Gatti rossi / Red cats

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Un racconto, spero abbastanza folle e abbastanza “felino”, con la versione in inglese “fatta in casa”.

Buona lettura e buona estate,






Fummo svegliati da un canto urlato, quella notte. Così angelico, quasi asessuato, che rimanemmo incantati, prima di alzarci di scatto inferociti. Quell’attesa, caseggiato dopo caseggiato, era sufficiente a quel corpo e a quella voce per allontanarsi.

Andai al lavoro più rintronato del solito. Non fino al punto da non notare un particolare: i gatti che incrociavo erano tutti rossi. Soffici, grassi e dal pelo fulvo. Tutti di buon umore. Mi guardavano e ridevano, sotto i lunghi baffi, come per dirmi “Non capisci niente, vero?”.

Non potevo smentirli. Proseguii, dicendomi che si trattava di un caso: ai gatti di altri colori non avevo prestato attenzione.     Al lavoro quella mattina erano tutti cortesi. Perfino la segretaria Contelli, detta PH, Quoziente di Acidità. Giudicai anche quella una benevola coincidenza. In quel preciso istante la udii di nuovo. La musica, il canto celestiale. Pensai ad una radio accesa. Ma nella nostra ditta le radio erano state bandite fin dalla fondazione.

Sentii il bisogno di solidarizzare con qualcuno.

“Stavolta l’ho quasi preso”, bisbigliai al mio vicino di scrivania.

“Hai preso chi?, replicò sbadigliando.

Iniziai a sospettare che anche l’ascolto della serenata notturna non fosse stato condiviso da nessuno. Diedi la colpa allo stress, e decisi di prendermela più comoda. Ma continuavo a percepirlo.

Oggi, venerdì 7 maggio, sento che è arrivato il momento di parlare con un esperto. Nella nostra cittadina c’è un solo psicologo, anzi, una psicologa, Stefania Ermiani. Prendo un appuntamento. È bella, colta, con una luce calda negli occhi. Trovo il coraggio di rivelarle tutto. Mi ascolta in silenzio, si alza lentamente e mi sfiora le spalle.

“Dottoressa, io la musica la sento… adesso!”

“Questa è reale. È la filodiffusione. Non devi preoccuparti, va tutto bene”.

Mi giro e non c’è più. Rientra qualche minuto dopo, con una camicia di seta. Si mette a cantare. Fluida, intonata, angelica, quasi asessuata. È lei, stavolta, che confessa a me: “Sai, neppure io sono tanto stabile mentalmente. Per averti sono diventata sonnambula. Ho scommesso che sarei riuscita ad essere più rapida dell’amore. Passandogli accanto, ad un palmo, per poi schivarlo, lasciandogli solo aria impalpabile.

Ho perduto. Sono qui, immobile, pigramente vinta. Mi sento come il mio Vincent”.

Così dicendo allunga la mano sotto il tavolo per accarezzare un soriano, soffice, grasso, dal pelo fulvo, che si sposta quel tanto che basta per lasciarmi vedere la sua faccia e i lunghi baffi frementi.

Senza volermi dire niente di più e niente di meno della gioia arcana della sua risata.

Marilyn Monroe and cat




A song screamed loud in the silent darkness woke us up, that night. That song was so pure and harmonious, almost asexual, that for a moment we stood spellbound in bed, lulled by the melody, before getting up with mad eyes leaning out the windows. But that hesitation, block after block, was long enough for that body and that voice to get away, disappearing every time around the corner, in another alley. So, the next morning, we found ourselves in the courtyards, stunned and furious. No one had seen the author of the serenade sung full lungs to the entire city. No one was able to say with certainty even if it was a male or a female singer.

I went to work more dazed than usual, that morning. Not to the point, however, to miss a curious detail, a challenge to logic and statistics: the cats I passed along the streets were all red. Soft, fat and with a reddish hair. All in good humor, also. They looked at me and laughed, literally, under their long mustaches, as if to say, «You don’t understand anything, right?».

I could not deny the fact. But I went on, without worrying too much, saying to myself that it was a coincidence: simply I had not been paying attention to the cats of other colors. Moreover, the smile of the red cats, or what seemed to me a smile, had also improved my mood, as far as possible.

At the office that morning everybody was civil and courteous. Even the secretary, Marta Contelli, called PH, acidity quotient. I judged even her attitude a random coincidence. At that moment, however, I heard it again. The music, the heavenly song. I thought it might come from a radio. But in our company the radios had been banned from the foundation. Hypothesizing its presence was totally absurd. No less absurd and inescapable, however, was the fact that I still heard it. I got up from the table and started looking in closets and rooms that had remained locked since immemorial time. I found nothing, but I confirmed to myself the intention to take at all costs the stealthy singer. Down the stairs I could almost grasp its shadow for a few times. But at the last moment he or she crept into the interstices of time and space, as if worn off between one frame and the other of life. I felt the need to ask for someone’s fellowship.


“This time I almost caught it” – I whispered to my neighbor’s desk.

“Did you get whom?”, he replied yawning.

I began to suspect that even the night music was not shared by anyone. That evening I stopped with an excuse my next-door neighbor. I dropped the subject as by chance about the night sounds.

«I never slept so well as in the last few nights. Someone should just try to make noises down here at night. I have a shotgun faster than the ghosts», he growled.

I gave the blame to stress, and decided to take it easier in the days ahead. But I still heard it. More ruthless and harmonious than ever.

Today, Friday, May 31, I feel that it’s really time to talk to an expert. In our town, the options are few: there is only one psychologist, indeed, a female psychologist, Stefania Ermiani. I take an appointment, albeit reluctantly, and I go to visit her. I look at her for a long time while she scrutinizes me. She is beautiful, intelligent, with a warm light in her eyes. I find the courage to tell her everything. She listens quietly. She slowly rises, and, still smiling, touches my shoulders.

«Doctor, I hear the music … now!»

«This is real. And… it is the radio. Don’t worry, everything’s fine».

I turn around and she is no more there. She’s disappeared.

She returns a few minutes later, on the opposite side, with a light silk shirt. She starts to sing. Fluid, harmonious, almost asexual. But that almost disappears in the exact moment when she casts away the veils from her white firm breast, revealing she is solid, feminine, real, beyond any doubt. Beauty dancing in the folds of time. Like the long red hair that melt, now, on the hot skin of her shoulders.

She approaches me, vibrant, passionate, and says the truth. This time it’s her turn to confess to me: «You know, I’m not mentally stable as well. To have you I became a sleepwalker. A dream and a nightmare».

Yes, she was my dream and my nightmare. But only a dream, in that moment, indeed, just reality.

«It was just a joke in the beginning – she continued. I made ​a bet with myself. I bet I’d be able to move quicker and stealthy than love. Passing it by, an inch, a breath, then dodging it each time, leaving only impalpable air.

I lost. I’m here, motionless, lazily won. I feel a bit like my Vincent».

Saying this, she stretched out her hand under the table to stroke a tabby, fluffy, fat cat with a tawny fur, moving just enough to let me see his face and his long mustaches.

Without wanting to say nothing more and nothing less, this time, than the arcane, deep, mysterious joy of his laughter.


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