Smarty Cat

“Week two into testing. No side effects. Test scores increased by two percent.” I spoke into my webcam. They had stressed that documentation was the important part of this trial. I attached the tests. “No increase in dosage.”

I sent it off and spun slowly in the chair. They were trying to slowly increase people’s intelligence, the quick increase drugs wore off and had appalling side effects. I was not stupid before the drugs, but they did seem to be helping.

“Week three, mild headache on Monday, no other ailments. Test scores up three percent.” I attached my scores. My cat jumped on my lap and started purring, she pawed at my keyboard hitting the enter key sending my results off.

“Week four, stomach ache on Wednesday. Test scores up five percent from last week.” I attached the tests. My cat was walking around my computer complaining. I sent them off. I gave my cat some affection, petting her soft, silky fur. She nudged the mouse with her nose and clicked a program. “What are you doing silly girl.”

She walked across the keyboard.

“Food.” I read aloud, it was a weird coincidence.

I shut down the computer, I fed my cat, who was winding her way in between my legs as I walked through the house.

“Week  five, no side effects. Strange behavior from cat. Test scores continue to rise. Five percent increase.” I attached the test results. My cat mewed loudly it sounded like my name.

“What kitty?” I asked scratching her head. She meowed my name again.

“Week six, test scores up six percent.Cat can now talk to me.”

Kitty was talking to me in a weird meowing language. I could understand most of what she was saying. The only explanation I could think of was that she was getting into the test drug. “How are you getting so smart?”

“I eat your snack.” She meowed.

“You ate my snack?” I could only guess she meant that she was eating the little pills.

“Week seven, need tests for cat.” I would do some testing of my own.

Her intelligence seemed to be growing faster than mine. The dose would be higher in her tiny body. I only had one more week of the drug then I would be tested to see if the gained intelligence would last. The conversations with the cat were getting more intricate. She was getting better at making words. I kept her ability a secret.

“Kitty can you take this test with me?” I asked her, she bumped her head against my hand indicating yes. That was how she chose things on the computer. I opened the test and she took the test nudging my hand to the answer she wanted.

I attached her scores as well as mine. “Kitty do you feel anything strange.”

She looked at me and tilted her head, “I feel fine.”

“Week eight, no side effects from me or the cat. test scores phenomenal.” I recorded and sent the results off.

We waited together to see if the effects would wear off in the following weeks. There was a sharp decline in Kitty’s test scores, mine dropped a few points before stabilizing above my initial scores. Kitty could still type on the computer but her mews were just mews.

I missed the conversations with my cat. When we checked in with the study after six months for our final review and debrief it turned out we were an oddity. Most of the other subjects lost all of their intelligence, returning to their normal intelligence. They ran additional tests to see why we were different. No one could figure out why.

“Did any of your other subjects have pets?” I asked the scientist holding onto my precious cat.

“One had a dog, but your cat was the only one to take the drug along side you.” They said looking through the papers. “We will need some more test subjects to see if that is what caused it to stick.”

Kitty jumped off my lap and walked across the nearest computer terminal pulling up the cursor to type. She walked across the keyboard.

“Love her.” The scientist read confused.

Kitty came back and snuggled my legs.

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Coffee

“What would you like?” The barista asked.

“Venti Double Mochachino skinny.” The customer rattled off.

“Name?”

“Caroline, with a C”

It took every ounce of determination not to roll his eyes at her stereotypical order. He almost guessed what her order was going to be before she ordered it. She had shorts, ugg boots, and a messy bun. Almost every girl like that ordered a venti skinny something. Her horn rimmed glasses and over sized canvas bag screamed double espresso. There was a fifty percent chance of her ordering something off menu from her obscure band tee.

She texted while he made her order. He spelled her name wrong writing “Karolinc” on the cup.

He handed it to her and she looked at the name with disgust. “Really?”

He pretended to be busy with cleaning the machine. She walked away.

A new customer came up, he was a large man with a leather jacket, and a beard. Only slightly intimidated the barista asked, “How can I help you?”

“I would like a small black coffee and one of those filigree butt hole drinks.” He said.

“A small black coffee… and what was the second thing?” The barista asked, he wasn’t sure if he had heard that right.

“A fancy drink, I can’t remember what my wife wanted.” He said. “Just make whatever you want.”

