No Secrets from Housecats

“Where were you? Do you have any idea what time it is?”

I’m greeted by the feline’s backside. Fat doesn’t show any sign that she’s noticed me aside from the questions that sound remarkably distant. She’s preoccupied; something on the computer desk holds her attention far more than my entrance ever could.

I drop my yoga bag on the floor and throw a look at the digital clock on the PVR. The crisp white numbers show that it’s not quite seven-thirty. I feel my lip curl in uncertainty as I free my mane from a frizzed-out, sweaty bun.

“Prayer meeting.” I wait for Fat’s head to snap and look at me with alarm and intrigue, but it doesn’t happen. She’s busy reading something on the laptop.

“Well if I know anything about you, Boss, it’s that you love the Jesus.” I see her brow furrow as she leans closer to the screen. Her mouth moves as she silently reads a couple more sentences on the virtual document in front of her. Eventually she turns to give me her consideration. “Sorry, did you say something else?”

“Thanks for listening,” I mutter. “What are you reading anyways?” My head lazily tilts toward the computer.

The feline’s mouth opens with a smile so wide I can see her fangs. Her paw goes to the wireless mouse and scrolls up until I see the familiar banner of my blog. Oh god.

My chest constricts as I do my best impression of somebody who is able to maintain their composure. “I… uh… how did you stumble upon that?” My fingertips drum on the desktop for lack of anything better to do. I’m fighting the urge to drop-kick the good doctor off the balcony in a fit of panic. I’m really not sure if there is any other remedy for the situation.

“It’s on the internet, you idiot. How was I not supposed to find it?” Fat clicks on a post from April 2014. “Really, it’s quite amazing that you don’t even realize how psychologically destructive you are to yourself.”

Taken aback, I abandon my discomfort of the situation when curiosity takes over. I walk closer and crouch beside Fat so we can both read the post. “What do you mean?”

“Suppose the words I say… see, here,” a grey paw bats the screen to a paragraph where I’ve written about her verbally tearing me a new one, “suppose these cynical, bitchy, loathsome things aren’t actually me speaking to you – it’s how you feel about yourself manifesting in a bizarre situation where you talk to your cat and you think the cat talks back.” Fat snickers at something my past self wrote, “I wish I said that.”

My mouth falls open. Agape, I mull over conversations with Fat that I can remember the hateful and bitchy things she has definitely said in the past. At least, I’m pretty certain she actually said them.

“That’s a nice hunchback you’re growing. Trying to get Quasimodo’s job when he retires from the bell tower?”

“Your brain is so full of stupid the excess is coming out your mouth.”

“I thought ugly people were supposed to have great personalities.”

I slowly turn toward Fat and our eyes meet. I falter, questioning what I always assumed was true. “Fat, I–”

“BAHAHAHAHA!”  She buries a delighted kitten face in the crook of her elbow, “I’m just yanking you, Boss. You’re not clever enough to come up with a fraction of this stuff on your own.”

Guilt: A Means For Extortion

“Did you just bite me?” I wince; my hand momentarily recoils. My forearm is already scratched to hell, I can’t let this blood-letting be for naught. I make another grab at her paw, grazing her extended claws when I succeed in catching her in a vice grip. Her torso has been trapped between my knees for far too long; She has no other means for escape other than to fight dirty.

“You can’t prove that I did.” In spite of Fat’s frenzied attempts for escape, her voice remains remarkably calm and steady.

I let go of her paw to show her the bite mark pressed into the back of my hand by her spiteful mouth.

Fat’s remaining nails on her once-again free paw sink through my tights and into my thigh.

“Damn it!” I look down to see the tiny constellations now borne into the black fabric. Fat tries to make an escape from the brief unlocking of my knees. “Oh no you don’t.” I grab the scruff on the back of her neck and pull her a half-foot back to where she launched.

“Now I know why you can’t hold down a man.” Fat hisses when I pick up the clippers again and snip two more nails off. “You’re a cruel wench that likes to make others suffer.”

“You think this is fun for me? Worst twenty minutes of my life and we’re still on the first paw.” Tiny beads of blood from my arm get soaked up by her fur. I would much prefer to take on a lion in a gladiator arena than contend with this mangy feline.

“You’re on iron supplements now. You can afford to bleed more than once a month.”

I pinch her foot, forcing the appearance of her last unshorn talon. Overzealous and moving rapidly to seize the opportunity, I fly at her with the clippers. I feel very satisfied when I hear the subtle snipping sound of her nail being cut off.

Fat wails in pain. I must have cut too short.

“Sorry.” I put the nail cutters down and scratch behind her ears.

She scurries out from my leg hold, away from my hands, and cowers by the scratching post. “You vicious jerk.”

“I said I was sorry.”

She hangs her head, making me feel like maybe an apology isn’t enough. “What can I do to mend this situation?”

Instantly, Fat brightens. Her head lifts and she sits straighter. “Arrange a time for another in-office therapy session.”

“Fine.” The guilty feeling I carry lifts; it’s replaced with the feeling of being taken advantage of. I watch Fat trot out of the living room unscathed and pleased as piss with herself. I holler after her, “You just played me, didn’t you?”

“Like a teenage boy with an X-Box.”