Zooey took her time in the market down the street, tyring to find the perfect wine because Zooey was the wine connosieur of the apartment. She chose a bottle of merlot made somewhere in the depths of Canada and hurried back to the apartment.
When she got to the door, she could hear music playing behind it in the apartment. Fumbling for her keys and balancing the bottle of wine, Zooey tried opening the door. She walked slowly down the hall and stopped short in the the living room, her mouth gaping wide open at the scene before her.
Nasa and Fritz were making out on the sofa, clearly unaware of Zooey’s prescence. Mr. Williamson leaped onto Fritz’s back, clawing and sputtering wildly. It was only then when they realized Zooey was in the room. Zooey dropped the bottle of wine onto the floor, but it didn’t break, it just rolled towards the sofa slowly.
Mr. Williamson ran to Zooey meowing madly. She scooped him up and turned to walk out the door as Fritz and Nasa stammered excuses her way.
Zooey held tight to Mr.Williamson who clawed madly in her arms, ready to break free. She left the apartment building and walked slowly down the street, too shocked to think. Mr. Williamson soon became agreeable after he sensed there was something wrong with Zooey. He looked up to her with sympathetic eyes, which Zooey knew wouldn’t last very long.
She blindly boarded a bus, not bothering to look where it was headed to. She had the odd feeling of being watched and followed, something she was always keen to. She paid no mind to it and sat far in the back, cuddling the kitten and absently looking out the window at the city blur.
She got off the bus, near Chinatown, somewhere she usually avoided due to tourists and casually strolled, trying to put her mind at ease. From time to time, Zooey would catch a glimpse of bright red out of the corner of her eye, but when she looked, she knew she was just imagining it.
She put Mr. Williamson in her tote bag, and he stuck his head and paws out, looking around.
Too confused to make any logical decisions or actions, Zooey blindly made her way into a reasonably crowded coffee shop, sitting far in the dimly lit back at a small table for two. She absently stroked the cat and called a waitress for a cup of coffee.
She didn’t know what to do. Zooey hadn’t even digested the whole scene she had just witnessed, but the shock of the matter hung limply over her like a drooping cloud.
She knew she was doomed when it came to ever even considering a relationship with anyone.
Zooey gave in to her grief and put her head down on the table, trying not to fog it up with her heavy breathing.
The other chair at her table made a screeching sound against the floor, as if someone was moving it. She didn’t look up, but she glanced down underneath the table and was met with the sight of two well polished black dress shoes connected to legs wearing bright red trousers.
Red pants? Zooey thought shocked for a moment.
She lifted her head slowly.
His face was shadowed by the wide brim of his hat that made him appear like a seedy journalist from the fifties.
“Hello, Zooey,” he said. The monotone hum of his voice made her quickly think of the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Any minute now he would be calling me Dave, she thought.
Zooey opened her mouth, but nothing came out but a small, silent gasp.
“I believe you’re wearing my shirt,” he said, pointing a long, feminine hand towards her. His nails were painted with chipped red nail polish.
I’m being stalked by a transexual? Zooey thought curiously. She peered down, and in fact, she was wearing the David Bowie shirt Miyoko had left. Zooey returned her gaze to meet with the shadowy stranger.
“Who are you?” She asked, trying to squint to clearly see his face.
“My name,” he said taking off his hat in a dignified manner, “Is Reid Thurston.”
Zooey nervously looked around, and returned her gaze to the mysterious stranger. Reid had a pallid complexion, cheekbones sucked in forming little anorexic puckers in his face. His eyes were large, doll-like, sagging in the corners making the brown tint of his eyes look sad.
Zooey squinted, he looks attractive if he doesn’t smile, she thought.
Reid’s lips curled up menacingly into a smile. Zooey frowned.
“Listen,” he said leaning forward on one elbow towards her, “You knew it was going to happen didn’t you?”
“Know what?” Zooey asked.
Reid laughed a little before answering, “That Fritz and Nasa would get together. Come on, you know better than that.”
Zooey edged back in her seat, afraid.
“How did….” She stammered.
Reid narrowed his gaze, “Let’s just say I’ve harmlessly been observing.”
Zooey was speechless.
“Why?” She demanded.
“Maybe its the wine talking, or my delirious lonliness, but…” he trailed off.
“I’ve been writing a character based on you.”
Zooey remained speechless. She was quick to draw back, instinctively telling herself this man was indeed insane and that she should run, far as to avoid some sort of Silence of the Lambs incident. Yet, something, her curiosity perhaps, kept her drawn to him, focused and determined to find out not only his story, but his odd obsession with her.
Reid tipped his hat back down over his eyes, and then back up again, as if it didn’t exactly fit and he had to find some painless way to wear the hat so that he could avoid some sort of hat-related aneurism. He watched Zooey with a smirk on his face, waiting for her avid, shocked response, but she suprised him as she leaned back and crossed her arms and intently stared back, challenging.
“You know,” she said, “One of your eyes is bigger than the other, kind of like Mick Jones.”
“Thanks,” he said sarcastically, “You had to compare me to the least attractive member of a band that I’m not really fond of. You know, Joe Strummer’s eyes didn’t match either…”
They were silent for a moment, before Zooey took a dramatic sigh which indicated she was going to assert conversation.
“So,” she said toying with the fringe on her scarf, “You seem to know so much about me, what’s your story?”
“Like my autobiography? What?” He questioned with a hint of dry sarcasm.
“I mean, what are you doing going around following people? Do you have a job? A pet you take care of? Are you living in a dumpster bin? That kind of story.” Zooey explained.
“I’d hardly call those story topics,” he grinned.
“Well…” Zooey prodded.
“Fine,” he started, leaning forward towards her as all mysterious storytellers do, “I like to observe, that’s why I follow people. It’s not like I have a hit-list tucked in my shirt pocket. I find people dull, morbid, and disgusting. But once in awhile you find people that are inspiring and comical, much like yourself…”
“Inspiring and comical?” Zooey said with a quizical and disturbed expression, “I’m in a black comedy?”
“I wouldn’t exactly call it King Lear,” Reid said leaning a bit closer. Zooey absently petted the kitten with a bored expression.
“I feel like this is going nowhere,” she said blankly.
“What?” Reid asked politely.
“This conversation,” Zooey said annoyed, “sitting here listening to you put off all the why questions.”
“Then let’s go somewhere else and put off all the why questions,” he said with a smirk.
“Very funny,” Zooey said glumly.
“Look, Zooey, I know you’re still upset, but there are much better things in the world than your flambouyant roomate and how he spends his afternoons,” Reid said passionately.
“God, you’re right. Insane, but right nonetheless. Argh. I feel like a real idiot. Maybe I should just give up this silly little fantasy life I’m living in. Or maybe, just maybe I’m only a figmentation of your overactive imagination. That’s right!” Zooey ranted and a wild look had cast over her eyes.
Zooey had finally cracked.