Fiction

Sniffer

P1040628

I hate her. I hate this woman, she was nuts.

She’d mail me polaroids of cat feet and on the back they’d say, “don’t bathe your cat” or “I have to sniff your cat’s toes.” Dozens of them. This went on for months. Every other day she’d phone me to say good morning and then hang up before I could reply. I would have talked to her, you know, if only she’d let me speak. I’d tell her to stay away from my cat if I could. I’d block her number and she’d just call me from a new one. One time, she phoned me screeching and sobbing. My Dutch isn’t great, but I’m pretty sure she was demanding to know why I wear turtlenecks every day, even to bed. Why do I wear them even though I live in the middle of the desert? She said this question was causing her great duress and “why won’t you tell me? Why are you doing this to me?” She needed an answer. She had to know why I never show my arms or my neck or the top of my head. How could she know any of this? She’s only seen the picture at the back of my book. That same day, she sent an email stating she’d booked a flight from Holland. Said she took out an Airbnb down the street from my house and was coming to sniff my cat’s toes. I thought, there’s no way. Who can afford to just drop everything and come over from Holland? I said “No! Don’t do that, I hate you.” She stopped calling for a while, maybe a week.  I was at the university marking papers that day, all day, and suddenly she started calling again. I didn’t pick up; I was busy, and she was nuts.

Later that night I found a polaroid of my cat on my porch. I never heard from her again.