Fat: Fake Shrink, Terrible Bookie and a Tremendous Pain in the Ass

“What’s the consensus? Amputation?” Fat wiggles out of the tight space behind the television with a grace uncharacteristic of my portly feline. Her green eyes brighten with hope when she sees me scuttle into the room.

I drop a pile of library books on the corner of the desk and eye her uncomfortably. “I don’t like the delight on your face accompanying your question. You’re rooting for amputation?”

“I’ve got a bet going with Mutt. We’re trying to guess what’s wrong with you. He’s got three to one odds on cancer.”

“Wrong on both counts.” I look through the window and see Mutt on the balcony, chewing on a bone and oblivious to everything beyond the slobber-coated treasure in his teeth. I look back at Fat. “You’re telling me that his majesty,” my thumb points over my shoulder in Mutt’s direction, “is cognizant enough to participate in the little hobo Vegas you’ve got going on?”

Fat stays quiet for a few seconds, shifting her weight on the television stand. “Okay, fine. He isn’t.”

I pull an elastic out of my bag and tie my hair up. “You lie about the most absurd things.”

“Thanks.”

“It wasn’t a compliment.” My hands rest on my hips, “How do you even take it as one? We joke about Mutt’s intelligence but you two seem to be on par.”

Fat doesn’t disagree. “If you don’t have any plans this afternoon, perhaps we can take him down to the dog track and race him against a greyhound. I’ll give you ninety-six to one odds on Mutt.”

You don’t know how odds work, do you?” I stay standing in the same position; though I’ve been on my feet all day, sitting doesn’t seem appealing.

“No I do not.” Fat doesn’t even seem embarrassed by being caught in another lie. She shoots a look over to my spot on the couch and stares at me with accusation. “Unless you’re planning on wearing the blue leotard and cape, you should give up that Superman pose.” She watches my hands nonchalantly slide from my hips and into the pockets of my jean shorts. She waits to see if I plan on relocating to the couch. “If it’s not amputation, what did the doctor say? If you’re dying don’t drag this out. The confetti cannons I rented have to be back at five.”

I slowly exhale and empty my lungs, then inhale at the same pace, trying to draw patience from the air. “It’s the damnedest thing, Fat; turns out, for once the pain in my ass isn’t you.” Fat’s forehead lowers when she glares at me. “Apparently I pinched my siatic nerve.”

Instantly, her glowering ceases and her personality flips back around. “You know, that’s a big issue amongst pregnant women.”

“I’m not pregnant, Fat.” I raise a hand trying to physically stop the direction of the conversation.

“Want to bet?”

Porker Face

“It would seem there’s a reason this is called Pocket Pie and not Purse Pie.” I’m crouched on the kitchen floor rooting around my oversize purse. I pull my fingers out of the bag, covered in strawberry rhubarb. It makes one wonder about the appropriateness of the name; I can’t imagine the judgemental looks I would get wandering down the street with strawberry rhubarb oozing out the back pocket of my jeans.

“And where were you this evening?” Fat watches as I lick the tangy sweetness from my fingers and fish around my bag for the now-barren pastry shell.

“We went down to that night market. Artisans everywhere. The food was amazing.” In the sticky mess of a brown paper bag I find the remainder of the Pocket Pie, squished and broken into flaky pieces. I fling it upward; Fat flinches when it lands on the kitchen counter with a ‘thwap’ sound.

“Yes I can tell. There’s a garden growing between a few of your teeth.”

I make no move to pick the food from my teeth; there is something far more distressing that commands my attention. I usually lack the tendency to gasp at shocking discoveries, but I suck in breath like I’m preparing to dive into the briny deep.

“And all over the bag of kettle corn too.” I weep when I pull out the small plastic bag that looks like it was shot by 1920s mobsters with machine guns.

Fat’s head pokes into my bag and sees the explosion of pie filling. She pries her eyes off the crime scene and slowly her head turns so I can see her vacant expression. “This reminds me, I’m hungry.”

I hug the bag of popcorn to my chest protectively. “Fat, can’t you see I’m in mourning here?” Pie filling on the outside of the bag adheres to my shirt and hair.

Fat rolls her eyes dramatically. “Of course I do. Did your kettle corn leave behind a widow and children? Where should I send flowers?”

