My back hurts. I don’t know why, but it does. Great. What a way to start a Saturday.
I have to go to work even though it’s a weekend. Yeah, yeah. Bully for me. Which is why I must —
Even though my back seems to be experiencing hell. Better hurry, Joe. Better get up and smell yesterday morning’s coffee.
Ugh. I hate leftover coffee. I should brew up a new batch. That might somehow save me from this Saturday morning misery.
I raise my arms above my head, extending them gingerly, feeling the strain in my back once more. This is going to be tough. I try to push myself out of my mess of a bed.
My hands graze across something soft and warm. Huh? Muning, my five-year-old ginger tabby, usually curls up beside me at night, but the strange object — or is it a being? — lacks the familiar matted fur.
“Mrrrrmmm.” It grunts. What the — ?!
I fall out of my bed, landing with a loud thud, causing the grunter’s head to shoot up in panic.
“What? Where — where am I?” Her voice is a bit warbled and her sleepy eyes begin scanning the room in confusion. She’s a strange sight. She is sprawled on top of my tangled comforter, looking as if she had just fallen there. Wearing a wrinkled navy dress suit, a silk pearl blouse, and bright red stilettos; I observe. Odd pajama choice. I sometimes sleep with my street clothes on, but at least I remember to take my shoes off.
“You’re in Wonderland,” I answer wryly. “What on earth are you doing in my bed?”
She arches a pencil-thin eyebrow. “Who are you?”
“That’s a very good question. One that I would like to ask you, too.”
She makes an attempt to get up. “I have to get out of here. Inay will kill me if she finds out I spent the night at some stranger’s house.”
“Hold up, hold up. Nothing happened between us, Missy. I woke up and you were there beside me, like you fell out of a hole in the sky or something. No, I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that you came out of nowhere.”
“Are you absolutely certain?”
“By the tail of my pet tabby. Where’s that girl, anyway?”
The orange cat comes bounding in. “Right on cue,” the strange girl remarks.
“Listen, Miss. I really don’t have time to solve this mystery. Right now, I have to get to work.”
“And I have to get home.”
She starts asking directions to some subdivision I’ve never heard of. “Huh? I don’t even know where that is.”
“Nevermind, I’ll find it myself. It was nice meeting you, uh…”
“Joe. Go on. Door’s straight ahead.”
She scrambles out, taking a daisy patterned purse with her. Muning jumps onto my chest, and I realize I’m still lying on the floor. I start feeling the darts of pain shoot up and down my back muscles again. Oh yeah. My back hurts. And I’m in dire need of coffee.
Funny how that stranger made me forget those for a second or two.