Christopher James



New job, they give me catnet.

“What catnet for?” I ask.

Berengsek!” my new boss say. “Astaga you think catnet for?”

My new boss same this, very aggressive, alway cursing. So I net cat. Lot of cat stray cat here in garden, breaking flower, bothering customer. They tell me net three cat at one time. More than three and cat climb on top each other, climb out net, get mad and scratchyhurty. I try net four cat onetime and no problem, cat stay in net, but new boss tell me off. He say, “Astaga you catch four cat for? What I tell you about four cat?” So only catch three cat. Take cat CentralHeadOffice, give to new boss.

“What happen with cat?” I ask.

New boss say none my business what happen with cat, but then say cat go better place, island just for cat.

Sometime rat follow me with cat in catnet, rat act same boss of me. Rat say good, take cat away. See cat? That what happen.

Other man have ratnet, he say cat follow ratnet same way. But ratnet carry six rat, catnet only three. Sometime I embarrass carry catnet with cat in, especially near tourist and near customer, but then I see man with ratnet and know life could worse. “What happen with rat?” I ask man with ratnet. “They go better place,” he say. “Island just for rat.”

Customer happy we take out cat and rat. We wear badge say “Vote for GolPar.” Customer say we keep garden clean, say “Good job,” say they vote for GolPar. Some customer offer us tip. We can’t take tip, say ‘Donate to charity, customer. Lot of people need money more than we. Have box by gate.” It true, have box by gate for money. Money go better place too, island just for money.

Night time, I think new boss let cat and rat back into garden, because all cat start to look same. I joke about cat look same to man with ratnet. Next day new boss want see me.

Berengsek man with ratnet,” I say, but too late, new boss can’t do nothing. Now I demote to catch rat, and man with ratnet catch cat. Man with ratnet smug, laugh at me. I offer net to swap, but new boss say “Astaga you need swap net for? Same net, dumb dumb.”

Rat look happy catch by me, same now they move up in world. Cat look sad, but then cat alway look sad in net.

One day I catch thirty rat in ratnet, no more rat left. “Astaga you catch thirty rat?” new boss say. “What I say?”

“I want catnet again,” I tell him. Now my turn to laugh at man with ratnet. “See,” I say. “Same that.”

Election come, and GolPar win, and new boss happy. “Well done man with catnet man with ratnet,” he say. And he take money from charity box by gate, give ten note to me, ten note to man with ratnet, and keep rest. “Take day off,” he say. “Okayfine,” we say. When we come back, have new new boss. “What happen old new boss?” we say.

“Old new boss?” say new new boss, looking piss off. “He go better place.”

Boss same man with net too, and we all same cat and rat. All get catch. “Why?” I ask cat, but cat don’t know. Cat too busy try avoid man with catnet think about why.


Christopher James lives, works, and writes in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has previously been published online in many venues, including Tin House, McSweeney’s, Smokelong, and Wigleaf. He is the editor of Jellyfish Review.