I think a coyote got hold of one of Joey’s cats last night. He found its little body — or what was left of it, anyway — in the weeds out next to the road early this morning.

Poor thing probably strayed too far from the building. That feral colony usually hides out in the culvert behind the Tumbleweed and just comes out to eat the tuna Joey leaves for them. The coyotes are too shy to come onto the property, but I’ve seen them slinking around just west of here.

Whatever happened, it didn’t end well for the cat — or Joey, either, for that matter. Grant came into the kitchen this morning to find Joey practically howling with grief and anger over the “damn dirty coyotes” (guess who watched Planet of the Apes last weekend?) despite my best efforts to calm him down.


Grant’s I-am-the-principal tone cut through Joey’s wails of despair. Joey looked up, wiping his nose on his sleeve before I could stop him.

“Joey, do you know what my grandma once told me?” Grant asked, pulling a clean handkerchief from his pocket and handing it to him.

Joey shook his head as I set a bowl of cheese grits in front of him and poured Grant a cup of coffee.

“Grandma told me that we love our pets because they have good qualities that remind us of God.” Grant put his arm around Joey’s shoulders. “Can you tell me some good things about your kitty?”

Joey looked into his glass for a long moment. “He was smart,” he said. “Nice. And he had pretty fur.”

“Good.” Grant took a sip of coffee. “Now, when you miss your kitty, just think about how smart he was, or how nice he was, or how pretty he was, and then try to find something else that’s smart or nice or pretty. When you find it, you don’t have to be sad any more, because you know all the things you loved about your kitty are still alive.”

Joey was quiet, eating his grits with a thoughtful expression on his face. “My cat ran real fast,” he said at last. “God can’t run fast. He doesn’t have legs.”

Grant smiled. “No, I don’t suppose he does. But God is here in Coldwater, and if somebody needs him two seconds from now in Tucumcari, he’ll be there, too. That’s pretty fast, isn’t it?”

While Joey and Grant pondered this point of metaphysics, I said a little prayer of my own:

Dear God, if it be Thy will, make me the mother of Grant’s children.


— Sierra


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