ME: Hey, come out here. I want to show you something. See that female cardinal up there in the ginkgo tree, looking a bit upset and chirping like all getout?

HER: Yeah. But I just got home from work and I'm tired and I don't have time for games.

ME: Well, I just thought you might want to tell her that she's not going to find her baby. Her baby's dead. It's been dead all afternoon, and yet she still keeps flying around like this, chirping her heart out, trying to find it.

HER: So my cat killed the baby cardinal? Is that it?

ME: Well, that's just today. Yesterday your cat killed the baby thrush. Last week, your cat killed the baby robin. I just thought this would give you an opportunity to explain all of this to a mother who is right here in front of you.

HER: Look, it's just the cat's nature. I'm tired and I don't want this crap right now. What do you want me to do?

ME: (Long hard look.)

HER: OK. You get rid of the dog and I'll get rid of the cat.

ME: Not an option. The dog doesn't kill innocent creatures just for fun.

HER: But the dog does scratch up the window sills, wake me up barking, puke on the carpet, and torment the UPS guy.

ME: Tell that to the momma cardinal. See her? Right there. She just flew into the smaller oak. She's really upset. That might have been her only child.

HER: Look, I know this stuff upsets you. I really wanted an indoor cat. But this is what Sarah brought home. It was not my choice.

ME: Did I ever tell you that Larry stomps on kittens' heads if he ever is alone with a bunch of them?

HER: Jesus Christ! Are you kidding?

ME: Nope. Admitted it to me one night when we were drunk. Didn't act like he was embarrassed about it, either.

HER: I always thought he was a nice guy. That's awful!

ME: I would stomp on your cat's head and squish it like a grape right now if I could get it to hold still long enough. I am seriously going to put a 9mm bullet in its head the next time I have to dispose of a little baby bird it kills. Especially if it's a kind of bird I like. I mean, why can't the fucking cat ever kill a baby blue jay? I hate them. Or a baby starling? They're ugly and nasty. Why does it always have to be the good birds? The nice birds?

HER: Why would Larry stomp on kittens' heads like that? I'll never get that out of my mind.

ME: Talk to the momma cardinal. Look, she's back in the ginkgo now. See how upset she looks? It's been over four hours since I had to dispose of her only baby. Look how young she looks. I think this might have been her first child.

HER: Did the cat bring the bird into the house?

ME: No. I heard this loud bird racket in the front yard so I went to see what was going on. Your cat was hovering over the baby cardinal and the mother was dive bombing, trying to rescue its child. So I picked up the baby and thought if I tossed it on the roof, the mother could get to it and the cat couldn't. Unfortunately, the slope of the roof slanted away from the momma, so she didn't ever see where the baby was. Just as good, really.

HER: Why is that?

ME: Well, this is the really sad part. You want to hear it? Yeah, you want to hear it. I went out the check on the baby after about ten minutes, and it was still sitting there where it had landed after my little roof toss. I kept wondering why it didn't cry out to its mother so she could find it. And then I looked closely and saw that the baby bird was crying out. Its mouth was opening and closing with that look that baby birds have when they are hungry or scared. But no noise was coming out. You know why?

HER: Let me guess. My cat had severed its vocal chords.

ME: BINGO! And then it just sort of gave up and fell over and rolled off of the roof and I caught it before it hit the ground. It took about two minutes for it to actually die.

HER: I'm getting eaten up by mosquitoes. I really have to go inside. I'm sorry. I don't know what to say.

ME: If I find a cat that kills mosquitoes, can I stomp on the head of this monster that lives with us now?

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