by KT Wagner
Grandma's glow-in-the-dark geraniums were harmless and kind of cute. However, the family nominated me to speak to her after she cloned her dead cat, Gerald, three times. Grandma raised me after my parents were killed in a car crash, and I'd always been her favorite grandchild.
Except for the foil over the basement windows, her white clapboard farmhouse was straight out of my foggy childhood memories. I half-expected Grandma to greet me on the porch, a plate of chocolate chip cookies in one hand and a pitcher of lemonade in the other. Of course, Grandma never baked a cookie in her life, and she preferred test tubes and centrifuges to rolling pins and flour sifters.
I reached across the Formica kitchen table and grasped her bird-claw hand. "The neighbors will notice. Do you want to spend the rest of your golden years in the slammer?"
She poured another shot of whiskey into her tea and sipped it. "Now Sarah, dear. You shouldn't let your cousins push you around. I know they bullied you into coming out here." She cackled a little in her endearing way. "Scared I'll turn them back into toads."
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
Three identical black and white cats folded themselves around my ankles and rubbed their noses against my shoes. I pushed them away. "Three the same?"
"Gerald is such a dear. More seemed better." Grandma smiled. The cats sprang. One landed on her shoulder; the other two crowded her lap.
I sighed, loudly, several times. "Seriously? I'm taking at least two with me. I'll find them good homes. I brought a cat carrier."
Grandma changed the subject. "How's school?" She leaned forward, beady eyes narrowed. "Meet anyone nice?"
Oh no, no, no. Cold sweat dampened my armpits. "I know you mean well, Grandma, but--"