Steve the cat (or as he is referred to on Instagram as @Stevethemainecoonofficial) had always been a very good cat, but when his human father and new girlfriend went to Cancun for the week of February 10th to the 17th (over Valentine’s Day no less!) and were posting pictures nonstop to social media of them both, scantily clad, laying in lounge chairs, sipping margaritas and reading Franzen (Franzen, for god’s sake!) that Steve started to get really pissed off.
“It’s like they’re doing this on purpose,” Steve said to Abe, the fire-engine-red fighter fish who spent his days suspended in a water-filled abyss above the hutch in the kitchen. Steve had heard once that fish could read lips, so when he found himself curled up next to Abe’s tank he’d maintain eye contact with him while enunciating each and every word with his puffy, overly whiskered cat lips. Sharing his problems with Abe often made Steve feel a bit better, his own problems seeming rather trivial in comparison, for Steve knew full well that as a fighter fish, Abe was sentenced to a solitary eternity due to his biological, aggressive tendencies, and the only way out of that tank was the inside of the toilet of their Brooklyn walk-up apartment. James, human dad had been nice enough to outfit Abe with a filter and some fake, pine-tree looking green thing, but never the less, it was what it was.
“I just feel like I don’t even know him anymore,” Steve enunciated each word, looking into Abe’s eyes, then getting lost in the reflection of his face in the glass, he spaced out for a minute, but this was typical of their non-hurried, one-sided conversations.
Steve hadn’t planned on James’ trip to bother him so much - in fact, he had honestly been looking forward to some free time alone. He could probably pin-point when it all started though, the Tuesday after they left, when Steve was laying on the bed, scrolling through his Instagram feed.
There they were – James and Jessica by the pool, Jessica in her bikini top, the reflection of her phone in her sunglasses, with James hanging over her shoulder, making that dumb, open-mouth smile he always makes when he’s really happy, the kind that filled the pages of the wedding album of his first marriage. Steve stopped scrolling when he came to the picture, suddenly feeling repulsed. “Lucky to be spending Valentine’s day with this cutie,” Jessica – THIRSTY Jessica wrote, and then on the line below included no less than what seemed to be 300 hashtags. One hashtag alone just said “bikini.” Um, what?? Steve thought, rolling his eyes.
And there were more. There was one of the two of them, sipping “ritas” as Jessica had started to call them, at some makeshift, Mexican cantina on a gravel road. Jessica was wearing a panama hat and James had a straw held between two puckered lips. “Another rita, por favor!” Jessica’s caption screamed.
And then there was the one that really did it, a post of just Jessica, her backside, as she looked off into the blue ocean horizon. How many of these did she make James take, Steve scoffed, looking at her somewhat square-looking bottom clad in a skimpy bikini clearly meant for someone half her age.
As by way of a physical reaction, it took nearly everything in Steve’s power not to take a shit directly on the recently purchased pottery barn bedspread on which he was perched, his legs tucked under him, an over-priced blanket Steve could only assume was purchased for this newly flourishing relationship.
In fact, not like anyone asked Steve, but he preferred an unmade bed. Back before JESSICA James would leave the bed unmade for weeks, even months at a time. Every weekday morning at 6:30 am, James would get up with a fart and make his way to the shower, and Steve would mosey over to the warm decompression his human dad had left behind, sometimes sleeping in that exact same spot all day until James came home from work that night. Those were the days. Now JESSICA had a whole routine, fluffing comforters, lint rolling up Steve’s hair, and topping the bed with an obscene and even offensive amount of pillows. It pissed Steve off, just thinking about it.
Steve licked his paw, contemplating his own next post. I mean, he knew it would be cute, because he had been told his entire life that he was in fact, very cute. But this time, he wanted to make them jealous. He wanted them to burn. He checked the clock, knowing in a few hours that the lady from across the hall would come to the apartment to feed him, and maybe, just maybe, she’d find him wearing a bow tie. No, that was too much. Maybe he’d just lay over on his back, showcasing his forbidden to touch, matted white fur belly? People loved the belly. Yeah, he’d do that. He didn’t need Cancun, a bikini top, or some infinity pool to get attention. And in his eyes he’d smile, knowing full well how many likes he would get.