The Simplistic Nature of the Fred Flintstone Personality

“Ow! Christ!”

I reposition the dish towel and pull the tray from the oven; it clangs on the stove top with haste. I do an instant one-eighty and turn the faucet of the kitchen sink so the cold water blasts my stupidity-inflicted wound.

“Christ… there’s a guy that’s terrible at hide and seek.” Fat saunters into the kitchen and frowns upon her entrance. She opens her mouth with a question on her face. She looks at my hand under the water stream, the feline inhales the scent of baked-goods which leads her gaze to the tray of muffins. She closes her mouth; there’s no need for her to ask, she’s pieced together the storyline of my misfortune.

I try to speak over the sound of rushing water. “What makes you think Christ would be bad at hide and seek?”

“People find that guy everywhere.” Fat gives me an isn’t-it-obvious face. “If he were better at hiding, our world would have no use for Christian Mingle.”

“The dating site?” I twist the tap so the water just trickles over my thumb.

Fat smiles, “Very good, Boss. Sometimes I question your comprehension level, but not today.” Fat balances on her hind legs while her front paws lift up and brace just above my knee. “What’s with the muffins, Betty Crocker?”

In spite of the fact she can’t see the countertop, I point at the motif of spilled ingredients. Apparently I am capable of creating a great mess in a spur-of-the-moment decision to try this domestic thing.

“I had this great desire for a fresh-baked muffin and a latte.” I nod at the countertop espresso machine. “And I got a new book from the library, I was going to sit on the patio and just enjoy quiet indulgence this afternoon.” I don’t get annoyed with Fat leaning against my leg until her claws gently try to pierce my skin. My leg retreats immediately, but it’s not fast enough to make her fall with disgrace. Damn cats and their ability to land on their feet.

“Offence intended, but that’s a lame way to spend a free afternoon.”

“The saying is ‘No offense’–“

Fat cuts me off, “Don’t correct me. I meant it the way it sounded.”

“…And quiet time is highly necessary. I’ve had some massive mad monkeys the last while and I just want chill out.”

“Yeah. Your life is so hard.” It’s a shame Fat’s icy sarcasm can’t be used to soothe my burning thumb.

I lift my hand and inspect the minor burn.

Fat continues in a whiny voice, “I went to a Caribbean Festival and the beach this weekend. Then I took in a night of theatre. Children in third world countries have no idea what rough is. Vancouver life is hard.” Her mock misery face only lasts a few seconds before her fangs make an appearance with her smile. “Somebody save me from my misery.”

“I’m not miserable. Life is lovely right now. That’s what you think my inner monologue sounds like?”

“No. I was merely breathing vocabulary into the Neanderthal grunts you consider intellectual thought.”

The water turns off and I carefully pry one of the muffins out of the baking tray.

“Thanks, Fat.”

Fat swipes a paw across her brow with phony relief. “Phew, I was worried you weren’t going to get the compliment there.”

I say nothing, just eye her with contempt.

“You’re a simple creature, Boss. It doesn’t take much to make you happy. Or as your people would say,” Fat finishes the sentence with screeching monkey sounds.

Off the Personality Charts

“It’s been a long while since you’ve returned to the apartment doing the three a.m. donkey shuffle. Thanks for coming home, Clip Clop. I presume estrogen night was a success.”

It would seem the hitch in my giddy-up is readily apparent to a busybody feline. I take baby steps, still in disbelief that not fifteen minutes ago I was sprinting down the middle of a street, through the rain to Bestie’s car. The current state below my ankles is comatose; my feet are beyond the point of pain, they’ve long since checked out.

“It’s maybe quarter after two. Three a.m.? You exaggerate.” I groan, but strangely enough, it’s for celebration. I’ve spent hours in these shoes, I made it; I’m still alive.

Fat frowns with the familiar look of a parent that has denied themselves sleep in order to ensure their kin arrives home safe from a night out. I expect her to be in a housecoat and curlers with a glare like that.

“I’m rounding up, but it’s still late. I suppose it was more than just going out for dinner like you would have me believe. You should always call if you’re going to be late. It’s the courteous thing to do, boss.”

“Sure, yeah.” I stumble into the bedroom and collapse, face first, onto the mattress. I’m getting too old for late nights, but it was the birthday of one of my best gals, and it was delightful. Many of my favourite ladies breaking bread together, sharing some laughs. I snort, remembering Bestie’s face when the subject of vajazzles came up.

