by Jay Seymour
My cat was trying to tell me.
| Wednesday night ended in a tragic fashion. I went home alone. I almost never go home alone on the nights I go to the bar downstairs from my apartment. When Larry, the owner, called for last call I looked up and noticed I had spent the entire night catching up with a high school buddy. I hadn't approached a single lady all night. Almost proud of my maturity, I said goodbye to Newell and suddenly dreaded my empty apartment. Late nights in my third floor single bedroom apartment have a habit of turning into lonely pity parties for me. I feel sorry for myself that I am so lazy with my career, relationships, hobbies, and my health. I have been able to avoid the loneliness for months but last night it snuck up behind me and bit me on the ass. The two flights of stairs seemed to drag the crap I didn't want to focus on into my sights. By the last stair, directly in front of my door, I almost turned around and went anywhere else. I remember opening the door and realizing something was different inside. I didn't figure out what it was, but was hopeful it was just me. I remember opening the bottle of Southern Comfort red label and setting out a glass. My memory ends there.
The alarm clock had been beckoning me for longer than usual so I responded with more force than it could handle. It wound up as far as the cord would let it go and cracked into too many pieces to be salvaged. My first thought was Not going to be a good day. I sat up in bed and tried to decipher what time the damaged clock said. As I stared the clock I heard a high pitched voice say, "Don't worry about it. You're not going to work today anyway."
Startled I looked around the room and couldn't find who said it. I was a little weirded out and a lot scared. I darted into the living room/kitchen combo. It was a wreck. Something bad had happened in there but no one was there. I eased into my bedroom with a greasy frying pan raised. The room felt cold and my head was spinning. The only comfort I could gain came from Teddy, my calico cat, sitting on my briefcase beside my bed. I called him and as usual he stared at me like I was stupid. I felt stupid. Then he spoke, "Don't freak out you whuss. I'm just sayin' you don't have to go to work today. I don't think they expect to see you."
I couldn't wrap my head around what was happening. What the hell did I do last night? Somehow I seriously screwed something up. I remembered the bottle of Southern Comfort and immediately looked around the room. I found it lying on its side almost under the couch, empty. The glass wasn't anywhere I could find.
Newell, I need to talk to Newell. I reached for my phone but the battery was dead. Finally, I asked Teddy when he learned to talk.
"I've known how, I just didn' think you were ready to listen. I think you're ready now. Let's get started."
"Get started with what?" I asked.
"Cleaning this mess up. You went a little crazy last night. You need to replace the rug in the living room. You'll never get all the blood out of it. What were you thinking?"
"I don't remember last night. What did I do?" I asked, thinking OH GOD how seriously screwed am I? My cat is talking to me. I am talking back. My place is trashed. My head is killing me. Hurry tell me.
"You don't remember the call girl.....or the bodyguard?.......Just kidding. You seriously don't remember?"
"I'm going to kill you, cat. Tell me."
"You funneled that whole bottle of Southern Comfort and decided it would be a good idea to call your boss."
"What did I say to her?"
"Whatever it was, she came right over. You two got wild. She just left. Funny thing is I thought I saw her carry you out with her. Guess I have been watching too much tv. Try to turn it off when you leave the apartment."
"Who's blood is on the rug?" I asked.
I inspected the rug for a few minutes. The blood was a thick puddle with footprints going in all directions. I couldn't find anything else with blood on it. Head pounding with every heartbeat I walked the apartment over and over trying to remember or figure out what so obviously wrong. Then it hit me. "Why don't they expect me to come to work today?"
"Because you're dead. Duhh."