It seems I have become…
It’s been about a week now, and I wish I could say I’m getting used to this, but I think I’m going to die soon. If not at the hands of my eccentric “owner”, then by my own.
It must be some poetic irony, or cruel joke played by a sick god, but I actually used to think living like a house-cat would be fun. Getting to sleep for sixteen hours a day, being fed and fussed over, never having to work or do anything for others, and yes, okay, I thought that occasional head-pats would be nice! But when you account for the fact that I’m a twenty-five year old human man and am being forced to act like the pet of a powerful crime lord because of a whim, I hope you’ll see why I have my reservations about the situation.
This mess started because of the simple fact that I get a little haughty when I’m drunk. That’s it.
I was drinking at home, alone, because I’m single and pathetic, when I ran out of cigarettes so went out to buy some. There are seven different shops that sell my brand of smokes within a twenty minute walking distance of my apartment, and I visit each one on a rotation because I’m paranoid that the workers will get concerned over how much I smoke if I just go to the same place each time. So the odds that the one I went into that night also happened to be the one that hadn’t paid their protection fee in three months was so slim that I’m still pissed off about it.
I walked in after the situation with the money was already getting messy, but I didn’t notice and I was pretty sure no one noticed me either. This was not the case. Seems there was meant to be someone guarding the door while the shake-down took place, but I’d shown up two seconds after the lookout went to take a piss, and that’s how I got in. Since I was blissfully unaware, I just went about my business unimpeded.
Because I was drunk, I pushed a few things off a shelf for absolutely no reason. I didn’t even stumble into them and do it by accident: I just felt the need to knock them off and so I did.
This vaguely cat-like behaviour was apparently the start of my downfall.
The shop workers weren’t in sight when I made my way over to the check-out (because the cigarettes are kept behind the tills) so I walked over the top of the counter to get a pack myself. I’m not sure how legal that is, but I’m not going to deny it at this point, and I even made sure to pay. I had the exact change in my pocket so I put that next to one of the registers and helped myself to what I came for.
That done, I climbed back over the way I came, but slipped and banged my head on the edge of the counter. I didn’t hit it very hard, but it was a sharp surface so when I touched the part that got hit, there was a little blood. I didn’t have the sobriety needed to care that much, but I did pout. I licked the blood off my fingers, then wiped my hand on my shirt before I got off the floor and acted like nothing happened as I tried to walk out.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, several people witnessed all of this. One of them was the crime lord I mentioned. I heard about this after the fact, but apparently when I walked in he made sure that his men, as well as the roughed-up shop workers, stayed quiet. They watched me walk through the shop like I owned the place, trip over like an idiot, and then try to play it off. The shop workers were asked who I was, and one of them that still had all her teeth said I was “here all the time and going to buy cigarettes”. When I heard about this I was washed with despair over the fact that I was recognisable as someone who always gets cigarettes, even though I took all that trouble to not go to the same place twice in a row.
I, uh… I also felt bad about the people that lost their teeth.
I think they would have just let me leave if I never spotted them, but once I made eye-contact with the boss my fate was sealed.
The man had quite a bit of presence, which is why I saw him first and not the five people covered in blood, but because I was drunk I think the only part of that “presence” I was registering was “tall”. He was about as tall as a 6'6" tree, or a 6'6" fence (but you don't see those very often).
He took one step in my direction and then held out his hand to me. I was a few metres away and my vision was hazy so I stared at his hand for a couple seconds, trying to see if there was something in it. Then he made a beckoning gesture, which I guess is how some people get cats on the street to approach them, but there was no reason for that to be the first place my mind went. Actually, the first place my mind went was that he wanted me to pay for the cigarettes in my hand.
“Money’s on the counter,” I told him straightly, then started walking to the door again.
“Come here,” he ordered softly but clearly. I made some grumbling noise, which, maybe if you squint at it, could have sounded a bit like a purr. I walked over cautiously and he continued the beckoning gesture until I stood in front of him.
I’d only been looking at his hand the whole time, and my eyes were still fixed on it when he raised it to my face. Strangely, I didn’t even flinch when he started patting my head and slowly rustling my hair, but once he brushed the part that I’d hit earlier, the sudden pain made me jump. For whatever reason you can come up with, since I sure don’t have one, I went ahead and bit his outstretched forearm in retaliation to the pain.
I glared at this guy, his flesh still clamped firmly between my teeth, and he actually started blushing.
He covered his mouth with his other hand like a shy teenage girl and cleared his throat. I let go but couldn’t leave like I wanted to because he grabbed hold of me and threw me over one shoulder.
“Boss?” someone behind us asked while I tried to avoid throwing up at suddenly being mostly upside down. I couldn’t even yelp in surprise because I was holding my breath and trying to figure out what happened.
“I’ll take care of this one alone. You lot finish up here and send me the report by morning,” he commanded firmly, but I could feel his shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter.
He walked out the shop carrying me, and by the time we were outside I’d slid back enough that I was then essentially straddling his waist. He had one arm tightly clasping me into his chest while the other supported my butt. My face was somewhere between his neck and collarbone, which was better than being upside down but not by much.
“Who said you could pick me up?” I protested angrily as I squirmed around, trying to wriggle out of his hold but being totally overpowered. He giggled in response and rubbed my back, still maintaining enough pressure that I couldn’t push away. “I’ll bite you!” I threatened.
“Again? By all means,” he said, sounding so happy it grossed me out. I figured he might be some sort of masochist.
“What did you pick up this time?” a deep voice asked.
“A cat!” the boss declared cheerily, nuzzling his face into my hair.
“… Sure,” the same deep voice said. “Make sure it doesn’t piss in the car.”