Our Dead Cat: A Love Story

Bill Johnson


Sitting next to each other feeling so close, she lays a scalpel in my shaking hand. He makes an incision in the stomach of the dead cat in front of us. Gastric smells flood our noses, and with wrinkled faces we smile at one another.

We are in love.

It began like this.

We were both quiet kids in that class, stealing secret glances as our teacher lectured about phagocytes and neural pathways and nonsense and other gibberish. When it came time to dissect the cats everyone had a partner, everyone but us. We stepped into the fermaldyde room together with gloved hands and butterfly stomachs.


We made the first incision with nervous excited looks, we peeled off his skin like an orange and with the scalpel we made light carvings of love notes in its muscle tissue.


Clumps of fur would cling to its wet adipose tissue like seaweed to a whale.

It was missing a front tooth.

We named our cat Smelly.


One day when we were dissecting the lungs, he saw her talking to the star football player of the class. He felt like he couldn’t breathe.


One day while we were examining the eyes, we felt like we were blind.

One day, taking out the intestines. We were all tangled up.

One day, when looking at the cat’s reproductive system. She softy brushed his hand, their faces flush, their bodies restless.

One day he slowly and carefully removed the heart and gave it to her.

We are in love.



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