Monday evening — 5:20 P.M.
“HOME!!” Katy squealed.
Running through the door, Katy ran straight into her room. Scooter barked and danced behind her. Calling the name of every doll and touching every toy, she squealed and jumped up and down. Scooter barked with glee. Jill looked in to see that Katy had piled all of her toys onto the ancient twin bed where she was telling them all about her adventures. And her new Daddy. Of course, Scooter needed a personal introduction with back story of each toy, doll and stuffed animal. Lying on the floor next to Katy’s big girl bed, Scooter seemed to listen to every word.
Katy’s happy chatter formed a back beat to Jill’s movements.
Jill opened the sliding glass door to let some of the stale heat out of the apartment. At least now that she had a job… Was a spokesmodeling a ‘gig’? She could afford to run the air conditioner. She turned the air conditioner knob. Nothing.
Does the air conditioner run?
She kicked the side of the box. It made a noise then rattled. Shaking the knob, the ancient air conditioning unit started to work. Jill was instantly sorry it did. The unit pushed a part mold, part cigarette smoke, and part indefinable dead thing smell into the apartment.
She flipped the air conditioner off. She’d rather be hot.
Yep, she could see why she wanted to be away from the clean, beautiful, and cool Castle.
But the dead thing smell didn’t go away.
Wandering out onto her minute balcony, Jill saw the destruction. All of her potted plants had been smashed. Her small tomato plant had been yanked from the soil. Pressing her hand to her forehead, Jill reeled from the destruction. She had bought old seeds for 10 cents a packet, then nurtured them in Dixie cups. Sometimes, with love and care, they grew into plants. She even created a little watering system to keep them going when she was working. All of that was wrecked.
Her nose followed the smell. A dead cat. A dead cat on her balcony. Jill went back into the apartment to find a plastic grocery bag to dispose of the animal. Returning to the balcony, she bent to pick up the poor animal when she saw a note melted into the rotting flesh.
“UR NEXT BITCH.”
Jill blinked. Without thinking another thought, she wrapped the animal in the bag. Carrying the rotting carcass into her apartment, she wrapped it another grocery bag. Then another bag. She called for Scooter to guard her most precious possession, Katy. With Scooter on guard at the front door, Jill ran down the stairs to the dumpster and threw the dead cat away.
When the animal hit the bottom of the dumpster, she said a prayer. She prayed that the poor cat hadn’t suffered. She prayed that she would never get another message like this. And, more than anything, she prayed that Trevor would never, ever come back from Thailand.
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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