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Doug Downie

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Cat Came Back and Other Stories
by Doug Downie   

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  self as Jazzman Publications ISBN-10:  CatCameBackandOtherStories Type: 


Copyright:  September 2007 ISBN-13:  9780620398732

Fables Books, use cat#15950

As stated on web page, the stories in this collection are mostly short short stories (2-5 pages) along with a 90 page novella. All the writing was done in the 1980's while the author lived in the US. The writing ranges from the purely fictional to near autobiography, usually hovering somewhere in between. At times humorous, at times sad, these tales tell the stories of characters that are often lost or disjunct from society but are generally sympathetic. The author is influenced by the American poet Charles Bukowski but treads his own ground. Other influences would include Celine, Fante, and Hamsun.

1. Sanctum
2. The Bull
3. The Killers
4. An Audition
5. Baked Apples
6. Black Velvet
7. The Castle
8. Bust
9. Blues in the Night, or, A Moment in the Descent of Man
10. Big Brother
11. D.W.I.
12. The Blanket
13. Law and Order
14. The Fire
15. Dialogue
16. Two Old Men
17. One-eyed Jack
18. Genius All the Time
19. A Puerto Rican in Paradise
20. Two Six-Packs of Colt .45
21. Doin’ Time
22. Wine Country
23. An Artist
24. Road Rage
25. Portrait of a Man in the Lost and Found
26. ‘Nuff Said
27. The Holy Throat
28. Bad Reception
29. Train, Train
30. Visitation
31. A Nice Talent
32. Fuck You, Your Honor
33. A Little Conversation Piece
34. The Short Sweet Saga of Johnny O
35. Breakfast for Two
36. Late Notes on Woodstock
37. Cat Came Back, a novella

From Cat Came Back, a novella:

Bourbon Street was a river of addled humanity, pushing, falling, shouting, singing, flowing to nowhere in particular. Some of those that made up the river wore wild costumes, most didn’t. Nearly all held tall paper cups in their hands, which they’d guzzle from, then fling the cups into the air, sometimes still half filled with beer or wine. The street was cluttered with the cups and was slick with spilled drink. Groups of people, arms about each other, swayed and stumbled, singing the old songs, any songs. Couples fell and rolled with each other in the slime, laughing, kissing, humping. Occasionally someone would come out on one of the many balconies that jutted over the street and fling little metal tokens into the crowd. There would be a mad rush for the token, dozens of people clustered, cluttered, clutching for the coin, falling over each other in the scramble. Finally, one lucky supplicant would burst from the pile-up, coin in raised fist and run through the crowd shouting; “Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras!”
Across the street from where I stood, in another doorway, was a man dressed in leopard-skin. A cave man, a big brute. He looked over at me and sneered the sneer of the cornered primitive, then growled. A torn guttural growl-shout, one arm clawing the air toward me. I hunched my back, threw out my fingers toward him, and growled him one back. He smiled just a bit, then intensified his act. He was wonderfully malicious. I had found a kindred soul. I leered at him, mock murder in my eyes, and lashed the air with my claws. He lashed back, opened his mouth wide and howled. He beat his chest, the stomping victorious Neanderthal. It was perfect. He was completely gone and gleeful in his role. He was the essence of Mardi Gras. I tried to go him one better but decided that he was better at it than me, after ten minutes of exchanged growls and grimaces and grotesque poses. Besides, I was no match for the leopard-skin caveman suit.
I left my doorway and made it down to the corner, where I turned off Bourbon, spilled out of the river onto a sidestreet and into a deepening hush. The further I walked, the quieter and darker it became. There were few people on these side streets and the shops were closed and shuttered. At the end of the block you could look back toward Bourbon Street and see the people, the river, the lava flow, boiling and bright, all the voices muffled and mingled, coming down the sidestreet as though through a black tube. A whole new feeling came over you as you stood there, a peace, and a jittery little feeling of shame. The whole Mardi Gras seemed like a colossal waste of time and you wondered that you too had flowed with that crowd just a short while ago.

Copyright © 1987, 1988, 2007 by Doug Downie, all rights reserved

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