Cat's Eyes

Fiction Kitchen Berlin 2022

Cat’s Eyes - Fiction Kitchen Berlin

 

CAT’S EYES

 
 

  FLASH IN THE PAN

 

Iheard the noise when my bedroom window splattered glass over me and my bed. I never heard a gunshot before, so I peeked out the window trying to see what was going on. Mom opened my door, yelled at me for being stupid, for being a target standing in front of the window.

“Why can’t you be like your brothers and hide under the bed?”

“Then I can’t see what’s going on.”

Another shot caught my mother’s house dress sleeve before hitting the wall.

I looked at her standing in a puddle of pee. “You should’ve stayed under the bed,” I said.

“See what you did? She asked. “See what almost happened to me? You just wait for me to grab you,” she said. “Now lie on the floor.”

“I don’t want to cut myself on the glass.”

My brothers crawled to my doorway.

“Are you okay, Mom?” my brothers asked.

“She should have ducked down on the floor instead of standing being a target,” I said.

My mother walked over and kicked me until her leg hurt.

“You smell like pee,” I said.

She ran crying into the bathroom.

“See what you made momma do?” my older brother accused.

“I didn’t shoot her.”

“Nobody shot anyone, these aren’t bullets, they’re marbles.”

Mom yelled to turn out the lights while she was downstairs calling the police.

“This never happened before you moved us to the projects,” I said.

“Stop talking stupid,” Mom said.

“Are they slingshotting the others in our building?” my younger brother asked.

“No,” she said. “We’re the only Jews.”

“Why should that matter?” he asked.

“If you ever run into your father, consider asking him.”

“Do you think he knows?”

“I don’t think he cares.”

“Doesn’t he like Jews either?” I asked.

“You make my life very difficult,” Mom said. “Your father’s a Jew also.”

“So why don’t you call him and tell him to come over and make these Jew-haters stop.”

“That’s not how it works. The police are here. I’m going out to talk to them.”

“Talk to a Jewish policeman.”

The police came upstairs with my mother and right off spotted my slingshot. “Did you shoot first,” he asked.

“Well, kind of,” I said. “I knew if I didn’t, they would shoot first and I didn’t want them to think I was afraid.”

“Well, were you afraid?”

“Yes. I didn’t want to get beat up in the schoolyard, again.”

“I’m confiscating your slingshot,” the police officer said. “And your bag of ammunition.”

“Then I’ll be without a weapon and my cat’s eyes collection.”

“That’s the idea. My partner’s outside talking to the kids who shot out your windows. He’s confiscating their slingshots also.”

The cop’s partner walked into my house and said, “They weren’t shooting at you because you’re a Jew. They don’t know what a Jew is, but they were shooting at you because you shot first and have a big mouth.”

“Take him back to the station with you when you leave,” my mother said. Arms folded, chin out.

“Don’t worry,” the policeman said. “He’ll end up there sooner than later,” and he cuffed me in the back of my head.

After they left, my mother invited the two kids from school inside to have milk and cookies, and then she came up to my room and kicked me in the shin stubbing her toe, and said, “See what you made me do?”

“Can I go downstairs for milk and cookies with my classmates?”

“Do what you want,” she said, “you will anyway.”

I poured a glass of milk while grinning at my schoolmates, took a handful of Oreos. My mother slapped the cookies out of my hand and sent me up to bed.

 

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