“Oh Christ. You don’t have to be an ass about it.” A few hairs are pulled out of my head when I pull the popcorn out of my embrace. I wipe my berry-dyed hands on my pants and grab the bag of cat food. The kitchen echos with the tinny sound of food filling her dish.

Dinner beckons her like a seductress and Fat dives right in. I undo the twist tie around my popcorn and my purple fingers shovel it quickly into my mouth. Watching Fat mowing down her food like it’s a last meal makes me think only one thing that needs to be shared.

“Puh-puh-puh-porker face, puh-puh porker face.”

She swallows the enormous mouthful of kibble. “Lady Gaga? Really?”

I escort another handful of popcorn in my mouth. “Lady Gaga and calling you a pig at the same time.”

Fat stares at me, making sure she has my full attention before she offers her rebuttal. “You’re not even a savant. Just an everyday idiot.”

Office Hours: Death Wishes and Ice Cream

“You actually showed up?” Fat looks up to the clock on the wall, “And early too.”

I fight the urge to roll my eyes. “You still don’t know how to read that backwards clock, huh?”

Fat ignores my rhetorical question. “Come. Sit. I just finished with my last session. Your timing couldn’t be better.” Her stomach roll dips so low when she sits on the couch that I can’t see her hind feet.

I sidle over and curl up into my favourite corner of the sectional. “Fat, let’s be real. There are no other patients.”

“Who do you think that is then?”

I lean to the left so I can see who she pointedly stares at. He’s curled up on the floor. His eyes dart around beneath his closed eyelids; he’s completely impervious to our presence.

“Sleeping Mutt does not a patient make.” I throw my head back onto a turquoise pillow. My thumb and index finger form a gun that I hold against my temple; pressing the trigger splatters imaginary brain matter across the newly painted wall. Balls. I’m still mentally and physically present; terrible day for my fingers to be shooting blanks.

Fat gives me a knowing glance before I can reload for attempt number two. “Hypnosis. Poor thing has terrible anxiety. Apparently his adoptive parents think it’s a most wonderful arrangement to have shared custody. It’s causing irreparable problems to his psyche.” Fat looks over her shoulder before she whispers in a conspiratorial manner, “Not to mention the fact that his mother’s a drunk.” Fat goes one step further, looks me up and down making that disrespectful, “tsk tsk” sound, “It would seem that she’s also a hobo.”

Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to escape Fat in the apartment; cutoff pyjama pants and a bandeau aren’t intended for public consumption. I either change out of my clothes and race out the door or sit through this charade and reward my patience with ice cream. Ice cream it is. I do a sideways roll off the couch.

“The session’s not over.”

“Calm down.” I return seconds later with a carton of cookie dough ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other. “By the by, Fat–”

“–Doctor Fat.”

“Isn’t there some sort of patient/fake shrink confidentiality that you just violated by telling me about Mutt’s session?” I pry the lid off the ice cream and toss it on the coffee table.

Fat lazily shrugs, “I don’t know. Maybe. Does that mean I should stop telling my other patients about your so-called ‘fun decisions’?” With dessert in hand, I could care less about her words and air quotes. “Ever hear of a bowl?” I’m already a couple bites in by the time I return to the mental torture chamber that was formerly my favourite spot on the couch.

I pull the spoon from my mouth. “Why start the charade now? Who do I need to impress?”

Fat scrutinizes me, coming to a conclusion that seems to baffle her. “You’re really okay with being alone, aren’t you?”

I scoop more cookie dough than ice cream onto the spoon, “I always have you, Fat.” I catch the annoyance on her face. “I beg your pardon. Doctor Fat. Besides,” I eat the melting mess from my spoon taking my time to swallow before I finish the sentence, “if I wanted to be with somebody for the sake of not being alone I would have settled a long time ago. I deserve better than that, you know?”

“It’s nice you think you deserve better. Living outside of reality must be a trip, huh?” I extend my reach and flick her in the nose with my spoon. Her long tongue touches the tip of her grey nose, and she purrs at the sweet taste of ice cream residue.

“Worst case scenario, it’s you and me until the end, kitty.” Fat’s purring ceases immediately. I set the small amount of ice cream that’s left on the table and my arms wrap around my already-bloated stomach.

Fat sighs with exasperation and looks up beyond the ceiling, “You see what I’m dealing with here? Strike me down at your leisure. Please.”

Types of Decisions and Repercussions of Said Decisions

“Look who finally emerges from the cave.”

