“Oh, honey, you cooked.”
Fat leaps up on the messy desk beside the laptop, ink-smudged journal and sea of post-it notes. The corners of her mouth play at a smirk “You’re going to make your tapeworm so happy.” Her grey head shakes back and forth, dismissing the very idea, “Cooked. That’s rich. You think a frying pan is a weapon thanks to Saturday morning cartoons. Just another child left behind…”
As she tut-tuts my upbringing her stare lands on my face, waiting for me to acknowledge her presence. Impatience shows in her tail as it flicks back and forth, trying to pry my gaze from the screen. Giving up more quickly than is custom for an attention-seeking harlot, Fat redirects her focus back to the plate of half-eaten food.
My dinner sits on the opposite side of the computer, quickly losing heat as I frantically type and attempt to masticate at the same time. Multitasking isn’t a skill in my wheelhouse; I suppose there’s a reason writing and eating don’t generally go hand-in-hand. I feel my brow furrow in concentration. I need to force myself to finish reworking the sentence instead of give in to Fat’s desire for spotlight. Her uncharacteristically diverted attention stares with intense interest at the salmon.
“Actually, that kind of smells good – dare I say edible. Delivery? Care package? Where’s it from?”
I swallow, re-read the dozen-or-so words I’ve written and type a period before pushing the chair away from the desk.
“I made it.” Hands fold in my lap, preemptively impatient and aware of her forthcoming reaction.
Fat cracks a wide smile before throwing her head back in a surplus of laughter. “Good one, Boss. That standup of yours is really coming along.”
For once, not falling prey to her game, I wait. We stare at each other. I can’t believe my own house cat doesn’t take me seriously. I’m a grownup. Sometimes.
“You mean you actually… in the…” Her neck cranes in the direction of the kitchen, entirely baffled at the possibility.
She sees the overflowing sink with dirty dishes, which support my claim. “Well, I’ll be damned. Did you alert the press?”
A deep exhale finds its way out of my chest. “No, Fat. The media won’t be stopping by.” Fingers grab the edge of the desk and I roll myself back into writing position. I don’t know why I keep indulging in her jackassery. My head shakes, dismissively. Just because I don’t usually cook doesn’t mean I can’t.
The keyboard rests under my ready fingers. I gently drum my digits across home row, and let my imagination take over. Mouthing the words of my last paragraph to myself, I settle back into where I left off. Reality blurs on the periphery and new words leave my fingertips, adding to the collection on the screen. I might be onto something here.
The noisy clacking of typing falls to background noise when the good doctor pipes up again.
“I like that you’re still able to surprise me, Boss.”
Her voice pulls reality back into focus. In my mental absence, Fat relocated to the other side of the computer, and is whiskers-deep in my dinner.
“Christ, Fat!” I reach to swat her, but the feline is too quick, and bounds to the floor before I can connect my fury with her fur.
She licks her chops from a safe distance. “Well pardon me for being proud of you.”