Preview: Garbage Doesn’t Sell

I’m writing series of short stories, and I’ll be starting a blog to share them. Meanwhile, here’s a preview.

Feely the cat was dead.

Run over on the street in front of the apartment slash art studio. That’s where Yolanda found him, on Monday morning, when she was out looking for garbage with her big metal bowl. He was just lying there like maybe he was okay, but he wasn’t okay. His mouth had blood and other stuff coming out of it, stuff that looked like it belonged inside of him, and his eyes were all bugged out. And one of his little legs was sticking out a bad angle. Other than that, he looked really good for being dead. You could tell how soft and fluffy he was, and all his orange stripes and his white paws were there. He looked like he’d still feel really good if you petted him.

“Feely,” she said. It just came out of her mouth, like it meant something, like he could still turn his little head and give her a big, indifferent cat yawn. Still meander over all slow and pet himself on her outstretched hand.

She had to yell and wave her arms a lot to get the traffic to stop. All these cars were just flying down Foothill Boulevard, just honking and speeding and running right over Feely, because they just had to get to their fancy grownup jobs and the mall and wherever people went in a big rush at ten in the morning. Zipping right past her, even though she was waving her arms, yelling, “My cat! My cat!” And he was just getting more and more messed up: flatter, fur smashed into the pavement, leg maybe starting to fall off.

Finally this one guy in a little red car stopped. Yolanda ran into the street and put Feely into the metal bowl. His hips were totally flat like a pancake, with all the guts out. The leg was dangling by some tendons but it was still attached. His head was in pretty good shape, and his fur felt soft, like it looked. But his body was all stiff. She scooped up as much guts as she could with her fingers. She squatted low, got her face close to the street so she could look for small bits like whiskers or some fur or brains.

The people behind the red car were honking. They couldn’t go around because the cars in the other lane were zipping by really fast like usual. Yolanda yelled, “Go burn! Burn in a fire! I hope you get a disease!”

The guy in the red car started honking, too, and waving his arms, like what’s wrong with you, get out of the street. Like he’d never seen a person whose cat got killed before. Yolanda could have stayed there blocking them, could have sat on her butt right there. Pissing people off did not lose her one tiny baby wink of sleep. She thrived on pissing people off. Also it was necessary for people to learn the lesson of not rushing and that sometimes you are just going to be late, and even if you are missing your flight or something, it was not the worst thing that would ever happen to you. It was much worse to have your cat be dead right in front of you and have to pick up all his guts, even if you were kind of ambivalent in your feelings about death as a general thing.

Then she noticed the big puddle of blood that her foot was making. Reminding her she should have put on shoes, because there was always a bunch of glass in the street. So she raised her fist at the cars. She was still in her nightgown so they could probably see her boobs flopping around. And all her armpit hair. Go on, get a good look, television zombies. Brainwashed cartoons. She held the bowl up so they could see Feely. And she yelled, as loud she could with her raspy voice, “This is my cat!” And again, so they’d really know, “THIS is my CAT!”

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