Saltwater

Saltwater

I’ve always been pretty tall for my age, ever since I was little. I’m Melody Jones-Smith, resident of an abandoned lighthouse and friend of two jerks, Yan and Yuri.

The day started like any other. Yuri was tricking some woman over the phone to do his dry-cleaning. I was getting ready to leave for the day to work at Mr. Nonk’s shack. And Yan? Screaming in his sleep, like every morning. He always had an insult for me when he woke up.

“What a nightmare!” he tussled his large Hispanic afro. “I dreamt I was being eaten by a blonde giantess!” He pointed at me. “AHHH! There she is! Don’t eat me!”

I tangled up my fingers in his mass of hair. “You’ll be fine once I poison your food, tiny boy.” Yan probably has a crush on me, but damn if you could tell it by his teasing.

“Will you two keep it down? Millie is acting silly for me,” Yuri rhymed for no reason. “So anyway, gurrrl, how about paying for my dry-cleaning?”

Yuri always had the air of a pimp or something. In his pure white suit and hat, he didn’t leave anything to his own effort. Well, it takes effort to mack on women, but not much. He and Yan were friends before I met them, and it’s not too hard to see why. Yan’s sloppy but Yuri’s neat, and though that’s an Odd Couple bit, they’re both jerks to me. That’s their bond, I think.

Oh yeah, they’re both short men. I’m tall, but it’s not like their teasing is just because of a few inches. Try a foot. Yan likes the height put-downs, while Yuri goes for my hand and foot disparities.

I have no idea why I share this lighthouse with them.

“I’m going to Mr. Nonk’s place,” I said.

“Bring back lobster!” Yan demanded.

Yuri finished his call. “Aren’t lobsters giant bugs, basically?”

My stomach turned in knots. “Never mind, Yan.”

Yan whimpered. “What? Bugs taste good!”

I took off my cat ears headband and put on my red wool cap.

“What about bacon?” asked Yuri.

“That’s a dinner food, Yuri.”

“I’ll get bacon on my own, large hands.” He glared at me and clicked his tongue.

“So you’ll get a girl to make it for you?”

“Have a nice day!” They chimed in unison.

As I left the lighthouse, I looked at the structure. Beautiful. Tall. Like me. Those jerks were just overcompensating.

I made it to Mr. Nonk’s shack quickly, but I wished it to take longer. “Mr. Nonk?”

“Oh, great! The giant woman is here to visit me again!”

I composed myself. “Mr. Nonk, my name is Melody. Please try to remember it.”

“Of course I know you, Melody! Your family was rich, ’til ya went danged bankrupt!”

I washed his dishes.

“Why did you choose to go bankrupt? I spent hours tryin’ to change my fargin’ cellular phone company!”

I did his laundry.

“Back in the day, you could be broke for less than a cent! Now it’s all, ‘Oh, DARN! I only have a million dollars! I’m broke!’ Idiots!”

I ironed his clothes.

“Kids these days! Oh, my kids are visiting tomorrow, so don’t scare them with your freakish height! Be shorter!”

I massaged his back.

“Today’s generation can’t give proper massages! You could get a back rub on only a nickel! Bleh!”

I got paid.

“When I was a lad, if any elders tried to ramble on end about their youth, I’d hit ’em with a crowbar! Aides today just can’t fight back!”

I stormed home.

“I’ll call you back, babe. Another woman? No. No she’s not.”

Yan gave me an insincere grin. “Welcome home, Melody! You look so pretty!”

I glared at the lazy layabouts.

“Did you get lobster?”

“No,” I grumbled, putting on my cat ears. “Leave me alone.”

An hour later, Yuri’s woman Sandra was cooking bacon.

“Do you want to sit with us?” I asked her.

“Uh, she thinks you’re a rival. Don’t engage.” Yuri waved a dark hand over his face.

“Mr. Nonk has no respect for me. I help him, he yells at me!”

“Like every man you know, right?”

I didn’t catch who said that, but it pissed me off more.

Yan piped up. “Have you ever considered you might be doing a terrible job?”

I threw a high-heeled sandal at his head. He fell to the ground.

“You know, maybe we could send him away if we tied a million balloons to his house.” Yuri grinned at his Pixar’s UP reference.

