He did not keep a wife, or a child, or a dog, but he had an old, orange, one-eyed cat. He kept a roll of rusted barbed wire hanging from a nail in his shed. He took a hammer from the tool box in the shed and held it in his hand. The cat figure-eighted around his legs as he picked up a handful of nails. When he turned to leave the shed, he stumbled over the cat. It shot out from under him like a wayward skateboard. He regained his balance and continued through the dark shed towards the door, which was illuminated with morning light.
As he emerged he saw the cat caught on a spike of the fence. The cat whined shrilly. He paused for a moment eyeing the cat and weighing the hammer in his hand, then put the hammer and nails down on a chair and paced over to the fence. He reached his hand towards the cat and she reached back with a hiss.
Small beads of blood appeared in a line down the top of his hand. He pressed his thumb against the cut, pressuring the seeping to stop. He glanced at the hammer, he glanced back at the cat.
He looked around the yard until his eyes fixed on an old towel hanging from the clothesline. As he plucked it from its pegs, he looked up and down the street, checking for neighbors. Seeing no one, he walked away from the clothesline and threw the towel over the hissing cat. He reached down and grasped the cat firmly though the folds of cloth. He pulled.
The tension on the wire increased for a moment, then released as he drew the cat away from the fence. A tuft of bloodied fur was left wrapped around the wire. He lowered the cat to the ground and released the towel. She darted back to the shed where she kept her nest. As she licked her wound, he retrieved the hammer and nails from their chair and climbed up the ladder set against the house. On the roof, he hammered down the loose rattling iron sheet which had kept him awake at night.