Not Something Scrawled on a Prescription Pad

“You really know how to give Saturday the Jack the Ripper treatment, don’t you?”

I open my mouth to protest but Fat silences me by holding up a paw.

“That was rhetorical. You would know that if there was any intelligence stored behind your retinas.” She licks her raised paw and wipes the saliva across her brow.

I feel strange being angry while wearing nothing but a towel. Fat bombarded me when I exited the washroom post-shower. My hair drips onto the floor, leaving slipping hazards I’ll only notice after it’s too late.

“Saturday is only half-begun, Fat.” I point through the bedroom doorway to the bright daylight streaming in through the window. “Besides,” I nudge her aside with my heel so I can walk past, “It’s my Saturday and I’ll do what I want.”

The sarcasm in Fat’s voice is so dry she sounds tired when she asks, “How can you possibly make today any better?” Her head tilts to the side as she hears Jesse’s voice moving along the building hallway. “Your boyfriend is outside.”

I roll my eyes; there’s really no point in correcting her; she’ll think what she wants. “Once I do my hair and throw a face on, I’m going to go get myself a coffee and read in the sunshine. After that, I’m not really sure. Maybe clean the apartment…”

“And you got up early to prance off to the gym? Honestly, boss. Tut-tut. Weekend fail.” Her paunchy belly sways as she trails me into the bedroom and then out of the bedroom and then we loop through the kitchen into the dining/living room. “Don’t you dare run away from me. This place isn’t big enough for you to give me the slip.”

I stop in the living room beside Fat’s well-loved scratch post. The old lady crease in my forehead deepens. “I’m not trying to get away from you. I can’t find my hairbrush.” My fingers try to comb through my hair, but the knots are too intense. God damn curly hair.

Fat shrugs. “Can’t find a hairbrush, can’t assemble a proper weekend, what’s going on with you?”

“I just need some me time right now, Fat.” I bite the inside of my cheek and my eyes devour every inch of the room while I mentally retrace my steps since I last brushed my hair.

“Are you sad?”

“What? No.” I get on my hands and knees. My face touches down to the carpet as I look under the couch. Not there either.

Fat jumps up on the armrest of the couch, settling into a familiar pile of her previously shed fur. “Did your friends finally figure out that you’re a loser?”

I kneel and rest my hands on my thighs. “Not to my knowledge.”

“You just want to act like a hermit today?”

“That is correct.”

“Please explain yourself. I don’t get it.”

“Don’t use that haughty tone with me. Sometimes I just need a little alone time to recharge my batteries. I deal with people every day – there’s nothing wrong with taking a time out.” The metaphorical light bulb flashes above my head – my hairbrush is in my gym bag. I’m almost too distracted with self-congratulations that it takes me a moment to notice Fat’s whiskers twitching.

The feline’s face puckers slightly as she consorts with her inner dialogue.

“What’s with the face, Fat?”

“Time to yourself. It’s so simple it’s genius. I’m going to have to use that prescription on my other patients.”

My hands push of the ground so I tower over the cat. “You mean Mutt?”

Fat makes a point to turn away from me and direct her gaze to the opposite wall. “As a professional, I can’t discuss my other cases.” She watches me move toward the hallway. “Oh, hey, boss?”

I pause, “yeah?”

“Please send Mutt in to see me. He’s about to have a breakthrough.”

What Happens at 6:00 a.m…

“Six a.m., time for drugs!”

My daily outburst overshadows the urgent sound of the blaring alarm. Sane people would head to the nearest bomb shelter at the deafening siren. I, on the other hand, heartily announce that prescription medication is to be served in the dining hall.

Fat waits until I turn of the ubiquitous clanging of the alarm on my phone. She rolls over and looks at me with one slightly open, squinty eye. “Junkies of the world unite; happy hour is upon us.”

I throw back the blankets and grab Mutt off the bed – I tuck him under my arm like a football. The morning exclamation stirs him from sleep and he rouses jubilant and happy. This is the perfect condition for shoving a pill and medicated liquid down his throat in the morning. It’s definitely preferable to the morning chase around the apartment to catch the little bastard. Although, I would rather have to deal with catching the wild beast than watch him twitch with an epileptic seizure. Fat would disagree; at one point during a particularly bad episode, she complimented Mutt’s twerking – then asked if I had dollar bills so she could ‘make it rain’. She’s sensitive like that.

“Strange Pavlovian response,” Fat has closed her scornful eye and would appear to be asleep if her mouth weren’t moving with yet another unnecessary feline opinion. “Pavlov’s dog produced saliva at the sound of a bell, you hear a bell and your first response is to happily give out drugs. I guess in this house, that’s just how we do.”