“Heh. His house is so old, you’d only need to attach a hundred balloons.” I hoped I wouldn’t regret what I was going to ask. “Hey… can you guys come with me tomorrow?”

Yuri spoke first. “I’d love to, but I’m doing this thing called ‘Not being yelled at by a cranky old man.'”

“How old is he?” asked Yan, for some reason.

I held up my other sandal.

“OKAY! OKAY!”

“Shoes shouldn’t be throwing projectiles,” noted Yan.

One day later, we were off. When we got there, Mr. Nonk’s children’s car was parked out front. I heard screaming inside.

“Mr. Nonk?”

“MELODY! Thank goodness you’re here!”

Mr. Nonk’s son and daughter, ugly, my height, folded their arms.

“Dad, it’s not really a big deal,” said the daughter.

“No! You’ll never take me alive!”

I took charge of the situation. “Mr. Nonk, what’s going on?”

“My dim-witted kids are tryin’ to put me in a home!”

Yuri spoke, unfortunately. “Look guys. Home? Is where the heart is. And his heart doesn’t want to be in a home. Therefore, his home in his heart isn’t in a home. So you should let his heart be at home!”

“Vote Yuri for President!” announced Yan.

“I’m okay,” said Yuri.

“Yuri aside,” I started, “I thought I was doing a pretty good job!”

The son approached me. “I don’t want my father to be in a Russian-less area!”

The daughter confronted her father. “Dad, this is an all-Russian retirement home. I’m sure Mom would’ve liked it…”

“All-Russian? Are you ripped? Dummies! Don’t you know–”

“Don’t you know anything about Russians? Old Russians hate each other! Sure, young Russians get along, but when you’re old, everyone else needs to die!” I grinned.

“Melody…” He seemed touched. “You’ve actually been listening to me?”

“I may have picked up a thing or two…”

“ENOUGH OF THIS!” The son grabbed his father and ran out to his car.

“MELODY! Help!”

“Mr. Nonk!”

Yan looked up at me. “Well, Melody, looks like your wish came true!”

I looked down at him. “No… I’ve made a horrible mistake! We have to save Mr. Nonk!”

Yuri gave me a mischievous smirk. “If you vote for me for President, you’ll have him in ten minutes!”

“Anything! Please!” I was desperate.

Yuri started texting… and texting… and texting! Nine minutes later, an army of nubile young women came in carrying Mr. Nonk.

“What did you do?” I asked, shocked.

“I just texted all the sexy singles in my area. They stopped the car and… took Mr. Nonk by force. And the kids won’t be taking him to a home anytime in the future.”

I bent down and hugged Yuri. “I owe you an apology! You’re not just lazy! You’re a hard-working pimp!”

“Not a pimp, but you’re welcome.”

Yan pointed to himself. “Do I get an apology?”

I rubbed his hair. “No. You totally owe me an apology.”

I took Mr. Nonk from the women, all glaring at me. “Mr. Nonk, I’m so sorry…”

“No Melody, I’ve treated you poorly. You’re a hard worker.”

Yan smiled. “See that? If a Russian and a giantess can get along, why can’t the nations of the world?”

“Simple, Yan!” Yuri started up again. “If we all got along, then the military would disband! That’s why I promote more war!”

“Vote Yuri for President!” announced Yan.

“Innocent people? Nice try!”

I clasped Yuri’s shoulder. “I don’t think I want to vote for you anymore.”

“That’s fine. We don’t want votes from people like you.”

That night, we all had lobster for dinner at the lighthouse. Yuri was upset over a court order for being the mastermind behind Mr. Nonk’s kids getting attacked. The ladies were upset at me. Mr. Nonk was upset at everything, but smiled throughout.

And Yan apologized for his giantess comments, but promised “plenty more on the way!”

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She Went Back In Time

She Went Back In Time

Since this story is first person, obviously I didn’t die. Sorry to disappoint anyone who hoped I wasn’t going to make it in the end. But my girlfriend didn’t make it. Julie. She was hit by a car, some careless ass hit her in the ass, knocking her to the ground and killing her. God. Damn. It.

