Sean Lyon: Momma’s Letter to Inmate (Fiction) Nov. 2018

Southern Legitimacy Statement: The house I lived in as a child had to be abandoned when my parents got divorced. It sat on 54 acres of land, every inch of which I walked as a young man, sometimes eating apples, other times smoking cigarettes while high on mescaline. That lovely old abandoned house became a place for bored high school kids to invade, and a group of them accidentally burned it to the ground in 2010. In the end, all that stood was a chimney, of course, rising high above piles of burned bricks.

Momma’s Letter to Inmate

MOMMA’S CAT LETTER TO INMATE,

BUSTER COLE STATE JAIL, 

BONHAM, TEXAS

Dear Son,

The last letter you wrote home only asked how the cats were . . .

Well, Pumpkin Seed won’t stop the tumbling grab ass with the older black cat who always chatters in the middle of the night, and Little Diamond has eye herpes or something that makes her right eye goop up all the time, she’s the cutest. I don’t have money to take her to the vet, or any of them. Big Diamond is slapping at my bobbing pen right now so excuse the slobbering ink. I haven’t drank yet it’s too early in case you were worried about my penmanship. Kitty-Lou’s been sleeping a lot in your room. She tried to hang herself with yarnstring on a doorknob but in a wild panic Chuckles slashed her down. What a thing to witness. It’s a mystery any of us get up most afternoons. Now I’m staring down the fat one with the spot on one cheek. She reminds me of your girl you was with forever ago who punched holes in my doors whenever you fought, it was you two brought the first slew of damn cats into our home one after the other like it was a cat city. I don’t even recollect that one’s name.

The house is falling to shambles, son, crumbling to shit clumps. Some of my nice things are really falling, picture frames and such, pawed from the kitchen counter by one of these awful critters. The cookie jar that could have been on antique roadshow wound up broke in half. If I knew which cat that was I’d skin the ears off its head. I have no other visions or dreams I am so preoccupied with this garbage. How did you trick me so bad?

Your cats how they followed your rule. Your precious Lemon, who empties herself in the corner of my bed… at one time she could be talked into the litter box. Not now. She’s too stubborn for it. I sleep on the couch in the attic now by the way. I got a TV up there and I get a lot of Jeopardy questions right. I drop the attic ladder and it’s like walking down from an alien spaceship into a land ruled by cats!

Oh the cats. How did you let this happen? They wouldn’t ruin my life if you were here, your cats, good gracious everloving shit your disgusting soft spots for troubled women and stupid animals. If you even are reading anymore it bears repeating that my house is a shambles. Our house smells so much like piss. I’m afraid the walls will melt like wet sand castle. Not that you ask.

Remember they would flock when you would meow with them, or cuddle them while stoned? That was you, so sweet. If you could of just kept your temper from flaring instead of being a violent fool stomping on that poor gal’s face I’ll never forget it. Now I get glared at sideways by glowing eyeballs through the window screens when I come home like I’m some stranger trying to kill them. Stamps and Late Night slash my magazines before I read them. I use the pages for filth pads. I’ll quit preaching.

I see you everywhere and in everything. I love you, you know it and you made me promise that I would see to these cats’ health and not deliver them to a pound or suffocate some of them. 

You bound me to that but I’m not perfect. Buddy Boy and Rogue run away together on the Fourth of July. I must of flung the door open wandering out for the neighbor’s fireworks. That’s my fault they’re gone you could say so if you had to. You’re fortunate they all didn’t escape.

Don’t look now but it’s happy hour. Tah-tah.

I’ll visit when I’m straight enough for the drive.

Love always up and down and side to side,

—Momma

Author: Dead Mule Staff