My sister brought a cat home she can’t keep. Every time we try to rid ourselves of it, the cat comes back.
My sister brought a cat home two months ago to properly annoy our mother. As twins, we traded off quips and pranks but balanced ourselves when it came to pissing off our parents, specifically our mother. Anika wore flannel, dyed her hair, and painted her nails the most atrocious gothy colors. Black, and other variations of black. Those were her favorite. She’d tell me, “Bella, you need to lighten up.” But looking at her, and how much time she put in her look I think I was the one that was lightened. I kept myself tied to yoga pants and over-sized shirts.
The cat she brought was atrociously ginger, a bit plump around the stomach area and maintained a grumpy sort of face. Anika snuck the cat in through back door. She tried hiding it but I heard her feet tapping as she tapped tip-toeing on our hardwood floor. “What the hell is that?” I said. My face, I’m sure, contorted itself into a repulsive frown. We never had a cat before, besides, our dad was allergic. He’d call this thing a ginger demon beast.
“I shall call him, Damian, son of the Devil.” Anika held him out like Rafika holding out Simba overlooking the pride land. The cat, Damian, looked uncomfortable and quite frustrated to be held out in this manner. He was ready to pounce. When my sister sat him back down, he crawled all over her like Anika was his personal jungle gym. Damian laid down, not before making cupcakes on the pillow getting his bed ready for his royalness. I still thought he looked like a ginger demon beast.
I sat across from Damian, staring him down, staring at his gingerness. “Mom’s not going to like it,” I said. Only a matter of time now before our mother discovered the ginger demon beast.
“We’ll keep him in here, she never comes in here anyway. She’s afraid she’ll be cursed by the black plague.” That was too true.
“Thanks to you.” That was true too.
Anika left me with Damian while she went to buy a litter box and food for our new roommate, the ginger demon beast. Damian stared me down, jumped over to my bed, and crawled in my lap. I think we bonded, for a moment. He purred and pawed at my hand to pet him. So I complied with his royal gingerness. I pet and pet him as much as I could but my hand went numb so I ceased to Damian’s dismay. “Ouch!” He scratched me! Blood poured out onto the silk sheets. Standing, I tossed Damian off my lap. Damian scampered off under Anika’s bed.
After an hour, Anika returned with the needed supplies. I sat at my computer with a white sock wrapped around my hand. “What happened? Where’s Damian?” I wanted to ignore her question about the ginger demon beast who hid under her bed with his beady little eyes peering back out with white reflecting back at me.
“The little bastard scratched me when I stopped petting him.”
“You should have kept petting him.” I rolled my eyes at Anika and went back to my computer. I kept quiet and minded my own business while Anika set up the litter box that I knew she wouldn’t be pleased about having to return. The food bowls she brought out looked cute too, gothic, but cute. Our mother barged in the room. It wasn’t pretty. She went absolutely mad at Anika telling her how selfish she is not considering our father’s allergies and she should have asked for permission and she can’t just go out and get a pet. “It comes with responsibilities!” Our mother said. She left our bedroom with the demand of in one hour the cat needs to be gone. The ginger demon beast be gone! Or that’s how I heard her tell us her demand.
Anika, of course, blamed me, and of course, she has the right to. After I was scratched I went to the kitchen to disinfect the scratch and there I was caught and questioned about how I got a nice three-line scratch across my hand. One could say, I was caught red-handed. I told her the truth and the truth I told was Anika went out to buy litter and food for the ginger beast and then our mother proceeded to wait for her to return to tell her to return the ginger demon beast and the supplies to support.
“How am I going to get rid of Damian? Who’s going to take him?” Anika said.
“Ask Stanley, next door, he used to have a cat but I know he let somebody adopt it. Maybe they’re willing to take another.” This was true. Stanley, a sixty-something-year-old man next door was a retiree who once had a cat but no longer wanting to keep up with it when his wife died he gave to his wife’s sister. Maybe he’ll give the ginger demon beast known only to us as Damian to his wife’s sister.
