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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 17 page 15



The Art of Stealing a Cat

by Margaret Karmazin

Marcus had never particularly liked cats. Not that he was one of those obnoxious males (and it’s usually always males) who loathe the poor animals and kick them when they have the chance. Marcus was a decent person who appreciated animals of all varieties, especially in TV documentaries. Nothing better than a cozy evening, feet up on his girlfriend's lap, watching lions maneuvering to secure an antelope for dinner. But a real live animal in his or anyone else’s home was not so appealing.

“I’m getting a dog,” said Allison, his girlfriend. “It’s a long-haired chihuahua. My aunt’s dog had puppies and she’s giving me one.”

“A chihuahua?” said Marcus with distaste. “Don’t they yip a lot and bite ankles? Horrible little things.”

Allison lifted his feet from her lap and let them drop to the floor. “I suppose they do yip some but I haven’t experienced biting of ankles. Really, Marcus, you just hate animals, don’t think I haven’t noticed.”

“How did you notice this since we haven’t actually been around any animals?”

“Well, there’s the fact that you’ve never had any animals in your life. And we have been around animals and I haven’t forgotten how you reacted!”

He paused the lion hunt and sat up. “When was this? How did I react?”

“That cookout at the Pattersons. When Sara’s cousin arrived with her Rottweiler and you got all weird, like the dog was going to charge right over and attack you.”

“Rottweilers are scary,” Marcus said. “They look like they belong in the Gestapo.”

“Sara’s cousin works with dogs. If anyone knows how to control a dog, it would be her.”

“Oh, so I should just trust a random stranger, just assume that a skinny little woman totally dominates this huge, mean-looking canine.”

“The dog was not mean-looking! See? You totally see animals differently than other people. He was cute. He licked my hand.”

Marcus shrugged. He was hurt and felt she was being unreasonable. Any sane person would feel intimidated by a Rottweiler.

Allison stood up. “And those baby chicks! At your sister’s house that time when Stacy and her friend had them in a box for the farming project? You wouldn’t even hold one. What kind of person can resist holding an adorable little fluff-ball?”

Marcus wracked his brain and finally recalled the time they went to his sister Meghan’s for Sunday brunch.

“Are you crazy?” he said, now standing up himself. “Birds carry disease! And I remember now — the girls were kissing them!”