Boo' by K. A. Laity

It started with the little black cat. “We should take it in,” she said, looking at the damp moggie shivering in the light evening rain.

“Black cats are bad luck,” he said and laughed. He could always find some way to shut her suggestions down. The restaurant was too expensive, the movie too lovey-dovey, the beer wasn’t PBR.

Once she pretended she was confused and bought Schaefer instead. When he remonstrated with her, she used the excuse that she didn’t drink, it all looked the same. Before he finished the case, he made sure she would remember.

Her mother didn’t believe the broken arm had been an accident. “I thought you were better than that.”

“She looks so cold.” Her heart went out to the little critter. It looked up at her through the window as she filled the sink with hot water.

“I got all the pussy I need in here.” He slapped her bottom with a yelp of laughter.

He had already downed a few PBRs so it made him chuckle the rest of the night to repeat his witticism. “Heh! Wait ‘til I tell Asian Bob that one. He’s gonna bust a gut.”

She tried to fall asleep but kept hearing the pathetic mews in between his snores.  Easing herself out of bed, she tiptoed to the kitchen and retrieved a couple of ham slices from the refrigerator. Slipping out the door, she crouched down facing the overturned bucket where the cat had sat on.

A pair of bright eyes peaked out from behind it.

“Here puss.” The light mist covered the piece of ham she held before her but she stood patiently until the cat—no more than a kitten really—crept out to take it from her, wolfing it down as she patted its head and purring loudly. “You need taking care of,” she whispered.

The towel didn’t dry her hair completely, but she figured it would be all right. Yet when she crept back into the bedroom, he switched the light on.

“You fed that cat.”

It wasn’t a question. She bowed her head.

“It’s going to be hanging around here forever now. We can’t have that.”

“I’ll take it to the veterinarian around the corner in the morning, she’ll find—“
“Another sucker?” He sniffed. Beer always gave him a runny nose at night. “The world doesn’t need yet another useless cat.” He rolled out of bed and shook the pillow out of its case. “Get my bat. We’re going to put an end to this.”

“But—“

“Get my bat.” He walked out into the kitchen and stepped into the yard. “Here puss. C’mere, kitty. I got a nice surprise for you.” The joy in his voice unnerved her. “Where’s my bat?”

“Here.” She wasn’t sure she said it out loud. Her hands made the decision for her and she swung the bat down on his head. Twice.

The cat ate all the ham as they sat in the rain.

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