Office Hours: Say What Now?

“What, uh,” Fat’s gaze sweeps from the dessert box in my hand to my waterlogged shorts, “what’s going on, Boss?”

My sandals squeak from the moisture as I wander past the good doctor and put the cake in the fridge. “Co-worker’s birthday tomorrow,” I tap on the appliance door in the direction of the cake on the other side.

“And the drippy nether region?”

“Your words paint an unappetizing picture, you know that?”

Tiny fangs show with Fat’s prideful smile, “It’s a gift.” Her shoulders lift in an innocent shrug.

“The wet shorts are from an unintentional enema at the water park while chasing around Bestie’s kid.”

Fat’s lungs release boisterous laughter. “Classic.”

“The only purpose I serve is to be your jester, Fat.”

My dry compliment has the effect of a triple highball on a cheap drunk.

“Time for a quick session?”

I waddle into the living room and flop on the couch, sandals on. “Sure, what the hell?”

Her green eyes bulge with astonishment. She scuttles after me and jumps on the coffee table. Her phony spectacles are conveniently on the table beside her and she fumbles in her race to log more time in her fake shrink book. “Wet shorts and shoes on the couch?”

I lift my index finger high into the air as though making a grand declaration. “My house, my rules.”

“Very well.” Fat adjusts her glasses so they perch just perfectly across her tiny nose. “It would seem you had a lovely afternoon outside.”

“Absolutely.” I take a quick assessment of my freckled skin. “Not a burn or anything.”

Fat stares at my face, which now also blossoms with tiny freckles across the nose and forehead. “You might want to think about a sunhat if aging gracefully is still your plan. A forty-year-old woman like you needs to take all the precautions she can.”

My face contorts into its best impression of a question mark. “I’m not even thirty…”

“That’s what I said, Boss. Do try to keep up.” Fat clips her words; the sharpness makes me doubt if I heard her correctly. She wastes no time on what may or may not have been said and sets right in on her imaginary work. “Now then, you were at the park with Bestie and her offspring.”

I smile and remember the almost-two-year-old saying ‘sexy’ over and over again because it made me laugh. Kids, they’ll repeat everything.

“Jonah, yeah. I love that kid.”

There is an almost unnoticeable twitch of Fat’s ears as they pick up on something.

“This is your godson, right?”

My declaration finger points again, this time at the porky cat, an inch and a half from her spectacled face. “That is correct, Doc.”

“You given any more thought to having your own wee ones?”

“Sure. I’d love to have a kid or two.”

“Liar!” She shouts over my answer and surprise registers as her expectation shatters. Frankly, I don’t blame her; I usually pretend that kids aren’t something I ever want just to avoid conversations about the path to parenthood. Actually, I’m a little surprised at my own honesty. I scratch my forehead. Fake therapy sessions really aren’t the place to talk about deep-seeded truths. I don’t really know what happened. I look at Fat, hoping she’ll bust out with one of her character-building quips, but clearly I’ve just made both of us uncomfortable.

Fat’s jaw drops and she stares, dumbfounded, while she keeps trying to process what she suspected all along. “Boss,” her green eyes hold disbelief, “did you just open up to me? Was that a moment?”

Both of my hands press hard over my heart as though my sincerity was the equivalent of pulling a pin and I’m bracing myself for an explosion of feelings.

Silence surrounds us. My aorta doesn’t become shrapnel. My cardiovascular system remains intact. I think we’re both astounded. With caution, I lower my hands down to the comforting cushion of the couch.

“Yes, Fat. I think maybe we did.”

“Think it’s time to call this one?”

I nod with exuberance. “I don’t think either of us know how to proceed from what just happened.” This honesty country, it’s a strange place.

Fat bats the plastic glasses off her face. “That was a solid three-minute session. I’m okay with that. Keep your uterus in check until we’re both equipped to have a sincere discussion. Okay, Boss? There are some dust motes I was planning to watch in the bedroom, so…I’m going to…do…that.”

The Other Side of the Door

“It’s about damn time you let me in. I’ve been waiting out there for the last forty minutes.”

“I’m aware; you haven’t shut up about it for the last forty minutes. I’m at the point where I want to kill you just to be free of your incessant requests for entry.” I clear my throat. It feels like I’ve been doing shots of glass fragments.

Fat squeezes through the few inches of open doorway before I shut the door behind her. I push the knob in and turn it to the right as the feline turns in a slow circle, taking a survey of the bathroom. Her penetrating gaze settles on my face and her eyes grow large.

“Whoa, boss. You look like shit.”

“Thanks.” I don’t want to look in the mirror. I can say with upmost certainty that I’m red-faced and puffy with mascara in all of the wrong places. I touch a spot on my jaw line. When I pull my fingertips away, they’re painted with black.

“I gotta ask, why here of all places? If I were in the middle of a breakdown, I’d rather have it in the comfort of my bedroom. At least then you can make a blanket fort.”

I resume my post: legs extended across the laminate, spine pressed against the bathroom door, ass uncomfortably numb but manageable if the alternative is leaving my fortress of solitude. Though, I suppose now it’s more the fortress of busybody feline.

“Two reasons, Fat. One,” I hold up an index finger, “It’s the only room in the apartment that I can lock to keep others out. And two,” my middle finger raises, “people seldom follow distraught others into a bathroom; nobody wants to gamble on walking in on another person dropping a deuce.”

Fat’s grey head bobs up and down with comprehension. “Sound logic, boss. Want to tell me why you’re throwing this fit of rage? What happened with Ex-Boyfriend out there?” She tosses her head in the direction of the living room beyond her shoulder.