I couldn’t cry. Not because I’m a goth, no. I have feelings and I do cry like any person, just not when it’s too painful to come out. Our friend, Rose, also came to the funeral (small venue, small circle of friends/family), and she was bawling her eyes out. I wish I could have cried like that for my love, but I couldn’t. I just…

After the service, I walked down Main and Third, hoping for a bagel. Instead, in a brilliant flash of light equal to that of the big bang or creation (depending on your tastes), I got an asshole.

He was dressed in what I could only describe as a “Seventies Suit.” His hair matched the era and he had a pompous swagger to him. Guys like him are the reason I hate men.

“Brian Gary, 70’s renaissance man. Time traveler.” He handed me his card.

I lowered my eyes. “Uh-huh.” He was just laughing at me.

He then literally laughed at me. “Aria, right? What a name. And those clothes! What are you, a mistress of the times? Whip whip whip!” Yeah. Men suck.

“How did you know my name? And I’m goth.”

“Well, your future self asked me to help you out. Normally I don’t change history, but for a… lady? I’ll do it.”

“My future self.”

“Yes! She asked me to save Julia.”

“JULIE.”

“Yes. Sweet, blonde Julie in the black satin gown, gone by a bumper car.”

“She got hit by a car!” Was this asshat for real?

“Look, do you want my help or not?”

I threw some F’s at him and told him to stick his time travel where it doesn’t shine. He pulled out a black ring. My black ring.

“Let me see that!” My dad’s inscription was still there: “Aria–to my favorite song, with love, your father.”

“Your future self paid me to help you get Julie back and gave me that because she knew you wouldn’t believe me. Frankly, who would?”

I clutched the ring. “What’s your deal, Brian Gary?” I made a point to remember people’s names.

“Nothin’ much, lady. I got caught in a bicentennial explosion of red, white and blue, which gave me time powers. I love this age. Right after the worst stuff, right before the end of the world. Sweet spot.”

I was going to mention the president as “worst stuff” still existing, but he must have known more than I did on the matter. For once, I saved it for later.

“Fine. I would love to save my love. How do we do this?”

He looked confused. “Oh. Are you coming with me? I was under the impression I should stick my time travel up my butt.”

I clenched my teeth at the remarkable jackass. “Yes. I’m going with you.”

He stuck out a hand. “Shall we?”

He paused. “Come on, Aria. Time to go.”

He frowned. “Are we going or not?”

“I don’t touch men,” I said. “Well, my father, if he were alive.”

He clenched his teeth back at me. “Okay. Then get on all fours.”

“What?” Did he think I was that kind of woman?

“I’m going to lay on your back. You don’t want to touch men, fine. But we need to go back a week like, right now.”

“Wha–a week? Why not a few days ago, when she got hit?”

He sighed. “Look. This isn’t Quantum Leap, okay? You don’t directly change events. You go back a week. You convince Julie to come to your house later that week instead of crossing Birch St. and getting hit.”

That… made sense, actually. “Okay.”

“Also, you’ll replace yourself from a week ago and will have to live over everything, including your… flow.” Brian Gary made a face.

“My period? Little punishment for saving Julie.”

“Time periods, yes! Anyway, I won’t be affected since I’m the ‘time machine,’ so to speak.”

“Got it. Climb on my back, Brian Gary.”

He jumped like an assface onto my back, digging his elbow into me. A flash of colorless light erupted around us and…

A giant clock and blue translucent tubes appeared from nowhere. We flew into the clock with gusto and ended up as smoking heaps in the alley.

Good God, where were we? Right. A week ago.

“I forgot to mention, as a passenger, you’ll be disoriented. You’re pretty cute for a week ago. Before the Neeeeeer! Errrrrrr! CRASH! Dead girlfriend. Occurred.” I wanted to hit him. But I still needed his help getting up.

He picked me up by the armpits and I hit him in the stomach. “I can take it from here, thanks. Oh,” I fished out my future self’s ring from Daddy. “Make sure I get this back. Ta.”

“I’m taking an observer role. Wouldn’t want you to make any events heavily altered.”

“Like saving someone from death?” I didn’t get him at all.

Brian Gary glowered. “Just trust me.”

I remembered Julie would often go to the doughnut shop on Tuesdays, so we went there. I saw a dead pigeon on the way and Brian Gary asked, “You want to save that one too, sweetheart?”

“How did my future self hear about you?”

