Fire in the house


I’m the grand daughter my rich grandmother never wanted to have, a girl of loose morals her black sheep son produced, who grew up in a backwoods travel camp. Learning all the bad habits only a backward people could teach me.

While grandma could not abandon me the way my father had, she never stopped calling me “white trash” even when I’m the person who took care of her, day in and day out in that Park Avenue mausoleum she called her home.

She treated her cat better than she ever treated me, a mean little long haired bitch that hissed each time it saw me, as if it looked down its nose at me the way my grandmother did.

Maybe I should have gone off and found my own life somewhere, but I felt irritated by the fact that a cat might inherit all my grandmother’s money if I did. So I stayed.

But I knew in my heart I would murder that cat someday, often fantasizing about making my grandmother watch while I did it.

I told myself all would be well once I inherited everything.

I wouldn’t be white trash any more, and all the pain I felt now would be worth it later.

My grandmother tested me, and I would have needed to be a saint not to snap back from time to time.

The cat tested me more, and cleaning up after it made me feel even smaller than I already did, smaller even when I was with Poppa.

Some days I came so close to strangling that beast, I had to lock myself in the bathroom to keep myself from doing it.

I told myself, if I kill the cat I get nothing.

I knew time would do what I could not.

My grandmother was old. She had to die sooner or later.

All I had to do was hold on.

I dreamed of the life I would lead after her death, a life that did not involve cleaning up cat poop.

My grandmother simply refused to die.

She knew what I wanted and mocked me for it, telling me how pathetic I was, and how I was never going to get any of her money because she intended to leave it all to the cat.

One too many taunts pushed me over the edge.

I gave my grandmother bottle full instead of her nightly dose of sleeping pills, and made sure her cat found its way out onto the street.

Damned my luck that that let the maid notice the empty pill bottle in time to call for help and the doorman notice the cat before it could ease under the wheels of an uptown cab.

The police started sniffing around with their eye on me.

And my grandmother sent word from the hospital that was changing the will so that I wouldn’t even get the pittance she had planned for me.

I let her come home.

I figured if pills didn’t work, flames would, putting an end to the both of them at the same time.

Am I sorry?

You bet I am.

It seems the police caught on right away, and since someone can’t benefit when committing a crime, I’m sitting on death row instead of Park Avenue.

But at least I have the satisfaction of knowing the cat didn’t get the money.



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