I hold the door frame when I stumble out of the bedroom, sunglasses are already on, hoodie is already containing my bed head.

“Charlie Sheen kind of morning, huh?”

Even with the overcast day outside and the curtains drawn, it’s too bright in the apartment. Not so bright that I can actually determine Fat’s location in the vicinity.

I direct my conversation to the left. “More of a Charlie Sheen kind of night. Fun decisions galore.”

Her voice answers from my right. “Do you mean bad decisions?” A finger presses to my lips when her voice bellows.

I squint behind my sunglasses until the hallway begins to take shape. Fat is lying beside the apartment door. I can’t see the look on her face, but I’m sure it’s one of her usual I’m-smart-and-you’re-dumb stares. “I don’t believe in making bad decisions. There are only good decisions and fun decisions. Right now I’m serving penance for fun decisions.” My voice cracks on the odd word, a side effect of shouting until the early hours.

Finally, my dependant grip on the doorway ceases and I mosy in an almost straight line to the kitchen. Once the kettle is on the stove, Fat trots into the kitchen.

“Turn the light on; I can’t read what it says on your arm.” Fat, true to habit, parks her fat ass right beside her food dish.

“My arm?” I look down and see the scribble of familiar script. I can’t make out the words. I must have been very far gone and writing this furiously before the idea evaded me. “I’ll never learn; a clutch is never the right purse in any situation. At least a bigger bag has room for my notebook; I won’t be left with self-inflicted graffiti.” I pull the sunglasses down my nose to get a better look at the sentence scrawled over my arm, across my wrist and on part of the back of my hand. This can’t be English. ‘Lost and found for bright ideas’, is that what it says? That’s not a schedule for a train of thought. Nobody said drunk ideas were brilliant ones.

When the kettle boils, I push my sunglasses back over my eyes as I scoop instant coffee into a mug. Steam scalds the back of my hand when I pour the water. I make my trip into the fridge quick so the light doesn’t vaporize my retinas. I grab a small carton in the door and rapidly slam the fridge shut again.

“What is that?”

“French vanilla soy milk.” I pour a generous amount into the hot coffee because everyone knows how terrible the instant stuff is; adding more soy milk also means it will be a more drinkable temperature immediately. Fat jumps up on the counter to read the side of the small container while I chug the coffee like it’s coming from a beer bong. My esophagus instantly rejects the stuff. I clap a hand over my mouth and bolt to the bathroom.

Fat taps the container as I dash by, “You should read the carton next time. Says right here that the contents of this are liquid egg whites. Is this one of those fun decisions you were talking about?”

I barely hear her over my own retching. “Do you want to talk about this at your session tomorrow, or would you prefer to bypass it entirely?” She hears the coffee leave my system, “Mulligan it is.”

Guilt: A Means For Extortion

“Did you just bite me?” I wince; my hand momentarily recoils. My forearm is already scratched to hell, I can’t let this blood-letting be for naught. I make another grab at her paw, grazing her extended claws when I succeed in catching her in a vice grip. Her torso has been trapped between my knees for far too long; She has no other means for escape other than to fight dirty.

“You can’t prove that I did.” In spite of Fat’s frenzied attempts for escape, her voice remains remarkably calm and steady.

I let go of her paw to show her the bite mark pressed into the back of my hand by her spiteful mouth.

Fat’s remaining nails on her once-again free paw sink through my tights and into my thigh.

“Damn it!” I look down to see the tiny constellations now borne into the black fabric. Fat tries to make an escape from the brief unlocking of my knees. “Oh no you don’t.” I grab the scruff on the back of her neck and pull her a half-foot back to where she launched.

“Now I know why you can’t hold down a man.” Fat hisses when I pick up the clippers again and snip two more nails off. “You’re a cruel wench that likes to make others suffer.”

“You think this is fun for me? Worst twenty minutes of my life and we’re still on the first paw.” Tiny beads of blood from my arm get soaked up by her fur. I would much prefer to take on a lion in a gladiator arena than contend with this mangy feline.

“You’re on iron supplements now. You can afford to bleed more than once a month.”

I pinch her foot, forcing the appearance of her last unshorn talon. Overzealous and moving rapidly to seize the opportunity, I fly at her with the clippers. I feel very satisfied when I hear the subtle snipping sound of her nail being cut off.

Fat wails in pain. I must have cut too short.

“Sorry.” I put the nail cutters down and scratch behind her ears.

