4.17 – The Black Dragon

“It’s alright, Kat,” I said.

“RRROWWW!” HateKat said.

“It’s alright, Kat, It’s alright, It’s alright…”

“NO, IT’S NOT!”

“It’s alright, maybe there’s another Chinese place we can go to.”

“NONE OF THE OTHER ONES ARE ANY GOOD!”

“It’s alright, let’s just go anyway.”

“FINE, WE’VE ALREADY GONE TO THIS MUCH TROUBLE!”

Then we got back in the car and she hate-drove us to a place further down the street called The Black Dragon. It was in a dingy old stripmall, and their window had a picture of a horrible, mean-looking, flame-mouth, flyingbeast with chopsticks in his claws. I didn’t want to go in at all, but arguing with HateKat about it was out of the question.

When we got inside it smelled bad, and everything was stained, and there was no hostess.

“THIS PLACE IS SO BAD! HateKat said. “THEY JUST EXPECT US TO SEAT OURSELVES?!”

Only half of the tables were set, and the one we picked wobbled. Then HateKat made us move to another table, and that one wobbled, too.

“THEY PROBABLY ALL WOBBLE!”

And then we just stayed at that one.

“THE SILVERWARE IS SMUDGED! AND WHY IS IT TAKING THEM SO LONG?!”

“It’s al…”

“STOP SAYING IT’S ALRIGHT!”

Eventually a waitress appeared and we were able to order General Tso’s Chicken. When it got there, it was somehow just as good as Golden Lion’s, maybe even better and maybe even better than Wolf’s. It’s goopy brown batter was so sweet but also so spicy, and the chicken was piping hot, and the rice was pure, and the broccoli was crunchy, and it had lots of adorable baby corn.

“Yum” we both said.

It was so good it actually helped calm Kat down out of her HateKat state.

“Well, I did always like getting General Tso’s with you,” she said.

“MeToo,” I said.

“So we didn’t really get a chance to talk last night. Why are you out West again? For school or something.”

“Kinduv.”

“Like grad school?”

“I don’t really wanna talk about it.”

“But I actually have no idea what you’ve been doing for the last couple years.”

“Oh, ya know, nothing really…”

“Why’s it got to be such a big mystery? Just tell me.”

“Maybe cuz it’s something you don’t like.”

“What is it? RockNRoll School? Are you trying to be a RockStar, cuz the odds of you making it are so…”

“No, you’ll hate it worse than that.”

“The only thing more impractical than that would be trying to be a Reality Traveler or something.”

I didn’t say anything.

“But you’re not a Reality Traveler,” she said.

“Actually…” I said.

I flinched back waiting for The HateKat to strike across the wobbly table with knifey claws that I’d have to Roll With. But it didn’t come. Instead she just let out a deep sigh.

“You?… but aren’t ‘reality travelers’ supposed to go out and meet lots of people. You never made any friends at ALC except for me. You never even left Our Own Place.”

I shrugged.

“I mean, isn’t it just something insecure kids make up to feel important anyway?”

“No, it’s a real thing. There’s a whole Training School for it I just graduated from.”

“But what are you going to do for a career?”

“Deliver pizza very part time.”

“Seriously?”
“Maybe drive a cab very part time one day.”

“But those aren’t Adult jobs.”

“Reality Travelers aren’t supposta become Adults. It makes us sick.”

“That makes no sense.”

“It’s alright…”

“Why didn’t you tell me all this before?”

“Sorry. I wanted to be in Love with you more than Reality Travel. But then I realized it was time for me to fly. Like the REO Speedwagon song.”

“Well, I do like Speedwagon.”

“MeToo.”

“But, I just feel bad for you.”

“It’s alright, Kat.”

Then we didn’t know what to say after that. The waitress came back with the check.

“I guess I’m getting this,” Kat said, and I let her.

“I’ve gotta go cat-sit now,” she said.  “You’ve got a place to stay tonight, right?”

“Yeah,” I said. “El Puma Reality.”

Then we left.

4.16 – HateKat

After calling The Professor I knew I desperately hadta go to The Reality Travel Training School. He told me to finish my degree at Artsy Lawless, cuz getting my ass kicked by all the fake Traveler MeNotzies would be good for me. And he told me I hadta tell Kat I was a Reality Traveler and going to Where-ThePlains-Meet-TheMountains, no matter what I thought her reaction might be.

It was hard cuz I didn’t want Kat to ever become The HateKat. She was starting to turn into it a lot. Something would go wrong, or the weather would change, or there’d be no reason at all, and she’d come at me swinging with claws and leave scratches.

“What’s wrong with you?” she’d suddenly say.

Then she’d hit me with something from The Great List of HateKat MeNots.

  • YOU’RE SO LAZY
  • YOU GET UP TOO LATE
  • YOU’RE SO MESSY
  • YOU’RE A BAD DRIVER
  • ALL YOUR CLASSES ARE STUPID, ESPECIALLY PSYCHOLOGY OF ROCKNROLL BANDS
  • YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS HERE
  • YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING
  • YOU’RE THE WORST ADULT EVER
  • YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO END UP DELIVERING PIZZAS FOR A LIVING
  • YOU’RE A BIG HELPLESS BABY AND YOU WANT ME TO BE YOUR MOM AND DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU
  • YOUR ALLERGIES AREN’T EVEN THAT BAD
  • YOU’RE JUST A COWARD
  • YOU’RE NOT NORMAL
  • YOU NEED A THERAPIST
  • YOU NEED TO CHANGE
  • LOU GRAMM IS A WAY BETTER SINGER THAN STEVE PERRY
  • SOMETIMES I JUST HATE YOU

When I heard things from the list I wouldn’t know what else to do but say, “It’s alright, Kat,” and duck.

Still The Professor seemed like the kinda person you should do everything he says. So I came up with a plan to break the news to Kat. First I was going to play her “It’s Time for Me to Fly.” REO Speedwagon was the next closest thing to our other favorite bands, and I figured she’d MeToo it, and it would keep her from becoming The HateKat. Then I’d tell her the truth about me and Reality Travel.

I was just about to do it too, but then we had The Last Talk.

“We have to talk,” Kat said one night when she came back from work.

“Alright,” I said.

“The lease is running out on Our Own Place, and I don’t think we should renew it.”

“You want to get another place?”

“No, I think I should move back in with my parents, and you should move back to The Dorms.”

“Why?”

“Because you don’t care about me at all anymore.”

“That’s not true.”

“If you did you’d be trying harder to be an Adult.”

“I’ve been trying.”

“Maybe a little at first, but lately you haven’t been trying at all. It’s like you’re distracted with something else.”

I knew it was time to tell her about Reality Travel, but I couldn’t stop looking at her mouth. I could too easily imagine how it would start turning into the shadowy skull fang mouth of The HateKat. I didn’t want to annoy it and cause it to say the worst thing that could possibly be on The Great List of MeNots, “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

“Yes, you do,” she said. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”

“No, there’s not.”

“Now is the time to say it.”

“Everything’s al-fucking-right, Kat!”

Then it happened. There was a screech and a roar and a bony dark claw swiped at me.

“You’d talk if you were in Love. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS AT ALL!”

I couldn’t think what to say, except, “Leave me alone, you horrible mean HateKat!”

Then I went into the bedroom and closed the door and never explained anything to her. And she never asked me to again. We just kinda stopped talking all together. Then we moved out and stopped seeing each other all together. It made me sad, and I didn’t like it, but at least she didn’t turn into The HateKat again and get to say the worst thing that could possibly be on The Great List of MeNots.