“Dead Cat in Brooklyn,” by Adam Wojack

Oct 28th, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

I mean, wuddaya suppose to do wid a dead cat inna city? Not like you can dig a hole in yuh backyard and berry it. I got a small apahtment, on Wess Fourf street in Brooklyn, near duh bus that takes you tuh Canahsie. I don’t go tuh Canahsie. Dat place has changed, and not for da better. I stay right heah in Gravesend where I belawng. Good place wid good people. I can get my kwaffee and my newspapuh right on duh corner for tree dollars still, like innee old days. You can’t say that for a lotta places these days. Times has changed, for sure.

So one day I’m standin deh, waitin for dee eighty-two bus to Kings Highway and who walks up? Jimmy Two-Feet from da Bronx. Ain’t seen him in yiz. We kwall him at on account uh he’s so stoopid. One day, yiz ago, we wuz havin some fun tellin lies about catchin fish in Jamaica Bay and how big dey wuz, tree or four feet long summada guys wuz sayin, and wunnada guys he says, “Hey Jimmy, how many feet?” And Jimmy looks down to check and bah-da-baby, he’s Jimmy Two-Feet. He don’t pay attention, dat Jimmy. But he’s ah-right. At least he wuz.

So I’m standin deh and Jimmy, he says he wanna ax me a favor. He says his ma’s not doin so well and he’s been watchin huh cat but he don’t like cats and it’s drivin him nuts bein round this cat and do I know anyboddy wants a cat? I look at him like he’s crazy, right, axin me if I know someboddy who wants a cat. I mean dey shed and you gotta feed em and clean duh catbox and dey don’t pay attention to yah. Who duh hell wants at? And I’m thinkin bout this and I hear dee eighty-two bus pull up and look da udder way to tell him, “Nah Jimmy, I don’t know noboddy who wants a cat.” And I turnt my head to tell him at and he’s gone. Just like at, no Jimmy. Now, deh’s people round waitin to get on duh bus and as I step forward in line someboddy says to me, “Excuse me, sirrr. Is dat yer cat?” And I look down and deh’s a cat carrier on the sidewock, right behind me. I make the coneckshun and I’m shakin my head and cursin Jimmy Two-Feet in my brain and I’m so upset, see, dat I give the cat carrier a little kick wid my shoe and I hear this skehdd, sad little meeyow-wooo. And I swears to god it bout breaks my haht. I take a deep breath and I reach down and pick duh carrier up, right as duh doors close on da eighty-two bus – widdout me. Believe dat? I’m shakin my head, right deh on duh corner. This nevah woulda happened in the old days. I mean, times has changed.

So I take da cat home, I mean, what else am I gonna do? I gotta haht. I’m good wid duh super so I got no problems bringin a pet inside. First thing though, I kwall up Jimmy Two-Feet and I tells him to come get his damn cat or I’m gonna bring the darn thing to his place. He starts cryin, believe dat? And talkin bout his sick ma dis and he ain’t home dat and duh cat didn’t do nothin to noboddy and to please take care of his ma’s old sick cat. When I heah this, that Jimmy’s dumped an old sick cat on me, I get so mad I troe some words at him and hang up duh phone. Can ya believe dat guy?

Well, I nevah had a cat before. So I goes to duh store to get a catbox an kitty litter an cat food and I sets da cat up and open da carrier door and it takes, it must be an hour before duh cat even steps out. It’s movin real slow, and it starts to pick at duh food but it’s havin a hard time even chewin and dat’s when I realize how old and sick dis cat really is, like he ain’t got days to live, he got hours. I shake my head. Who dumps off a dyin cat?

But you know what? Dat cat eats the food I give him – it takes him ool day – but he makes it to duh next day and to duh next and a week passes, den two, and before I know it dis cat is getting strawnguh and I’m startin to like him. And get dis – he’s startin tuh like me. He follows me aroun dee apahtment wid his tail in the air and meeowws heah and deh and cracks me up. I think about givin him a name. I been kwallin him Cat. He reminds me of a dog we had when I was a kid. Got hit by a cah and poor thing was supposed tuh die but juss… kep on livin.

So one day I come home, and duh cat, he’s nowheres. I look and I look, movin furniture heah and deh and den I see him, behine da couch, layin still. I ohready know. Juss like dat damn dog we had: soons we got use ta havin him around he up and died. It broke my little sister’s haht, but I wasn’t gonna cry for no damn cat. I didn’t even call Jimmy. To hell wid him and his ma, dumpin an ole sick cat.

I scooped up duh cat in a garbage bag and tied it nice and tight. Den what? In the ole days we’d bury him inna back. Or throw him inna garbage. I mean, I wasn’t makin a trip to Canahsie for no dead cat.

But it didn’t seem right, ya know?

Times has really changed.


Adam Wojack teaches English and classical literature in a New York City public high school. Before this, he served in the United States Army for over twenty years in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Germany. He has published fiction and non-fiction in From Whispers to Roars, The New York Times, Nine Lines Literary Journal and Military Review. He lives in Brooklyn.


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