I mustn’t be late. Not today of all days. The rich dirt clung to my hands. I should have planted those bulbs yesterday. It would take an hour to get all the grime out from under my nails. I shook my head in disgust. Maybe two.
The cloud drifted right over my head spreading its purple shadow over me like a steel wool blanket. I could feel it bearing down above my head like a mountain. Why had I bought so many flowers? I’d need to put in an irrigation system to keep them all watered.
Bootsie just stared at me.
“Why don’t you go catch a rat or something,” I said, plunging the last bulb deeply into the soft soil.
Not a peep. Nothing. The silent treatment. Cats are so moody. I glanced at my wrist. I should be using a sundial to keep up with time for all I pay attention to it. I slapped some of the soil onto my jeans. The dirt left a black stain the size of Texas on my leg. Maybe I should just burn them. I’d think about that later.
I hurried into the house. Bootsie stayed put, not moving an inch.
The big cloud overhead was an alabaster palace. Stupid cat, I mused. Get rained on. I don’t care.
I raced through the house, gathering clothes by the armful, headed for the shower, and turned the water on steaming hot. When the room filled with a misty fog, I hopped in. Ee-ow. Good. The water was hot enough to boil my hide but that was alright. I scrubbed my skin raw and squeaky clean.
Late. Oh, heavens. I’m running so late.
I threw on the first thing I saw piled high the hamper. Two shoes and one wallet later, I was ready to leave.
“I’m late for my appointment, Bootsie,” I said. “You coming or not? Come on. You know you want to. You can’t stay out here. You might get ran over.”
The lazy feline made no move, so I scooped him into my arms and jumped into the car. The tires brushed the curb, an on-and-off quick bounce, and we headed into town. Bootsie bobbed in the seat like a ball.
“You’re just lucky I didn’t buy that seatbelt I saw for cats, you know,” I said to Bootsie, who stared ahead silently.
Bootsie was a first-class know-it-all. I’d never strap him in like that. God, I’m such a pushover, I thought.
“We’re here,” I said. “Come on. It’s too hot to sit out here in this car. You’ll fry,” I said, grabbing my wallet and Bootsie at the same time.
“What are you doing?” my doctor asked as I entered the room almost gasping for breath.
“Sorry I’m late. I ran the whole way from the parking lot.”
“You’re not late?” he asked. “Who is this?”
“Bootsie. He wanted to come with me today, so I brought him along. I hope you don’t mind.”
“But I do mind,” he said. “The cat is dead. You need to put him back into the ground. And we need to up your medication.”
short story, fiction, joni green