He shrugged. “Time loop. You remembered meeting me, she sought me out via Yahoo email. Only email worth a damn in the future. Anyhoo, it was the first time I met her, so don’t think I’m doing this as a friend. I cost lots of money.”

I was going to kid him that “Yeah he does,” but he really was helping me out here. I loved Julie, from the time we met dancing under an overpass to her pale skinned body laying in that black coffin.

As I walked to the shop, I remembered Rose introducing us. She looked worried about something, I don’t know what. Julie kissed me on the mouth and said, “I think hellos should be as personal as possible.”

“Well,” I said, “now you’re just getting personal. But how would you like–”

“ROSE?!”

There in the doughnut shop were Rose and Julie, kissing at their table. Not to get all school girl, but a kiss to me is more than a hello. They were discreetly frenching, which made matters much more than personal.

I stormed the shop. “Rose, you, and, and, and Julie?”

Julie just pouted. “Oh, so it’s over now.”

Rose held up a hand to her. “Not so. I’m done pretending. Julie, I love you. I don’t want to use Aria to hide who I am anymore. I’m telling my family what I am. Who I am.”

“Using me?” I finally cried. “Using me for what?”

Julie squinted. “I was only with you to cover up that I was with Rose. Her family’s strictly religious and wouldn’t accept this if they knew. So we used you to cover up our love.”

“That makes no sense,” said the doughnut shop owner. “Also, please do this elsewhere.”

We all left and fought for an hour. It ended like so:

“Fine. It’s over. But Julie, promise me in a week you won’t cross Birch St.”

“No. I go home that way. Why should I listen to you?”

“Please. Please, Julie. If you’ve ever loved me, even a little, you’ll go down another street that day.”

She looked at Rose with worry. “I trust you. But just that day.”

They left, leaving me to cry with Brian Gary awkwardly standing around.

“Gosh,” he muttered. “Integrity move, Aria. Even after finding all that out, you saved her.”

I just sobbed, snot running down my face.

“Don’t ruin it,” he said, handing me a plaid handkerchief.

“Ah zdill lubb her,” I said, blowing my nose.

“Of course, whatever that means.”

“I said, I still love her.”

“It will take time, as I’ve surely seen throughout history. You’ll never forget her, as your future self has proven, but you’ll move on.”

I paused my sobs. “You knew. The whole time, you knew.”

He stretched pompously. “Of course! The future you had to tell me everything to save her friend. I didn’t want a time paradox or time’s fabric to shred. She only did it to preserve history. What, like I really care about some dyke’s lost love?”

He’s from the 70’s, he’s from the 70’s, he’s from the…

I kicked him in the balls with my pointed boots.

He collapsed to the ground. “She… didn’t tell me… you’d do that…”

“Smart woman,” I spat. I left him there.

I met someone that Thursday, since I wasn’t with Julie at the time. Larry. Another goth, but a male. Yes, it turns out I was bisexual the whole time. You learn something new about yourself every day. Oh, and he’s bi, too.

Our wedding was bleak and gorgeous. Julie, Rose and I buried the hatchet that day. I made them my bridesmaids and we got along just fine since then. I’m glad I reached out to Brian Gary, even if he was a smug assfart.

In a small apartment with a baby and another on the way, I recalled Brian Gary. I took off my father’s ring, pulled out his card and gave him a message. He was right about Yahoo.

We arranged to meet up at my house to go through the details. He was not kind about the living arrangements.

When we finished talking, he said it would cost 30 thousand. And he was right about not being cheap. I think he lowered the price because he felt sorry for me.

“One more thing,” he said with a chuckle. “Do you ever attack me? I don’t want to, heh, get kicked in the family jewels or anything.”

I recalled his dyke comment to me. I smiled innocently. “Nope.”

To Bury Treasure

To Bury Treasure

“Heathcliff… it’s me, Cathy, I’ve come home, I’m so cold…” Burt wasn’t sure of the lyrics, but she got them mostly right.

She held a pair of large sandals in one hand and a treasure chest under her other arm.

She disapproved of the way the sand squished in between her toes. It was as if she had been walking on salted brains. She also disapproved of the way the seagulls were circling around her and Skipper.

