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February 17, 2017 | Fiction

small and ghostly

Trinity Herr

small and ghostly photo

I will watch you kill the cat.

You will grab it by the tail first and it will yowl. We will both hear its tail snap like fingers to old time music and your laugh will sound like part of the song. When it turns and bites your hand, you will let out a curse that both of our mothers would scold you for, say it is appalling to hear from the mouth of a woman. Our mothers turn their heads when the same words come from my mouth.

You will wrap a fist around its neck in anger and lift. It's fat house cat body hangs wheezing, suspended and swaying like a slow-motion science video of milk being dropped from a pipet. We will both think how the cat looks exactly like Mrs. O'Neill, the person to whom the cat belongs. It will kick its back legs in an effort to scratch your arm, to break free from the grasp that I will not quite realize is murderous. We will know the farce in this: Mrs. O'Neill will have had the cat's claws removed to protect the antiques that beautify her home instead of function. When I think back on it, I will not know why I laughed with you.

You will say: Did you know that she actually paid money for this thing? I will say no, and what a waste! We will both have known more people who have drowned kittens than paid money for them. It can't even catch mice. You will shake your head. You will say: I bet it eats off a glass plate. We will think about the paper plates in our parent's cupboards, think about the upside-down Frisbees we use to feed our father's hounds turned right side up to play with them. We will think about the cat's fur like a wedding dress, like the coats of Kings and Queens in history books we look at but struggle to read.

You crouch to the ground, let the cat's feet touch so it doesn't dangle. It will screech again. It will hiss and kick and try to get away but you will grind its head harder into the dirt. You will say: shut up, motherfucker. I wonder what you are doing. I think about beginning to think of something to say, but your body, it will arch when you reach for the stick. I will see the sway of your back, the slight tuck of invisible curves that teenagers breathe into existence on each other's bodies. I will see your ass in the too-small cut off shorts, the way they begin to ride up, and I will get a little bit hard. I’ll feel a little bit embarrassed.

You will look over your shoulder at me and smirk. You will say: I never liked cats, do you? And I'll lean forward, slip my hand into your back pocket. I won't look at the cat when I say: I can think of a pussy or two I've liked. You will roll your eyes, tell me how gross and stupid I am. Then you will take the stick in your hand and shove it through the cat's eye socket.

The cat and I will both stop moving. Both our jaws hang slack, my hand still in your pocket. The gelatinous remnant of eyeball will be partially displaced by the stick, and it will remind me of finding frogs eggs as children — the way we would squeeze each orb to bursting in order to harvest tadpoles for a frog farm that never came into existence. The carnage you make, it will stain the white fur and pink skin like a mouthful of my father's chew spit, all nicotine and blood because if the cancer is already come to kill you, why bother to quit?

You'll remove your hand from its neck and with fingers more gentle than I will have ever seen, stroke the still pristine white fur. Where you touch, a small streak of red appears. Blood on your fingers, leaked down from the nostrils. You will stand, and I will move a step away when you turn to face me. We will stare nakedly into each other. You will be the one to smile. You will step closer, place your hand on my face and kiss me. The blood on your fingers will be sticky on my cheek.

We will end up fucking against a nearby fir tree, skins burned raw and dirty and full of splinters. You will dig your nails into my arms. I'll cum into you, loud and high pitched in my release. You won't cum at all. When we're done and you are pulling back on your shorts, I will turn away from you. I will look at the dead cat still lying not far from us. It will look small and ghostly. I will think of Mrs. O'Neill standing on her front porch at twilight, calling an unanswered name. Somewhere in the trees by us I’ll hear the crows closing in.

 

image: Carabella Sands


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