NO MORE CAT PICS By Maura Yzmore

After a grueling day of social media, watching YouTube, and flirting with Ginger from Human Resources, you picked up a Big Mac meal at the drive-through and devoured it in the car, then went home and jerked off on the sofa to an online Ginger lookalike.

A beautiful orange tabby jumped onto your abdomen, barely missing the fresh warm puddle. The cat raised its left paw and held it up, as if it were to wave hello. This was the moment when you realized that the pink cushions at the bottom of your adorable feline’s paw were covered in translucent wormlike parasites, hardly visible with the naked eye.

You passed out and have been unconscious ever since.

No, you did not imagine it. We are indeed parasites, sentient alien parasites that feed on the blood of small mammals, with particular fondness for domestic cats. We have been here for a very long time.

Humans such as yourself cannot usually see us or hear us, except while they are having a stroke. Yes, you just had one, thanks to the high blood pressure and arterial plaque that stem from your proclivity for junk food and sitting all day. The Ginger lookalike was the trigger.

Unfortunately, seeing us appears to traumatize you humans so profoundly that you can never fully recover. In the future, whenever you see a cat, you will feel a knot in the pit of your stomach, followed by flashbacks of translucent wormlike parasites and inevitable vomiting.

This means no more cat pictures or cat videos for you. Get off Facebook and Instagram, and forget that YouTube exists.

The good news is that your stroke was mild and you will be waking up momentarily. And with all the time freed up from social media, you will get a lot of work done, maybe even receive a promotion.

Just remember to give your beautiful orange tabby to someone trustworthy, someone who is not aware of our existence. We suggest Ginger from Human Resources.

Maura Yzmore’s day job involves quantum mechanics, dry-erase markers, making bad puns, and lots of technical writing. She writes, draws, drinks coffee, kick-boxes, and spends ridiculous amounts of money on deli meat for kids’ lunches somewhere in the American Midwest. Her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Fiction Pool, Storyland, Microfiction Monday Magazine, 50-Word Stories, and, of course, here in The Dirty Pool. Website: