Refunds at the Freak Show

“What do you reckon that ugly stick looks like? You know, the one from the phrase, ‘so-and-so looks like they’ve been hit with an ugly stick’. It must have a distinctive shape to be a definitive ugly stick. Right?”

Of course this is the useless drivel I wake up to. Why wouldn’t it be? Fat and nonsense might just be synonymous. I love being gifted many words from the idiot cat and no context to align them. I have no idea what time it is, I just know that this is more of a conversation for after the wake-up period. I adjust the blankets to cover the limbs exposed from the restless kicking and acrobatics that occurred in last night’s fight to find comfort.

The light from the bedroom window blinds me and, I say this in a hyperbolic hand-to-God kind of way, my retinas are definitely affected. I squint at the uncharacteristic November sunshine gracing this early Vancouver morning before I roll away from it and toward the absolute opposite: I come face-to-face with the she-devil feline who is deep in speculation mode. Our noses rest a fraction of an inch away from each other. Fat strokes her whiskers with a paw as she contemplates.

Her plastic shrink glasses are on. She’s been waiting for me. Ambush therapy, Fat’s specialty.

“If I were to suppose, I would say that ugly stick is shaped like a hand. Makes for a really great mark when you get hit across the face with it.” Her warm, sour breath accosts my face. This really isn’t a great start to the morning.

“Been awake for a while hey, Fat?” I mumble and try to push her a good arm’s length away. I don’t know what she’s been eating that makes her mouth smell like decay, but my face needs to be given some literal breathing room.

“Long enough to make you coffee, you ungrateful and wretched woman.” The grey feline sashays to the side to gesture with both paws, in a ta-da fashion, at the steaming mug on the bedside table.

Amazing. Good kitty. I reach with utter delight, so tickled at how the morning has turned around in mere seconds. Goodbye to the grumbling I-don’t-do-mornings version of myself, hello to the caffeinated little-miss-sunshine side of my personality. Before my fingers grasp the handle of the porcelain mug I stop. My arm remains suspended in midair as a panicked alarm echoes through my head. Fat did a deed that was both nice and unsolicited. Something isn’t right here; something is terribly, terribly wrong.

I brace for incurable news when I ask, “Why?”

“Wow, trust issues.” Fat’s paw clutches her chest as though I’ve violated the sanctity of her character. “Can’t a feline just do something nice for her caretaker?”

“Seriously, Fat, why?” My body remains rigid like a cartoon character frozen in place. I’m not about to grab that coffee mug just yet.

She reaches to grab her pen, almost like she’s expecting something noteworthy to occur. “Because at some point last night you were struck with the ugly stick, Boss. You deserve to be coddled a little bit. Life gets pretty hard when you’re the owner of a messed up face.”

I can’t sit up fast enough. I wrestle with the duvet that’s trying to keep me away from a mirror. What does she mean messed up face? My face doesn’t feel any different. What happened last night? The faint click of Fat’s pen punctuates this moment where I’m scrambling out of bed. I run over to the dresser mirror to see the damage.

A perfect scarlet image of my own hand rests across my cheek – it looks like I recently crossed Zsa Zsa Gabor. Because the moment calls for it, I lift my hand and press it against the mark on my face. Yup, story checks out. Looks like I was just sleeping with my face against my palm. Nothing to see here, folks, the freak show is a hoax; go see the world’s fattest twins for your refund.

“It’s just a sleep mark, you idiot.” I turn back to the bed, graced by the view of my shrink scribbling excitedly in one of my old college notebooks. “What’s so interesting?”

“We just had a eureka moment. Your reaction just confirmed something I’ve long since suspected, Boss. You’re a Narcissist, whom I also speculate suffers from Grandiosity.” She points to the coffee mug, still untouched, on the night stand. “Drink up. I’m going to need you to be fully alert. Prepare yourself for a long session.”

I can’t prove it, but I assume she learned these words from daytime television between her soap operas. Narcissist? How can she say that about somebody as humble as I am? I am the most humble, charming, sweet, thoughtful person you’ll ever meet. I dare say I might just be the best human alive.

I’m going to drink that coffee. Then I’m going to kill her. And then I’m going to go back to bed. Later I’ll find a nice taxidermist and have her stuffed. And we will finally live happily ever after.

The expression on my face prompts another tidbit from the feline. “Don’t worry, I brewed a whole pot. We’re set for a while.”

Sadism and Hygiene

“Sadist! You’re a sadist!”

Fat kangaroo-kicks me with her back legs as she tries to yank her left paw from my grip. We wrestle on the living room floor shouting expletives at each other. I feel at least a couple fresh scratches across my clavicle – they’ll match the ones that were delivered to my bicep when I was trimming the nails on her other paw. I get close to clipping another one of her talons when the grey feline sources Hulk-like strength to rip her paw from my grasp and scrambles out of my grip for the fourth time this morning. Her low-hanging belly sways side-to-side as she runs. I would rather spend eighteen hours doing intensive Crossfit in a down-filled parka than try to trim Fat’s claws. Current conditions are frustrating; we’ve seen moments of hatred throughout the day.

In a flash, the good doctor is down the hall shooting me a look of slight panic before turning into the bedroom. I trail behind and I lunge at her as I approach the bed where she’s stopped to catch her breath.

Fat scampers out of the way and across the mattress fast enough that I only graze her tail with my outstretched fingers.

“Christ, Fat. Get back here.”

“Willingly submit to torture? You must be insane if you think I’d get on board with that.” She stays low to the ground and slips past my ankles and into the hallway.

The routine is all-too familiar, a scene we’ve already played out a few times today. Fat’s ears fold backward in displeasure, and she darts through the kitchen. If feline parkour were a thing, what Fat does next would foot the bill. She runs, bounds from the leather chair to the desk and instantly leaps from the desk edge to the height of the bookshelf. She grabs hold of the high edge and kicks off the side of the shelf to boost her up to the very top. If I wasn’t so exhausted and annoyed I would have filled the apartment with applause.

Instead my reaction is: “Get back down here so I can kill you, Fat.”

“Yeah, okay, Boss. I’m all over that idea.” At least from her lazy sarcasm I can feel okay knowing that I’m not the only exhausted one here. I wheel the chair over to the shelf, bracing the glossy wood as I step onto the seat with the finesse of a senior citizen with a walker. Fat gets another wind as I reach for her and she does a Mission Impossible-style jump onto the couch, landing with momentum that propels her forward.

I groan as I step back down and violently shove the office chair aside. If Fat didn’t scratch me so much, I would have less desire to cut her nails.

As she sprints from the living room down the hall to the bedroom, Fat screams over her shoulder, “Your parents didn’t raise you right!”

Giving chase, I bellow, “I’ve been telling you that for years!”

“Clearly they saved the good parenting for the kids that showed promise. We can stop this chaotic nonsense and have a session about it.” Her words come out between huff-and-puff breaths.

“If I may quote you, Fat,” I gasp for air; my lung supply seems to be failing with all this cardio, “Willingly submit to torture? You must be insane.”

Vanity of the Bearded Lady

“You’re something of a handsome woman, Boss.”

My eyes drift to see the feline stretched lengthwise in front of the television as if willing the attention of the room to be drawn to her instead of the screen behind. She will not be upstaged.

“Beg pardon?” My thumb tucks between pages of the book I’m reading.

“There’s something distinguished about you. It could be the regal way you hold yourself or it could be that moustache. I’m not sure which. Either way, girl, you workin’ it.”

Insecurity overtakes my free will and I touch the area between my nose and upper lip. It doesn’t feel like there’s a grizzly moustache growing, but you never want to be the bearded lady who is unaware that she is the bearded lady. I toss the book on the table next to my water and grab my iPhone. The camera turns on so I can see myself in the screen. I approach from several angles, holding my face with my free hand so I can’t run away from myself to go cry in a corner.

She strokes her whiskers in a cavalier manner. “It’s mostly sprouting from the sides; with how long it’s getting, you’ve got kind of a fu-woman-chu. It’s pretty neat. And cultural.”

“You, talking with all those  awful words, are not making the situation any better.” The natural light helps illuminate the blonde hairs sprouting atop my lip. Oh god. It’s real. All that father/son time I spent working on cars with my pops and now I’m a man. I’m so sad for myself right now.