“Okay, size?”

“That one,” he pointed at the tall cups.

The barista typed at the register, “Name?”

“John.”

He made the drinks and wrote his name on there the right way. He wrote what the drinks were on the cups, black coffee and filigree butt hole and handed the drinks over.

“Thank you.”

“You are welcome.” The barista said. He saw the man chuckling as he walked away and saw the names on the cups.

 

 

 

Numbers

He looked at the numbers above everyone’s heads. Some were decades others were a few hours. They spanned all lengths of times. He wondered what his would read, it was the only one he couldn’t see. The deal he had struck seemed sour now. Trading his mortality for the ability to see what everyone else’s would read. He hated seeing anyone who had just days to live. He would outlive them all. His mother had another ten years. His father only had two. Everyone he knew would die, but he would remain. There was nothing he could do to extend their lives.

He was afraid of death, that was why he made the deal. When he had first seen the numbers he wondered what they meant. When he figured it out he refused to leave the house for a year. His mother came to visit him and he saw her clock counting down and he realized he didn’t have much time left with his family even if he would live forever they would not.

They found his change in behavior very unsettling and had him committed to sort things out. The psychologist had a week of time left. When he talked about what he was seeing the psychologist laughed. The next time he saw the shrink, there was an hour left, just a little longer than their session. He walked out the door and the next patient walked in. He was finishing up the paperwork when there was a crash and some yelling. The receptionist got up to investigate. She opened the door, he glanced over to see what was happening.

The clock above the psychologists head was at a few seconds as the patient swung the heavy paperweight. It connected as it ran to zero. He threw up on his paperwork. The receptionist slammed the door closed and locked it screaming for security as she dialed nine one one on her cellphone. The receptionist had eighty years left, he noted as he tried not to vomit anymore.

From that point on he avoided anyone with less than a week to live. He didn’t want to see anyone else die. He always had to look at how much time anyone had left. One day he saw something strange there was someone who didn’t have one. Confused he walked over to the young lady.

“Yes?” She said turning to face him.

“This is going to sound crazy but you are never going to die.” He said.

“And neither are you.” She replied. “You made the deal with Death too?”

“You seem pretty comfortable with it.”

“Once everyone is gone it gets easier.” She said. “When they all have the same number its much easier. You can tell things like don’t get on that flight, or stay away from that area. You’re the only other person I’ve seen who doesn’t have one.”

“My name is Luke.” He said holding out his hand. “I’ve had this gift for two years and three weeks. My father’s clock ran out this week.”

“You stayed away?” She seemed shocked.

“I don’t like death.” He told her, feeling judged.

“There are worse things…” She said a far off look in her eyes.

He was curious but afraid to ask. “Luke by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Luna.” She was looking intently at a woman who was passing by.

“What?”

“Shes almost out of time.” She said quietly, “There’s nothing we can do…”

They watched her, her clock had minutes left. Luke wanted to do something, anything, but he didn’t know how she was going to die. Even if he tried to save her she would die anyway. He halfheartedly reached out and brushed her hand. She turned and glared at him. She glanced down the street then started to cross. A car careened around the corner and hit her. Luke cringed, Luna watched fascinated. Her clock hit zero before the car had come to a stop.

“It gets easier if you find the ones with less time. You don’t get as attached.” She said turning away from the accident.

“How long have you had your powers.” He asked.

“Long enough…” She said cautiously. She looked like she was thinking about something. “If you’re never going to die either…”

“What?”

“Maybe it would be okay to get attached to you.”

“How do you even know you’re going to like me?” He asked.

“I don’t but its worth a shot.” She smiled at him.

It sounded better than watching his friends and family slowly die. He offered her his arm and she took it. He told her about his visit from death. How death had loomed over him like a great darkness and to give in would be to surrender to it. He fought to get from deaths grasps and he was offered the deal. Hers was similar but she had been searching for Death and he kept eluding her. Since she had wanted to join him so badly despite the planned fifty more years had offered her the deal.

“So love and hate,” She summed up nicely. “Death sure does have an odd sense of humor.”

“I guess so…” He said taking her hand it felt nice to have someone who wasn’t going to leave him.

“You should see some of his other jokes…” She smiled a sarcastic smile.