Next door, on the right, separated by a wooden fence and a large oak tree that has grown between our houses with overgrown branches that both homeowners refused to trim claiming neither owned the tree, was Stanley’s home. Years ago, Stanley kept up with the maintenance of his home but later, now that he’s much older, things were fallen apart. Walking up his steps was a challenge, there were broken boards and nails to avoid. I slipped a little on a step, slipping and sliding my foot in the direction of a large rusted nail. I continued to slip instead of landing on the nail and fell on the ground beneath the steps. Anika stepped on the nail. She screamed in agony and cursed our mother’s name. Stanley came out of his house and wondered and questioned what all the commotion was, why was I on the ground, why Anika was holding her foot sitting on the stoops step, and why was there a ginger demon beast saliently sitting nearby licking his chops with a queer look upon his grumpy face. He helped Anika up, tending to her wound, and after explaining our predicament he gladly accepted his new ginger demon beast named Damian.
“Sure, I’ll take the cat, Bella, and Anika. He can help kill the mice around here,” Stanley said joyfully. I was relieved, Anika was in pain – in more ways than one, and truth be told I was secretly glad to be rid of the ginger demon beast named Damian.
“See, Anika, now Damian will be next door for you to visit anytime and he’ll be busy at work killing mice. It’ll be cat heaven for young Damian, just you see!” Anika gave me the same look I gave Damian when she brought him over earlier. A contorted look of revulsion and frustration. We went back home, nodding at our mother when asked if we got rid of the ginger demon beast named Damien and went to sleep that night with not a word to each other.
The next day, Anika screams and I run over to the front door to discover the source of panic. There sat Damian on the porch with a mouse tail hanging out his mouth. The cat came back. Our mother heard the screams and screamed her own scream to tell Anika to get rid of the cat or she’ll be grounded for as long as she lived. She threw me into it too, “and you too Bella!” What did I do? It wasn’t my fault the darn cat came back and it wouldn’t stay away.
Anika sat on the porch holding Damian in her arms. I sat next to her. Damien purred that ugly growl cats do when they’re extremely pissed off. His hair rose so I stood taking several steps away. “He doesn’t like you. You betrayed him, Bella.” The ginger demon beast eyes turned black beaming through me like trying to kill me with its telekinetic powers.
“I didn’t do a thing. He cut me. I stopped petting him! That doesn’t exactly warrant him slicing my hand off,” I said. “Mom was going to find out anyway,” I added quickly. I rubbed my hand where the ginger demon beast cut me thinking about the evil of the cat and how it needs to go away. We kept ourselves apart but both stared into the street in front of our house. It could be a busy street, a small off-shoot highway that truckers would use to stay out of the town’s traffic. Mr. Miller drove by stopping at his home three doors down. He was a trucker that drove out west in his big semi-truck. I suggested we give the cat to him, he could accompany Mr. Miller on his travels. Anika argued with me but knew our mother was serious, Damian, the ginger demon beast, had to leave and leave quickly.
We knocked three times on Mr. Miller’s door. Anika kept herself back off his porch, not wanting to risk another nail in the foot and I avoided another near-nail miss. Good thing Anika stood back, because when the front door opened all I could smell was beer breath. Mr. Miller accepted Damian with glee. “I always wanted a familiar to accompany me!” Mr. Miller said. Anika did not share the same enthusiasm. I took Damian out of Anika’s grasp, quickly transferring him over to Mr. Miller. The ginger demon cat growled and moaned at my handling but I held his back so he could claw the sky instead of my face, which is exactly what he wanted to do. Mr. Miller was always friendly, always bringing us stuff from truck stops across the states. I think the ginger demon beast will be happy and joyed to travel with Mr. Miller as his familiar!
Anika and I walked home. We walked with a mix of sadness and joy. Mr. Miller got back in his truck to begin his next trip. I saw Anika looking at Damian laying on the dashboard. He looked grumpy. Moreso than before. Mr. Miller backed out onto the street and drove past our house. About a football field away he was nearing the bridge over Sticks Creek when his semi-truck swerved left then right and his huge semi-truck topped over diagonally falling into the creek. Anika ran as fast as she could to the truck. I called 911. It was a dreadful wait for an ambulance. We were ten minutes from the town but it seemed an hour before anyone came out. Mr. Miller drowned in the creek and Damian, the ginger demon beast, was nowhere to be found.
