You always remember something like that. Loved ones that were lost. Then found, but never the same. Recently, I had realized he was gone but hadn’t known what had happened to Rocky, my stuffed squirrel toy. Until I did. And if that fat, sun-basking lizard I had surprised, hadn’t led me around and under the palmetto in the back corner of the yard… I wouldn’t have found Rocky partially buried that morning. The scene of a crime.
Sniffing Rocky had filled my nose with that raw ammonia smell. Cat piss. Even worse… mad cat piss, that odor of intense hate. I had scanned the area. As if that sleek slant-eyed devil would be nearby. But she was watching. I knew it. She was always watching. And waiting.
Rocky was the first of my prized possessions she took her anger at me out on. There’d been more. It had all escalated to the mess I’m in now.
–Stan, from the draft of Stan’s Series of Predicaments by Murphy Lowery. Crime scene photo by Beta.