The Virgin Romance Novelist

By: Meghan Quinn

“What did I tell you about talking to the cats?” Jenny, my co-worker, asked as she stood in my doorway. “It’s not healthy, Rosie.”

“Nothing about this office is healthy,” I said, while I had a stare down with Sir Licks-a-Lot. “Stop staring at me with your tongue half out; it’s creepy!”

As if he owned my office and everything in it, he sat up straight while maintaining eye contact with me, puffed his chest out, and then yacked up a hair ball, right on my desk.

“Eck, gross!” I screamed, as I backed away from the orange puke ball.

With a smarmy look on his face, he lifted his paw, wiped his mouth, and then jumped off my desk.

“Did you see that?” I asked Jenny, who was on the floor laughing at me. “I think he gave me the middle finger while wiping his mouth.”

“Cat’s don’t have fingers,” Jenny corrected in between giggles.

“Middle claw then, he gave me something, that’s for sure.”

“Are you going to clean that up?” Jenny asked, while pulling herself off the floor and into one of the cat scratched chairs that sat in front of my desk.

“Nope, planned on saving it for dinner,” I stated sarcastically.

“You’re disgusting.”

I grabbed a wet nap from my desk; I kept a stock pile of them in there for this very reason, cleaned up the hair ball, and threw it into my trash can, hating every aspect of my life in the process.

Deflated, I leaned back in my chair and said, “Don’t you get tired of being in this office? The cats are starting to drive me insane. This can’t be sanitary.”

“Hey, just be happy you’re not an intern whose duties are feeding the cats, grooming the cats and making sure the litter boxes are always clean in the shit room.”

The shit room.

I’ve only been in there once, and it was because it was my first day and I was getting a tour of the office. The offensive cat pee smell was so awful that I have yet to even go near the room since. The shit room was where all of the litter boxes were held, and I’m not talking about the little tray litter boxes, I’m talking litter boxes the size of a ship from BattleStar Galactica. They were perched on different shelves and different levels of the room. It was an intern’s nightmare.

“How do we even hold interns for so long?”

“Desperate college students,” Jenny replied, while looking down at her nails. “They will do anything to get an in with a print magazine these days, even if it means being a walking scratching post.”

“That reminds me, did a shipment of Cat Emery Boards come in for me? I’m supposed to do some kind of exposé on them, but have yet to receive the box.”

“Not that I know of, but you can ask Susan up front; she’s the one who handles all the UPS shipments, which, by the way, did you see her outfit the other day? She was in full on slutty Grandma mode.”

Susan was our receptionist, certifiable crazy cat lady herself, who had a major crush on the UPS man. Whenever she knew he was coming in, she donned her red lipstick that always wound up on her teeth, her blue eye shadow, which was sixty years too young for her, and a low cut top that always seemed to wreak havoc with her old lady bras.

“I didn’t; I was interviewing a shelter downtown. What was she wearing?”

Jenny leaned forward and looked over her shoulder at Susan who was picking at her teeth with a toothpick. In a hushed voice she said, “She had on a Hannah Montana shirt with a low cut neckline that she must have created herself and a pair of purple pleather pants.”

“I don’t think I can believe you right now,” I said, trying to hold in my laughter.

With a smirk on her face, Jenny pulled out her phone and showed me a candid picture she took of Susan talking to the UPS man with her belly hanging out the front of her Hannah Montana shirt and purple pants.

“Oh, my God,” I said, while covering my mouth. “That is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I was about to grab the phone for a closer look when Sir Licks-A-Lot jumped on my desk and started using my keyboard as a scratching post.

“Eh, get out of here. Pssst!” I tried to shoo him away.

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