I Am ‪Schrödinger‬’s Cat

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I am Professor Schrödinger’s cat. I live with him in a small, windowless apartment. We’ve been here for a very long time it seems to me, but—it’s funny—perhaps it’s been no time at all. 
It’s a beautiful equilibrium we exist in. I eat from a blue Delft tray. I sleep curled up on a cushion made of poplin. I observe the professor from my favorite spot on the footstool. I watch him writing at his desk, reading in his chair, pushing up the glasses that forever slide down his nose. I’ve never felt more or less alive than I do today. And the professor too—he eats, he sleeps, and wrestles with his complicated work. And that is the extent of it. 
So I guess you can say I’m content—a contented cat—and I assume the professor is content as well. Our lives are untouched by distraction. But I have to admit, a certain curiosity eats at me. What lies in the wide world beyond these tranquil walls? There is only one small thing I have come to know: ours is a city named Vienna. I discovered this when I heard it mentioned on the one occasion when someone knocked at our door.
“Professor?” a voice called from the hallway. It was a voice that could have come equally well from a man or from a woman. The professor, startled, looked up from the book that lay open between his elbows on our kitchen table. A salt shaker kept the page from flipping.
“Professor Schrödinger?” The voice came again.
The professor’s face, always so composed, suddenly darkened as if to react to some awfulness that had caught up with him. “Yes?” he answered.
“A letter,” the voice said. “It’s for you, I think, though the address has been effaced. Only the name, Schrödinger, and the city, Vienna, is legible.”
“And what is the place of origin?” the professor inquired.
“Copenhagen,” said the voice in the hallway. “Only that much is clear.”
“Please leave it on the mat,” the professor said. His very being, it seemed to me, was as tense as a coiled spring.
“But to do so requires a signature, Professor.”
“I am sorry. I’m unable to come to the door. You will have to come back again some other time.”
There were ten, or twenty—or who knows how many?—seconds of silence and then, the sound of footsteps going away.
For a long time, the professor’s eyes stayed fixed upon the door. Then, with a sigh, he went back to his book, and I drifted back to sleep upon the cushion made of poplin.
I will tell you this: I cannot recall ever having been a kitten! I cannot recall suckling my mother’s teat, nor playing with a bit of string. I cannot remember the professor ever having been younger or different than he is today. Thoughts like this disturb me, and I rush to wrap myself around the professor’s legs and beg for his attentions. I’ve learned, in my time, that a tasty bit of meat can steer my mind away from troubling thoughts.
Still, I’m bothered by paradoxes. The professor has never once gone out to obtain provisions, and yet... things seem always newly stocked. Every morning, he opens a tin of sardines—my beloved little sardines!—and seeing I have what I require, he reaches into the pantry for his ever-full tin of coffee, his bread and butter. 
I see no one besides the professor, and the professor sees no one but me. If he has colleagues, I do not know them. If there is a woman, I have not met her—though once I heard the professor speak the name of a woman… What was it? Ethel? Helga? Gertrude? I can no longer recall.
There is something that the professor does not know—a secret that I’ve kept from him: there is a mouse. Or, at least there will be one soon. It lives inside the wall. I hear it in the night, behind the baseboard of the kitchen—gnawing, gnawing, trying to get in. While the professor sleeps, I crouch. I wait for this mouse to chew its way inside where I will instantly pounce upon it. For three long nights I’ve waited. 
I do not plan to kill it. I want to capture it alive. I’ll toy with it, rough it up, and carry it by the scruff of its puny neck to my professor as a tribute. This is all I can offer the man who’s sheltered me—to let him be the judge of whether or not the first living thing to enter our rooms will live or die. The professor will observe my prey and my prey will look up at the professor with tiny terrified eyes. This is the beautiful moment I rehearse over and over in my mind.
But in the meantime, the professor strokes my head. “Poor cat,” he says to me, for the professor does not know my name and always calls me cat. “Poor little cat,” he says, as I curl myself contentedly in his lap and raise my head so that his fingers can caress my neck, “Are we happy now?”

About the Author: 
I am a fiction writer, taxi driver and advertising art director (in reverse order of profitability), living in San Francisco.

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