Through the Woods

“Well if it isn’t that wretched shrew who abandoned me.” Fat doesn’t even get off the bed pillow to great me at the door. She must be pissed. Mutt gallops through the apartment until he finds his stuffed animal and collapses in the living room with the green alien dog in his teeth and a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I knew I should have brought that thing with us; Mutt was a bastard the whole time without it.

“Hey, Fat.” When my backpack hits the floor, my shoulders rejoice. “What’s been going on?” I finally notice the dirt under my fingernails and grime all over my knuckles and palms. If my hands are a tell-tale sign, I really need to avoid looking in any mirrors.

Fat squints at me with accusation. When I walk into the bedroom she reels backward, scrambling with urgency to get to the far side of the bed.

“What’s your deal?”

A grey paw waves as if to dismiss me from the boudoir. I stop my advance, momentarily forgetting that she’s not the boss of me.

“A couple things, shrew–”

“–You going to keep calling me that?”

“I like it,” she flashes her teeth at me with a smile that is the poster child for evil. “One, you smell like donkey bile, and two, you also look like donkey bile.”

Instinctively, my fingers immediately try to run through my hair, but get tangled amongst the woodsy debris. “Nobody looks or smells good after camping.” When my fingers free themselves from the mess atop my head, I pull a mittful of brunette locks to my nose. The only scent I catch is campfire.

“Camping, how fancy.” She overplays the mocking tone and her devil grin returns.

“How was your time with Bestie? Pretty good I would suppose, you’re looking a little meatier, she fed you pretty good while I was away.”

“Vile bitch.” Her claws extend and puncture the duvet.

“Colossal ass.” My retort is more of a knee-jerk reaction as she and I fall into our familiar, and oddly missed, routine. There is a large pause, and the scope beyond our heated stare blurs. I could wring her neck, I could so easily reach right out and–

The imaginary switch flips and Fat’s scowl becomes a Stepford wife smile. “Had a great time with Bestie. We watched the shopping network, oohed and ahhed over the sparkly jewellery, shared a little gossip, lunched. Lovely woman, that one. Treats me like royalty.” Fat bats her eyes sweetly and deliberately, I almost expect that ‘plink plink’ sound that cartoons have when they do the same thing.

Uneasiness resides in my furrowed brow as well as my speech. “That’s… nice.”

“Tell me, how was camping?” Fat gives me the up-and-down, slowly taking in my wildebeest exterior, “How was the peyote?”

My brow arches deeper and becomes a full-blown frown. “Peyote? I was with my family, idiot.”

“You were gone an awfully long time.” Fat tilts her paw to gaze at an imaginary wristwatch.

“Long enough to watch my little brother turn into a crotchety old man,” I shrug, “It was a few days, tops.”

A sigh of exasperation escapes as her eyes trace the perimeter of their enclosure. “It’s September, moron.”

“I stand by what I said.” I kick off my sneakers and pull off my sweater. It’s going to be nice to emerge from a shower feeling human again. I get tangled inside of my t-shirt when pulling it off, “I love September, so much transition and new adventure starts at the beginning of Autumn.” I throw the shirt to the ground once I free myself from its grasp.

“Did you do some writing for Hallmark during your hiatus?” Fat scoffs. “I’m greatly looking forward to catching up on our sessions, boss.” Her smirk fades and becomes a hardened stare. “You’re seriously just going to pretend you were gone only a few days?”

“Yeah, Fat, I am.” The last of my sweaty-campfire scented clothes hit the ground; the shower beckons.

Fat rolls over, offering an eyeful of her plus-sized rear view as she mutters, “It’s your crazy-ass delusion.”