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Werecats of Kansas

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

1. Moonrise at the aubergine farm

Farmer Brown sat bolt upright. There it was again, that hideous yowling. The farm lay still under the full moon. He peered out between the slats, shotgun in hand. A cool, moist breeze caressed his face. A shadow slunk across the yard. Farmer Brown fired both barrels. He watched for a long time, but nothing else moved.

2. Green eggs and fritters

"I've said it before, Mabel, your eggplant fritters can't be beat." Farmer Brown pushed his chair back and patted his stomach. "A shame to sell 'em."

"Get along with you," his wife said. "Them purple beauties won't grow themselves."

"All right," he said, "but I saw something out there last night. Almost looked like a ... something nasty and sneaky. Well, I've got to check it out."

"Be careful, Pa. Them felines can be mean when roused." He winced. He had a little cat problem, but couldn't afford a psychotherapist.

"Don't believe in them anyhow," he would say, meaning psychotherapists.

3. Field of nightmares

The fruit hung plump and dark. Huge pear-shaped Black Beauties, phallic Ichiban, and the new ones. Farmer Brown believed genetically modified crops were the coming thing, and he'd invested in a new variety that promised to take every shape imaginable.

He had planted the Baroque on the back row. Several looked a lot like the King, one a bit like Jesus (he might be able to sell that one for a premium), some didn't really look like anything. And there it was. The cat. A big chunk was gone from the end and the tail was missing. Oh, he recognized it alright.

"This ends here," he growled, and pulled out his pocketknife, opening the big blade. He reached for the stem with one hand, and held the knife in the other. The plant seemed to vibrate – he froze. How could it be active when the moon wasn't up? The fine hairs rose on the back of his neck. Sweat beaded his forehead. His heart was racing. Mabel always told him to watch out for that high blood pressure he'd inherited from his pa and grandpa. The knife fell to the ground. He backed away, trembling. When he got to the end of the row he turned and ran.

4. The year of the cat

He didn't harvest any of the Baroques. He let his children and neighbors take what they wanted; the rest rotted. That winter he didn't see a single mouse.

The end

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