I blink the sleep from my eyes. Every morning there is a split second where I dream of hitting the snooze button, but that button is like self-administered morphine – hitting it once will never be enough. Look alive, self. I lightly slap my cheek to keep with the energy of the wakeup call. “Need to do it at the same time every day, Fat. Consistency is important for the meds to work properly.”

“Where was this mentality when you were taking birth control pills?” Fat’s cynical tone is undercut as she attempts to fight off a yawn; it takes away from the kitty’s verbal left hook. A lazy smile crosses her face as a sliver of sunlight casts itself between the curtains, “I wish I was alive to see how you were raised. I have so many questions on how you came to be this way.”

I flip Mutt over and hold him like a baby so I can rub his belly. His tongue hangs out of his mouth; it doesn’t take much to make the little monster happy.

“Who wants drugs? Mutt wants drugs.” My fingers tap rhythmically on his pink belly like he’s a bongo drum. He loves it; frankly I’m too tired to even notice that I’m acting like a moron.

“I don’t even want to know what the neighbours think about you yelling ‘time for drugs!’ twice a day. Maybe you’re not the only one avoiding the weird neighbours – maybe we are the weird neighbours. Did you ever think of that?” Fat shuffles over to occupy my spot on the bed and enjoy the warmth of my residual body heat.

Mutt’s wagging tail whips my back every couple seconds; it amazes me that an excitable tone will trick him day after day into taking his medication. Oh to be a lovable, hideous idiot.

I bite the inside of my cheek in contemplation, keeping a firm grip around Mutt’s ribcage as I flip him over and put him on the ground. “I’m okay with being the weird neighbours. I’m cool with whatever keeps things as they are with the other tenants.”

Fat curls into a ball while lying on her side; it’s how she always falls asleep.

“Go forth, weird neighbour. Drug thine mongrel. If you change your mind and want to be neighbourly this morning, go check with the chick in apartment 14B – she might be interested to hear that it’s time for drugs.”

Both Personalities and a Mountain of Drugs

“Whatcha got there? Groceries for the week?”

Pinched in between my thumb and index finger is a white paper bag with a pharmacy sticker sealing it shut. “You can’t be serious. How does this read as anything but clinical?” I tear into the bag with vigor that drops a small box of maropitant citrate tablets and a bottle of sulcrate suspension on the ground. Another pill bottle, small box and liquid administrators land on the counter.

Fat hustles over to sniff the box of tablets. “This is like the best piñata I’ve ever seen.”

“Don’t. Those aren’t for you, Fat.” I swipe both fallen meds off the floor.

She frowns. “I just want to bat them around a little. I like that the pill bottles sound like maracas.”

Out of habit, I look at the wall where a calendar used to hang. “What’s with the references? Is it Cinco de Mayo?”

“What’s the deal? Finally go see a shrink that is able to prescribe medication to you over the table?” Fat’s tone is a hybrid of judgemental and hurt.

Frustrated, I puff out the air in my lungs to quietly vent my annoyance. “You never listen to me, do you? Mutt has pancreatitis and this cocktail,” I display the drugs like an old school Barker Beauty, “is his new best friend.”

“I thought I was his best friend,” Fat mumbles to herself as she leaves the kitchen to jump onto the office chair.

“Huh?”

Fat scowls. “Was I talking to you? No. I was talking to myself.” Her eyes narrow into an angry squint, “Mind your business, bitch.”

“Christ, Fat.” My hands lift up as I resign from the conversation, “Calm down.”

I grab Mutt’s epilepsy medications and add them to the new arsenal. This dog’s collection rivals any pharmacy. I read the labels and arrange them into an order that will help me administer them properly.

It’s a damn math problem: Two medications have to be taken every eight hours but one on a full stomach and one on an empty one. Two meds every twelve hours on a full stomach, another one first thing in the morning also on a full stomach and the last one every nine hours. In making sure Mutt gets all the required medication, solve the rate of next-morning pleasantness. If this were actually a math problem, there would be grey eraser streaks all over the place. Thankfully it’s a take-home test and I have time to figure it out.

“You look like your mother when you make your thinking face.”

The air in my mouth pushes from my left cheek to the right as I concentrate; I turn to the side and see that Fat once again has an approachable demeanor.

“Henry Jekyll, you old sod. How are you?”

“That’s Doctor to you.” Fat actually breaks out a smile as we fall into the familiar routine.

“My mistake.” I run my fingers through my hair, and though I wrestle with knowing how this will turn out, I can’t help the words that come out of my mouth. “Can I ask you something?”

Fat’s forehead rises with intrigue. “Are we turning this into a session?”

“No.” My right hand shoots up like I’m a traffic cop forcing cars to slam on their brakes. “I’m just spitballing here, but,” just thinking about it makes my chest tighten, “where does one draw the line when it comes to Mutt’s health?” My throat becomes a desert that words have to cross; they barely make it. “This isn’t exactly a lifestyle choice.” I nod with my head to the collection of medications sitting on the counter.

