Fatal Flaw

2 Jul


Around sundown there was a commotion outside our door in the dirt street – a bedraggled kitten was hissing at our three dogs. The kitten was soaking wet and its tail was solid mud.

I scooped up the kitten and calmed down the dogs.

Sophy said, “Poor thing. Someone must have thrown water on her.”

I said, “Maybe someone tried to drown her.”

I sat the kitten down on top of a trash can and used a rag to wash the mud off her. Maybe our dogs would have killed the kitten, maybe not. We decided to adopt her on the spot. I was pretty sure that once the dogs realized the kitten was part of our family, they’d leave her be.

We gave her a flea bath – she was infested with fleas.

Sophy named her Bella. The kitten spent the evening sitting on my lap as I binge watched Homeland. We made a box for her and she slept peacefully through the night; not in the box, but in my office chair.

I love cats and said to Sophy, “This is how it should be, adopting a cat – saving it from being killed. I don’t think it would’ve lasted another night on the streets.”

In the morning Sophy and I drove out to buy cat food and kitty litter. I was filling the kitty litter box when Sophy came in and said, “Bella has an owner.”

When it comes to animals, Mexico is a very strange place. It turns out Bella the kitten belongs to our neighbors across the street. We returned the kitten and our neighbors told us they had given the kitten a bath. When it ran away across the street and was cornered by our dogs, the neighbors figured my dogs had killed the kitten.

They didn’t bother crossing the street to find out for sure.

There’s fatalism in Mexico that applies to animals.

There are three feral dogs that run around our property where we’re building our house. They’re covered with fleas and they like to sleep under the house’s foundation. We tried to give them flea shots but they run away when we approach. They belong to our neighbors, but even they can’t catch the dogs. They put out scraps of food for them but if they get too close the dogs run for the hills. The three dogs are small and ugly and run barking after our car when we drive off.

Our contractor Antonio said, “I can shoot them for you if you want.”

Never mind that they aren’t our dogs.

I wonder if this Mexican fatalism about animals extends to people. Antonio says, “I really want to be a father. I want to have children to fill my life.”

Later he reveals he has four children by four different women; four children he’s never seen and doesn’t support.


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