“You may place the
cats on the front porch,” Dee said.
Phil looked at me. “You
want these monsters inside?”
I peered into the
crate. A Siamese poked a paw through the
bars. “She never remembers I’m
“Driver,” Dee indicated the crate.
“His name’s Phil,
Dee. I’m sure you remember your old neighbor. What are we going to do with these cats?”
“I’m going to take
“Let’s keep them out here.”
“In this heat? That
A car drove up. “Dee!”
Phil rolled his eyes.
“Milton must have heard about Dee’s marital problems.”
“Don’t hold dinner.” Dee
ran to the car and got inside. Milton
sped away. I considered the chicken
browning in the oven.
“You got any cat food?” Phil said, after we hauled the crate to the basement.
There’s probably some jerky at the back of the crate. Makes it herself.”
Phil brought forth two jars.
He opened a jar and sniffed.
“Mmmmm. Mind if I try?”
“Lord knows what Dee
puts in that stuff. Catnip for
sure. Why don’t you stay for dinner
“You hear from Dee yet?”
“Three days, Phil. You
think she would’ve checked in. She’s gallivanting
around town and Derrick is in the hospital.”
“What happened?” Phil’d always liked my son-in-law.
Phil chuckled. “He’s
going to have to learn to cook.”
“Dee’s phone is off.
I have no way of…Do you smell something?”
Phil sniffed; made a face.
“What is that?”
“The cats.” I hadn’t
checked on them at all. “They’re so
quiet. I forgot…”
We rushed downstairs.
The front door opened.
“Be right up!”
“Mother, I’m engaged!”
Dee came down the stairs; saw her lifeless cats. “You didn’t feed them.”
“Of course I did. I don’t know what could have…”
“Which jar?” Her
hands were shaking. Her eyes were wild.
Phil picked up the jar.
That night, Derrick died.
The next day, Milton broke off the engagement.
This was written in response to a prompt from Trifecta:
We promised we'd keep the fun going on the
weekends, and here we are. This weekend's prompt is borrowed from Benjamin
Franklin, who once said, "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."
We want you to tell us a story about a guest, invited or otherwise, who begins
to smell, metaphorically or otherwise, after three days.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge