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.
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.