Austin first met the cat at the end of a long afternoon at the Friday bazaar with his parents.
They had been in Turkey for only five days and already he was bored. It took ten hours by bus to get down south – at night too – and when they arrived at the house early in the morning, the doors were all locked up and the front yard (if you could call it a yard, he thought, all paved and tiled over) was covered in fallen pine cones and needles, and even wooden crates and garbage from the restaurant next door. His Dad was sullen and his Mum was trying to stay cheerful, but it took them forever to get the door unlocked and make up the beds with clean sheets so that they could get a little sleep. His bed smelled damp and mouldy. I could have stayed with X in England and gone to football camp instead.
The bazaar (if you could call it a bazaar, he thought, just a ragtag marketplace of shops and stalls) sold mostly carpets, copper goods, and cheesy souvenirs. Austin sighed, his hopes of snagging a new PlayStation dashed. His Dad was giddy and his Mum was trying to stay sober, but the raki was flowing a little too freely for that.
And that’s when the cat appeared (if you could call it a cat, he thought, six feet tall, with a goofy cartoon face, a yard-high red and white striped hat, and an aura that spoke of pure evil) smelling of fish and raki as it leaned in close and whispered to Austin:
"I do not like this lame bazaar
I think that we should steal a car.
We’ll ditch the ’rents. I know some tricks.
We'll trash some mosques and pick up chicks."
The heck with football camp, thought Austin, as he followed his new friend through the winding lanes.
Opening: Deniz Bevan.....Continuation: Anonymous