Hobie Anthony

Seven black and orange Tortoise-shell kittens nursed in a crate the day Sue returned from rehab to her parents' Atlanta home. The kittens had opened their eyes that very day and were a crawling, squirming mass swarming their mother's teats. Sugar, their mother, purred and purred when Sue scratched her behind the ear.

"New life," Sue said, beaming at her parents.

She looked for a job all that week. She got one at Target in the grocery department and within a month was sleeping with a guy in electronics.

"He goes to church and everything, he says my problem is that I didn't embrace the Lord."

She moved in with the guy the first week of her second month back. She didn't want to be a burden on her parents, she said; she was clean, she said; she had this thing licked. And she was in love for the first time in her life.

"Don't worry, Papa."

The kittens weaned and began scampering around the house. Her father's mini daschund loved the new playmates and chased them around the house at breakneck speed, they ran under sofas and hid behind ottomans. Sugar was nowhere to be found for days at a time.

Sue started hanging around the pharmacy at work and started carrying hand sanitizer in her purse. She got into a fight with her boyfriend and threw a skillet at him. He took her to see their preacher who said the devil was still in her. She prayed with her boyfriend and did what he said when he figured out what the hand sanitizer was for, that it contained ethyl alcohol. She stopped carrying it in her purse.

She wasn't sure how she got there, but Sue thought it was okay that day to go driving through Atlanta's Old 4th Ward. Reminisce. She saw the same old faces on the streets. Girls selling it, boys selling it. Stop the car for an old friend, give a ride to the Trap. In the Trap, just a taste. Another. She lent out her car. She sold her watch.

Her parents put an ad in the church bulletin and found homes for all of the kittens, except for the runt, whose eyes sat like black pearls in a sea of orange.

Hobie Anthony is working towards an MFA at Queens University-Charlotte. This was supposed to be his first publication until Dogzplot jumped in there. For this Wigleaf gives Dogzplot a fist bump.

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Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Dr. Jimi Glide.

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