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Dead Cat



Dead cats aren’t funny. Especially to my neighbor, Holly who stood on her porch with tears in her eyes looking at the scattered remains. “Everybody knows there’s coyotes around here,” she said.

“Why didn’t they listen?”

I didn’t know.

“Sorry,” she blew her nose. “It’s just that my cats are like my children.”

Her sixteen-year-old son Ben confirmed with nod, “It’s true.”

“I couldn’t imagine if that was one of my cats,” she said.

School was starting soon and I didn’t want the children to see the mess as they passed on the sidewalk. Holly’s son shrugged and went inside. The dead cat was my problem. I gripped its remains through a trash bag and slipped it into another trash bag like a wet clump of old carpet. “Thank you,” Holy said. “You are such a good neighbor. But just look at all the fur that’s left.”

At a glance I knew I was going to need a rake.

Surprising amounts of flesh and blood was spread throughout her grass. I raked several mounds of leftover leaves and tabby. I hurried because I needed to get my daughter off to school and get to work. There was something insufficient about leaving the remains in the alley. It felt like I was digging a pauper’s grave using plastic bags for a pine box. But what else could I do? I just hoped to get the image of the poor animal out of my head.

When I returned home from work Holly said owner of the cat remained a mystery. “It’s so awful,” she said. Tears rimmed her eyes. That’s when I knew I would be going door-to-door for the dead cat’s owner. It was the right thing to do.

My other next-door neighbor Tom, a retired accountant, answered the door with no shirt on. Women’s tennis played in the background. He had a beer in one hand and a remote in the other. His cat vaguely resembled the mess on Holly’s lawn. I apologized and explained the situation.

I was truly sorry.

“Nope,” he said. “Ginger is on the couch lickin’ her crotch –see?”

Ginger paused, leg raised, obviously bothered.

I darkened five doors before I decided to give up.

“Maybe you could try in an hour when everybody else is home from work?” Holly suggested. My wife texted she was on the way with our daughter. I needed to start dinner.

“Fine,” Holy said, her eye wet. “I just couldn’t imagine if my cat didn’t come home for supper. Imagine if that were your cat –your child?”

It would be devastating, I agreed. But the hunt for the dead cat’s owner could start anew tomorrow. Halfway through my bland chicken and yams, our doorbell rang.

“Scott down the street says it might be his cat.”

Ok.

“He wants to see it,” she choked up, “to identify the body.”

Ok.

“I told him you threw in the trash in the alley.”

Great.

“So, which bag is it in?”

“All three.”

This story comes from Patrick Love, who paints pictures and writes. His humor has been published by Praxis Magazine and Sediments Literary-Arts Journal. His website,www.ploveart.com, is in slow development.
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