Third prize winner of the 4th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
I killed a cat on the way to work. It darted under a fence and I felt a thud against my right rear tire. I stopped the car. In the rearview mirror I saw blood shooting from its mouth in a thin red arc. The cat twitched for a long time. I got out of the car and covered it with the blanket we keep in the trunk. I knocked on the door of the triplex on the corner. A fat lady in pink opened the door. I told her I had killed a cat. “Black with white paws?” she asked. I nodded. “Melissa’s. Lives upstairs. Told that girl to keep the cat in. Told her this would happen.”
I needed to get going. I told her I didn’t know what to do next. She said she’d take care of it and called to her husband. He nudged the dead cat to the curb with one steel-toed boot. I asked the lady, “Will you tell the girl? Will you tell her it was an accident?” She said she would.
The next week there were posters of the cat on the hydro poles. Have You Seen Misty? And a phone number. I called and left a message. I said I’d seen the lady who lived in the triplex on the corner buying rat poison at the U-Save.