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
"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
a fist bump.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200812tortoise.htm
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
of Dr. Jimi Glide.
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