Skipper. Dumb dog. He had the IQ of a dalmatian but lacked the inbreeding. He was a good boy, and Burt knew that, but damn, was he ever stupid. Once, she pretended to throw a ball, and he ran into the street, narrowly avoiding a Toyota Camry.

She named him that because of the way he jumped with each step. She tried it, but her heels were too large and she nearly tripped over herself. Burt looked around embarrassed. No one. She was relieved, but lonesome. Hoping to mooch a lunch off of others, she realized it was too cloudy and that she was no better than the seagulls surrounding her.

She sat against a wooden fence in the sand. The chest could wait.

Burt spotted Skipper playing with a seagull who appeared to be as dumb as the husky. They made a game of tilting their heads repeatedly and looking in a direction that led to nothing.

“Bow, wow!”

“Squawk!”

“Ha ha!” Burt laughed at the animal friends, and took a photo of the two getting along. In her entire life, it received three likes across all of her social platforms.

She found more energy surging through her long legs. “Here Skipper!” He circled around for a bit until he found “here.”

With a seagull on his back, Skipper pawed at the wooden box Burt kept locked. “No, Skipper! It’s for later, and you can’t have!”

Since her parents died… rather, they were dead to her, but yes, very much alive, she felt companionship in both nature and beasts. Like her, they were unpredictable (and as her former friends once said, full of beauty. She would heavily deny these remarks and individuals).

She had a brother, but he was in jail, while her other brother was in a coma. She was bereft of friends and family, but being alone suited Burt Campbell (no relation to the Richard Mulligan character).

Her real name was Alberta… as she thought about her name, she walked onto a shard of glass. She missed the salted brain sensation. As she took the bandage from her arm and put it on her sole, she continued thinking about her name. Alberta was not her favorite name. She was nicknamed “Bertie” for short, then “Bert,” but she spelled it with a U. Not the best name story, she thought.

The cold chill brushed against her skin. She rolled down the plaid sleeves of her shirt and buttoned it at the wrists. Her inner narration was yawning. Nothing of interest happened to her. She had heard about a woman who couldn’t see the color blue and wondered what that was like. She also recalled the news piece about the day seven pizza chefs and a delivery guy vanished. An unlikely story, she felt, but entertaining.

Burt dropped the treasure chest.

“Let’s look at him one more time.”

She opened the lock, lifted the lid of the box and saw that it was still filled to the brim with bones and a dog skull.

“Sorry, Skipper. I give you a lot of flak for being dumb, but Gil was even dumber. He was a dalmatian. Really dumb. He was my best friend after Tom went into the coma. Then he got hit by a Toyota Camry and… well, you’re here.”

“Bow.”

“I bow to no dog,” she joked. “Can you dig? I forgot my shovel.”

Burt closed the lid and locked it again. “Dig, Skipper. Dig for Gil.”

She motioned digging and eventually just dug the sand with her own hands. Skipper started digging two minutes before she finished.

“Good boy, Skipper.” She went silent for four minutes. “Goodbye, Gil.”

“Goodbye, friend. Thank you for taking such good care of me.”

She wheeled around and saw a fat bald man with a thin mustache and spectacles. She didn’t feel any anger. Actually, she felt relieved, like Gil had wanted to say that.

“Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Name’s Dean.”

“Bur–Alberta. Well, have a nice day at the beach, Dean.”

“I always do!” He chuckled at her, then sighed.

Burt wondered if it was illegal to keep a seagull. Before she could react, it flew away.

“Both of us lost a friend today, huh?”

“Wowowo.”

“Come on, I’ll make you some nice pork ch–” She checked her breast pocket. “I think I dropped my keys in the hole. Where was it again?”

The seagull came back with Burt’s keys in its beak. It sat on Skipper’s back again.

“Guess you guys aren’t so dumb, huh?”

Skipper howled and the seagull, later named Keys, squawked.

I Do Not Want To Be Best Man At This Cat Wedding

I Do Not Want To Be Best Man At This Cat Wedding

Why did my mistress dress me up in a bow tie and take me outside? That is, I believe, animal abuse. Her and her nutty friends just HAD to marry off some cats today. Mews flash: Cats don’t get married! We prefer hiding in the dark and being nude. Oh well. At least it’s not a sweater. Mr. Meowpants didn’t get off so easily.