I try to kick off my shoes without turning over and sitting up, but the result of this decision is kicking my ankle, scuffing my shoes against each other and scraping my skin against the dark heels. I feel like a wind-up toy that keeps colliding with a wall – I imagine the feeling is more or less the same. My black pumps are fused to my feet like they’ve been melted to my soles with lava. Stupid swollen feet.

“Tut, tut.”

The fur of Fat’s tail drags across my shins. Because of the sound she makes, this action can only be interpreted as condescending. I lift my stomach off the duvet and roll over.

“You seem surprisingly alert, boss. Not wearing the askew eyeballs of one that is drunk and bumbling around.”

One of my feet stirs in its coma; it’s starting to register that it feels pain. I’m not sure which is preferable – numbness or agony. At least with agony you know it’s still alive. My knee pulls up to my chest and I reef on the shoe as hard as I can. That bastard stays put.

Fat jumps up beside me on the bed and watches me struggle as I try to free myself.

“Thought I’d keep it classy tonight and watch my intake.” I growl. “What is going on here? This kind of crap never happened to Cinderella.” I yell at my shoe, try to divorce it from my foot with more force then whine and huff in aggravation. I’m a prisoner to my footwear. How does this happen?

“I always pegged you as more of an ugly stepsister type anyways.”

I shoot Fat the dirtiest look I can muster.

“Kidding.” Fat smiles insincerely. “Seriously though, you might have to amputate.” She leans close enough to my leg that her whiskers touch my foot. She leans back quickly – they must smell terrible.

I give up on my right foot and lift my left foot. My arm muscles firm and a veritable war cry bursts from my lungs as I wrench the pump off my foot in a fluid motion. It frustrates me how much easier this shoe was to remove. I throw the shoe across the room and it lands in a pile of laundry beside the dresser. Okay. Half way there.

Fat laughs, “The best part about this is that there are flats in your purse, remember? You thought you were so smart bringing those along for when your feet tapped out for the evening.” Her laugh continues until it turns into a quiet wheeze.

“Of course I remember.” I talk over her raspy laughter. “I gave them to Bestie because her feet were crying.”

Fat instantly stops and she dons the face of genuine surprise. “Self-sacrifice, boss? This isn’t something I’ve marked on any of your personality charts.”

I stop grappling with my shoe and walk with one bare foot and one high-heeled foot to grab my purse from the hallway. I unzip it and flip the purse over to empty the contents onto the bed. The black flats, of course, are absent.

Fat takes a long time to blink. Her mouth hangs open, slightly-ajar as she looks at the wallet, lip gloss, compact, iPhone, small journal, pens and other purse crap.

“Nothing to say, Fat? That’s surprising.”

The feline gives her head a shake. It offends me that she’s so shocked at my capacity to put others first. If I weren’t so tired, I’d be making one hell of a scene – pulling tails, spouting verbal abuse, putting her in the toilet bowl and flushing, the whole nine.

“I guess there’s only one thing that comes to mind at the moment.”

I watch her green eyes remain on the items from my purse. She scans over everything as though she’s taking inventory.

“A single girl on the town should carry condoms in her purse.”

“I’m going to go to bed and pretend you didn’t just say that.”

My Life in Limbo: A “Documentary”

“Post break-up, day seventeen. The air remains thick with frustration as well as the rotten scent of old garbage that needs to be taken out. Both camps seem to promote an ever-increasing distance while portraying to the outside world that the situation remains okay. The indigenous peoples of the fuck-my-life tribe remain unaware that we’ve managed to interpret their muted language.”

I explode into the apartment, catching only Fat’s last two sentences as her voice travels from somewhere beyond my line of vision. This phony documentary crap needs to stop immediately. My keys scratch the hall table with a forced landing and with the bowling skill of John Goodman, my gym bag travels recklessly down the hallway. It lands at the base of the scratching post and there it shall remain until I kick it nearer the laundry pile.

Fat’s glowing green eyes stare as I make my entrance into the kitchen, but the obese cat persists with her natter. She sits on the counter eyeing Ex-Boyfriend who’s watching a movie on his computer – oblivious to her monotonous droning. It is unclear as to the length of time her voice has granted sound to her observation. If I were to venture a guess, I would suppose she’s been going on for about seventeen days.

“Houseflies become abundant as both camps neglect showering and housework. They’ve silently entered a competition to establish their alpha standing through stench and decay. The local housecat grows increasingly despondent, and considers stooping to the level of using the bathtub as a litter box.”

“Fat, if you so much as joke about pissing in the tub again…”

“Calm down, boss. You know I avoid places where your gross naked body has been.”

This is true. The places she knows about anyhow. I pat her tiny head and then scratch behind her ears. My stomach rumbles, offering a silent threat that it will make my life absolutely miserable unless I fill it with some kind of carbohydrate.

