Rape in the Animal Kingdom

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  1. What I did was mix a cup of cat food with a quarter-cup of applesauce, a Tums Smooth Dissolve tablet ground to powder, a hard-boiled egg, and water until it was the approximate consistency of cooked oatmeal. I did that because that’s what it said to do online. It also said online to cut the end of a straw to make a small scoop, to feed it every fourteen to twenty minutes from sunrise to sunset, that you should never put liquids directly into its mouth or it could drown, to keep it warm, and that despite your best efforts 90 to 95 percent will die, good luck. With luck like that, I didn’t name him at first. I didn’t think I could stand losing another thing with a name. When he lasted a week, I called him Gary.

    Gary was, for the most part, at least to start off with, almost transparent. He looked like a dog heart with a bird’s head stuck on, and one time when I was leaning in real close to better see the veins pumping blood under his skin, he woke up and bit me on the nose and started chirping like crazy. I shushed and fed him till he stopped chirping like crazy and closed his eyes and went back to sleep. Then I just watched him breathe for a while, making sure he wasn’t dead.

    One morning when I was making sure he wasn’t dead, there was a knock on my bedroom door and my father popped his toupee’d head in.

    “Made you breakfast,” he said. “Steak and eggs.”

    “We don’t have steak,” I said. “Or eggs. So I know you’re lying.”

    “I did,” he insisted, but really he didn’t, because wha...

Originally published in Esquire, November 2012