The worst part is that they chose me to be Best Man. Why not “Best Cat?” I’d wear that title with utter pride, mistress! But no, Julia gets to be “Cat of Honor.” Where’s the sense in that? She pooped outside the litter box last week! Where’s my honor, huh?

Best Man. Yeah, right. This Best Cat hates other cats, especially Julia. Like I’d lick her fur for that cat blog. That thing is a train wreck, mistress. I can’t believe you cried that you weren’t getting enough subscribers. Humans have weird problems.

I’ve met Tim and Missy. Their owner is my mistress’s best friend. Tim and Missy are okay. But here’s the thing: Like all cats, I hate all cats. Okay, that’s a generalization, but name a cat who immediately liked a new cat you’d brought into its domain. Is it zero? Cats can’t count, you know.

I really hated Julia when mistress introduced her. Still do. But at least Tim and Missy don’t bite or swat at me. I feel sorry for them. I wonder why anyone would marry off neutered and spayed cats when they can’t have kittens. I also wonder why anyone would marry off cats.

I spotted some of the humans crying. I mean, I guess it’s allergies, because I doubt most of the women met these cats at the risk of getting their faces scratched up. You have to be pretty lonely and vain to attend a cat wedding. I think it’s mostly women here, as I see more dresses than pants. I swatted at some skirts, and mistress picked me up. “Naughty Onyx,” she said, repeating the hated name. It sounded oddly pleasant coming from her, as usual.

They got a traditional priest, not a cat dressed as a Catholic priest, not a lady priest, not two stacked tables with a Bible on top. I think I heard Lili (the bride and groom’s mistress) that he’s her father. He looked very uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than me. I think I felt something called… pity? Cats don’t feel pity and cats don’t dance, I thought, looking at the dance floor they set up for an outside wedding.

I slinked over to Tim. I wanted to know what he thought of all this wedding stuff.

“Mew?” I phrased elegantly.

“Mrrrrrrr…” he growled like a barbarian.

Fine. Screw Tim. I guess he has cold paws.

That suit looked itchy, I thought. I guess there’s cats and humans who have it worse than me.

I curiously looked around at the guests, because I hadn’t been neutered yet. Tabby. Calico. Dog. Shorthair. DOG?!

Yes, some man brought his dog to a cat wedding. He was the big gossip discussion the whole time. “Why is he here? Did they get lost on the way to a dog birthday party?” No one knew, but I did hear Lili call the master “bro.” Was he her broker? What was that anyway? Mistress talked on the phone with hers a lot.

I listened to human gossip. It went something like this:

Pink Hair Woman: “Blah blah blah priest is Lili’s father.”

Blue Hair Woman: “Really? Blah blah blah problems with her lifestyle!”

Pink: “Blah blah blah with his cancer, he’s not blah blah blah weddings any more, but this was a special occasion!”

Blue: “Everything is beautiful. Hey, little kitten.”

I darted off.

Finally, the guests found their seats. The priest looked sadly at Lili and his son.

Priest: “Blah blah blah beloved, we are gathered here to… to… blah blah blah can’t do this. It’s a cat wedding! Lili, why won’t you ever get married blah blah blah?”

Lili: “Papa, not here, not now. Blah blah blah.”

Priest: “What is asexual anyway? Why don’t blah blah blah your mother happy?”

Lili: “I don’t believe in marriage?” I wasn’t sure if she was asking a question.

Priest: “But you make me do it, mocking the sanctity of God and love? Blah blah blah can make your own damn wedding.”

Commotion broke out. Lili fell into her broker’s arms and cried. The guest screamed, cursed God, cursed Christ, cursed Sundays. Mistress just looked down sadly.

I didn’t want her to cry. Then she would pet me with her long nails. (shudder)

I carefully walked over to the priest, who was hunched over.

“Oh, little kitten. You’re as unnatural here as blah blah blah.”

I meowed in agreement.

“I just… when my blah blah blah asked me to host a wedding for her, I was elated. But a cat wedding? Blah blah blah end my career on that.”

“Mew.”

“It’s not right. But… it’s not Christian to break a promise either, blah blah blah. We’ll work out our problems another blah blah blah.”

I purred a little, then stopped just to tease him.

