Subject to change.
But what about the cat, Jaclyn?
… what about it?
I was nobody’s animal person, and hadn’t told her ass to climb up to my window.
Homegirl had to figure her own shit out.
With that said… those sad ass meows seemed to grow louder, and louder, and louder, the same weird shit, over and over.
“Girl will you shut up?!” I yelled at the window, then turned back to my phone, scrolling through my list of options.
MysteryCat did not, in fact, shut up, which prompted me to let out yet another sigh.
Maybe I could give her something to eat, at least. She couldn’t keep up all that hollering with food in her mouth.
Annoyed as hell about it, I trudged to the kitchen, looking through the cabinets until I found a little bowl. Opening the fridge, I glanced at the few items I’d grabbed at the grocery store, and determined that the pre-cooked chicken was probably the best option from my meager groceries.
I put a few pieces in the bowl – then stopped to check the internet to make sure cats could even eat chicken – then went back to the window, actually stepping out onto the fire escape this time. I slid the bowl to her, close enough that she wouldn’t have to move too much to get to it. That heifer took one sniff, looked at me, then put her head down without even touching it.
I sucked my teeth. “Okay, I know your ass isn’t being picky?” I pushed the bowl a little closer, prompting her to lift her head for another long “bitch, can’t you tell I don’t want this??” stare.
“Well, fine! Ungrateful ass,” I snapped, leaving the bowl as I moved to go back inside.
Then she wanted to start that damn “meow”-ing again, making it clear that she had no plans of letting me have any peace tonight.
“What more do you want from me?” I whined, pouting as I climbed back into my apartment. I picked up my phone for a new search in my internet browser.
I frowned at all the cutesy ass names that came up first, scrolling right past all of those to get to Blakewood Animal Clinic, which was the only one still open anyway. A quick glance at their website showed enough melanin from the various images on the home screen that I was comfortable giving them my business.
I went back to the kitchen, searching under the sink for a pair of rubber gloves.
“Yass,” I mumbled to myself, doing a little shimmy when I discovered a pair of rubber dish gloves under there, which I opened and put on before I straightened again. Looking around, I suddenly regretting asking the movers to take all the extra boxes with them – even one would be helpful now. Pursing my lips, I turned to the cabinets again, doing another triumphant dance when I spotted a big plastic mixing bowl – part of the “furnished” apartment – that looked cheap enough I wouldn’t mind replacing it.
Do I need a spatula too?
After testing the thickness of the gloves, in case MysteryCat decided to try to scratch or bite, I took the bowl back out onto the fire escape with me, and did my very best to gently transfer her into the bowl. Once she was in there, she seemed so… small. Much smaller than I’d expected. Feeling bad for the abundance of skin and fur – and lack of thickness – I saw, I put the chicken in the bowl with her after a few seconds of thought.
Maybe she’d get hungry on the way.
I brought the bowl inside, leaving it on my counter while I put on shoes and a jacket, and found an umbrella. The clinic was only a block away, so I didn’t bother using my rideshare app, choosing instead to walk.
Blakewood Animal Clinic was by no means a fancy establishment, if the outside was any indication. The sign was broken – but clean – and the only outside décor was hand-drawn paws and claws and other animal-related signs and symbols, done in dry-erase marker on the inside of the windows.
The waiting room was empty when I stepped in, but the chime over the door must have alerted someone to my presence. A handsome Asian man with tatted arms came from the back with a puppy wearing a cone around its’ neck in his arms, followed closely by a black woman with a clipboard and a smile.
“Can we help you?” she asked, her expression changing as her eyes landed on the bowl in my hands.
“Uh… yeah,” I told her, holding it out. “I found this cat on my fire escape. I think it… I don’t know. Got attacked by a dog or something. Maybe.”
“Aww, poor thing,” the man said, and ol’ girl just about swooned out of her scrubs grinning at him as he stepped forward to peek into the bowl. “Char will get you taken care of,” he told me, then turned to her. “I’m going to get this guy tucked away for the night, and I’ll let Dr. Davenport know we have a new patient.”
“Thanks Kenzo,” she gushed, watching him as he walked away.
I didn’t blame her either.
He had ass in those scrubs.
Once he was through that door, I cleared my throat, pulling her attention back to me.
“Sorry,” she breathed, her light brown skin flushing as she hurried to the reception desk.
“Oh girl, you’re good. I get it. He fine. You hittin’ that?” I asked, knowing it was bold as hell, but I was curious. My question only made her blush harder as she shook her head.
“No… I wish,” she whispered, damn near to herself, after glancing over her shoulder to make sure he wasn’t there. “Um… okay, let’s get some information down about your injured pet.”
“Oh no, she’s not my pet,” I quickly corrected, wanting to make that shit clear. “I was just minding my business, trying to get some work done, and this thing started making all kinda noise on my fire escape. All I want is some quiet.”
The girl – Char – looked a little horrified, eyes wide, lips parted. “Oh. Um… okay. So… I’m guessing there’s no name?”
“I’m not even trying to take this thing home,” I admitted. “I thought I saw that you guys had animal shelter affiliation or something?”
“I mean… we do, but—”
“Okay so yeah, I wanna do that. Sew her up or whatever, and then take her off my hands. I don’t have time to play nurse.”
“Char?” a voice – a different voice – called, from around the corner where Kenzo had disappeared. It seemed to be getting closer – and more familiar – as he continued speaking. “Ken said we had pa—ah, hell.”
Ah hell, indeed.
If I was “Dr. Davenport”, I wouldn’t want to see me either.
He stopped on the other side of the desk, looking better than he had any business looking in bright blue scrubs. There was a surgical mask hooked over his ears, but pushed down under his chin in a way that made it cup his beard, something that had, undoubtedly, made more than one child giggle today.
It had me feeling a little giggly too, or at least it would’ve, if it wasn’t for the faint remnants of purple mottled bruises surrounding his eye, from where I’d punched him two weeks ago.
“What is this?” he asked. “You back to finish the job?”
I smirked. “That’s funny, but I can assure you – I had no idea you’d be here. I don’t even know you.”
“Really?” he asked, eyebrow lifted. “I’d say you’re quite familiar.”
Something about those words was like flipping on a magnetized field. Instantly, my gaze dropped to his groin area, and I mean… sweatpants are cool and all, but have you ever seen a dick print in scrubs? Thinner, stiffer fabric meant a more pronounced… contour.
“I don’t recall,” I lied right to his face, pressing my lips together and crossing my arms, daring him to offer a comeback in front of his coworker, who was looking back and forth between us.
“Ohh!” she suddenly exclaimed, snapping her fingers. “Is this the homeless woman you found in your apartment?! The one who punched you in the eye?!’
I gasped. “I have a home!”
“Could’ve fooled me,” Kadan replied, in the smug tone of a man who just knew he’d scored a point in what was now, apparently, a back and forth.
My mouth opened, intent on offering some witty response, but all I could stammer was, “I was having a very bad night, for your information.” I hiked my nose up in the air, gesturing toward the cat, who was currently looking at all of us like we were crazy. “Now if you’re done – here is this… animal. Heal it, or whatever. You can send the bill to my home.”
Kadan frowned. “Why is it in a mixing bowl… with… is that chicken? What is wrong with you, woman?”
“I thought she might get hungry!”
“Or maybe you were hungry.”
My eyes narrowed. “I don’t eat pussy, I am strictly dickly, excuse you.”
“That puts a lot in perspective.”