What the Cat Dragged In

What the Cat Dragged In

by Lynda Stephenson


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WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN is a collection of short stories, poems and personal essays. Many have been published, and most have won prizes in literary contests.

“Just quit your bitchin’ and let me drive,” college president Clarence Rally growled at his wife, Lucy, as he turned left on a one-way street marked, “No Left Turn.”

“Your attitude is irritating beyond belief,” she snapped. Car horns blared at them. “Do you want to get us killed?”

Like a race car driver, President Rally hunkered down over the steering wheel. “What I want is for you to stop nagging,” he growled again.

“Then for God’s sake, pay attention! You’ve got to get off this street!”

“And you’ve got to get off my back!”

“Well, why in God’s name did you give me the map and ask for directions? You’ve ignored everything I’ve said!”

An excerpt from the short story, “A Story of An Hour.”


What do you do about your first husband’s funeral?

if you were his second wife

and three more followed

along with no-telling-how-many girlfriends?

Do you wear black or another solemn color and waltz in with a flair?

Do you send flowers or a card to the widow?

commiserating? congratulating?

For advice with this social conundrum, whom do you ask?

Miss Manners? Dear Abby? Dear Ann?

Erma Bombeck would have made a wry comment.

Alas, she’s not commenting anymore.

If all the ex-wives and girlfriends attended the service as a herd,

you could sit together and raise a loud lamentation

about what a sorry son-of-a-bitch he was.

But that would embarrass the children and grandchildren

and one great, on the way,

now a sizeable bump beneath your granddaughter’s green jacket

sitting at the front of the church with the rest of the family.

Yours and his.

So out of love for the treasured bump,

you, along with your second husband,

teeth clenched; both go to your first husband’s funeral.

And you might even manage to cry. A little.

A friend of mine gave me a darling package of cocktail napkins. Each napkin reads, “Men are like a fine wine. They start out as grapes. It’s our job to stomp on them until they mature into something you would like to have dinner with.”

Ain’t it the truth, honey.

Last year during the holidays, this package of napkins gave me hope and inspiration. While shopping, decorating, and wrapping gifts, I entertained secret thoughts about reforming, or “putting the stomp,” on my husband.

I used to stomp him pretty well, but in the last few years I’ve gotten lax, and he isn’t even close to being fine wine. Instead, he’s still a messy old grape.

What the Cat Dragged In is a collection of the funny and sad, delightful and profound. Each piece leaves us with the vibrations of this stunningly witty author, through whom it passed. Accolades, Ms. Stephenson, a standing ovation. I’ve read each one, over and over – and here I go again.

~ Carolyn Wall, author of Sweeping Up Glass and Playing with Matches

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781977214010
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date: 06/14/2019
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.67(d)

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