We walked back to Lili. “I’ll do it,” he told her. She clasped her arms around him.

The ceremony was awful. The nice priest was trying to remain dignified the whole time, but the couple started to tussle and Julia pooped on the altar. The cats in the seats meowed loudly for food, and I couldn’t get my bow tie off. Mistress ended up crying and rushed over to pet me (shudder). The broker spoke loudly on the phone to HIS broker, and the catering staff laughed the whole time. The dog, surprisingly, was very well behaved for his species.

When it came to kiss the bride, Tim licked Missy’s thigh. Close enough for these people.

The food was considerate. I assumed it would be (ew) vegan dishes, but there was fish! Chicken! Meat! Ten points to Lili!

As it turned out, the dance floor was only for the humans. Thank goodness. I assumed mistress was going to hold my paws and lift me on my hind legs! I really lucked out!

All in all, I’d say it was a normal wedding, but with cats.

I’d like to end off by saying, mistress, you better not marry me off to Julia any time soon.

I’ve Got a Latte on the Mind

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8:35. Olivia’s father dropped her off at the bus stop at a decent time. Olivia felt “decent” meant about now since she wanted to be late. The last of the absolute rush-hour buses had left as they pulled over to the curb. Mr. Gammon profusely apologized to his daughter (step, a fact he hadn’t mentioned to her). She just smiled (he easily recognized it as gratitude) and paced her footing on the soaked sidewalk.

8:36. After he drove off, Olivia put on her headphones (earbuds frightened her), pulled up a sock, and hoped someone would walk by. Nothing. The next bus would not come for at least a half-hour. She pulled down the other sock.

8:37. She checked her phone. Nothing interesting happened to Steve Buscemi since she woke up. Click. The rest of the internet wasn’t worth looking at.

8:38. Tammy Liu drove up in her Chevy. “Olivia! Do you want a ride? I’m not going to work today, but I am passing your work!” Olivia declined, using her usual lie that she was meeting someone. She did not interact with friends on a regular basis.

8:39. Maybe I could have taken her up on that ride. But then, I’d have to talk to her instead of thinking. Couldn’t I have thought a few blocks away from work? Shucks, Ollie. Then your boss or coworkers would have seen you or something. That would wreck your whole day. Really? My whole day? Yes, your whole day. That sounds overly superstitious, but either way, I don’t want to talk with anyone but me.

8:40. Hey, there’s no one around. I could let one rip and no one would know. But wait, what if the man of my dreams walks by at that exact moment only to be disgusted by my fart? Psht. The man of my dreams would be turned on by it. She held it in anyway.

8:41. She winced at the sight of birds flying at face-level. Why am I so scared at the thought of being hit in the head by birds? Did I get hit in the head by a bird as a baby?  Maybe they remind me of arrows in a past life. Did I get hit in the face by an arrow? Did I die then get reborn as this? I like the idea of a past life, but not th

8:42. e prospect that I would have to live future ones. Might be reborn as a dude named John. What kind of sick parent named their kid something as generic as John? Even worse, tools who name their kids, like, John, but already have the generic last name to boot. John Smith. Joe Johnson. Ingrid… Ingrid Paulette Freely. Naw, I doubt many Freelys would name their kids that. I could name a kid Jack. Jack Gammon. Wait, they wouldn’t get

8:43. my last name. Not exclusively at any rate. Unless I impregnate myself. Ha ha. Why am I thinking about this? I don’t know, Olivia Denise Gammon, it’s your sub-CON-scio-US. Because I’m a donked-up individual? That’s why I’m standing here instead of getting into a car to go to work. No, the real reason is because I’m afraid if I’ll drive, I’ll be too spacey and kill people.

8:44. A man with orange lenses in his shades walked past her. Olivia tried acting like a human, but went too far and stood perfectly still. He asked her to move. She fell over and crushed her bag of raisins.

8:45. He thinks I’m an idiot! Don’t worry, he probably doesn’t care. And you’ll likely never see him again. But that doesn’t help me feel better, even if I know it’s the rational truth. Even if I said it out loud! She said it out loud. The man, now on another block, turned to her and laughed. She bit her thumb.

