Carbonated Cat is my favorite drink. It’s my sixteenth birthday. This was what Mom and Dad always concocted for my birthdays, this kittie-cocktail. Mom mixes spicy ginger ale with Grenadine and adds plenty of Tequila to Daniel’s drink.
We sit out on the porch and watch the leaves curl under. Mom says we should all toast to me.
Daniel says there is nothing to toast to. Mom is very still.
Daniel says “Let’s toast to the great idea that this young lady may become something some day.”
There are sharp, coughing noises from a motorcycle down the block, and further, down the block, the old guy screaming to his dog a million times as though the dog were possessed.
I throw my glass and it crashes into the weeds. Mom and I are standing and I tell her in a loud voice what he is—what he did in his car. It is not embarrassing anymore.
He says I am full of hateful lies and what a spoiled little tale-spinner I have become.
Mom is taller than I have ever seen her.
“Get the fuck out of here NOW! And get some help! LEAVE!”
Daniel’s face is red and he looks like a fat, old man. He can’t do much about it since I am calling the police and he knows the neighbors are listening.
He goes inside to pack up and we sit there holding hands, Mom and I, tightly knotted like helium balloons trying to stay here on earth.
Meg Pokrass' stories appear in over 150 literary journals and are widely anthologized. She is the author of a novella-in-flash, Here, Where We Live (Rose Metal Press, 2014), and Damn Sure Right (Press 53, 2011), her debut collection of flash. Her fiction has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations and has also been nominated for Best of the Web, Best of the Net, and the Wigleaf Top 50. She serves as an associate editor for New World Writing, and is currently working on an original screenplay with veteran writer/producer Graham Gordy. Learn more about her at megpokrass.com/