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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

84_ym_gatophobia_crosmus.jpg
Art by Cindy Rosmus 2021

Gatophobia

 

by M.A. De Neve

 

 

          My husband’s body lay on the carpet. I hadn’t moved him. The oaf weighed at least three hundred pounds.

Detective Story arrived and almost tripped over one of my cats.

          “I like cats,” I told him.

          “How many do you have?”

          “Eleven here in the apartment. There’s more upstairs in the cattery. I run a foundation that finds homes for homeless felines. At times I might have up to a hundred cats. When my husband collapsed, I got as many as I could into the cattery. Can’t have them in the way now, can we?”

          “In the way?”

          “He obviously needs to be moved.” I nodded toward the body.

          The detective looked around at the assortment of cat trees, scratching posts, cat beds and feeders. “I admire the work you do with homeless cats. I’ve read about it.”

          “They aren’t all homeless. Many are pets, and all of them have a home with me.”

          We watched as the coroner’s staff got ready to lift the corpse. It wasn’t going to be easy. A big guy like that. I wished they’d hurry up.

           When I led the detective into the living room, cats scattered off the couch. My chairs and sofa are all covered in water-resistant fabric. We sat down. A few cat hairs never bothered me. I hoped the officer wouldn’t worry about his cheap suit.

          “What happened?” he asked.

          “Appears he had a heart attack.”

          “You been married long?”

“Not long. He just got out of prison this morning.”

          “How did you meet?”

          “Is that important?”

          “I’m curious. You’re wealthy and your husband…”  A cat landed on his lap. He smiled and petted little Fur Fuss.

          “My husband was a drug dealer, a thug, and a convicted murderer. I married him when he was on death row.”

          “It must have been a surprise for you when he got out of prison this morning.”

          I knew it was coming.

          One of the cats climbed a cat tree, and another shook an interactive feeder for her dinner. Yet another cat chased a cloth mouse across the carpet. We heard a meow and a hiss, and the sound of a toy rattling across the floor.

          “Make sure none of the cats get out,” I told the coroner’s assistants.

          “Do you stand to gain from his death?” the detective asked.

          “You can’t insure the life of a death row inmate.”

          “Of course not,” he agreed.

          “I gain nothing financially from his death.”

          “But you get your freedom. Surely you didn’t want to stay married to this guy?”

          “My attorney already drew up the divorce papers.”

          “Did you get a restraining order?”

          “No need. I paid for the appeal. I didn’t expect him to get out, though.”

          “Why did you marry a death row inmate?”

          “My dad’s will. It says I had to be married before my 21st birthday to inherit.”

          “And the will let you marry a convict?”

          “I married Mr. Gordon, the deceased, three days before my birthday, and five months before his scheduled execution.”

          “But he got out.”

          “Some loophole. They wouldn’t have found it, but I had to hire a good lawyer. It was my part of the marriage agreement. I had to give him something.” A cat crawled onto my lap. I gently petted the purring animal. “Such a sweet fur ball.”

          The detective got up, brushed cat hair from his suit.

          “My husband died of a heart attack,” I told the detective.

When my husband walked into my apartment, he got quite a shock. The cats ran right over to him, and one even tried to climb his leg. He had a heart attack.

          My late husband had an irrational fear of cats. It’s called Gatophobia. Poor man.  But like I told the detective, there was no need for a restraining order.

          I guess I maybe should have told him about the cats, though.

 

 

 

          M.A. DeNeve is a crazy cat lady, tree hugger and bag lady.  Her short stories appeared in Over My Dead Body, Yellow Mama, Everyday Fiction, and Mysterical-E. Her novels are available on Amazon.

https://smile.amazon.com/M-A-De-Neve/e/B01MTFE9WI?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1593785136&sr=8-1





Cindy Rosmus is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Rock and a Hard Place. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.



In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021