I can feel the unsettled bile churning in my stomach. When I realize I’m still holding my hand up in the shape of an ironic peace sign, I fume. I clench it into a white-knuckled fist instead.

“He was watching my iPad last night when I was texting with a friend of mine.”

Fat settles her hindquarters on the bath mat and stares at me with inquisition.

I offer the explanation without further prompt. “My iPad is synched to my phone – texts appear on both.”

“I knew that.” Fat touts the obvious signs of pretending to be aware.

“The iCloud afforded Ex-Boyfriend a certain opportunity. I’m pretty sure you can piece together what happened.”

Fat nods, “Sure, yeah. Tale as old as time. Girl gets metaphorically sodomized by technology and in turn, girl’s trust gets metaphorically sodomized by the person who answered the door when opportunity knocked.”

“More or less, yes. Ass-raping all around.” I finally open my clenched fist to see deeply-imbedded nail prints across my palm.

“I get why you’re so hurt by that. You’re a private person…” Her words drift and Fat’s tail flips side-to-side, thudding against the bath mat in thought. “You’re like the Wizard of Oz.”

“That simile requires a little more explanation.” I really hope this isn’t going to be one of her set-ups where I end up getting insulted. Since she didn’t go for the brainless jab of comparing me to the Scarecrow, I’m definitely curious.

Fat rolls her eyes and jumps up onto the lid of the toilet. She stares at me from her perch.

“You only show people what you want them to see. It’s nobody’s business what’s behind the curtain.”

I tap my nose. I hate when she gets it because it makes me all the more frustrated those times when she doesn’t seem to.

“Sometimes you surprise me, Fat. I never think you get it, but you do.”

Fat jumps down from her porcelain podium and crawls onto my lap. My fingers get covered in her shedding coat in seconds, but I don’t care. Surprisingly, she’s giving me exactly what I need right now.

“Of course I get it. You’re my human. I’m here for you, boss.” She purrs and her eyes close as her head lolls to the side. “Just say the word. I’ll scratch the hell out of him for you.”

Boss is Unavailable Today

I’m not entirely certain as to what’s going on.  As usual, boss came home from work and fed me right away – as I’ve trained her to do. There was a heated conversation between her and Ex-Boyfriend. I missed a lot of what was said. Most of their words were drowned out because my food is too crunchy. I need some of that wet stuff… that sounds somewhat erotic as well as delicious. Nevertheless, something happened during mealtime that made boss act like I’ve never seen. She’s currently locked herself in the bathroom. There’s a massive disconnect going on in our home. I need to investigate.

I politely knock on the bathroom door.

“Go away.” Her broken words couldn’t sound worse if they were trying to escape the chaffed area between thunder thighs.

Well that’s certainly strange. She clearly doesn’t know it’s me.

“Boss, it’s Fat.” I figure if I use my slave name she’ll be more apt to let me in. My words become lost within a loud rapping noise. I look up to see Ex-Boyfriend withdraw his knuckles from the bathroom door.

There’s a sniffle from the other side. A gentle thudding sound makes me think she’s sitting on the floor in there, letting the back of her head rest against the door. She’s using herself as a barricade so nobody can get in. Oh, boss. It’s weird that you’re wearing feelings.

Her voice sounds so tired, “Please go away.”

Manners. This is very curious. Ex-Boyfriend hesitates, as though there’s something that he wants to say or do to reverse whatever damage has been done. Seriously, what the fuck is going on in this place?

I shall stand watch until answers are provided for the strange behaviour of this eve. That twat in the bathroom seriously needs some therapy.

Proud Cat Mom… No Thanks

“I saw the stupidest thing on my way home today.” I take off my work I.D. badge and throw it and my cardigan on the hall table as I pass directly into the bedroom.

“Finally get a sober look at your reflection?” Fat trots into the room after me and jumps up onto the bed.

I’ve already taken my shirt off; I scrunch it into a ball and throw it with all the strength and instant outrage I can muster. Were it not an article of clothing, my vigorous pitch would have granted her a concussion. Unfortunately for me it was a thin, cotton tank top with polka dots; sadly, this doesn’t have the brutal force of a shot put. The shirt unravels itself upon soft impact with Fat’s head.

Fat stares at the tank top for several seconds. “Well that was anti-climactic.” Her green eyes sweep up to my face, lit with intrigue. “Tell me about the stupidest thing you saw today.”

I finish changing out of work pants and into some shorts. A gigantic smile takes up half my face; as I speak, laughter seeps in between some of the words. “I was behind a car that had a blinding blue bumper sticker that read, ‘Proud Cat Mom’.”

Fat’s face changes; her mouth hangs open as her eyes rattle around searching her brain for understanding. “I don’t get it. How is that stupid?”

My laughter ceases instantly. “You’re kidding, right? It’s right up there with Crazy Dog Lady’s terrier stroller.” I bend down into the lowest dresser drawer to find a different top to wear.

The feline gives up trying to comprehend the absurdity of such a display. “You flagged them down to ask where they bought it I assume. Did you go right out and buy one?”

“Where would you suggest I put it? On my ass?” I stop flipping through folded shirts long enough to turn and see Fat blatantly staring at my backside as I’m bent over.

“It would be a nice gesture.” Her eyes remain fixed as I rummage and grab a green tank top from the drawer. “Awful lot of real estate back there.”

I slip the shirt over my head. “Do you consider yourself more of a kettle or pot, Fat?”

Fat jumps off the bed and makes her way to the kitchen, knowing the after work routine well: change clothes, feed cat, walk dog. “You really don’t like to advertise your feelings, do you? I’ll make a note of that in your file.”