She scurries out from my leg hold, away from my hands, and cowers by the scratching post. “You vicious jerk.”

“I said I was sorry.”

She hangs her head, making me feel like maybe an apology isn’t enough. “What can I do to mend this situation?”

Instantly, Fat brightens. Her head lifts and she sits straighter. “Arrange a time for another in-office therapy session.”

“Fine.” The guilty feeling I carry lifts; it’s replaced with the feeling of being taken advantage of. I watch Fat trot out of the living room unscathed and pleased as piss with herself. I holler after her, “You just played me, didn’t you?”

“Like a teenage boy with an X-Box.”

Neuroses From My Parents

“I think I lost the dog.” I mumble to myself. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Fat in a while either. My number of missing animals just doubled. Clearly, I’m nowhere close to parenthood. “Mutt?” I check the usual places in a precise order. I hike around to the far side of the bed. Nope. Not in the closet or beside the dresser. I walk down the hall and do a perimeter check of the living room. He’s not found there either.

I walk into the bathroom. “Mutt?” Not certain why the idea comes to me but I grab the shower curtain and pull it back.

Fat lounges in the middle of the tub. She lifts her chin when the bathroom light shines on her face; the dark shower curtain no longer filters the amount of light that permeates her hiding spot.

“Oh, Fat. Hey.” She glowers when she picks up on the disappointment in my voice. “Have you seen Mutt? I can’t find him anywhere.”

Her face scrunches up in distaste. “I’m ecstatic and overjoyed to see you too.” She licks a paw and runs it across her face. “Why must you find him?”

“Because… I love him? Because I care.”

Fat’s unamused expression breaks when she hoots with laughter. “Convincing. You say those words like English isn’t your first language. Also, when you lie the corners of your eyes curl up as though you think you’re getting away with something. What’s the real reason you’re looking for Mutt?”

My head hangs in shame; I need to become a better liar. “I want to go for a walk and play at the park.”

Her ears twitch at the mention of the park. “How much wine have you had?” She’s definitely tuned into my vices.

“None. I’m just antsy. Need to do something. Can’t stay cooped up inside.” I catch the smirk on her face. “I don’t need to go to the park every time I get hammered.” I stress the word “need”; she can infer my enjoyment for running barefoot in the grass and climbing on a playground. “So where’s Mutt?”

“He’s not here, stupid. If you recall, your ex-boyfriend picked him up yesterday… you forgot to give him the leash.” Fat tries to prompt me with the detail of Mutt’s leash. “You don’t need to constantly be doing something. Try sitting still for a few minutes. You might really take to it.”

I don’t acknowledge whatever she said after mentioning the leash. I feel the all too familiar wrinkle form in my forehead as I search the archives of my memory. Yesterday… I’ve got nothing. I pull at a strand of my hair and mindlessly pull it between my upper lip and nose like it’s a moustache. Yesterday. Nope. It’s gone. What do I remember from today? Breakfast. What did I have for breakfast?

“Hey, Yosemite Sam. You’ve been staring off into space for a couple minutes now. Lose the hair across your lip unless you’re looking to join a barbershop quartet.” Her words wash over me. She plugs her voice into an amplifier, “Blink if you can hear me.”

I’m pulled from my reverie, and remove the faux moustache from my face. “Huh?”

“You get lost in there?”

I tap my temple, “Mad monkeys.” I stare down at Fat, as if just realizing where I’ve discovered her. “Why are you in the bathtub?”

Fat stretches, elongating her plump body. “It’s cool in here. On another note, it’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle at the office.”

“You’re not a shrink, bitch.” Slamming a shower curtain closed does not bring the same effect as a door. When I stomp into the hall I notice Mutt’s leash on the hall table. Maybe he’d like to go for a walk.

I check the far side of the bed, in the closet and beside the dresser. Not there. I wander down the hall and investigate the living room. I find myself in the bathroom again. For some reason I pull the curtain back. Fat stirs from a nap she’s having in the bathtub when the light wakes her.

“What?” The word is curt; It would seem I’m interrupting at a bad time.

“Have you seen Mutt?”

“Go. Leave. I can’t deal with you today.”

A Shot of Compassion With a Chaser of Sociopathic Behaviour

“Stop that, Fat. Unfair advantage!” Carpet burns mark my elbows when I dive to wrestle Fat off of Mutt. She squirms in my arms, clawing the air as though she’s trying to swim her way back to the dog.

