Eyes turned upward, brooding over the asbestos crusted ceiling - trying to justify the imprinted patterns, creating highways through the heavily painted, and repainted, crevasses. An unanticipated molehill would sharply halt this progression, a dead end. Determined to mentally map out a route, traveling wall to wall effortlessly - without the slightest snag - she began again. Coiled in her knits, the cat repeatedly tromped over her torso. Maybe, it was hungry. Her state remained as if time plucked her up by the neck’s scruff, left to dangle in limbo. No shift of wind or moon’s tinge to gage the hour, day - or year.
“Hell, who knows,” her jaw unoiled creaked.
The cat (who, really, should have died starving but managed to merely survive - though nearly skeletal - by chomping clumps of fur from its’ underbelly) directed a bulging eye towards the dull, limp mass and with crisp diction spouted, “It’s been 16 years.”
The animal began to raise its’ fore limb, baring yet another patch of pale, scabbed flesh. Once extended, the cat, unfurled its’ stiffened tongue to run roughly atop its’ almost naked breast before shifting comfortably anew. 16 years? 16 years.
This fact jolted her eyes to function, right then left - narrowing then blinking. Fluid dry and crusted, sluffed off her eye’s crease with such a foreign motion. Her gaze followed the flake as it wistfully gave into gravity. Before she could plot its’ landing coordinates, her sight met the bold label of a Black Star Lager, still wet frosted condensing beads which, folded and rolled down the bottle’s side after gathering too much weight. Such glistening, it was evident, 16 years and her beverage was still chilled.
16 years? Cats don’t lie, ever. Perhaps it’s an ethic code bounding cats universally or just an inherit incapability but, cats, they do not lie.
Feverish and bitingly anxious about acquiring its’ temperature, she reached, without allowing her joints to settle neatly, and took a firm hold of her lager. Now exerted, she lifted its’ effervescence, light in color and body, above her face. Jaggedly tilting its’ body over the area she believes her mouth to be, gravity with all its’ force, sloshes the bubbling liquid atop her head, filling fully each pore and crease. Trickling downward, along her jawline and frothing the covers beneath her.
Yes, it was cold - still. And the unaccompanied droplet which entered her mouth was enough to remind her why she had stopped drinking Whitefish’s own double-hopped golden brew, 16 years ago.