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A Swingin’ Cat

Jon Sindell | Hannah Nolan

Danielle Snow was the cleverest girl in eighth grade, a storywriter with a penchant for old—fashioned sayings. She was also the cutest. That year, we had dance parties at kids’ houses every Friday night. There were core kids and quorum kids, and I was a quorum kid, there to fill out the room. Mike Freese, handsome and confident, was core.

The final party of the school year was at Danielle’s house. Dani was seated on the sofa with boys all around—like Scarlett O’Hara. Her gaze was cast coyly downward at Miss Brontë, the white Himalayan on her lap, as we vied in lame ways to earn her affection. One or another would attempt a witty remark, and she’d pierce every one with a clever riposte. At one point she sighed and wrinkled her nose. “There are more Axe—soaked boys in here than you can shake a stick at.”

“I don’t think so,” said Mike, who grabbed a wooden ruler and shook it at all the boys in a humorous impression of a cranky old man.

Dani served Mike a promising smile. I noted his technique.

Two hours later, with the party waning, and a summer without hope of seeing Dani looming, Dani observed, “You can’t swing a cat in here without hitting a Halo fanatic.”

“You’re right!” I said. Filled with sudden inspiration, I grabbed Miss Brontë by her back legs, yanked her from Dani’s lap, and swung her in a wild arc, striking Nick Flores.

Nick’s arm took five stitches, and the cat broke its leg. Now who the hell knew that cats’ legs were so brittle?

I changed schools next fall.

About Jon Sindell

Jon Sindell wrote the flash-fiction collection The Roadkill Collection (Big Table Publishing) and the long-story collection Family Happiness (2016). He is a humanities tutor who curates the San Francisco-based reading series Rolling Writers and formerly practiced law. See more of his work at

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