Alan put one finger in the water: it was perfect. He closed the tap and took off his towel. He put it on a hanger just by the tub and then entered the water, laying peacefully in the tub, closing his eyes and smiling calmly. He hadn’t been properly relaxed for many days because of work and family and he had decided to take this Sunday to just be at peace with himself, enjoying what he liked and doing everything for him only.
He opened his eyes remembering he hadn’t used the bath foam he had bought a day ago in the mall. He stood up, carefully stepped on the floor mat and walked to the sink. He grabbed the small bottle and poured some in the water. Then, when he was about to enter the calm of the bubbles, he heard the intercom’s sound. He decided not to answer it but then it kept on ringing. He grabbed the towel, put it around him and went to the kitchen to answer the call. Apparently someone from work had come to visit him and leave some documents. He asked the man to say he didn’t want any visitors but then he heard another voice: it was his boss and apparently he had come with his wife. There was no way to say no.
He put on an old t-shirt and some gym pants and received them. He thought his clothing would make them go away but they certainly didn’t. The truth was his boss was very fond of him but he didn’t like him in return. He was the kind of person that would use other people’s time freely, as if it was his own. Alan had to give them some cookies he had gotten from his mother as well as coffee he had prepared for a post-tub breakfast.
Their visit seemed eternal. Who visited an employee at nine in the morning on Sunday? His hatred of his boss grew exponentially as he told him his stupid stories about the club and encounter had had with a well-known actor in the airport and when he had gone to Thailand. Alan did not want to know any of that. He couldn’t give a fuck about what his boss did outside of work and, clearly, his boss didn’t really cared about his employee’s lives.
Then, after all his stupid stories, he confessed he had only come to visit in order to give Alan some papers that he should read for a reunion the following morning. And the he just left, as if nothing had happened. Alan decided not to ask why he hadn’t sent those damn papers by email or with a courier or some other way. Why did he have to come and bother the only person that visibly disliked him in the office? It was funny how Alan really did not express any animosity for him but then he was all nice and kind to Alan.
He tried to not think about work, leaving the papers on his coffee table. Alan walked back to the bathroom, where the bath foam had grown so much it was spilling on the sides of the bathtub. Deciding he didn’t really mind about it, he took off his clothes, left them on the floor and put one foot in the water. He almost fell backwards when he felt the icy cold water that was beneath the foam. Now he had to empty the tub and fill it with hot water again. Half of the cold water out would be enough to fill it again.
When most of the water was out, he opened the hot water tap to refill it. He also added some more of the foam solution, as most of it had gone down the drain with the cold water. Then, the doorbell rang again. Alan let out an exasperated sound. He was going to kill the doorman if he had let someone in without asking him. He grabbed his towel and went to the door almost running. Before he realized he could have just not answer it, he had opened the door.
It was his neighbor Marco, a big guy that apparently spent every hour of the day at the gym. Sure enough, he wore the right attire to go and work out but that wasn’t important right then. He was holding a white cat, very fluffy with a flat face.
- Hey man. I was wondering if you could take care of Snowball for a few hours. I normally leave with my…
He’s face looked as if he had forgotten the word he was about to say or even why he was there. Alan stared impatient, looking from Marco’s stupid face, to his cat’s face and then back to Marco’s. Then, he realized he was only wearing a towel, which could fall at any moment because he had not put it correctly in the haste.
- Am I interrupting something? – He said, looking at something over Alan’s shoulder, which wasn’t very hard to do as he was very tall.
- Kinda… - in a very cold voice.
- Cool…. So my girlfriend won’t take him. She’s busy and can’t do it. So would you do it? Just for a few hours. She has already eaten and she’s very well behaved.
He held the cat in front of Alan’s face, as if the animal was an offering a weird sacrifice ritual. Alan took the cat that tried to release himself from the man’s arms, and told Marco not to be late because he had a very busy day ahead. Marco just nodded, smiling in a way he looked like a very small child. He gave the cat a pat in the head and then headed down the stairs.
After closing the door, Alan left the cat on the floor and turned to go in the bathroom. But the cat crossed his path and tried to attract his attention. The creature just roared softly and circled him with his fluffy tail but Alan had no time for this. He grabbed the cat, walked back to the living room and left him there. But when he tried to leave, the cat would cross his path again. He grabbed it once more but then realized the cat’s paws were wet. He was about to yell in fury because he thought it was cat piss but it wasn’t.
There was a very large puddle of water, still advancing, from the bathroom. Then he remembered the open water tap. He threw the cat away, which landed softly on the floor, and ran towards the bathroom, his towel falling to the damped floor. He almost fell trying to close the tab of water. There was soapy foam all over and the tub kept spilling water to the floor. He finally was able to close the tap and drain the water out of the tub. Now he was wet and soapy all over and his towel was more of a wet cloth than anything else.
He went to the kitchen and when he was about to grab the mop, the doorbell rang again. Exasperated and frustrated because of his failure to be at peace, he opened the door, slamming in hard against the opposite wall.
- What? What the fuck is it now?!
On the other side of the door stood his landlady, an elderly woman who was always accompanied to the upper floors by the doorman, who stood behind her. They both stared at Alan and then the woman yelled and started saying things so loud no one really understood. But Alan did get one of the words: “Pervert”. And then he realized that he was still naked, having not replaced the wet towel with a clean one.
He slammed the door shut and, for some reason, put the security chain on. He could hear the old lady yelling all the way to the elevator and the doorman trying to calm her down. It was a disaster. Alan just remembered she had told him she would visit in order to negotiate an extension on his rent contract, which he needed to do because of the great price and place he had there. Now that was, like the bathtub foam, down the drain.
He slid down to the floor, covering his face with his face, frustrated and sad that this so-called “peace” day had been a total failure. Then, with his eyes covered, he heard a weird scratching sound. Panicked, he put his arms aside and realized that Snowball had been quiet, too quiet until now. As he got close to the sofa, he realized the cat was cutting it open, strings of fabric on the floor and even some of the foam from the cushions.
But that wasn’t the only thing. The papers on the coffee table were now on the floor. And no one could say now what they had been because there was only a bunch of paper strips beneath the table. Alan looked at the cat, which meowed joyfully to him and kept on going with his destruction work.