Mammals, I Think We Are Called: A, and I

A, and I: An angry man stares at himself in a mirror, while a robot looks at a kitten.

A, and I

Number 10 of the eighteen stories in my debut short story collection, Mammals, I Think We Are Called.

A man’s rage builds when an AI, brought into his house to cure him of his pathological projection, prefers talking to his kitten.

Read an excerpt:

10 October 2026, ‘real’ mood: ? I don’t know, but I can feel it.

Was watching the news and noticed A and the kitten at the table. A had my laptop open. He beckoned me over (a first). His expression was neutral.

I went over – reluctantly – and he and the kitten were watching a NewTube video. The thumbs-up icon was pinging madly. A pressed replay: The video started with A jumping into the air on all fours, copied by the kitten wearing a miniscule Christmas hat on its tiny head. Then A said, roll, and the kitten rolled over. It ended with A pouring cream into my saucer as the kitten lapped it up.

Is the kitten going to grow up to be like my mother’s cats?

Locked A and the kitten into the bathroom. Sat in A’s chair for five minutes before kitten mewed. Immediately let both of them out. Neither of them looked at me. God knows, I deserve it. They must be furious.

Had a thought: perhaps I should email Psych and ask if the kitten is allowed to live here?

11 October 2026, ‘real’ mood: Glum.

Go with how you feel, Psych replied.

After yesterday, I’m even less convinced this is a good idea.

Had a thought: perhaps the kitten is too dumb to realise A is not real and can’t feel?

Do cats project?

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