A thunderous purr comes out of the feline, and her eyes close for the next few seconds until I stop petting her. “I’m just tired of all this transition business, boss. I know you are too. Normal life is impossible until he moves into his new place. This isn’t breaking news to you though.” She eyes me knowingly.

Despite my best efforts to withhold my emotions, a heavy sigh propels out of my lungs. I shoot a tired look over to my – for lack of a better word – roommate.

“You guys walk around each other like you’re both wearing inner tubes around your waists. Tell me how you seem to think this is okay.”

The plastic bag of bread crinkles as I take out two pieces and pop them in the toaster.

“We’re not walking around each other, Fat. It’s the situation we’re trying not to disturb. He’s here for another three weeks and we’ve agreed that we’re going to handle this like grownups.”

“And freezing each other out is the way to do that? We’re all living in limbo here. On a side note, I’m going to take it as a compliment that you didn’t wash your hands between petting me and handling food. Thanks.” Fat’s face leans in when I take out the butter dish. Delight warms her eyes. I flick her wet nose and a paw goes protectively to where she got hit.

“Uh… you’re welcome?” It is gross that I hadn’t considered that. No wonder her hair ends up in my food. That’s my epiphany for the day. There’s always at least one.

I peer into the toaster and see the bright orange lines turning my bread light golden brown. The decade-old appliance buzzes with age. “Breakups are weird, Fat. There’s no definitive how-to manual to deal with things. There should be though. I could write it…” My focus briefly turns inward while I consider the idea.

“Sure. Yeah. It could serve a dual purpose: how to survive a break up while simultaneously decorating your house as a pig sty.” Fat’s tone changes from a winning sales pitch to a balking jerk. “Penning a stupid advice book that won’t sell is one way to go.” Fat’s gaze slips back to the butter with longing.

“And the other way to go would be…?” The toast pops and my skeleton almost bounds out of my flesh. Even though it was expected, I’m still surprised.

“Get a limbo stick and make the best of the situation, of course. It would be great footage for my documentary.”

Porker Face

“It would seem there’s a reason this is called Pocket Pie and not Purse Pie.” I’m crouched on the kitchen floor rooting around my oversize purse. I pull my fingers out of the bag, covered in strawberry rhubarb. It makes one wonder about the appropriateness of the name; I can’t imagine the judgemental looks I would get wandering down the street with strawberry rhubarb oozing out the back pocket of my jeans.

“And where were you this evening?” Fat watches as I lick the tangy sweetness from my fingers and fish around my bag for the now-barren pastry shell.

“We went down to that night market. Artisans everywhere. The food was amazing.” In the sticky mess of a brown paper bag I find the remainder of the Pocket Pie, squished and broken into flaky pieces. I fling it upward; Fat flinches when it lands on the kitchen counter with a ‘thwap’ sound.

“Yes I can tell. There’s a garden growing between a few of your teeth.”

I make no move to pick the food from my teeth; there is something far more distressing that commands my attention. I usually lack the tendency to gasp at shocking discoveries, but I suck in breath like I’m preparing to dive into the briny deep.

“And all over the bag of kettle corn too.” I weep when I pull out the small plastic bag that looks like it was shot by 1920s mobsters with machine guns.

Fat’s head pokes into my bag and sees the explosion of pie filling. She pries her eyes off the crime scene and slowly her head turns so I can see her vacant expression. “This reminds me, I’m hungry.”

I hug the bag of popcorn to my chest protectively. “Fat, can’t you see I’m in mourning here?” Pie filling on the outside of the bag adheres to my shirt and hair.

Fat rolls her eyes dramatically. “Of course I do. Did your kettle corn leave behind a widow and children? Where should I send flowers?”

“Oh Christ. You don’t have to be an ass about it.” A few hairs are pulled out of my head when I pull the popcorn out of my embrace. I wipe my berry-dyed hands on my pants and grab the bag of cat food. The kitchen echos with the tinny sound of food filling her dish.

Dinner beckons her like a seductress and Fat dives right in. I undo the twist tie around my popcorn and my purple fingers shovel it quickly into my mouth. Watching Fat mowing down her food like it’s a last meal makes me think only one thing that needs to be shared.

“Puh-puh-puh-porker face, puh-puh porker face.”

She swallows the enormous mouthful of kibble. “Lady Gaga? Really?”

I escort another handful of popcorn in my mouth. “Lady Gaga and calling you a pig at the same time.”

Fat stares at me, making sure she has my full attention before she offers her rebuttal. “You’re not even a savant. Just an everyday idiot.”