“My sincerest of apologies. I thought you knew. You stare at yourself in the mirror often enough.” Fat jumps down and wanders into the kitchen to start rooting through the junk drawer.

“Disaster. Such disaster.” I close the camera on my phone and go into my list of contacts until I find Stripped Wax Bar. It only rings once. I poorly conceal the frenzy in my voice. “Hi. I have a moustache. When is Heather free?”

“I could take care of that for you. We have duct tape, right?” Fat pilfers through the random hodgepodge of spools of thread, empty keychains, matchbooks, and hordes of extra ikea parts. She’s not a quiet rustler so I have to amplify my voice.

“Nothing sooner?”

A triumphant paw lifts high into the air holding a roll of the industrial tape. “Eureka! Boss, we’re in business.”

Oh. My. God. No.

“It’s okay; Thursday is fine.” I watch as Fat starts picking at the end of the roll of tape, “I’ll just hide behind a hand fan like a debutante or geisha until then. Thanks, bye.”

I groan and my head hits the back cushion of the couch. It’s a good forty seconds of silence before Fat leaps up beside me and forces her head under my hand for a pet. I sit up, reach for the glass on the table and sit there sipping while I scratch the feline’s head.

Fat’s eyes close with contentment. “I shouldn’t have said anything. It’s probably hard enough to deal with being pregnant without me making you feel self-conscious about your hairy face.” In the midst of relaxation, her head lolls to the side.

I choke on my water. “What?”

“Aren’t you…” Her inquisitive green eyes open and travel to my stomach region. “My mistake. Big lunch, right? You’re probably just bloated.”

Cinderella Would Understand

“Fat, what are you doing in here?”

The gentle snoring ceases. Her grey head shifts a half-inch to the right when my words rouse her from what is likely hour six of an afternoon nap. One of the feline’s eyes opens a tiny fraction and sees me kneeling above her.

“What are you doing here? This is my fortress.” After a couple blinks, both her eyes find their way to half-open. Her neck rolls backward so she can look up to the rest of the contents of the overstuffed closet. “It’s impossible to find anything in here; the perfect place to hide out.”

She’s managed to flip the lid off one of the shoe boxes in the closet and wedged her rotund body into the box amongst the summer heels. A lion’s yawn escapes her gigantic mouth.

“You’re sleeping with my brunch shoes. What’s the matter with you?”

“I think the better question is: what kind of person has brunch shoes? I’ve never even seen you wear these.” She redistributes her weight around the champagne heels, settling back into slumber with both eyes once again closed.

I hold up an index finger pointedly. “Okay, first of all, those are summer brunch shoes. Second, you have enough places to flop around here, get out.” I shake the blue shoebox until the displeased feline jumps out.

“Hey!” The word is blanketed by a hiss. “I don’t force you out of hiding when you’re avoiding somebody. That’s just rude, is what that is.”

“Who are you avoiding?”

“Mind your business, Boss.”

“Fine.” I kneel and continue my rummaging through the mountain of boxes, opening each one to see if they hold the footwear I’m looking for. Eventually, box eight or nine has them. I pull out boots that match the feline in colour, with a black wedge heel.

“You haven’t worn those either, it looks like. S’funny.” Fat squeezes her way back into the small space that has exceeded capacity. She nudges close to her recently vacated nap space.

“What’s funny?”

Fat plays with the string handle of another shoebox, batting it with a Serena William’s style swing. “The fact that you identify yourself as a minimalist.”

“It doesn’t make it untrue. I don’t need much to live.”

“The fluffy ones are always the most adorable.” Her forehead elongates as if lifting her eyebrows and Fat gives me the gift of her signature you-are-some-kind-of-stupid look. She mutters under her breath, “It’s like that time you thought you were a feminist because you bought tools.”

“What?” I’m holding the boot in my hand like an oversize pistol.

With a matter-of-fact tone, Fat’s words are clipped and succinct. “You have summertime brunch shoes.”

Mutt saunters into the bedroom in a cavalier manner. He does a double-take when he sees the good doctor out of hiding. His mouth opens wide in a dog smile and his tail becomes a frantic metronome.

“Oh crap.” Fat looks left to right, searching for her best possible exit. She leaps up onto the dresser, and Mutt gives chase. The feline bounds to the bed then races out the door. I hear both of them sprint down the hall as Fat cusses at the simple-minded dog.