“Let go. I was winning.” Fat does her best to evade my grip; I hook an arm around her ribcage and pat Mutt’s head with my free hand. He’s shaking like a damn maraca.

“You only started winning because he’s having an epileptic episode.”

Fat frowns and stops fighting me, “Still counts.” Her claws remain extended.

Tremors shoot through Mutt’s body, and his eyes glaze over. It looks like he’s had too much caffeine and is nodding with tremendous enthusiasm.

“Mutt, should we have you put down?” Fat hollers from the crook of my arm. We watch the uncontrollable nod of his head and Fat gives me a knowing look, “That settles that. Who are we to refute his wishes? I for one, think being an angel of death is the compassionate thing to do in this situation. Euthanize away.”

“We’re only going that route if I can swing a two for one deal.” I watch as her claws finally retract though her glare perpetuates. I cautiously set her down so I can tend to Mutt. I lie down beside him, watching his blank face while I pet him. “It’s okay, buddy.” My pillowy tone changes to barbed wire when I talk to the feline. “Why are you so full of piss and vinegar, anyways?”

“He ate my breakfast.”

“You started eating your breakfast before I even finished filling your bowl.” I take my eyes off of Mutt briefly to see the caught-in-a-lie look on her face.

“Okay, fine. He ate his breakfast before I could get any of it.”

Lines of drool come out of mutt’s mouth. I wipe it with the sleeve of my shirt. “You’re upset because you both got to eat breakfast today?”

“That is correct, madame.”

I move to sit cross-legged and rub his empty belly. “You asshole, Fat. You know he needs to take his meds with food.”

“I also know when I’m hungry and my needs come first.”

Mutt’s jittering becomes a softer sway. “Atta boy, you’re doing very good.”

“Love when he moves like that. Reminds me of Ray Charles.” Fat closes her eyes and imitates Mutt’s movements. “Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through–”

I try to hide my amusement but do a terrible job of it. I continue petting the busted dog, “Devil be damned. Guess I was wrong; you got soul, kitty.”

I watch Mutt blink hard, becoming present once again. He starts licking his chops – a sign that the seizure is coming to an end. Just a small one today.

I look up to see Fat’s head tilted, staring at me like she’s trying to determine the definitive value of pi.

“What, Fat?”

“I’m just astounded at the rate your compassion comes and goes. Perhaps on our next in-office session, I’ll perform tests to assess for bipolar disorder. How do you feel about being a case study?”

“Compassion is waning, Fat. Better get away before I rub tuna into your fur and let Mutt have his way with you.”

“Cruel and unusual punishment. Screw the bipolar diagnostics; you might be a complete sociopath. May I suggest you deal with your exasperation in your traditional fashion instead? Unless… oh God. Are we out of vodka?”

Trapping Cats and Catfishing

“I wonder how long until there’s a candlelight vigil outside the apartment.” Fat jumps off the desk, where I’m typing a reply to a Facebook message, and she trots over to the window. I minimize Facebook and spin around in my chair and see her staring outside with great concern.

“Vigil for what?” I join her at the window, preparing for the onslaught of tragic news. Any number of things could have happened with all the upgrades they’ve been doing to our old building. Contractor mishaps aren’t entirely unheard of. Twilight takes over the sky, but there is no crowd of mourners on the street; there is, however, a senior walking his golden retriever, but that’s about it. I look as far down the road as I can before I stare down to Fat to explain the absent vigil.

Her nose almost presses against the glass; it’s so close the warm exhale from her nose forms short-lived condensation on the cool windowpane. “I just expected there would be a memorial for your common sense out there by now.”

A tight fist latches onto the flimsy curtain and I pull it shut, trapping Fat temporarily between the fabric and the window. I watch the feline lump behind the curtain move right, then left as she searches for escape. Were I a cruel person, her entrapment would be a wonderful opportunity. It takes Fat a moment, but she gradually figures out that she can just crawl under the bottom of the curtain. By the time she’s made her escape, I’m back at my desk, annoyed.

I click on the Word icon on my desktop and watch the lap top screen fill with over two hundred pages of my nonsense. When I hear a minute blip sound, I open Facebook again to read the message.

“What’s the story, catfish?” She leaps up and watches my fingers type a quick sentence and I feel her stare when I pause to read then delete and write a completely different sentence.

