A HERO FOR BOBO • by Rena Sherwood

“Don’t let the bastards make you nervous,” Tammy told herself over and over again. “Even if you are.” Still, Tammy wore a wig and glasses. She also rented a car to drive to and from the studio. She also crossed her fingers that no one would recognize her later. Senseless passions like this same-sex marriage issue could make people do the strangest things. And most of all, she couldn’t let on that Bobo was still missing.

She didn’t thump a Bible. She even rolled her eyes at the pastor seated next to her on the city’s talk show panel. She guessed he was there to boost ratings.

Tammy talked over the hooting, frowning, lisping gay audience to the undecided heterosexual and blessedly invisible viewer. She spoke calmly about same-sex marriage setting a dangerous precedent America couldn’t afford. She quoted statistics and opinion polls of other countries and tied it neatly in to fluctuations on the stock market.

And all the time, she tried not to worry about her missing cat, Bobo. The red tabby was her only family. She neutered him to stop his wandering, but somehow he’d wandered off that morning.

The black lesbian smirked at her. Her hair was dyed the same color as Bobo’s ginger stripes. “Honey, you just sayin’ all this “˜cause you ain’t found the right girl yet.”

Tammy stiffly smiled, and then quietly replied. “In order to preserve the economy, we need to preserve the status quo. Like it or not, that means man-woman marriages only.”

And soon it was all over. As she trotted off of the stage, the producer (who was not on her side, Tammy was sure, else that preacher would never have been on) congratulated her and thanked her again for coming on at the last minute.

Tammy nodded patiently, and then rushed away. On the road, she ditched the wig and glasses.

Her cell phone meowed.

“Tammy Jones? I think Bobo is looking for you.”

“OMIGAWD! Where is he?”

“Hillside Vet. He’s been turned in by a concerned citizen. When can–”

“I’ll be there yesterday!” Tammy screeched, aching to hold her scruffy kitty. The car raced as fast as her pulse.

The moment was more delicious than she’d dared to hope when she held the purring troublemaker in her arms, murmuring forgiveness into the fur. The veterinary receptionist smiled and said, “I love a happy ending! Oh, by the way, the person who turned him in is right behind you.”

Tammy turned, money outstretched and eyes shining in thanks.

And saw the ginger-haired black lesbian grinning at her. No recognition was in her eyes. She waved away the money, laughing. “Real superheroes don’t take money for their deeds, sweetie. The look on your face is payment enough. I love cats, too. I wish I could have one, but the landlord won’t let me.”

Tammy’s face burned red and suddenly she sobbed. She had a sick feeling she knew why the landlord wouldn’t let Bobo’s hero have a cat.

Bobo’s hero shushed her and told her it was all right now.

But it wasn’t all right now. That show was on tape. Tammy couldn’t take it back. She wasn’t sure even if Bobo would forgive her.

Rena Sherwood has lived homeless in England and homed in America, and now resides in the greater Philadelphia area. She wants to be a white horse when she grows up, but until that day she is a freelance writer. She has had numerous short stories and poems published online and in print. Her work has appeared in Atomjack, Susurrus, GlassFire, Every Day Fiction and StoryStation.

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