Walter the Homeless Man


“Um, it’s a cat dad, can I keep it?”  Benjamin’s voice was trembling, and so were his fingers as he reached for a bowl and began pouring some milk into it. Ben could smell the liquor on his father’s breath as he continued to provoke him. “You think I got money to spare so you can waste milk on some damn cat?”  “You think money just grows on trees, is that it? Huh, huh, he slapped his head hard with an open hand. Well why don’t you go pick some milk money off one of them there trees,” he said, sarcastically. Ben’s heart sank, and fear had replaced excitement. Why had he thought any different? Was it because sometimes his father surprised him? Yes, sometimes he could confuse Benjamin with his actions and antics. There were those hopeful words his father could use, and he could still hear them.

“Benjamin wants a cat aye; well let’s have a look at the little fellow.” He picked it up and began stroking its fur; the cat had even begun to purr. “Nice kitty, you’re a nice, nice kitty aren’t you?” Benjamin had felt a twinge of hope and then his father had walked to the sink in front of the window, all the while stroking it and speaking friendly hopeful words. “What a good, pleasant girl,” he said, as the cat rubbed her head along his arm purring. He kept stroking it and talking to it. Then the evil voice that Benjamin was too familiar with took over, “Benny wanna kitty?” “Ahh does little Benny want a kitty?” “Stop it!” cried Ben, but it was no use, and then his father held the cats head under the sink full of dirty dishwater. He held it hard struggling with it until his father’s arms were clawed and bleeding from the fight the cat had put up. He remembered his father throwing it against the wall and Ben guessed what people say about cats was true, they do have nine lives, or at least this one sure did. That was the last time Benjamin had asked for a pet of any kind.

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