I knew mom wasn’t handling the divorce well when my brother had to toss her Temptations before she would help him with his homework. Mom would jump up from a crouched position and snag the snacks mid-air and chew away. She chased and ate mice before fixing dinner, and one time she trapped a sparrow with her long, manicured nails and started to use her tongue to get rid of the feathers to get to the meat. The bird ended up flying away unharmed. She sleeps on the kitchen table for hours and hours. She licks herself clean. Once, she climbed a tree and refused to come down until I bought her a plastic ball filled with catnip. Mom bought a litter box and I have to clean it every day. I’ve had enough.
I went to dad’s house to tell him about mom’s strange behavior. I knocked on the door, no answer. I went to the back door and had no luck there. But then I turned around when I heard snarling behind me. Dad crept out of Buster’s doghouse on all fours and said: “get me a god damn bone.” He was dressed only in his boxers. His beard and hair were caked with mud. His skin was as pale as almond milk. He tossed me the keys and I went inside and could only find some raw hamburger. I wadded it into a ball and threw it at him. He tore it apart like a wolf on a baby elk. I told him about mom and all he did was bark at the moon. I begged him to be human if only for a moment. Dad went quiet. Then he whispered “I miss her, son. I miss her so much.” I almost started crying before he then said: “get me some more god damn hamburger.”
Chris Milam lives in Middletown, Ohio. A Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions nominee, His stories have appeared in Jellyfish Review, Lost Balloon, JMWW, X-R-A-Y, Molotov Cocktail, Ellipsis, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Blukris
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