CLAW MARKS - ANONYMOUS-9
Originally published in DZ Allen’s Muzzle Flash in 2008
First time she walked in, I was under my favorite barstool. The sway in her tail looked inviting but the rest of her looked suspicious.
“Shot a Jack,” she whispered to Mack.
Ignoring me on the floor, she shivered onto a stool, and I could smell sex on her skirt, like she just had a roll in the alley. I like it out there myself, sometimes.
She was overdressed for Mack’s place. Some kinda shiny shoes and purse to match, gold on her hands and ears. I heard Mack strike up a line in his polite voice—I never hear that tone out of him myself—but then, I’m not female. Mack lets me keep my balls.
She answered him in a voice that stood the hair up on the back of my neck. I felt like swiping her ankle to draw blood and drive her out—but then a mouse creeping along the far wall caught my attention, and I forgot all about Mack and his smelly blonde.
This is my bar, my territory, and anything non-human gets clawed by me sooner or later. Mack puts food down only once a day, so I catch lunch and dinner, snacks too. Sometimes I catch a bounty and open their bellies, hook a string of guts with my lower fangs, and pull hard to create a flowery effect. It makes Mack a nice present, but the idiot never eats anything, and throws my trophies out. Hey, I don’t let on how embarrassing he is. I know who pours my milk in the morning.
The blonde returned next day and days after that. Mack took to escorting her into the back room where the giant steel box is—I jumped in once and got swatted out. Back room has a bed where Mack sleeps, and in they’d go. I could hear them rolling around. When they started leaving the door ajar, I walked right in and watched. Funny, these people.
This’d been going on for about a month when she shows up with a black eye. Thunderclouds gather on Mack’s face, and he locks up, middle of the day. She heads for the back room, starts sobbing, and turns her purse upside-down so a flurry of bills spill over the bed. They talk back and forth a long time, and then Mack gathers up the money in a neat stack, opens the giant box and locks it in. They commence rolling around on the bed, but quieter and gentler than usual.
A day or two later, Mack starts putting things in his army duffel. I know what that means: Mack’s fixing to leave for a while. Whitey usually takes over till Mack comes back. I hate Whitey; he forgets to feed me.
Sure enough, after closing, here she comes, carrying a suitcase. I don’t like the look of this at all. They break out a bottle in the back room, strip off naked, and clink glasses.
What they don’t know is, there’s a guy hiding under the bed. He must’ve been there a long time, because nobody saw him go in, but I can smell him breathing. I sit back and twitch my tail. Attracting Mack’s attention is an option, but why bother? Bastard’s going to leave me with Whitey.
They’re bouncing that bed pretty good, making it squeak like a hundred chittering rats, and the guy slithers out from under with steel in his hand. I dive under the bed, and stay there through the blows and bludgeoning, the shouts and screaming, until it stops.
The stranger’s stick drops with a clang, and his feet stagger out the door. It closes, the bolt scrapes. Mack’s sightless eyes stare at me. As he drains onto the floor, I wonder who’s going to feed me in the morning—what about my milk? I lap at one of the hundred rivulets of blood crawling toward me across the old hardwood—lick my chops, swallow the warm red, thicker than the blood of vermin. Maybe this won’t be too bad for a few days, after all.
BIO: More stories by Anonymous-9 are published in ThugLit [Issue 21], Yellow Mama and coming soon in Beat to a Pulp which debuts December 15th, ‘08. Anonymous-9 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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