The Dog Catcher
"Are you gainfully employed?" I ask Mom.
She laughs. She opens her palm. There is a new tattoo of a cross on the
fat base of her thumb.
"Chris gave this to me last night," she says. Her palm stays open. I
give her two twenties. Her palm closes.
"I'm such a pariah!" She has always loved using that word because it
sounds like piranha. She flashes her teeth.
"Are you living with a boyfriend?" I ask. "Where are you
"Yes, Chris the dog-catcher. I'm staying with him." She slips her feet
out of their sandals and pulls her legs into her body.
"You need a shower," I tell her.
"Of course I do," she says. "Won't you bathe me? Wash my
She has reclined on the couch, arms over her head. I look away.
"Last night, Chris brought home a Doberman. They are such sexy dogs. He
is supposed to bring the dogs to the pound, but he really fell in love
with this one. We are going to keep him. We named him Christi."
I say, "That's nice."
She turns to watch me make coffee. "Sleeping with a
dog-catcher is like nothing else. It's like I can feel all the dogs
I stir in some sugar, silent. I slurp the coffee even though I know
it's going to be too hot.
Again her hand is out. I give her a mug. She cups it, letting a little
space form between the mug and her new tattoo.
I ask, "Why a cross?"
She looks into her hand. "It was easy, I guess. I don't know. I like
it, it makes me feel good."
"Mom," I say.
She looks up. "Sam, are you dating anyone?"
I say, "Why are you here?"
We are both quiet. The sun has started to come through the blinds.
I say, "Never mind." I pass her the cream.
Kate Wyer has stories in Fringe, Dogzplot, Abjective and others.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201002dogcatcher.htm
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