RETRIBUTION • by Dart Humeston

General Abraham Dewey raised his furry chin, his feline nose catching the fragrances riding the soft Florida breeze. He scrunched up his nose and his eyes softened as he savored the moment. Dewey is my black and white tuxedo cat. He enjoys sitting on top of the glass patio table, keeping me company as I work remotely. The sun was crawling its way up behind a strand of slash pines as the Blue Jays shrieked and zoomed like jets into the garden, picking up raw peanuts. General Dewey turned his head and, with chattering chops, issued his cack-cack-cack warning to the jays.

General Dewey was fat. Nineteen pounds. I advised him yesterday he needed to go on a diet. He scoffed at the idea.

“General Dewey, I am concerned for your health. You are corpulent,” I told him.

“Baloney!” he bellowed. “And stop using obscure words.”

“Okay, you are obese!”

“I am considering joining the Merchant Marine.” He shifted the subject.

“I don’t think they accept cats,” I said.

He frowned disapprovingly. My cat has a Walter Mitty Complex. He cycles through personalities. Now, he was General Abraham Dewey. Last week he was Senator Leroy James Dewey from Louisiana. The week before he was Lord Bellamy Dewey of Wales. He raised his paw to me and stared into my eyes. He was excellent at shaking hands. For a cat.

“Call me Detective Sergeant Graysen Dewey, of Scotland Yard,” he said, twisting his ears while raising his eyes to the upper right to appear highbrow and intelligent.

I held his soft paw and with my other hand gave him a couple of cat treats. He pulled his paw back and scarfed the treats up like a hoover.

It was just Dewey and me these days. Before the pandemic, my wife became ill and required an expensive medical procedure that the health insurance company agreed to, but too late. Married for seven years, we were extroverts leading an extroverted lifestyle. People, parties, lectures, clubs, volunteering. We both thrived on people. Her death devastated me, and then the pandemic and lockdowns came. These last few years it has been just Dewey and I, drinking espressos and energy drinks on my patio as I write computer code all day long. Thank God for Dewey. I rely on his camaraderie and his sense of adventure. Besides, who else do I have to talk to?

I turned my laptop screen so Detective Sergeant Dewey could see my work before I uploaded it to the insurance company’s network. He bent his head, sniffed my screen, crinkled up his nose.

“The code is a little sloppy, but it should take down the bastards,” DS Dewey replied, lifting his paw to me again.

I held his paw in my hand as I uploaded the software.

“You know that won’t bring Linda back,” DS Dewey told me.

“No, but it will bring me retribution.”

Dart Humeston is a practitioner of satire, humor and sarcasm embedded into very short pieces of fiction. Especially fond of near future science fiction stories, he has been known to write darker fiction at times. Usually between 1 AM and 3 AM. He has published works in Flash Fiction Magazine, 101 Words, Every Day Fiction among others. He currently writes in a small town in south central Florida with his wife and four cats.

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