Method 15 33

Free Method 15 33 by Shannon Kirk

Book: Method 15 33 by Shannon Kirk Read Free Book Online
Authors: Shannon Kirk
editing a Motion for Summary Judgment with her silver Cross pen.
    “Mom,” I said from the doorway.
    Her eyes strained up, horn-rimmed glasses perched upon her nose, the legal brief unmoved in her hands. This was the most invitation to speak I would get. I cradled an old, scrappy cat in my arms.
    “This is my cat,” I said. “I got rid of the acidic odor with a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, dish detergent, hydrogen peroxide, and a layer of charcoal dust. I’ve been keeping her in a cage in the birch grove since she wet in the house, but she’ll need to be indoors now.”
    Mother plunked the brief on the coffee table in exaggerated drama. I’d seen this same motion of hers once when she reached the climax of a closing statement in a federal trial I was invited to attend. “Son of a…I told your father I smelled cat.”
    “Yes,” I agreed stoically, as though confirming the Queen’s dictate on a law of taxation.
    “Why didn’t you tell me?”
    “I wanted to solve the problem before presenting her.” I had no emotions in her room. I didn’t feel the need to allow them.
    “Well.” She averted my gaze. I might have been the only person who could disarm her, which, I fear, unsettled her. It was as if I was an ever-growing thorn bush she was required to prune from ten feet away. But I didn’t wish to trouble her; I only wanted to provide the facts.
    “The cat is female. I’ve been testing a sonic collar for the purpose of dispelling fleas and ticks. She was roaming around the dumpsters at school. No tags. She’s not feral though, definitely domestic and abandoned or lost. She likes humans. She only peed on the basement stairs because I didn’t get a litter box until a day after I found her. I’ve hidden the box behind my sterilization unit, by the hydrogen chamber.”
    I did not ask, as I think most children would have, if I could keep the cat. In my mind, she was not only my pet, she was also part of a lab project. I did not need permissions as far as the latter was concerned.
    “Name?”
    “Jackson Brown.”
    “For a girl?”
    “I thought you’d like the nod to your favorite musician.”
    “How can I say no to Jackson Brown?”
    I didn’t ask for permission, just approval, which is different
.
    The psychiatrist later theorized that my mother’s approval of my choice to tell her of the cat after I solved the urine problem, led me to hide my pregnancy—until I found a solution, I suppose the doctor supposed. But the only thing I solved in the first seven months of my hidden condition was my intention to name the baby Dylan, Mother’s other favorite musician. This resolution, however, never materialized, since my baby’s name changed in the course of captivity.
    Indeed, on Day 20, lacking clear air in that casket of a closet in the attic, I began recalibrating my child’s name, wanting to give him more meaning.
    The closet-cage seemed doused in thick, acidic cat urine, and with little ventilation in that hot spring attic, I began to sweat and gasp for air. If I thought my room below was solitary confinement, the wardrobe was like being untethered to a spaceship and left to tumble through vacant space.
There goes my pod. There goes my planet. Gravity betrays me, lifts me hazardly beyond stars
.
    Will he leave me here all day? Longer?
    I believe an hour passed.
    I blacked out from the heat.
    I came to when he unlocked the closet and I sprawled to the floor, my head banging upon his boots.
    “Son of a…,” he screeched. He shimmied his feet out from under my skull as if I was a scurrying rat.
    Hyperventilating, gasping for life, I lay like a fish flopping on the dock.
    “Ah, she-it,” he said while stomping. “Shit, shit, shit.”
    He kicked lightly at my ribs as his method of checking my pulse, too bothered to bend and help me breathe. As hepigeon-pecked my chest with his steel-toed foot, I labored against practically collapsed lungs, wheezing, coughing, gagging along, until finally

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