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.”

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.”