I daintily place the boot down on the floor amongst the boxes, now littered across the carpet, and quietly contemplate Fat’s insight.

That bitch is crazy. Even a minimalist needs summertime brunch shoes.

Never the Barn Raiser

“There’s my prize pig. Glad you finally made your way home. Did you nab the blue ribbon at the county fair?”

Fat dryly acknowledges my presence from her place on the carpet in the centre of the living room. She flips the page of the newspaper, feigning indifference to my arrival. If she were more committed to the bit, she would realize she’s pretending to read the paper upside down.

“No, but I didn’t come home empty-handed.” I shake the thick plastic Ziploc baggie that’s so heavy it makes my arm muscles twitch. It’s only now that her comment registers in my brain. “Prize pig? If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.”

“You’re better than that cliché, boss.” Fat looks up and smiles – as though the cliché is more offensive than labelling me as a porker. She licks the pad of her paw and flips the page dismissively.

Fury overtakes my face, I feel like the vein in my forehead is throbbing with such intensity it might detach itself and retire in the Bahamas – its been so overworked since Fat came into my life. The pulsing just above my temple serves the feline a warning that she needs to retract the insult. “C’mon, you can’t take that seriously with all those workouts you fit in through the week. Stop with this juvenile response. Try a little tenderness.”

It’s not exactly an apology, but I can’t be upset when she quotes Otis. I exude instant calm.

“Now going back to that prize you’re holding. I notice the top-shelf container – or lack thereof – and it tells me that you were at the chef’s house where he cooked you a fine meal. To that end, I would like to make another observation.”

The fridge light fills the kitchen as I put the leftovers in the fridge. Since he doesn’t trust me to return his Tupperware, I should start bringing my own any time I venture to his place for dinner. The lobster risotto deserves better than this.

“Even if I say you can’t make an observation, it won’t stop you from saying things. Go for it.” The fridge shuts and I turn on the lamp so we’re not sitting in near-darkness.

The good doctor beams, “You know me so well.” Fat theatrically flips another page of the paper, “I just can’t help but notice that you cooked chicken the other night and survived. Didn’t even get ill. You also seemed to enjoy the result of you labourous efforts in the kitchen” Fat’s head moves from left-to-right as though she’s trying to make me believe she’s actually reading an article on summer gardening in the lifestyle section.

“What’s your point?”

“It’s just interesting is all.” A sing-song hum comes from Fat. It’s akin to when a slow lullaby plays in a horror movie. Unsettling to say the least.

She continues her made up tune as I open the patio door to let some fresh air in the apartment. It’s actually quite windy. A collection of Mutt’s hair that I brushed off of him earlier gets pushed from outside on the patio through the living room by a sudden gust. The white hair blows like a tumbleweed across the pale carpet and finally stops once it connects with Fat’s face.

The feline sits up straight, surprised and confused as the hair that clings to her chin.

“You look like an Amish man.”

Without freaking out, Fat casually slides her paw across her jaw and removes her fake beard. She delicately drops the dog hair beside her on the floor. “Yeah, well, I was always more of a hell raiser than a barn raiser.”

“Still are.” The humid temperature in our home dissipates and it already feels degrees cooler.

Fat begins to hum her creepy tune again.

“Seriously, Fat. What?”

“You’re just a lot more capable than you let people believe. You’re funny like that, boss.”

“What are you talking about, Fat?”

“Oh nothing.” Fat’s attention goes back to the upside-down paper; she flips the page again. “Would you look at that? The U.S. Open is coming up. That’s neat.”

Welcome to Exile

“Oh good, you’re home. I need the biggest favour.”

Fat, sitting on top of the hall table, bats her eyes in a sickly sweet way as I drop my bag on my floor. The feline would look even more foolish if I got her those fake eyelashes she wants so badly.

“Not how I’d like to be met at the door on a Friday, but I’ve had a flattering afternoon and it’s affecting my mood. What’s the favour?”

“Please go to the apartment at the end of the hall and introduce them to the other twenty-five letters of the alphabet.”

My hand rests on the doorknob. My brain offers an instant replay of her request inside my head – it doesn’t help me understand.

“Huh?”