“Maybe not for you.”

“Fat.” The heaviness of her name brings her around to answering my question.

“Angel of Death is the role of a lifetime for you,” Fat sees that I want to interject. “Let me finish. Providing you don’t have to pull the cord, as it were, on one of the few people or animals you’re emotionally tied to. Anybody else, fuck, they’re dead the moment they have the sniffles.”

I look at the backwards clock, time to go grab Mutt from the vet. “So what do you suggest I do?”

“Easy,” Fat’s smile changes from sweet to sociopathic, “Let me be the Angel of Death.”

“Edward Hyde. Welcome back.”

A Malpractice Suit Waiting to Happen

“Does that make you feel like a prospector?”

I’m crouched over the litter box, sifting clumps of piss and piles of crap from the litter. I shoot Fat a sideways look as she watches me scoop. “Yes, because this is veritable gold I’ve got here.”

“You don’t have to make that face.”

“Please. This is the worst.” I bury my mouth and nose in the crook of my elbow, trying to mask the ammonia-like stench.

Fat angles her head downward and looks up at me, it’s the epitome of cat-sinister. “It’s nothing to be afraid of.”

I plant the scooper in the litter, letting the handle stick straight up. “You’re right. I’m scared of much worse.”

“Like what?”

I tie a knot in the garbage bag full of cat waste. “Off the top of my head, that creepy dude that moved in downstairs a couple months back.” I shove the box of cat litter back into hiding under the shelf. “Mutt and I walked past his apartment last night, and he was standing at the door of his balcony staring through binoculars.”

Fat paws her whiskers, “the apartment under us?” I nod. “There’s a bush in front of his place, what’s he looking at?”

“That’s the thing. It was dark and his view is blocked by plants. Freaky. None of the neighbours know what his deal is either. He allegedly never leaves his apartment. Maybe he’s a psycho killer.”

“Qu’est-ce que c’est.” Fat follows up with a tune as she shakes her shoulders, “buh-buh bah bah–”

“–What?”

Her song and dance ceases immediately. “Nothing. Automatic reaction.” Her eyes dart around as if trying to chase the topic formerly discussed. I clear my throat and point to the location of the neighbour’s apartment to help her out. “That’s an illegitimate fear. He could just be a hermit. Nothing wrong with that. You act the same way when you get in a funk.”

“Fine. You want to know what I’m actually scared of?” I don’t wait for an answer, “Going crazy.”

“Already there. You’re the out-of-your-tree variety. I looked it up.” Fat beams with pride.

I spray air freshener around the area and don’t stop until Fat starts coughing from the perfume smell. “Don’t diagnose me. I mean the kind of crazy where I don’t realize I’ve lost control of my mental faculties.”

“Like what?”

“Like,” my arms lift as though I’m trying to collect an answer from the air, “my already poor memory fails me and I don’t remember anybody or anything.” My eyes look down to the litter box. “Like one day I have to go pee and I forget the vital step of lowering my pants before I sit on the toilet. Or I start seeing things that aren’t there. I’m still not convinced that the bird I saw a few weeks ago was concocted from a hybrid of being overtired and having too much imagination.”

“I detect notes of anxiety. I can prescribe something for that.”

Exasperated, my response bursts out of me like a dog on a hunt. “No you can’t, you dumb bitch.”

“Not legitimately.” Fat motions over her shoulder with a pointed swing of her bulbous head. I eye the green hall table and know exactly what she’s thinking. “Take some of Mutt’s epilepsy drugs. They’ll calm you right down. You’re family, I’ll give you a deal: five bucks and I can get you one of each kind.”

I feel the accusation radiate from my brain; Fat feels it too, she gives me the oversize innocent kitten eyes.

“I only tried them once. Mutt spits them out when you aren’t looking. It’s important to give narcotics a shot; if I’m prescribing them, I should at least know what they do, right? The phenobarbital is good, but that potassium bromide is a trip. Don’t mix that one with catnip; for the better part of two days I was convinced I was a giraffe waiting to be picked up for the prom.” Fat’s shoulders cave over with shame, “My date never showed up. Apparently, giraffes are the kind of creature that reenact scenes from Psycho when they’re stood up for the biggest night of their adolescent lives.”

The extreme claw marks in the shower curtain make a little more sense now that I’m informed that they were fuelled by a drugged-out fake giraffe rage. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that idea.

I march past her and pull open the drawer of the wood table just to make sure the pill bottles are still there. Satisfied, I shut the drawer. “You are some kind of idiot, Fat. This whole prescription situation,” My open hand moves in a circular motion to indicate which situation I mean, “is officially another thing that scares me. I can’t believe I have to say this, but leave the drugs alone.”

Fat shares her trademark sinister smile, “Would you retract that request if I offered to cut you in on the profits?”