Monkey See

Paulie crouched under the kitchen table with the mamma cat and her litter of newborn kittens. He could hear his mother whimper as a fist was smashed against the wall. Paulie cringed.

"It's bad enough you have to bring another brat into this world that we can't afford," hissed Paulie's father. "Now you want us to keep a useless bunch of animals?"

"Only until I can find homes for them, Lenny," entreated Paulie's mother.

Paulie scooted out of harm's way as his father's rough hand reached down and, grabbing each kitten by the scruff of the neck, stuffed it into a sack. He followed his father to the creek and watched as the sack slowly disappeared beneath the water. "Less mouths to feed," muttered Lenny as he tramped back to the cabin.

Lenny's temper wasn't eased any by the fact that the baby was crying when he returned. Paulie hid in the outhouse and covered his ears. It frightened him when his father got into these moods. He wished he could do something about it. He would give anything if only he could do something about it.

Paulie got no supper that night. By the time he crept back to the cabin, everyone had gone to bed and his mother was moaning softly in her sleep. He stared at his baby sister, sucking on her thumb as she lay in the basket which was her makeshift crib.

Twenty minutes later, Paulie woke his father with what he believed would be words of salvation.

"One less mouth to feed," he said, smiling hopefully.

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