“Happy bar-day!” Cady cheered.
I gazed up at her with tired eyes. “What are you talking about?”
“On the house.” She slid me a glass of scotch. “Every day for the past year you’ve come here! Happy bar-day!”
“You are way too happy about this.”
“What? Your bar-day?”
“How could you be so negative! I’ve known you for a year and… and… that’s it… I have absolutely no knowledge about you.”
I shrugged and took a sip. “As it should be.”
She placed her hands on her hips. “No, no it’s not. This just won’t do. I’m fixing this. Now. What do you do for a living?”
“I’m,” I took another sip. “Not telling.”
Cady pouted. “Oh come on Randy!”
“Cady, trust me. You don’t want to know.”
“Yes. I. Do.” She begged. “Oh come on! Just give me a hint!”
I shook my head.
“Fine.” She said. “But I’m gonna find out.”
I’m not sure if Cady just thought that she was a genius or that I was incredibly drunk, but her poor attempt to trail me after I left the bar made me question her sanity. I pulled my coat’s collar up over my ears and picked up my pace. Muttering, I said. “If she is a sociopath, I definitely don’t want her to know where I live.”
Abruptly, I turned a corner. My apartment was fairly close by which is why I usually walk home—in fact I could see my window from where I was standing. However, I couldn’t let her know that.
“Taxi!” I called out.
Slamming the car door behind me, I ordered. “Just take me driving for ten minutes then come back around.”
As I sped off, I saw Cady try to run only to fade into the distance.
Usually, I wake up every morning at five to the sound of my blaring alarm. Today was a little different. “Hello, Randy Kirchoff.” Cady greeted in the corner of my bedroom.
“Geezus!” I flipped out and fell out of bed.
From under my mountain of blankets I demanded. “How did you find my apartment?! How did you get in here?!”
“I’ll tell you that once you tell me what your job is.”
“No! You’re a sociopath! Get out of my apartment!”
“No can do. I plan to stay here until you give me an answer.”
“Don’t you have a job you’re supposed to be at?”
“No. I’m a bartender. I only work nights. I just have to be back by seven to feed my dog. Now tell meeeee~!”
“Fine. I’ll just wait until you have to go to work and follow you.”
“I’ll just call in sick! Didn’t think of that, did you?”
Cady crossed her arms.
“Why are you so against letting me find out your job? I thought we were casual acquaintances who see each other once a day?”
“Look, it’s bad enough that I have this job and have to deal with it each day. The things I’ve seen. The things I’ve learned. You don’t want to know.”
“I refuse to believe that.”
“Believe what you want. Just hand me the phone so I can call in sick already.”
I didn’t actually call in sick. I ran out of sick days along time ago because I kept using them for bad hangovers. Instead I told them I was gonna be late, but I would bring in donuts. Classic trick. Now, all I had to do was wait for her to leave. Or call the cops. If she kept snooping, I just might.
Fortunately for her, there was no need. After two hours, Cady left to feed her dog. I let out a relieved breath. Finally, I could go to work in peace.
“Hey, Baxter!” Cady called out to her dog as she opened her apartment door.
She tossed her keys on the counter. “Did you miss me, buddy?”
Cady waited, but there was nothing. There was no reply. No happy prancing paws or sloppy wet kisses. “Baxter?” Her voice echoed off the walls of her apartment.
She clicked her tongue trying to call him. “Baxter!”
Cady rattled his dinner bowl and a bag of bacon treats. “Hey boy!”
“Something’s wrong.” Cady whispered under her breath.
In order to find him, Cady turned over every pillow that apartment. She examined every nook and craning. Then she found him, curled up in a ball and whimpering.
“Baxter! What happened?”
A half empty bag of chocolate chips laying next to him answered her question. Cuddling Baxter in a blanket, I whispered. “Don’t worry, bud, I’m gonna get you to the vet. You’ll be fine. Just you wait.”
Cady bursted through the vet’s clinic out of breath and out of patience. Without regard, she rushed to the front of the line. “Receptionist, my pug, Baxter, ate a bunch of chocolate. He needs help. Now!”
The receptionist took off her bluetooth earbuds. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
Holding Baxter in one hand, Cady freed her right arm and snatched the receptionist’s collar. “Help. My. Dog. Now.”
After she tugged free, the receptionist madly began to type into her keyboard. “You’re in luck. Dr. Kirchoff was late so his morning appointments were canceled.”
Kirchoff? Cady wondered. Could it be?
Sure enough, Cady saw me, dressed in a spiffy lab coat and everything. Unfortunately , I didn’t see her, I was talking to some other owner at the time.
“Or I recommend Dr. Smith. His lunch just ended and Dr. Kirchoff doesn’t specialize in this.”
“Yeah,” Cady echoed. “Dr. Smith would be great.”
Later that night, I arrived at the bar like I always did. Took my seat at the bar in front of the TV to annoy sports fans like I always did. I saw Cady’s devilish grin from across the counter like I always did. Wait, no. Something’s wrong. It’s twice as big as usual.
“Oh Randy~!” She sang. “Happy post-bar-day!”
Ugh, this again. “Listen, Cady. I’m not gonna tell you what my job is—“
She pressed a finger on my lips. “A-ba-bump! I wasn’t going to ask you about that.”
“Never do this again.” I ordered as I pulled away from her probably filthy hand. “And what you talking about?”
“You’re a veterinarian!” She exclaimed. “I saw you today when I took my dog in to pump his stomach!”
“Oh, good grief.”
“You know, I don’t get why you were hung up on keeping this a secret from me. You made it seem like it was some kind of hideous knowledge—“
“I specialize in animal STDs.”
Cady immediately stopped talking and her mouth made a silent ‘oh’. Slowly, she grabbed a bottle of vodka and placed it next to me. “On the house.”