“The only letter they seem to know is ‘O’ and they’ve both been screaming it all afternoon.”

Of this, I am entirely aware. I just walked past their door.

Fat looks momentarily sheepish, letting her neck get engulfed by a shy shrug. “I thought they were enthusiastic Wheel of Fortune fans at first. But obviously, ‘E’ and ‘A’ are the money vowels,” she cements this fact with an assuring look and minute nod, “Just ask Vanna White. It didn’t make sense why they persisted with screaming ‘O’.”

I move away from the door, kicking off my shoes. “Oh good. You understand what’s going on over there then.”

Fat stares at my terrible-smelling ballet flats. “Of course I do. What kind of an idiot do you take me for?” The bridge of her nose pinches. Green eyes drift from the shoes to me, and back to the shoes. “You’re going over there barefoot then?”

I drift into the kitchen, grab a rice cake and come back to face her in the hallway. “If you know what’s going on over there, I’m sure you can piece together why I won’t be knocking on their door.” There’s a loud crunch as I bite down. If I were to estimate, this rice cake went stale when Eisenhower was president.

“They’re some kind of foreign and that’s why you’re not going over there. You’re being a bad Canadian as well as a bad neighbour.” Her ears twitch as she hears the muffled love cries of the down-the-hall neighbours. “What language is that? Hawaiian?”

As Fat talks, I casually lean over the kitchen garbage can and spit out my mouthful of inedible brick.

“You’re right. Better to wait to go over there until later. We’re not familiar with their customs and don’t want to interrupt. This might be some kind of prayer ritual we’re hearing.”

I can’t tell if she’s messing with me or not, so I focus my attention on the hall mirror. My mirror twin offers a wide smile so I can check to see if she chipped any of her crooked English teeth on an antiquated rice cake.

“I forget that if the conversation isn’t about you, you check out entirely.” Fat pushes one of my candle holders off the table so I turn to look at her. “You say it was a flattering Friday for you, boss? Please share.”

“I got asked out by a guy that hangs out at the coffee shop a few blocks away.”

She stares at me as if I’m mental-hospital-grade crazy. “And this stranger’s validation provides you with more self-worth? So textbook. Let me guess: you said yes and now you’re in love and feel whole again.” Fat rolls her eyes.

My mouth turns into a smile and I hold up my index finger to silence her. “Oh, no, Fat.” The cat becomes briefly hypnotized as I tut-tut the idea by shaking my finger from side-to-side. “Charming guy. Not bad looking. But no. You see, doc, I’ve decided to put myself in self-imposed relationship exile.”

The feline’s face gets that pinched look of misunderstanding again.

I point at the list I’ve written on my dry erase board in the kitchen. “I have things I want to do. Time alone is healthy. You can’t argue that.”

Fat’s mouth hangs open for a few seconds of silence, as though she’s trying to come up with something to say.

“…So what happens when somebody you actually like, that isn’t some random in a coffee shop, asks you out?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but as you so graciously pointed out a few days ago, it’s not possible to have it all. Maybe giving up relationships will be my sacrifice for all those other things in life.”

“You’re actually doing this? A ban on boyfriends?”

I nod, feeling better now that what I’ve been thinking about the last few days has found a voice.

“Yep. Boyfriends are officially banned.”

Fat nods toward my art supplies cupboard. “Maybe you should make a ‘No Boys Allowed’ sign so everyone else can be aware of this decision. I would help, but not having thumbs makes writing impossible.”

There and Back and None the Saner

“Did Mutt serve as a pack mule for your travels?”

Fat has a brief moment to spy the mud-spattered dog before he charges into the apartment leaving me in the hall with my bag of dirty laundry and his bag of prescriptions, food and toys. I honestly think I packed more stuff for Mutt than myself. By the time I lazily kick the bags into the apartment and shut the door, Mutt has Fat pinned on the carpet. Her back legs kick out in protest as he chews on her ear.

“He’s happy to see me. Why is he happy to see me?”  Fat’s grey face pokes out from being smothered by Mutt’s cream-coloured fur. “Get this thing off of me. Get him off.” Urgency fills her sentences and the good doctor sounds on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

My hands grab around the dried mud of Mutt’s hind legs and I propel him off Fat with a wheelbarrow manoeuvre. Mutt’s face turns over his shoulder, giving me a look of pathetic misunderstanding as to why his front legs keep getting forced forward in awkward steps. He then sees his travel bag of goodies tipped over in the hall and he dashes out of my grasp to chew on his stuffed alien dog.

