Mr. Fluffy

She said I looked like her psycho ex-boyfriend who was currently locked up at Bellevue. I’d never heard that as a pickup line before, but I was new to the city. She bought me a drink and sat down next to me.  
    What did you boyfriend do, I said, to get locked up?
    He tried to kill me, she said. I woke up one night and he was standing there with my dead cat in one hand and a bloody knife in the other.
    He killed your cat?
    Yes, she said.
    He said it was because I loved the cat more than him.
    Was it true?
    That you loved the cat more?
    She looked at me for a moment and sipped her beer. Yes, she said. I did.
    Then he tried to kill you?
    She rolled up her sleeve and showed some nasty scars on her arm.
    Holy shit, I said. Did that hurt?
    No, it felt good, she said.
    Did you get a new cat? I said.
    No, she said. Not yet.

Are you on Facebook? I said. I know we just met, and I don’t want to be too forward, but I think we should be Facebook friends. I can look at your status and you can look at my status. I love Facbook. I’m friends with my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Klausmann. Do you know her?
    No, she said.
    Wouldn’t it be incredible if you knew her? Wouldn’t that be amazing? I walk into a huge city with seven million people and meet a girl who knows my kindergarten teacher. I hope that happens someday. Anyway, Mrs. Klausmann, she has two cats. She posts a lot of cat photos.
    I sipped my beer.
    Actually, I used to have a cat, I said. I lost him in rather tragic circumstances.
    What happened? she said.
    Let’s get another round first, I said.

I was on this medication, I said, and it messed up my thinking, really screwed with my brain, with everything. I couldn’t sleep, I had the worst insomnia. That is torture, pure torture, not to be able to sleep. I had these uncontrollable cravings for M&Ms. I bought huge bags of M&Ms and I would just eat all of them. I felt completely sick afterwards but I couldn’t stop. I built a fort in my room with blankets and pillows. I could only sleep in this fort, that was the only place I felt safe. I mean, I couldn’t sleep usually, but what little sleep I had, it was in that fort. I was constipated all the time, feeling sick, it was horrible. When all that was happening one morning I woke up and thought my cat was a dog.
    You what? she said.
    I thought my cat was a dog. I mean, I thought my cat used to be a dog. Quinn–that was his name. I mean he was a cat, but in my mind I was positive that he had been a dog before and overnight he had changed into a cat.
    What did you do? she said.
    At first I just stared at him and tried to remember. Did he used to be a cat? I had vague memories of walking him outside, playing fetch with him at the park, and doing other dog stuff with him. It didn’t help that he was very dog-like. We’d play fetch, he’d come running to me if I called his name, things like that. I got out of bed and went to the kitchen where I kept his food. If there was dog food, I thought, obviously I was right about the whole thing. But there was just cat food and cat treats. I went to the bathroom and there was a litter box. But I thought my roommate was playing a joke on me. I thought he was fucking with me. I thought he had replaced the dog food with cat food and put the litter box in there, just as a joke because Quinn was always acting like a dog. My roommate was always playing these stupid jokes on me. I decided I wasn’t going to let on, just pretend everything was normal, but I knew that Quinn probably wouldn’t shit and piss in the litter box, because he’s a dog, you know. So I went out and bought a leash and took Quinn for a walk outside. He was a little freaked out but he seemed to handle it pretty well. But he didn’t go to the bathroom. I thought, Shit, my roommate has trained him to go in the litter box, not outside. So I went back to the apartment and my roommate sees me and laughs at me and is like, What the fuck are you doing? Are you one of those cat people now? I’m like, What do you mean? He’s like, Taking your cat for a walk outside? I’m like, Whatever, dude.
    I decide to just play it cool and see what happens, but in my mind I’m freaking out. Then Quinn starts acting all strange. Like at night he’d be dragging his claws on my bookshelf. I’d wake up and he’d be staring at me, dragging his claws and looking at me. It sounded like nails on a chalkboard, you know. I was convinced he was trying to kill me. He clawed my face. I woke up one morning and there were scratches on my face and neck. I had dreams where he would slash my throat and eat my face. He’d be eating my face and my innards, like some zombie cat. I’d lock him outside my room at night but somehow he’d get in. It was my roommate, he let him in, and I’d wake up and Quinn would be staring at me, licking his claws and smiling at me. I wasn’t sleeping and then when I thought he was trying to kill me I really wasn’t sleeping. I knew I needed to do something. It was either him or me. So one night I put him in his cat carrier. I put the cat carrier in the bathtub and stopped up the drain and turned the water on. I held the carrier down. That sound he made, I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
    Are you serious? she said.

Buy me a drink, I said. Buy me another drink. She went off to the bar. There was some jazz music playing. A jazz trumpet always makes me sad. Especially on a Sunday. She brought back more drinks.
    My cat is dead and your cat is dead and it’s a Sunday and there’s a jazz trumpet playing, I said.
    Drink this, she said. You’ll feel better.
    We should do some heroin, I said. This music makes me want to do some heroin and I’ve never done heroin before. We should be junkie lovers. We’ll lose our jobs, our our friends, our health, but we’ll have each other. And heroin. We’ll squat in some abandoned building in Brooklyn, and recycle glass bottles and metal cans to buy enough money for heroin.
    You’re crazy, she said.

I feel like I’ve known you a long time, I said, before I kissed her goodnight.