Paris and finds someone to go with him.

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He then leaves with no regrets. A white man rapes a black woman. He is captured by several white men, unhappy with him for his transgressions. They take him to the carnival tattoo parlor. They then turn his skin all black. Then they leave him on his own to find his own way. They laugh about how ironic it would be if he ended up lynched. A police officer finds five people murdered and strewn along a stretch of Route 66 dressed in clothing that he classifies as 'dust bowl' era.

As the investigation continues, he happens to see a picture of the five Okies in a magazine and discovers that they are just actors in period clothing. Riding his motorcycle into a dust storm back on the same stretch of Route 66, he finds a man who looks like he is from the Great Depression. The man admits to running over the people and wants to turn himself in, but the police officer says that he isn't going to take him in.

The police man thinks the people who were killed deserved to die, and it was fitting that an Okie killed them for epitomizing the suffering the Okies went through. This is the only science fiction story in this collection. It is narrated by one of the spiders. A group of astronauts travel to a far away planet that is inhabited by a race of intelligent peaceable spiders. The captain gets a great scare the first day and is unable to represent the humans, so that responsibility falls to his underling.

The Cat's Pajamas, Stories by Ray Bradbury | | Booktopia

The humans learn that the spiders are very peaceable and smart. Despite this they leave, possibly destroying all the spiders because they cannot get over the human instinct of fear of spiders. Sarina attempts to regain control. Claudia thinks Ben is taunting her for the lice, not the grammar of her sentence. Sarina, slipping, falling. The table splinters into two preoccupations.

Bella asks if her school is the one on Christian with the mural of that sociopath Frank Rizzo. Ben and Michael rejoin the Joneses conversation. The table laughs vigorously at what Sarina thinks is a dumb joke. A window closes. As if the party had only one available slot for a long story and her chance has been lost in chatter about shampoo and potatoes.

She is striped with a familiar self-loathing around Georgie, left over from high school.

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Even though she has lived on three continents, Sarina has not progressed further than senior prom. Boys cross rooms for Georgie, who is full in the way they like. Foxy is the word for it, Sarina thinks, whereas she is foxless. Sarina has a flicker of hope when Bella turns to her, taking in a deep breath signifying an important thought. Bella pushes herself away from the table. She has spent the meal wanting more of everything and not taking more of anything.


She and Georgie carry empty plates to the kitchen. The room reshuffles and when it stills, Sarina is alone. She hears Michael in the next room fumbling in the pockets of the piano bench, setting up sheet music, and then the first few measures of a splashy intro. When she saw Ben unwinding his scarf at the front door, Sarina wanted to remove her glasses. She removes her glasses when anything wonderful or embarrassing happens, like earlier today when her principal forced her to discipline Madeleine.

Which would have been the Crucial Moment of her story. Sarina has rebuilt her life one element at a time. The apartment, the job, the easel. It might be a plain life she occasionally worries she is hiding out in it , but at least it is forged out of what she wants. Certainly he would notice how Annie rolled her eyes at his ideas, especially the last idea, when he decided to quit law and pursue screenwriting. But, he did. So, she was.

Outside, the stars have been caught in the act. More fun than I expected. No one thought it was strange. In the kitchen, Georgie and Bella pass a joint back and forth. Bella trains her eyes on the swinging door.

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Now she gets dramatic about people being dramatic. Poor girl. Upstairs, Claudia washes her hands with the no-shenanigans soap of a second bathroom. She is proud her girlfriend has the ability to introduce lively topics of conversation. Who are the Joneses, indeed?

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If Alfred Hitchcock were to direct this dinner party, he would have the camera soar in through the window over the gardened patio, through the wings of the expressive drapes, panning to each guest in a way that would convey to the audience that something is terribly wrong. Food is boring. People who use it to feel better than others are worthless.

Did he shit the bottle of wine out? That would garner an explanation. What she holds most against these people is how obvious it is that they love each other. Sarina hates the part of herself that wants inside that love. A gray, whiskered face appears by her elbow. She replaces her glasses. The conversation has ended. Across the street a dog sniffs a signpost.

Connected to him via leash is a little boy. Connected to the little boy via hand is The Dad. Ben wants to call to them and wave. He wants the man to nudge his son to wave back.

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Then Ben could yell hello over the empty street. The man would point to his son. His idea. That man could be him, Ben thinks, that little boy could be his, the dog, too. If she had ever liked dogs. Or kids.

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In the first week of their marriage, Ben and Annie made three decisions: to install a home security system, to never have children, and to never, ever take salsa lessons. All three were meant to preserve what they owned. There was a dance studio on his walk home from the law office. At night it was filled with desperate, churning couples, wagging themselves across the floor. Whose idea was the kids?

Ben wonders, turning to walk inside. He recalls the subject of children being lobbed into the air, Annie saying her flat stomach was her greatest achievement, then taking a call in the other room. The following day the security service arrived to measure the walls. Ben halts at the window. Inside, Sarina scratches the ears of an earnest-looking cat.