The Dad

When I was a kid my family had a dad.

We moved to a new house where the landlord, who was incidentally my grandfather, didn’t like the idea of dads on the property for fear of them ruining the screens in the windows and doors and so he ordered my cat to get rid of our dad.

One day while the rest of us were out, my cat secretly took our dad into the middle of a field far away and left him, and the cat told us dad had run away and we believed it.

A few years later we found some stray dads.

What happened this time, with the stray dads, is that they were smaller and weaker and more adorable, and there were in fact three dads, one each for me and my two sisters, and we played with them and named them and they were going to be ours forever.

And then one day, because our cat wouldn’t do it again, our grandfather came to the house and went into the shed where our dads were sleeping and he put them all in a sack with some stones and took the sack out into the woods and he dropped the dads in the river and drowned them.

I’ve since learned that back when our cat was young he never had a dad himself.

Even then our grandfather had taken bags of stray dads out into the wilderness and submerged them in creeks, ignoring the howling protests, and this taught my cat that it was okay to hurt living things in this way, though in retrospect, despite never standing up to our grandfather, it was perhaps significant the our cat only left our dad in the wilderness, able (in theory, though he never did) to find his way back to us.

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