The cat was dying too slow. The vet could end it but the vet was thirty miles away and the cat hated the car.

I called the vet. Could I get it—what he used? Could I pick it up and bring it home and do it to her—by syringe or pill or however one did?

Can’t let you have it, said the vet. He told me the drug he used was the same drug a person will drop in a date’s drink in order to rape the date later. I could go to jail, he said.

Well, I don’t plan on raping anyone, I said.

The vet said, Does your husband own a gun?

He did. At the end, he kept it on the bed next to him when we had sex. But now he was gone, and so was the gun.

I hung up the phone and went to the garage. There were tools—loppers, rakes, hammers, screwdrivers, saws. I picked up the rusted shovel and went to where the cat lay on her side in the grass, panting.

She was slightly slovenly, a little stupid. She’d been a bad mother. But she purred when you touched her and she had a pretty face. Now she trembled. Her fine fur was knotted in large, hard clumps. Every few minutes, one leg shot straight out, and the toes of the foot clutched at the air.