8:46. Why is it no one else is ever here at this time? This is the only bus to the shopping district. We need a trolley. WE NEED TWO TROLLEYS! I mean, if one ever breaks. And a third for practical vagabonds like me. Though if I were practical, I’d have money. But gosh, how about this rain? Maybe I should have enough sense She began to walk into the bus stop’s seating with a roof. for general day-to-day health precautions. She paused.

8:47. In the center seat (or what could be classified as a seat, given the bench had two metal dividers), a lone coffee cup waited for the bus. Olivia knew for certain that it had not been there when she arrived. She stared at it blankly.

8:48. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee. She scratched her dark-cyan briefcase.

8:49. Olivia stared blankly at the coffee for twenty seconds more. Where did that coffee cup manifest from? That guy couldn’t have left it. He was carrying two glass bottles of milk. Why buy glass bottles over plastic? And why are the bus benches always metal or wood? The metal gets cold in the winter and the wood gets splintery. Better than being glass, yeah.

8:50. Maybe the wind blew it there. Standing perfectly still. She picked it up. She examined the box checked off “Latte.” Still full of coffee. Standing perfectly still full of coffee. Okay, so it’s not the guy, and it’s not the wind either. Maybe I was drinking and absentmindedly put it down? That must be. I am the fool.

8:51. Seriously, where is that bus? And the passengers? Though who can say who is a passenger until they board the bus? I think potential passenger counts as passenger. Hey, am I still 25? No, I turned 26 last year. When did I get this bag? I had it at my 25th party. So… when I was 23, since I stared at it sadly when I was 24.

8:52. WAIT, I DON’T DRINK COFFEES. Since I don’t want to get addicted to it. Like, I see people groggy and all, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” I want to see the world naturally, with a ton of prescribed pills in my bloodstream. Joking aside, I should talk to someone about upping my dose. Maybe a doctor. Definitely a doctor. My mind is a little more sluggish than usual.

8:53. I lost the flow! If I think on it, I can figure out why that latte is sitting there. It feels half-em… fu… It feels like there’s half inside. When the birds flew by, maybe one dropped their cuppa joe. Yep, that’s it. I’m satisfied and can drop this.

8:54. NOPE, THAT’S TOO STUPID. It’s as dumb as the way they made this roof. Slits and slats? I’m getting all wet in… AH! YES, WAIT, YES! The wind BLEW the empty cup. It landed on the bench, got filled with the dirty rainwater, and that’s the news, son. Waste a good mind-think, Olivia.

8:55. A woman with two children yelled at Olivia for carelessly leaving the latte on the bench. Grumpily, Olivia threw the latte in the trash and dried her hands on her denim skirt.

8:56. Olivia squinted at something orange. Only a fish truck.

8:57. Behind the fish truck was the bus, which pulled up to a block away from the bus stop and flashed its blinkers. Olivia knew the driver would take as much time as possible to relax behind his next shift. Two metal-heads stood behind her.

8:58. Olivia stomped on a piece of cardboard that tried to fly past her. She treated it miserably before letting it go.

8:59. A Steve Buscemi alert popped up. A movie deal she knew about. She shook her tousled hair and splashed a once-dry dog.

9:00. I mean, I have a dog, but I’m scared of other people’s dogs. I love huskies, but only if they’re far, far away from me. Kind of like my friends. And people in general. Maybe I should talk to someone about this. Like my step-dad. Does he know I know he’s not my dad? I’ll keep quiet until the next time I’m angry at him.

9:01. I hope no one tries talking to me today. Within moments, a guy in a green raincoat tried hitting on her. Olivia farted and he moved to the back of the line. He lost his chance.

9:02. The bus began to pull up. Olivia tried acting casual in front of the passengers by twisting her neck hither and yonder. The metal-heads slinked away to stand behind the guy in the green raincoat.

9:03. The bus got stuck behind a traffic light truck. Olivia stayed focused to formulate a plan where she should sit. She knew she’d get the seat before the rear exit since no one ever takes the door that receives the most rain. Olivia was the only one who seems to enjoy it.

9:04. The bus pulled up in front of Olivia. She put her card in the machine, thanked the driver who replied, “alright,” and sat down on a wet seat.

9:05. The bus drove off, taking Olivia to her place of work where she would spend the next nine hours in a factory manufacturing condoms.