“You’re still here?” Kat said when she got back to her parents’ from work.
“You’re just in time,” I said. “Full House is over, and the Fudge Grams are gone.”
“You’ve just been on the couch all day? I thought you had to go somewhere?”
“I was waiting for you so we could go to The Golden Lion.”
“That was supposed to be last night. You can’t just assume I don’t have other plans tonight.”
“Well, do you?”
“Yes, I told you before I have to cat-sit for a friend.”
“Not right now, but soon.”
“So there’s time to get food.”
“Fine, but as soon as we’re done I have to cat-sit, and you can’t come with me.”
Then Kat went to change clothes, but unlike the fancy outfit from the night before she came back wearing a hoodie and sweatpants. Her face was makeupless, pale, and tired looking.
“I assume I’m driving,” she said.
When we got in her car she had The Great Trip Mix in her hands.
“Is this yours?” she said. “I found it in my room.”
“Yeah, thanks,” I said, but when I reached to get it from her she didn’t hand it over.
“Why does it say I’m supposed to listen to track six of this?”
“It’s alright, you don’t hafta play it.”
“I thought I wanted you to, but I changed my mind.”
“Well, what is it?”
“It’s alright, nevermind.”
But she tried to put on six anyway. I hadta reach over and turn the volume off right away.
“Seriously, what’s up with track six?” she said.
“It’s alright, Kat. Just anyone but that one.”
“Okay, fine, no six.”
Then she started going thru all the other tracks.
“Oh god,” she said. “You put that ‘I’m Like a Bird’ song on there?”
I remembered she didn’t like old songs that weren’t old enough. I didn’t want to hear that one either right then. It was reminding me I needed to Always Be My Own Reality, and I didn’t want to.
“Don’t play that one either,” I said.
“This song is so bad. I don’t know where my home is, I don’t know where my soul is. What does that even mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ooh she’s like a bird. She’s not just a regular person. She’s more symbolic than that. Ooh she’s sooo much more deep and important.”
“It’s alright, Kat. Just turn it to track thirteen. That’s Foreigner.”
But by that point we were pulling into the Golden Lion parking lot and something didn’t feel right. There were no cars there and the lights were off inside.
“They should be open,” Kat said. “We’re here at six sharp.”
We got out and took a closer look and saw a sign on the door that said “CLOSED FOREVER.”
“You didn’t know about this?” I said.
“This must’ve just happened!” she said. “I was just here a couple weeks ago.”
It was a hard TimeFuck to take even for a Trained Reality Traveler like me. I could only imagine how it was for her. I looked over and noticed she was beginning to transform. Her fingers were turning into sharp nailed claws. The soft skin and little nose and friendly eyes of her face were getting wiped away and replaced by grayness and shadows and fangs. It started to look more like a kitten skull. She was becoming The HateKat.