September 8, 2011
Goodbye, Crimson

Mrs. Anthony admitted to herself - with the tiniest speck of humor the situation could allow - that she didn’t know the first thing about burying a dead animal.  She looked over her beautiful lawn, gloomily examining it.  It was nothing fancy, nothing overdone - there were no trees, no colorful flowers, no shimmering pool - just a modest rectangle of grass surrounded by a wooden fence on three sides.  Simple and small, which, Mrs. Anthony considered, was the exact opposite way of describing the kind of problem she was now facing.

She hadn’t meant to run over and squish the family’s aging pet cat, Crimson.  It was by all account - as Mrs. Anthony herself was the only living witness - a terrible and unavoidable accident.  She was backing out of the driveway when it happened.  The details, which made her sick to think about, still played in her mind: the sudden bump, the shrieking cry, the awful sight of poor little Crimson crawling out from beneath the car, dragging his crushed hindquarters on the concrete behind him.  It was enough to make Mrs. Anthony panic - thoroughly.  She considered the futility of taking him to the vet, knowing that she didn’t want to pay the cost for Crimson to continue his life confined to a kitty wheelchair should he miraculously survive his injuries.  She couldn’t finish him off, not wanting to take the risk of failing and having to watch him suffer more.  She ran to the garage, knowing with certainty that she didn’t want to simply watch the thing die, and looked for something, anything, that might help solve her problem.  In a rush to return some clothes she had borrowed from a friend, she thought about leaving and taking care of things when she got back.  But what if someone saw the cat in the front yard, suffering?  She opened a drawer and was inspired with an idea.  She pulled out a black garbage bag and went over to the cat.  Terribly upset about the accident and finding no other feasible alternative, she carefully placed Crimson into the bag and tied it shut, hoping suffocation would make things quicker for the damaged cat.  She took him to the backyard and left him there, still twitching inside the bag, while she ran over to see her friend about the clothes.

The bag wasn’t twitching anymore.  Mrs. Anthony knew the kids would be home soon and that she didn’t have much time to do what had to be done.  She considered the northeast corner by the fence.  She wondered if she might hit sprinkler pipes when she finally started.  She wished her husband hadn’t died last summer.  She wished he could have been there now.  He would have given her a hard time about running over the cat, but at least he would know which corner to bury him in.

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