“Catfish?” I hit send and log out of Facebook. I really need to get some kind of writing done if I ever plan to finish this book. I open the word file again, searching for where I left off.

Fat shrugs, and lies down across the desk, “I love MTV.” Before I can open my mouth her head tilts sharply and she greets me with the same kind of intense eye contact she gave that time I tread too close to her Billy Crystal obsession. “Love it,” Fat repeats, clipping the words.

“Okay, fine,” I feel myself on edge. Shaking it off, I turn back to the computer screen and read over sentences I’ve read a multitude of times before. Even with the familiarity of my own written words, I’m still unsure about what exactly I’m trying to say.

Flopping onto her side, she grows more relaxed. I feel the laser-intensity subside from her stare. “So are we going to talk about this guy you’re hustling online, or what?”

I’ll take any excuse for a distraction right now; I push the office chair away from the desk. “Clearly, you’ve been misinformed, old girl.” I kick my feet up beside my laptop. “When have I ever hustled anyone?”

“The spring of fourteen ninety-eight, you were a young girl and poker had just been invented by the Swiss–”

“You’re idiocy never ceases to take me by surprise.”

Fat’s mouth opens to protest, but I hold up my hand to silence her, which somehow stops a single syllable from finding a home in sound. “He and I met a long time ago, Fat. I’m not catfishing anyone.”

“I don’t know what the hell you think you’re doing then,” Fat licks a paw and rubs behind her ear as she languidly splays across the desktop, “according to Facebook he lives across the country. Now you’re just trying to fail at relationships before they happen; it’s textbook. Distance doesn’t last.” Her eyes glower, she’s trying to get a rise out of me, “You of all people should know that.”

I smile, and trade her bitchy expression for a smirk of my own. “You’re absolutely right, doc.”

Fat stops grooming herself, her paw hovers in midair above her head. “Something’s going on.” As soon as her sentence ends, a window pops up on my laptop. I forgot I had Skype open.

My index finger taps my nose while I point at her. “Clever, Fat. For being so rotund, you’re awfully sharp.” I click to answer the video call, trying to signal to Fat that the conversation is drawing to a close.

“What’s the news, then?”

“He’s moving here.”

Good For Nothing Reminders

“What’s this, your to-do list?” Fat wiggles out backward from my oversize red bag, leaving a trail of pens, hair ties, random post-its, lip gloss and an earring in her wake. Under her paw there is a list of names written hurriedly on a crumpled piece of notebook paper.

I look up from the Flipboard article on my iPad. “Damn it, Fat. Must you snoop through everything?” My legs flop over the side of the couch and I find myself ripping the paper out from under her paw like a tablecloth being stripped without disturbing the table settings. Fat does a double-take to see that I’ve snatched the lined sheet from where she had it pinned to the carpet.

“So it is your to-do list. Look at you, Julia Roberts, being all Pretty Woman. You zealous trollop.” She observes the scowl on my face as I glance from her to the explosion of purse contents. “What? You left your bag unzipped; that’s a formal invitation where I come from.”

Pressing the paper against the living room wall, I do my best to flatten out the creases. “There are days when I’m not sure why bringing you home from the SPCA was a good idea. Whoever said drunk decisions are good ones has clearly never had the pleasure of your company.” A lackluster kick collides with her rump. “It’s not a client list, dumb ass. You really have a high opinion of me, don’t you?” I look at the list of a dozen or so names. I wrote this almost a week ago and let it run free-range in my purse, forgetting all about it. “Besides, there are women’s names on here too.”

“You know I don’t judge.” Fat’s eye is seduced by the shiny lid on a tube of lip gloss.

My head tilts to the side as I lift a sarcastic eyebrow. “You don’t judge? Not my first interaction with you, Doc.” I listlessly shake the paper in the air, “These are all people who I owe correspondence to.” My eyes skim over the names again, trying to decide who to respond to first.

Fat rolls onto her side and plays with the small cylinder of lip gloss. Her front claws harness it in an awkward grip while her hind legs kick at it like a kangaroo. The gloss slides out of her grasp and skids across the floor and under the couch. Fat’s head lowers to see how far it rolled underneath the sofa before she looks up to me to see if I noticed.

“Thanks, Fat. What else am I going to find when I reach under the couch to retrieve that?”

