When we were 18, Redbeard and I, after confessing our mutual love for each other, decided we could not continue living a state apart. After a year of love letters (remember when we actually sent things through the mail?) and long distance phone calls Redbeard decided to make the move.

I was living with my grandparents in California at the time and had just started working in my first salon after graduating school so financially I couldn’t move out yet. Redbeard had been working at a sandwich shop in Las Vegas and would be moving here without a job. Getting our own place right away wasn’t an option.

image

*Redbeard and me in 1997*

So I did what any stupid, young, hopelessly in love, teenage girl would do. I begged my best friend to let Redbeard sleep on her couch for a small fee of $80 a month.

Belle lived in an old, run down apartment next to the community college she attended. She was lonely living alone and having a roommate sounded like a good plan. Plus I’m sure she Was thinking of all the extra “Top Ramen” she could buy for $80!

That weekend I drove to Barstow to meet Redbeard. His mother had driven (Redbeard didnt own a car) him there. We were meeting half way, having lunch and then I was to be bringing my prince back with me. This was the most magical day of my 18 year old life.

After lunch he hugged his mom goodbye and loaded his belongings into my car.

That’s when I noticed it. An overpowering sour, rancid smell.

“What is that smell?” I asked Redbeard.

“Oh, it must be my clothes. I washed them last night but then forgot to dry them.”

We drove the full two hours in the must cloud. The windows down didn’t help. Who cares? I LOVE HIM!

Once we reached our destination, we gathered Redbeards smelly luggage and moved it up into the apartment which did not smell any better. You see, Belle had been very lonesome in that apartment all by herself so she did what any single, conversation deprived woman would do, she hoarded cats.

The tiny, single bedroom apartment was full of litterboxes and the litter boxes were over flowing. The stench of cat urine was so overwhelming that the sour clothes smell could no longer be detected. The carpet was crusty and caked with feces.

Redbeard loved me. He sucked it up and decided to stick it out. After all we would be getting our own place soon (that’s another story). He cleaned up his part of the apartment and kept it that way though the smell never did leave.

After a month or so of cat hell, Redbeard had had enough. The feeling was mutual on my end. Hey, I practically lived there myself.

So we devised a plan.

We started telling Belle that the cats should be able to go play outside. We guilted her into thinking that the cats were missing out. We told her they needed to be able to run and catch mice and that it was cruel to lock an animal in the house all the time. Belle eventually was worn thin. She let Pumpkin outside for the day.

Pumpkin never came back.

Two days later, while I was at work, the call came.

“*****, Pumpkin is missing! I have searched everywhere! I have called the shelters, I knocked on all the neighbors doors. No one has seen her!”

“Calm down. I’m sure she will show up. Go to class, it’s OK. Cats do that sometimes.” I guiltily advised.

“I cancelled class for the day. Pumpkin never does this! I’m checking the trach cans now!” *CLICK*

GULP

Oh shit!

You see, the night before this phone call, Redbeard and I had gone out to dinner. With our bellies stuffed and satisfied we headed back to the apartment. As we pulled down the familiar street we saw something else familiar on the road. Flattened.

It was Pumpkin.

We parked. We ran out to the road to see the kitty corpse in person. It Was definitely Pumpkin.

“Oh shit! What are we going to do? How will we tell Belle? She is going to kill me!” I yelled at Redbeard.

“I’m going to the apartment to get a bag.” he replied.

“A bag? What for?”

“Well, she is too big to flush!” Redbeard answered.

“Shouldn’t we let Belle do this?” I asked.

“We are not going to tell Belle! She will blame you after all. You are the one who convinced her to let Pumpkin out to begin with. You don’t want Belle to hate you, do you?”

Gah!

Redbeard had a point.

Just to make sure the cat was dead I gave it a little kick with my heel.

*Smoosh!*

It was dead all right. Slime was oozing out of it’s mouth.

Redbeard returned with a bag. Then I let him do what any scared, self hating, cat murdering cunt would do. I watched him throw the cat in the community trash bin.

Flash forward: Back at work that day.

*RING*

“Hello?” It was Belle and I knew what was coming.

“I just went to the trash can to look for Pumpkin!”

Sweat dripping down my face….fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

“The trash man came this morning! The bins were empty. I’m calling animal control again. Hey, wanna grab lunch?”

Saved by the garbage man!

Eight years later I finally told Belle the truth about what happened to her cat. Her response:

“I fucking hated that nasty cat anyway. It pissed on everything!”

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