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In Carlos Fuentes' Aura there's a scene in the middle of the book in which the second person narrator--so, "you,"--looks out the window and sees that "five, six, seven cats...are all twined together, all writhing in flames and giving off a dense smoke that reeks of burnt fur." And then you go back into the house and head down the hallway to fuck your boss's niece and the scene is never explained or referenced again. Well, that's magical realism for you.

This week, I think I edged closer to comprehending the complexities of gatos en fuego. I turned on my oven to roast some pecans. Suddenly, one of my foster kittens, Azuki, came bolting from behind the stove like the proverbial Chiroptera out of hell. I didn't even know there was a hidey-hole back there for him to get into. He was covered all over with a fine dusting of black stuff. "What did you get into?" I scolded. "Meow," he said.

When I brushed him off, I realized he hadn't gotten into something; the black stuff was the outer layer of fur burned to a crisp down his back. He had a slightly...sizzled odor.

So we all learned a valuable lesson. I now do headcounts when I turn on the oven, and Azuki, I suspect, will never venture near a stove again.



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