“Fat, don’t deny his affection. You should be grateful that somebody in this apartment cares so much about you.” I pull off my hoodie and drop it on the hall table. “How did things go well I was away.”

“How did it go?” Fat slowly repeats the question to buy herself time to remember. “I watched that movie Bernie – I dare say it is Jack Black at his finest, I had a sleepover with my cuddle buddy on Saturday – I didn’t think you would mind. Oh. And I spent the entire weekend drinking out of the toilet.” She smiles at me, but it doesn’t appear to be a happy smile.

“Why did you–”

“It’s a whole thing and I don’t want to get into it. Just for the record, you are never to leave me again, okay?” It’s phrased like a question, but this is clearly a demand. Fat, annoyed, licks her paw and attempts to remove traces of Mutt’s saliva from her fur. She shoots me a quick glance. “At least you seem to be doing better. You’re not wearing that stress all over your face. I trust that your trip to the home land served you well.” Fat scowls as she brushes flecks of dry mud from her fur. “Seriously, where did this come from?”

“We went for a hike with my parents before we drove home.” I press the dark pink colour on my shoulder, watch the patch of skin turn momentarily white and then turn pink again.

The feline lets out an obnoxious, insincere laugh that comes to a halt when she sees my sunburnt arms. “I’m sorry. You said hike and I thought it was a joke. You don’t hike.”

“I think I might start… I liked it.” Though, I might consider sunscreen on my next time out to change it up a bit.

Fat seems to have completely forgotten about cleaning her fur. She assesses me for sincerity and the pause in conversation stretches out into sixteen hours. “No you didn’t. You just think you did. I’d bet many dollars that you’ll drop this idea of wanting to be a hiker within a week. I’ve heard stories of your parents – howling at the moon types that they are. Frankly, you probably only liked this morning’s hike because you were still drunk from the night before.”

“You can’t prove that.” The fact that we were up until almost sunrise drinking and shooting pool the night previous is only further evidence to her claims. I keep that information inside my head and smile. I love my parents. They’re a couple of rock stars.

“We’ll see, boss. You’re more of a sayer than a doer. And those times you are a doer, it’s usually done half-assed on the effort scale.”

“I beg your pardon?” Instant rage fills me, then subsides when I decide that I need a shower. Also, I’m kind of hungry. I might want some tea and some quiet time on the couch reading. My thoughts go full circle until I’m back at my stance of being offended.

“Boss. Really?” Fat rolls her eyes, catches sight of the dog as she does so and then looks disgusted. “You even dropped the ball on going on an actual vacation. You were talking about that months ago. You were talking about going to Ontario.”

Oh yeah. I forgot about that.

“Maybe it’s not my fault that I’m a sayer and not a doer. I have intentions, but I lack the memory to remind myself to see things through. Fat, after I shower, I’m going to start doing some things.” I wander into the bathroom and turn on the water.

I can hear Fat still talking in the hallway.

“Do what you want. However, you won’t be going on that vacation. Did you not hear me say you’re never leaving me again?”

Boss is Unavailable Today

I’m not entirely certain as to what’s going on.  As usual, boss came home from work and fed me right away – as I’ve trained her to do. There was a heated conversation between her and Ex-Boyfriend. I missed a lot of what was said. Most of their words were drowned out because my food is too crunchy. I need some of that wet stuff… that sounds somewhat erotic as well as delicious. Nevertheless, something happened during mealtime that made boss act like I’ve never seen. She’s currently locked herself in the bathroom. There’s a massive disconnect going on in our home. I need to investigate.

I politely knock on the bathroom door.

“Go away.” Her broken words couldn’t sound worse if they were trying to escape the chaffed area between thunder thighs.

Well that’s certainly strange. She clearly doesn’t know it’s me.

“Boss, it’s Fat.” I figure if I use my slave name she’ll be more apt to let me in. My words become lost within a loud rapping noise. I look up to see Ex-Boyfriend withdraw his knuckles from the bathroom door.

