Third illustration from “Olga & Trotsky,” a short story by Katja Hofmann.

(3) ‘Where have you been?’ Olga asked, pointedly unmoved, not wishing him to remark on her excitement at his appearance. Nonchalantly, Trotsky drew his left paw over his whiskers and lashed the air a little testily with his grey and black striped tail.

Only then did he grant her the privilege of an answer: ‘Here and there…’

Olga laughed to herself at this. Although fat and castrated, the old tomcat still couldn’t drop the Casanova routine. He rubbed his big, white stomach lasciviously against her calves. When he failed to achieve the expected reaction, he rolled over on the dusty floorboards and stretched his white toes pleasurably heavenwards so that Olga could admire the fluffy fur on his belly. Mme Zherenkova could no longer suppress a satisfying chuckle. Trotsky’s bartering techniques had all the subtlety of an aging whore. But that was precisely what made him so entertaining, and he knew it. Olga decided all the same to let him squirm a little longer, and stared with apparent indifference out of the window, where a horde of glassy horses galloped tinkling along the avenue.

— Translation by Steph Morris.

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