I scoop up the strays from around my neighborhood—stuff them down storm drains and toss them into trees. Sometimes their spring-loaded needle feet don’t catch the branches and it rains paws and mews. I need to prove to my mother that I’m responsible enough to keep a kitten. And what’s a better way to get a pet than to snatch one from the clutches of certain doom? One little rescue and I’ll be the Hercules of the suburbs. My mom is a real softie, as soon as the purring starts, she’ll crumble.
But my plan had one fatal flaw. What goes up must come down—and it turns out that felines are pretty good at saving themselves from high places. So there we stood, at the base of the oak, her eyes tracing the empty canopy, down the trunk, down my arms zigzagged with bright red scratches. She shook her head.
“I knew you weren’t ready.”
Stephen Williams holds a BA in creative writing from the University of California Riverside where he won the Chancellor’s Performance Award for excellence in fiction. His work has appeared in Ascent Aspirations, Carnival, Glass, Menacing Hedge, Mosaic Literary Magazine, and BLACK&WHITE. Currently, he serves as an editor for Rind Literary Magazine.