“I can’t believe this is what kept you up the other night. So simple: press buttons, make words.”
Fat sits beside me on the floor of the living room. I couldn’t get comfortable at the desk or on the couch, so we’ve found a good workspace on the floor. It took several cups of tea to work up the gumption to open my book. I haven’t worked on it in a long while; I feel like I’m starting from zero.
“It’s not just that, Fat.” My eyes digest a sentence. I press delete and write something else in its place. “It needs to be engaging, needs to have some intrigue and above all else,” I hit delete again, “it needs to make some fucking sense.”
“Let’s do something fun.”
“Fat, I’m not going to get distracted from actually working on this thing today.”
“But I’m so pretty. Pet me.” Fat rolls onto her side playfully.
A quick succession of raps on the door interrupts the writing process. My head and Fat’s head twist in succession to face the apartment door. At the sound of the knocking, Mutt goes crazy and yaps incessantly.
“You expecting somebody?” Fat’s eyes stay glued to the back of the door as if looking away will make the mystery guest disappear.
“Nope.” I push off the ground and slowly come to standing.
Fat holds up a paw, and points to her ear, indicating that I should mimic her. Her head tilts slightly sideways as she listens.
“Shh. Shh.” Whoever it is tries to silence Mutt’s barking.
“Weird.” I bend to pick up the porky dog and look through the door’s peephole. Jesse stands in the hallway, hands in his pockets and looking in the direction of his apartment down the hall. He’s wearing work clothes – must be on his way to the restaurant since he’s obviously not working on his game in server blacks.
“Hey,” Jesse drags out the vowel sound as I swing the door open.
I rest my hand on the doorknob and look to the approximate area of the door Jesse’s knuckles banged against. He’s never knocked on my door before; it’s foreign to me.
“What’s up?” I face him and an impish smile grows across his face.
He clasps his hands in front of his heart in a pleading manner. “I need a favour.”
Fat saunters over just in time to see Jesse stand on alert. A door opens near the end of the hall. His neck whips to see who is leaving which apartment; it’s the middle-aged single mom with the endless supply of kids on her way out. Jesse relaxes.
“I kind of brought a chick home last night and she’s still sleeping. I have to go to work.” He fishes an extra set of keys from his pocket and holds them up with feigned sweetness. “Could you be a dear and lock my place after you hear that crazy bitch leave?”
Fat pushes her way into the hall and plants herself at Jesse’s feet. “What’s in it for us?”
“Fat, shut up.” I hold a hand out for Jesse to drop his keys into my palm. “Sure, Jesse. No problem.”
“Ask him what her deal is.” Fat stares up at me wide-eyed and insistent. “Ask him. There’s got to be something up if he’s sneaking out and giving you keys to lock the door. If we’re setting a precedent for future behaviour, I want him to tell us the defect of every one-nighter we lock up after.”
Jesse stares down at Fat almost as though he can understand her too. “This one, always with the meowing, huh?”
“It’s a constant.” Fat catches my eye and nods her head in his direction. I smile and try not to act like I’m under the orders of the feline, “What’s the deal with her, anyways?” I nod in the direction of Jesse’s apartment.
“All the crazy ones are.” Fat talks over him as I shift Mutt’s weight to my other hand.
“But she’s looking for husband material. I shit you not, she went on for twenty-five minutes last night about the kind of wedding she plans on having and asking my opinion. I met her at a bar and it was a good idea to bring her home last night. This morning however…”
I try my best not to laugh right in his face, but Fat doesn’t spare Jesse’s feelings. Her laughing makes the inside of my chest rumble and I choke on the giggles as they force their way out.
“It’s not funny.” In spite of the sentence, Jesse cracks a smile.
Fat and I reply in unison, “It’s really funny.”
His voice turns to a whisper and he looks over his shoulder again to make sure he’s still in the clear. “Woman, you have to shut up or the crazy bitch will find us in the hallway and we’ll both be in for it.”
I salute with a smirk. “You can count on me, chief. I’ll lock your bad decision out of the building. But just so you know, my jurisdiction ends at your front door. If she doesn’t leave of her own free will, she’s your problem.”
“We don’t do exorcisms.” Fat chimes in and looks up to Jesse.
Jesse checks his phone, “Shit. I gotta go. Thanks. I owe you big time.” He takes off, tiptoeing past his own door on the way out.
“Funny one, that one.” Fat struts back into the living room and resumes her spot on the floor.
“Sure is.” I put Mutt on the ground and go sit next to Fat on the floor in front of my computer.
I resume my reading and manage to put in a few edits before we hear a door shut in the hallway. Fat and I both perk up and look at each other with delight.
“You think that’s her?”
“Think we can get a glimpse of her before she leaves?” Fat and I race to the hall door seconds too late. The door to the stairs was just shutting behind her.
“The balcony!” Fat runs in front of me and we go out on the balcony to see if we can get a glimpse of what hot/crazy looks like. We only catch the back half of her walk of shame as she stumbles away from the building.
Fat smirks, “Remember that time you said you wouldn’t get distracted from your writing?”