Pancake
HV Whitehead
Break

The cat's name is Pancake. I know this from twisting its collar around to read the slightly worn engraving on its pink metal tag shaped like a fish. As I hold Pancake needlessly tight, I see through the glass pane in the door a pair of bare feet coming down the stairs. I timed it perfectly. The feet are hers, the feet are flawless.

Anna Statham answers the door in her white toweling dressing gown, her apprehensive glance at me quickly dissolving to a look of despair as she sees the limp Pancake lying slumped in my arms, its neck positioned in a somewhat twisted fashion.

'Is this your cat?' I ask, wondering if she'll let me chew on her lip.

'Oh my God yes she is! What happened?' Anna asks as she puts her arms out for Pancake then pulls them back as if her touch could mean the difference between life in a kitty wheelchair and a life hunting down baby birds.

'I just found her on the street outside your house, I think we've lost her. I'm so sorry.'

Anna grabs hold of Pancake and strokes her. 'Oh my God oh please no, oh my baby Pancake. I don't know what to do—my roommate's at work. I don't know what to do.'

The roommate is at work till 6.30 pm. This is always the same on Tuesdays. My watch reads 2:00 pm. I have time.

'Well look, I have cats of my own. I know how you're feeling and I've sadly been through this myself. I'd be happy to help you and Pancake.

'Wait! Oh my God she's breathing, I feel her chest move.'

'What? Are you sure?' I ask, wondering what I did wrong this time.

'Yes, she's breathing. Oh my God thank goodness. Do you have a car? I need to take her to the vet.'

I steal back Pancake. 'Let me see. I have St John's Ambulance pet first aid training.' Fixing my eyes to the floor at the side of Pancake in a feigned concentrated manner, I pretend to feel for a cat pulse whilst imagining kissing Anna's neck hard. 'We've lost her again, hold on I know pet CPR.' This better be fucking worth it, I say to myself as I lay Pancake down on the ground and clear her airway. I put my whole mouth over hers and puff out my cheeks but instead of exhaling down Pancake's windpipe I exhale through my nose and instead of breathing in through my nose I inhale sharply through my mouth sucking the air right out of Pancake's lungs. Even though my mouth tastes of cat, I do this another three of four times until I'm sure. Though I have no idea why, the act of doing this gives me an erection.

The ground in Anna's garden is a little hard but she keeps me well lubricated with white tea which I promptly throw into Pancake's man-made grave. Before I cover Pancake with a thick duvet of dirt, I call Anna outside and hand her the collar and tag.'I thought you may like to say a few words.'

Anna, who has now unfortunately dressed, kneels at the side of the grave and begins her eulogy. 'Pancake, you were the best pet a girl could wish for. I love you so much and I hope you now rest in peace with other animals in the special heaven reserved for you all.'

I manage to transform a snort into a choke as I wipe my eyes with my cuff, trying to force a little moisture. 'That was beautiful. Inspirational,' I say, wondering if Anna has any pubic hair.

Without warning, Anna comes over and hugs me. She cries into my chest and I desperately try to keep my swelling groin from touching her body by sticking my ass in the air as far as I can. Pushing her gently away from me as she sobs, I wipe a tear from her eye and tone my voice down to a whisper. 'You know what we should do? We should have a wake for Pancake. We can have a glass of wine and you can tell me all about her little idiosyncrasies and we can remember and celebrate her life. What do you think?'

'Oh goodness... sorry, I don't even know your name.'

'James.' It's close.

'Well James, that is so sweet. Are you sure? You've done so much already?'

'It would be my honor.'

'Well then, I think that would be lovely. Pancake did have a lot of idiosyncrasies. Sometimes it seemed she was almost human.'

After an hour of Pancake anthropomorphization, I am lying on top of Anna. I am pounding her with all I have and she is letting me. She is letting me because she thinks I am her savior. She is letting me because when she kisses me, I taste like Pancake.

HV Whitehead is based in Vancouver, Canadialand. She likes tattoos and cupcakes. Her previous work can be found in Word Riot and Cherry Bleeds.