There’s a sniffle from the other side. A gentle thudding sound makes me think she’s sitting on the floor in there, letting the back of her head rest against the door. She’s using herself as a barricade so nobody can get in. Oh, boss. It’s weird that you’re wearing feelings.

Her voice sounds so tired, “Please go away.”

Manners. This is very curious. Ex-Boyfriend hesitates, as though there’s something that he wants to say or do to reverse whatever damage has been done. Seriously, what the fuck is going on in this place?

I shall stand watch until answers are provided for the strange behaviour of this eve. That twat in the bathroom seriously needs some therapy.

My Life in Limbo: A “Documentary”

“Post break-up, day seventeen. The air remains thick with frustration as well as the rotten scent of old garbage that needs to be taken out. Both camps seem to promote an ever-increasing distance while portraying to the outside world that the situation remains okay. The indigenous peoples of the fuck-my-life tribe remain unaware that we’ve managed to interpret their muted language.”

I explode into the apartment, catching only Fat’s last two sentences as her voice travels from somewhere beyond my line of vision. This phony documentary crap needs to stop immediately. My keys scratch the hall table with a forced landing and with the bowling skill of John Goodman, my gym bag travels recklessly down the hallway. It lands at the base of the scratching post and there it shall remain until I kick it nearer the laundry pile.

Fat’s glowing green eyes stare as I make my entrance into the kitchen, but the obese cat persists with her natter. She sits on the counter eyeing Ex-Boyfriend who’s watching a movie on his computer – oblivious to her monotonous droning. It is unclear as to the length of time her voice has granted sound to her observation. If I were to venture a guess, I would suppose she’s been going on for about seventeen days.

“Houseflies become abundant as both camps neglect showering and housework. They’ve silently entered a competition to establish their alpha standing through stench and decay. The local housecat grows increasingly despondent, and considers stooping to the level of using the bathtub as a litter box.”

“Fat, if you so much as joke about pissing in the tub again…”

“Calm down, boss. You know I avoid places where your gross naked body has been.”

This is true. The places she knows about anyhow. I pat her tiny head and then scratch behind her ears. My stomach rumbles, offering a silent threat that it will make my life absolutely miserable unless I fill it with some kind of carbohydrate.

A thunderous purr comes out of the feline, and her eyes close for the next few seconds until I stop petting her. “I’m just tired of all this transition business, boss. I know you are too. Normal life is impossible until he moves into his new place. This isn’t breaking news to you though.” She eyes me knowingly.

Despite my best efforts to withhold my emotions, a heavy sigh propels out of my lungs. I shoot a tired look over to my – for lack of a better word – roommate.

“You guys walk around each other like you’re both wearing inner tubes around your waists. Tell me how you seem to think this is okay.”

The plastic bag of bread crinkles as I take out two pieces and pop them in the toaster.

“We’re not walking around each other, Fat. It’s the situation we’re trying not to disturb. He’s here for another three weeks and we’ve agreed that we’re going to handle this like grownups.”

“And freezing each other out is the way to do that? We’re all living in limbo here. On a side note, I’m going to take it as a compliment that you didn’t wash your hands between petting me and handling food. Thanks.” Fat’s face leans in when I take out the butter dish. Delight warms her eyes. I flick her wet nose and a paw goes protectively to where she got hit.

“Uh… you’re welcome?” It is gross that I hadn’t considered that. No wonder her hair ends up in my food. That’s my epiphany for the day. There’s always at least one.

I peer into the toaster and see the bright orange lines turning my bread light golden brown. The decade-old appliance buzzes with age. “Breakups are weird, Fat. There’s no definitive how-to manual to deal with things. There should be though. I could write it…” My focus briefly turns inward while I consider the idea.

“Sure. Yeah. It could serve a dual purpose: how to survive a break up while simultaneously decorating your house as a pig sty.” Fat’s tone changes from a winning sales pitch to a balking jerk. “Penning a stupid advice book that won’t sell is one way to go.” Fat’s gaze slips back to the butter with longing.

“And the other way to go would be…?” The toast pops and my skeleton almost bounds out of my flesh. Even though it was expected, I’m still surprised.

“Get a limbo stick and make the best of the situation, of course. It would be great footage for my documentary.”