“Riddle me this: what’s a sickly yellow colour with the I.Q. of a newborn giraffe?”
Like a pervert, Fat lounges comfortably on the blue duvet watching me change out of my work clothes. I might be flattered if she didn’t make it a point to dry heave every three seconds.
“Fat,” I pull my head through the top of the tank top, “Just once, spare me the pretense. We both know you’ve got some kind of cruel commentary on something that’s a sickly yellow colour with the I.Q. of…” Of the two armholes in the tank top, I achieve a fifty percent success rate of putting my limbs where they’re supposed to go. Effort ceases because I see a familiar black clip peeking out from under the saggy folds of Fat’s fur.
“That’s my work ID tag your rolls are resting on, isn’t it?”
Beaming with tremendous satisfaction, Fat looks up at me as though she holds the coordinates of Atlantis.
“Boss, you ruined the big reveal. I ask the question, you offer a backwoods guess. That’s how this usually works. This back-and-forth in turn lets me move like so,” Fat flops over to her side so my work photo stares up at me, “and in grand ‘ta-da’ tradition, I repeat the question and say, ‘THIS GIRL!’” The feline bursts out laughing at the expense of past me and laughs harder at the mortification of present me. Fat’s chuckle carries throughout the apartment and she rolls onto her back trying to catch her breath. “How have I not seen this picture before?”
I loathe that picture. It was taken almost exactly two years ago. My hair is a mess, the yellow florescent lights in the room casts me in what appears to be a state of jaundice and my mouth looks all weird. Thirty seconds previous to the picture being taken, all the new hires were gorging on chocolate croissants. The expression on my face and forced closed-mouth smile remind me of how certain I was that pastry was stuck in my teeth. Didn’t even get to see that photo until it was generated on my ID tag. And now I’m stuck with this nightmare indefinitely. Generally, the picture is conveniently hidden behind my area safety chief badge.
I reach out with the arm that managed to thread itself through the hole in my shirt and flip the badge over.
“We don’t need to look at that.”
Fat’s paw draws across her face as though wiping away a tear. “Something that bad deserves to be shown to the world. It could be turned into a meme. You’re so yellow.” Another peal of laughter comes from the grey cat.
“So help me, Fat, if that ends up on the internet…” Finally, my second arm bare-knuckle-boxes its way out of the fabric of my shirt and I’m wearing clothes like a grownup again.
“Chill out, boss. The last thing I want is for the CIA to burst into the apartment and give you the same treatment they gave your cousins that landed in Roswell. Besides,” Fat doesn’t even give me a second to acknowledge the alien comparison, “what kind of therapist would I be if I didn’t keep a few of your secrets?”
“The kind of therapist who is an unlicensed fraud?”
She speaks over me, generating the words she was hoping I would say, “A great one. Exactly.”