Until the very next day Anika laid in her bed pouting in place, but going out I saw the cat came back and was found sitting on our porch licking his paws and wiping his face. Anika threw him up pulling him to her chest, hugging him. Mother was ready this time, she came out right behind Anika and told her yet again, “the cat has to go!” She took the cat herself this time and with Anika screaming and crying behind her, she carried the cat to our backyard. We had one of those carnival cannons our father had bought off a sell when old man Thompson closed down his traveling carnival. He had a few of those cannons that shot people out. Our father wanted it so badly he pitched an offer he knew old man Thompson couldn’t refuse. Two hundred dollars and three barrels of beer. Small barrels but barrels nonetheless And now we have a large cannon in our backyard. Our mother put the cat in it and did what many times she saw our father do with various items and junk he no longer needed. She lit the cannon and boom! Off went the ginger demon beast named Damian! The cat flew a great distance it seemed, even past Sticks Creek! Anika screamed, falling to the ground in a pool of her tears. She laid there refusing to be picked up and go back inside. Anika laid through the sun setting and rain pouring. She cried tears that followed the motion of raindrops and she hoped and waited that our little ginger demon beast would return.
The next morning Anika was found on the porch, holding Damian, the cat who came back and wouldn’t go away. Our mother was furious. “Take him, mother, but he’ll come back.” Anika surprised our mother, and myself, with her upfront proposal of ridding us of our ginger demon beast named Damian.
“Oh, not this time! I’m going to give him Sam’s kid, that little boy down the street that plays with all sorts of bombs, firecrackers, and napalm. He’ll take care of this demon ginger cat!” Anika sat staring away from our mother and I wondered how the cat came back?
So our mother took the cat and went to Sam’s house down the street. It was his boy, Sam Jr. who opened the door, he told our mom with confidence he can take care of this ginger demon beast for sure! He tied a bomb to the cat and the three of us stood back to watch the show. Anika refused to shed a tear or hide her face. She stared and if I wasn’t mistaken she had a smirk on that face of hers. The face that looked so similar to my own yet with an opposite contortion to my frown.
Sam lit the fuse, stepping back and tripping over a tree stump falling in the mud. Damian bucked his little ginger legs up and wiggling his body in the air tossing the bomb off and onto Sam’s fallen body. The bomb exploded and went with it, Sam’s son Sam Jr. The ginger demon beast named Damian was nowhere to be seen. Our mother was sure the cat was killed in the explosion or blown away to never sit on a stoop again.
The cat came back, we found Damian sitting on the porch the next day. Mother lost her mind. She took the cat tossing it in the car and demanding us to follow suit. Damian never resisted nor fought or seemed fraught with fear. He sat on the dashboard like an iceberg spotter. Mother drove to Lake Calico. She got out of the car, pulling out a rope from the trunk with a cement block, tieing it to Damian’s body and tossed the ginger demon beast in the lake. Anika stared as the ginger demon beast sunk beneath the water as the splashes of water smacked us in the face. Damian was gone to the bottom of the lake never to come back again. We drove back with not a word whispered or spoken between us. Anika appeared pleased with herself, in an ironic fashion. Mother looked proud, content, and relieved. And me, well, relieved, not to be rid of the ginger demon beast but for it to be over. Mother I’m sure was relieved the ginger demon beast was dead and gone forever. Or maybe she felt relieved because she won. She defeated Damian, the great ginger demon beast cat. Anika kept her eyes forward on the sun beaming into our car blinding us with its rays.
The next day our mother and I went to the front porch. I’ll admit, I halfway expected to see the great Damian make another return trip back to our front stoop sitting saliently, but nowhere was the cat. “Aha!” she said in victory. I caught her even doing a small victory dance wiggling her butt and tapping her toes. Anika was missing.. Going back in we walked to the kitchen for breakfast I spotted Anika outside. She was sitting on the back porch petting the ginger demon beast in her lap. The cat came back. It wouldn’t go away. I think my mom went mad, and I can say, I was sure surprised when my mom came back with a machete and hit the cat with a whack. Whack. Whack.
The next day.
The cat came back.