(Just jumping in now? Read the previous installment, The Kitten Psychologist Tries to Be Patient via Email, or start at the beginning with The Kitten Psychologist.)
Wednesday arrived, and 2:55pm found me in my office, sweating.
I’ve really got to turn the heat down in this place.
It is down.
I’d cancelled my other appointments that day when it became clear partway through my first one that all I could think about was this one. This one in thirty minutes. My lunch tried to regurgitate itself. It did an excellent job. 4 out of 5 carrot-flavoured lumps for effort.
Who knew a kitten would be so much trouble?
And I went for it anyways.
And now I’m here.
Was the thermostat actually working, or just pretending to work?
I simultaneously wished the kitten’s owners would come early and that they’d never come at all. Between ripping this experience off like a bandaid and waking up to find it a dream… I honestly didn’t know which one would be better. Maybe the bandaid.
Yeah, it was the bandaid.
What if I didn’t show up? I could escape out the window, right? Three stories isn’t hard to climb down. I’m sure it’s not.
My knee bobbed like a squirrel on cocaine. When had that started. Stop that. Stop it. Gah. Now the other one was doing it.
Okay, this is ridiculous. Pull yourself together. Or at least pretend to.
The door opened. I jumped.
The kitten entered first, followed by Worn Jeans and Green Shirt.
Oh dear lord.
I licked my lips.
Had I had enough to drink today? My mouth was undergoing desertification.
“Hello,” I said. Cleared my throat.
“Tell the psychologist what you told us,” Worn Jeans demanded of the kitten.
‘The psychologist.’ Ouch.
“I went to the bank,” the kitten said.
“We’ve obviously got to supervise it more,” said Worn Jeans, arms crossed.
“Wait, wait, two months ago, your kitten was too afraid to go outside. Period.”
“It was?” asked Green Shirt. “I didn’t know that.” Both of my friends had been sitting tensely and, due to my nerves, I hadn’t noticed until now that they both… softened? Not much, but enough to remind me to listen. To focus.
I took a deep breath.
“Well, I’m not now,” said the kitten. “Obviously.” Its usual arrogance faltered for a split second when it glanced at its owners, but it soon regained its composure. “Since the source of all our arguments seems to be money and how to get it, it followed that I should start by opening a bank account. However I end up acquiring money, I must have some place to put it first. And let us not forget that this all started because I was paying you out of an account not my own. It was the logical course of action.”
Never mind Voldemort. Now I was dealing with Spock. Or Spocklemort? Voldepock? “So you have an account now.”
“Of course not. The idiot banker refused to open one for me.”
“Because you’re a cat.”
“Because I have no money. And I’m underage.” The kitten scoffed. “Underage. The whole system’s felinist. I needed to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, apparently. Which my humans refuse to do for me. Neither will they lend me any money with which to make my first deposit.”
“Can you blame them?”
The kitten eyed its owners. “I suppose not. But still. I’m trying to be responsible, here. You would think they’d see that.”
“And how are you supposed to pay back your loan, exactly?” asked Worn Jeans.
“I’m working on that!” the kitten retorted.
I made what I hoped was a placating gesture to both of them. “I’m confused. Why are you talking to me about this?”
“Don’t you see?” Worn Jeans’s hands jabbed the air. “It went to the bank. On its own.”
“Why is this even a problem?” Green Shirt exploded.
What the what now? The kitten and I exchanged glances, but said nothing.
“No, really, why do we need to make a big deal about this? It went to the bank to open an account. That’s not a crime.”
“And whose money will it fill that account with? Ours?”
The kitten flicked its tail.
“It’s going to pay us back. It said it would.”
“It stole money from us for weeks, why would we believe what it said? And why does a kitten need money?”
“Because your friend needed help!” the kitten yelled.
(Stay tuned for the thrilling(ish) conclusion, coming in February to a blog near you!)
This story was first published on my Patreon. If you pledge $5 or more a month, you’ll see all the short fiction I publish there two days before anyone else, plus ebooks, access to my process journal, and more.
*The graphic for this series was created by Amy Laurens :)