by Deborah McPherson
When your mom picks you up from English Team practice on a beautiful spring day, be sure she tells you that your cat is dead. You may be young and immature, but you have seen dead animals before and buried a few dead birds so you know you can do this. Make sure she tells you where the dead cat is and how it died. Preferably the dead cat should be in the garage.
Change clothes, preferably a tank top and shorts. Maybe that really pretty flowy blue tank top with pink trim your older sister gave you last summer because she outgrew it. Don’t wear shoes because you outgrew your old size about a year ago and haven’t replaced them yet. You must work quickly because it is hot outside and dead bodies do not adjust to heat well. Homeostasis and all that jazz. Go to the garage and locate the dead cat. Pet it for a second just to be sure. Lift the head an inch to totally confirm death because sometimes when they sleep it kind of looks like they’re dead which is really cute in a morbid way but not right now. Grab a shovel. Feel the weight of it. Drag the metal part-blade-thing in the grass as you walk to the garden because it’s kind of heavy and the walk is long because the yard is big. Pick a spot without remnants of dead cornstalks or asparagus.
Strike the Earth. Don’t push with your feet. Remember, you aren’t wearing any shoes. Push it in as hard as your weak fifteen year old arms can. Push the handle away from the hole to pick up dirt. Place the dirt gently a foot or so away from where the hole will be.
Keep digging. Your arms will hurt but do it anyway because you loved that cat. Walk the long walk to the garage and carry the cat out. Carry the dead cat quickly because it is so hot out. Place it in the hole. Realize that because alive cats are liquid and dead cats are stiff that dead cats need bigger holes than alive cats and carry the dead cat back to the shade of the garage. Go back and dig some more.
When your arms are too tired to continue walk back to the garage and carry the dead cat back. Bend him a bit so it looks like he is curled up on purpose and also because the hole is bigger but not that much bigger because you know, arms. Use the shovel to pick up the loose dirt dug up earlier and place it over the cat. Pat it down. Compress the dirt for the shallow grave.
Author Biography: Deborah McPherson is a high school senior in Warsaw,
Indiana. She is taking advanced creative writing and children’s theater. In
college she plans to study social studies and creative writing because writing
and social studies are both about what people did or would do in certain
situations and time periods.