Road Trip

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I'm driving us with Phoebe,
the One and Only Bengal,
in the passenger seat, while

Hooman #A sits by Buttercup
in the back, scratching
her torty fur until
she sticks her rump up
at the window

so as we pass
a semi-truck driver
he looks down
and gets a good laugh.

Thankfully, the cats took
off their mechanical thumb-
gloves, so the trucker
doesn't know I'm chauffeur
for felines trying to save us
from Centauri Proxima B.

Phoebe says,
"Can't you practice a little
more class with where
you point your ass?"

Buttercup replies,
"Sounds like the old lady
is jealous I'm getting pets
while she's up there
with the hooman driver."

"Don't fight," I say, "or
I'll turn this car around—"

Hooman #A interrupts,
"I don't think DeeJAY
would like it much
if we abandoned
our mission."

I look up
into the rearview mirror
as I tell him,
"I don't care
about upsetting DeeJAY;
I'm doing this
for America's sake,
before Orange Man
takes advantage of this
base on the West Coast
and wrecks my home—"

Buttercup chuckles,
"I think you're still mad
that lizardman stole
your Happy Rock
from our front yard."

Phoebe retorts,
"Damn straight
we're still pissed
about that; right, Hooman?"

I open and close my mouth
as Buttercup says,
"Yeah, well
don't paint your personal
investments in this mission
like it's patriotism."

"Butters," Hooman #A says,
"why are you being so sassy?"

"I just think," Buttercup says,
"it's not helping anyone
when they brand patriotism
with personal beliefs.
It's like when people say
they got to build a wall
so Mexico can't bring crime
to this country, yet
it's citizens who rape,
it's citizens who murder,
and it's citizens mixing meth.
Remember that dude
making meth in front of
our old Van Ness apartment?
Or how about the blame
game of terrorism
coming from Muslims,
when it's white people
losing their minds
and shooting kids
at schools everywhere,
plus shooting Cheney
in the rump—"

Hooman #A says,
"I had no idea
you were into politics."

"We listen to podcasts,"
Phoebe tells him,
"with Alexa, while
you're at work."

Then Phoebe looks up
from beside me, saying,
"You know he'll never
get impeached, right?
Sometimes I think
our forefathers will rise
from the grave to start
a zombie apocalypse,
like a hooman
bringing a dying animal
to the vet, to ease the pain
of their child's final
moments with sweet,
inevitable peace."

The car falls macabre quiet.

"Girl," Buttercup drawls.
"When's the last time
you got a manicure?"


First draft: September 18

Word count: 430

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