Skype Calls and Fat

“We are so far beyond not interested, pal. Bye-bye now.”

Fat’s paws press the back of the laptop. She uses her girth to close the old computer while I’m mid-Skype conversation. The feline’s abrupt dismissal of our video chat interrupts my story about finally exploring McLeod’s bookstore downtown. I suppose I didn’t need to mention that after an arduous hunt, I finally found a copy of Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. My cat is such a bitch cat; there will be no fairy tale endings on her watch – not even in bookstores.

Hinging from the hip, I try to stay in front of the camera and quickly sign off prior to hitting my chin on the desk and before Fat ends the call by clamping the computer shut. The grizzly-faced dude and I talk over each other in the few seconds we have left.

“I’m going to have to call you back.”

“Kat, what’s happening with your computer?” He’s unconcerned. The way he asks makes me feel that when stupidity happens in my presence, it’s not altogether unexpected. That is off-the-charts rude and presumptuous; perhaps I shan’t call him back. It seems jackassery is running rampant today.

The feline lets out a satisfied smirk and sits on the closed VAIO like it’s a throne. “Dodged a bullet there, eh? You’re welcome. I never thought I’d say this, Boss, but you can do better.” Fat’s tail hugs the perimeter of her meaty haunches.

My forehead wrinkles to accommodate the surprised lift of my eyebrows. “What’s that, now?” If she’s saying what I think she’s saying…

“Hate to see my prize pig settle for somebody like that blond schmuck.” Indicatively, a grey paw taps gently on the computer case.

Beyond any measure of comprehension, the term ‘prize pig’ doesn’t register as an insult; instead my thoughts briefly drift to the fridge contents and the possibility of bacon. In my humble opinion, a pre-dinner warmup is never a poor idea.

“There’s no accounting for taste, is there? It’s like he was oblivious to your terrible personality.” Fat’s musings coax my attention back from hunger.

“I’m going to stop you there, Fat.” My traffic cop hand rests inches from her wet nose. “What you’re thinking is eighty-thousand different kinds of disgusting.” I point to the corner of the desk at a framed picture that was taken a couple years ago at my mom’s house.

The feline sidles up beside it, almost pressing her face against the photo. “He’s already met your family?” The tone in her voice registers as revulsion.

“He’s my brother, you moron.”

Fat’s pupils expand and she stares, unblinking in my direction. Her cheeks puff out as her mouth stays shut, feigning a puke-like reaction. Gag sounds come from her throat as the feline oversells the dramatics. “V.C. Andrews really did a number on you, huh? I knew I shouldn’t have let you watch Flowers in the Attic.”

I stare at the ceiling. C’mon, brain, make this a Namaste situation… breathe in, breathe out. Do no harm to the furry idiot on the desk.

“So what’s up with your brother? Did you give him my regards?”

I shrug. “He somehow got the idea that I was plotting to murder my cat. For some reason he was trying to talk me out of it.”

“You know, I always liked that guy.”

Trapping Cats and Catfishing

“I wonder how long until there’s a candlelight vigil outside the apartment.” Fat jumps off the desk, where I’m typing a reply to a Facebook message, and she trots over to the window. I minimize Facebook and spin around in my chair and see her staring outside with great concern.

“Vigil for what?” I join her at the window, preparing for the onslaught of tragic news. Any number of things could have happened with all the upgrades they’ve been doing to our old building. Contractor mishaps aren’t entirely unheard of. Twilight takes over the sky, but there is no crowd of mourners on the street; there is, however, a senior walking his golden retriever, but that’s about it. I look as far down the road as I can before I stare down to Fat to explain the absent vigil.

Her nose almost presses against the glass; it’s so close the warm exhale from her nose forms short-lived condensation on the cool windowpane. “I just expected there would be a memorial for your common sense out there by now.”

A tight fist latches onto the flimsy curtain and I pull it shut, trapping Fat temporarily between the fabric and the window. I watch the feline lump behind the curtain move right, then left as she searches for escape. Were I a cruel person, her entrapment would be a wonderful opportunity. It takes Fat a moment, but she gradually figures out that she can just crawl under the bottom of the curtain. By the time she’s made her escape, I’m back at my desk, annoyed.

I click on the Word icon on my desktop and watch the lap top screen fill with over two hundred pages of my nonsense. When I hear a minute blip sound, I open Facebook again to read the message.

“What’s the story, catfish?” She leaps up and watches my fingers type a quick sentence and I feel her stare when I pause to read then delete and write a completely different sentence.

“Catfish?” I hit send and log out of Facebook. I really need to get some kind of writing done if I ever plan to finish this book. I open the word file again, searching for where I left off.

Fat shrugs, and lies down across the desk, “I love MTV.” Before I can open my mouth her head tilts sharply and she greets me with the same kind of intense eye contact she gave that time I tread too close to her Billy Crystal obsession. “Love it,” Fat repeats, clipping the words.

“Okay, fine,” I feel myself on edge. Shaking it off, I turn back to the computer screen and read over sentences I’ve read a multitude of times before. Even with the familiarity of my own written words, I’m still unsure about what exactly I’m trying to say.

Flopping onto her side, she grows more relaxed. I feel the laser-intensity subside from her stare. “So are we going to talk about this guy you’re hustling online, or what?”

I’ll take any excuse for a distraction right now; I push the office chair away from the desk. “Clearly, you’ve been misinformed, old girl.” I kick my feet up beside my laptop. “When have I ever hustled anyone?”

“The spring of fourteen ninety-eight, you were a young girl and poker had just been invented by the Swiss–”

“You’re idiocy never ceases to take me by surprise.”

Fat’s mouth opens to protest, but I hold up my hand to silence her, which somehow stops a single syllable from finding a home in sound. “He and I met a long time ago, Fat. I’m not catfishing anyone.”

“I don’t know what the hell you think you’re doing then,” Fat licks a paw and rubs behind her ear as she languidly splays across the desktop, “according to Facebook he lives across the country. Now you’re just trying to fail at relationships before they happen; it’s textbook. Distance doesn’t last.” Her eyes glower, she’s trying to get a rise out of me, “You of all people should know that.”

I smile, and trade her bitchy expression for a smirk of my own. “You’re absolutely right, doc.”

Fat stops grooming herself, her paw hovers in midair above her head. “Something’s going on.” As soon as her sentence ends, a window pops up on my laptop. I forgot I had Skype open.

My index finger taps my nose while I point at her. “Clever, Fat. For being so rotund, you’re awfully sharp.” I click to answer the video call, trying to signal to Fat that the conversation is drawing to a close.

“What’s the news, then?”

“He’s moving here.”