We gathered on Mother’s Day. There was nothing to talk about. After the weather and Netflix I mentioned the feral cat I had been feeding. That narcissistic cat wasn’t much, although a young racoon had been coming by at 10 pm most nights and cleaning up the bowl of cheap cat food. I took to looking at it through the sliding glass door. I would get down face to face with it at first. Then I would slide the glass door open a bit and that scared it a little. Soon we became friends and I went to the extent of putting racoon calls into YouTube on my phone and inviting him over for nightly dinner. I’d stick my hand out there and his wet little nose would sniffle me. He’d take Cheetos, over and over, with his cute little hands. That cat would sit ten feet away, gawking like an idiot…
My mother said, “Did you see the forum? Someone just got bit by a racoon earlier today. The thing was under their car and it lashed out and snapped at them, it bit the neighbor. Your brother saw the EMTs go by and he asked them what the hell had happened. They said the racoon was jumping on the kids and everything.”
Father chimed in, “Yeah, I read on there that it got on the back of their dogs and bit em’, wouldn’t let go. The town’s new animal control officer cornered the thing in our yard, down near the swamp, she shot that bastard.” He says to my brother, “Have you seen the new officer they voted in? Cute blonde, and the way she got out her Glock, she really can handle that thing.”
I knew the forum, it was the hive of Karen. These people adored controversy. If it wasn’t a local teacher they were lynching it was some bullshit about the price of beef at the market. Everything was a conspiracy, a non-stop manic episode, lunacy. I knew all about these busybodies and I knew they were lying about that racoon.
The next two nights my friend didn’t come by… The cat sniffed the bowl, then walked away. He only likes the Rachael Ray stuff. I waited a few nights but he was a no show. I felt deeply saddened, and responsible, for my little buddy’s death. I acclimated him to trust the meanest of the forum. He was the only one who showed an ounce of love to me.