allergic to love

note :: really just a fragment, another writing assignment to some silly prompt (I can't even remember what it was). But it amused me.

As Jason replaced the phone on its cradle, a heavy feeling of dread settled over him. Had he really just told Beverly she should come over to his place tomorrow night and he’d cook for her? It wasn’t the cooking, so much; he was hardly a gourmet chef but he figured he could manage something decent. He’d pick up fresh salmon in the morning and use that lemon rub recipe, do a vegetable and some rice pilaf, a nice salad with raspberry vinagrette, maybe even dessert if he had time. The problem was the "at my place" part of his offer. Beverly had never seen his apartment. Everything had been going so well!

With his usual sense of timing, Fuzzbucket lept up on the desk and began to drag his butterscotch-colored bulk along Jason’s arm. All his hard work every morning with the lint brush was undone in a few short seconds and his uniform was covered in cat fur again. Jason sighed and swept Fuzzbucket into his arms to scratch his stomach.

"Oh, Fuzz, what am I going to do . . ." He kissed the cat between the ears and moved across the room to flop down on the couch. Fuzz took this as a cue to worm out of Jason’s arms and wander off in search of other amusement, but two other cats quickly took over the opening on Jason’s lap. Rocky was already in his customary perch atop the sofa, and a tuft of white tail peeking out from behind a throw pillow indicated that Persia was asleep underneath. While Bullwinkle (Rocky’s considerably better-mannered sibling) kneaded Jason’s thigh, he surveyed the damage.

It was a reasonably nice apartment, or at least it had been when he moved in. A large living area with a kitchen separated by a bar, a dining area, separate bedroom and bath, tall windows and wood floors. The bones of the place had been fleshed out, however, with bachelor furniture left over from his college days and a plethora of cat toys. Keeping ten cats entertained meant purchasing nearly every kind of kitty castle, scratching post, automatic litter box, and electric mouse that the chain pet store down the block could hack up. Of course, being cats, they preferred his the nooks and crannies of the shelving system for his LP collection to kitty castles and the table legs to scratching posts, and his computer mouse was their favored quarry. It was not a messy place by any standard; even though Jason worked long hours at the precinct he was a naturally tidy person. Still, the picture was overwhelmingly cat-dominated and liberally coated in fur.

On the surface, it seemed like the situation could have been worse. Sure, he had ten cats. Jason’s partner’s girlfriend had to put up with a penchant for action movies set at the highest volume and a disinclination to ever put anything in the trash (not to mention chronic halitosis). Coming over for dinner wasn’t moving in. But as much as any girlfriend might be annoyed by a man’s personal habits, this was more serious.

Jason scooped up Bullwinkle and held him up at eye level. "She’s ALLERGIC to you," he said to the cat. Bullwinkle just twitched an ear, flicked his tail, and gave a leisurely yawn. That was entirely someone else’s problem.