“You most definitely will not find that necklace you thought you lost. If you do, I’m not sure how it got tangled up like that, but I wish you the best of luck in unknotting it.” When she sees the look on my face, she trots away and ducks for cover beneath the desk. “Better get on emailing those folks, don’t you think?”

A sigh falls out of my mouth when I place the list on the far end of the desk. “I miss the charm of a good old-fashioned letter. I swear, Fat, I’m going to marry a guy that writes and sends me letters by post. None of this email nonsense.”

Fat’s head pokes out from her hiding spot, “I think your grandpa’s off the market.”

“Funny.”

Fat smiles before she goes back into her cave under the desk drawer, “What’s funny is the idea of you getting married.” She eyes me up and down, “Don’t worry, there are plenty of stupid men out there.”

The Only Acceptable Thing to Throw is a Fit

“It makes me uneasy when you don’t meet me at the door begging for food.” As I shout, I wonder what the chances are that Fat ran away. Perhaps she died while I was at work. I hope so. That’s mean; I only half-hope so.

I kick my shoes off in the middle of the hallway, pull my cellphone from my back pocket and toss it in a cavalier manner onto the hall table. It lands with enough force to add another scuff on the iPhone case. No matter.

It’s Friday; I survived another week, and in celebration of that fact I throw everything that I carried home onto the bed. The jacket that I wore for ten minutes this morning leaps through the air like a graceful dancer; my bag is more like a stout wannabe ballerina that can’t get off the ground – it makes it to the edge of the mattress then rolls backward off the bed. The sound of a tidal wave inside my water bottle punctuates the failed landing. The most brilliant part of this choreographed dance is my coffee that has also been mistakenly set free; I watch in horror as it too sails through the air.

“Balls.” I forgot about my stop at Starbucks on the way home.

“Not the latte!” I hear Fat as I dive onto the bed to try to catch it several seconds too late. A warm, steamed milk and espresso puddle bleeds out onto my unmade bed.

I kneel on the mattress. My hands perform a magic act and transform into fists that I shake to the heavens. “Why?” I bellow until I hear a muffled shout from my upstairs neighbour informing me to shut the hell up.

“What’s his problem?” I scowl at the peaceful face of the long-haired siren on the front of the cup after I pluck it from the caffeinated mess. She seems like a good candidate to blame this debacle on.

At the sound of a familiar throaty chuckle I turn my head. Lying in a laundry basket of clean, folded clothes, Fat sprawls, her amusement apparent in the playful flicking of her tail.

“You better not be serious right now.” I drop the cup, jump off the bed and lift Fat from the basket. I hold her under her armpits; her hind legs and tail dangle midair.

“You’re an idiot.” Fat doesn’t even squirm, this is old hat by now.

“Says the jerk that was having a nap in my clean laundry.” I shoot a look down and see what I expect; grey hair sticks to the hoodie and black tights that are at the top of the pile.

In place of an apology, Fat’s teeth show with a smile that I take to mean, ‘my bad’. “It just smelled so good.” Her neck cranes forward as she stretches to look over my shoulder. “Yeah, that latte is one hundred percent on your bed now. Dropping that cup a second time really did the trick.”

“Fuck.” My hands immediately cease their grip on Fat; she falls, landing on her feet. I pick up the Starbucks cup from the bed a second time. There’s maybe a half-ounce left in the grande cup.

“Is it everything you thought it would be?” Fat leaps on to the night table.

I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Is what everything I thought it would be, Fat?”

“With the amount of things you throw and drop around here, I thought it was perhaps practice building up to this moment of misery. I, for one, am really enjoying it. Thanks for letting me share this journey with you.”

“I hate you so much right now.”

“You’re the ambassador for the look-something-shiny generation.” Fat bounds from the table to the bed. She struts over to the mess. “At least you’ll learn from this. It’s important to place objects with purpose. You react much too quickly and today your flighty behaviour and carelessness has rewarded you with soiled sheets.” Fat’s nose dips down and she presses it to the puddle, “Do I detect some cinnamon in there?” Her tongue laps at the remaining foam, “Oh, most definitely. This is friggin’ delicious.”

Before I can offer a response or refute her accusation with furious debate skills, we hear the Marimba ringtone from my iPhone. It beckons me. I do a backwards somersault off the bed and follow the music into the hall.

The sound of the Starbucks cup hitting the floor doesn’t register in my brain until I’ve answered the call. Balls. I hate when that bitch is right.