“From what I hear, it wasn’t a successful mission in the warehouse. Fat fail.”
My friend has long since departed after bringing her back home and I’m making dinner. Fat sulked in, crawled on top of the desk and has been quietly facing the corner since her less-than-triumphant return to the apartment.
“That wasn’t a mouse.” Fat shudders, still facing the camel-coat colour of the wall. “Mouse is a colossal understatement. That fucker was big enough to hold me like a teddy bear and spoon me all night long.” Her head turns to look at me in the kitchen, I strain noodles over the sink and then return them to the pot on the stove. “I’m not going back there, Boss. Ever.”
“I’d be embarrassed to let you.” There are no words as I mix butter, milk and powdered cheese into the noodles. I heap some of it into a bowl and sit on the computer chair near the feline. The smell of food prompts Fat to spin around and finally face me.
She attempts to change the conversation. “Anything interesting happen here while I was out?”
I hold up my finger, buying myself a moment to swallow the food in my mouth. “I took a Zumba class.”
“I bet you were awful.” Fat leans on her elbows as her paws cup her face, feigning interest – anything to distract from the search for her missing dignity.
“That’s the obvious conclusion. It was fun though. I also went to Bard on the Beach. I love theatre.”
Fat pouts, “It sounds like I really missed out. I suppose it’s nice that you had fun.”
I ignore her statement and frown into my bowl of bright orange. “This does not hit the spot at all.”
I scoop a bunch of the neon noodles onto a fork, lift them out of the bowl and then watch I tilt the utensil and the noodles slide off and land back amongst their clones.
“What do you expect from hallway Kraft Dinner?”
“I was too lazy to go grocery shopping, okay?” I put the bowl on the desk and push it as far away from me as possible. What I need to do is order some Chinese food.
Fat’s face disappears in the bowl and she helps herself to a taste of white-trash cuisine. “Oh, yeah. Not good.” There’s some fake cheese sauce stuck to the fur around her mouth.
“Nothing at all, Fat.”
Fat tips her head in the direction of the bowl beside her. “What are we going to do about this?”
“I was thinking about getting some Chinese food deliv–“
“That’s not what I meant, idiot.” What I assume is annoyance gurgles at the back of the feline’s throat. “I meant the source of tonight’s terrible dinner. What are you going to do about the friendly neighbour?”
I reach to the iPad, which is beside the printer, and start looking up online menus. “There’s nothing to do about Jesse. He’s gone into a ghost state. I haven’t seen him in,” I think on it and can’t come up with a definite date, “a long time.”
Fat jumps beside me on the couch. “I’m not convinced. Trust me, I’m a therapist. I know these things. He’s going to knock on that door one day soon and make you an offer you won’t refuse.”
“The only thing he’ll be looking for when he finally does come a-callin’ is his extra set of keys. I still have them. That’s weird, isn’t it? If it were me, I’d be getting my keys back as soon as possible. Seriously, how long has it been since we saw that guy?” It bothers me that I can’t even ballpark his strange visit to my apartment that morning. It was a weekend. This much I know.
Fat answers without a second of contemplation. “It’s been two weeks since we locked up after the dearly departed harlot. I say hold on to the keys as long as possible.”
I look up from the iPad; the tone of her voice lets me know that Fat’s moxie has come back in full force. “What makes you say that?”
“You managed to get Kraft Dinner from him, let’s see what other presents we can extort. Next time you hear footsteps in the hall, say, ‘I want a floor-to-ceiling scratching post.’”
“Something for you?” The feline is regarding Jesse’s original sweet action as a shopping spree of sorts.
“Play fair, Boss. You got what you wanted last time.”