“You’re dead! You’re so dead!”
It’s like Fat’s voice blasts through a bullhorn. She shouts as she jumps from the liquor cabinet to the television stand to the top of the war-torn scratch post.
“Are you threatening me?” I tie my hair into a messy bun to avoid brushing it.
Fat leaps back beside the television and onto the coffee table. “The ground is lava. You’re long since dead; prepare to live as a poltergeist, Boss.” Fat stops when she bounds onto the arm of the couch to contemplate the idea. “No. You’re too ambivalent to be a poltergeist. Instead you’re one of those unfinished-business-wandering-the-earth-forever kind of spirits. Off you go. Haunt away.” She directs me as though she expects I’ll pretend to be weighed down by chains like Marley’s ghost.
Instead, I pull a small key ring from my pocket and drop the keys on the coffee table. They jingle when they hit the ikea surface.
“Man-slut neighbour still isn’t home to get his keys back, huh?”
“Fat, that’s the third time I’ve gone over to Jesse’s to give him those keys. That kid is never around when I am. Has he come by while I’ve been at work?”
Fat’s eyes roll upward in thought. “There was wheezy panting at the door yesterday. That seems like him, right?”
“Christ, I hope not.” I cringe at the thought and silently hope that the panting was from the pug in the apartment around the corner. “Well, I tried. From here on out, fuck it.”
Fat nods in mock understanding, “Ah, the whore’s mentality. Suits the situation.” Fat eyes the keys on the table and stares up at me with a crafty grin. “Want to go snoop around his apartment? It’s not breaking and entering if we have keys.”
“I certainly do not.”
“Because you’re afraid of getting caught?”
“Because his business isn’t my business and the interaction we have right now suits me just fine. If we humanize Jesse by finding things in his apartment, I won’t want to talk to him anymore. So,” I close the curtains as daylight has long since gone, “we’ll just wait for him to come and get his keys when he remembers I have them.”
“Make him come to you, eh? Boss, you sly devil.” Fat shoots me an exaggerated wink.
I point to her eye, “What was that about?”
“Oh, please. Mutt and I both know what’s going on here.” Pulled from sleep, Mutt lifts his head at her mention of his name. He becomes quickly disinterested and settles back in his bed. “This is your signature move for dating; you bait him with personality and then give him a reason to come by the apartment. Not exactly subtle, but it works.”
I say nothing, but raise skeptical eyebrows.
“Mark my words, Boss. Something is going to happen here. Don’t tell me you didn’t notice the similarities between you and Jesse’s crazy bitch one-nighter. Same demographic.” Fat’s voice lilts in a sing-song way to be extra annoying.
“We didn’t see her face.”
“Didn’t have to. Porcelain skin, tall, dark unkempt hair, prone for bad decisions…” Fat pauses to catch my eye and she nods, “Seems somewhat familiar, doesn’t it?”
I shake my head as if the motion will make her go away.
“It would be an awful shame if this unfinished business with the neighbour boy is what keeps your future ghost unsettled.” Fat points to my feet which are still standing in the imaginary magma.
I cross my arms and perch on the end of the couch, making sure that my feet are off the carpet. “Fat, I can say with the utmost certainty that nothing will ever happen in that respect with me and Jesse.”
A devilish smile lifts the corners of her mouth, “Wanna bet?”