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The sunlight slithered its way into the apartment, forcing the man to finally open his eyes after missing 3 different alarms. The first thing Michael did was look over at his radiator. The pile of towels was missing, as was the girl. He really didn’t remember drinking yesterday, so the vivid nature of the memory puzzled him.

This truly was bliss. It was like finding out that the professor had canceled an exam or couldn’t show up to class. A heavy stone was dropped from his chest…but the feeling of something pressing against it remained. Lifting his bedsheet, Michael jerked back as he found the creature from yesterday currently sleeping on his chest, her cheek plastered across his pecs as she continued snoring. It was a very quiet snore, the kind that most would find cute or at least a little endearing - like the snore of a cartoon character. 

“So she was real…” 

Having said that, the snoring stopped. Suddenly, the eyelids of the Neko flew open, her large green eyes staring at him. He stared back. Michael might have had no idea what that creature was, but her carnivore-like eyes with those thin black slits made him worry that the tiny girl was going to pounce at him if he broke eye contact. 

“Hello?” He finally broke the silence, trying to slowly look away just to find the woman’s eyes following his. She was like a machine designed to track an object - that object being his face. 

“Hi?” The man repeated after clearing his throat. 

“Ohayo!” She said, and this was about the extent of what Michael could understand as the woman continued speaking to him in Japanese.  

“Well, this is just great.” He exhaled. At least her eyes became round, making him less anxious about a possible assault. But at this rate, it didn’t look like the two were going to do much talking anyways. 

“Maybe I should ask Miss Chen? No, wait, she’s Chinese." He facepalmed. "What now?” Gently lifting the cat girl, Michael tried to get her off his chest. As soon as he did, he could see her arms flailing around, making him drop her back down. Despite her chubby little body, the woman moved with great grace, quickly managing to jump over to the carpet-covered floor while sticking out her tongue at him.

“Hey, I am sorry!” He finally got up, stretching. 

“Today’s supper…is a fish!” She spoke in English, making him a bit more confident. “Do I like fish?” Broken English, it seems.  

“Huh?” Tilting his head, Michael approached the fridge while maintaining eye contact. “You want…fish?”

“Yes, fish!”

“For breakfast?”

“Yes, fish!” 

He opened the fridge, just to be greeted by its cold white emptiness. The only thing inside was a can of energy drink, a single slice of cheese, two brown eggs, and a half-empty bottle of milk. “I don’t have fish- HEY!” Slamming the fridge, Michael turned towards the Neko as she stretched, arching her back while turning her cheeks in his direction. He could not tell if the woman was trying to offend him.

“Wait wait wait, let’s start from the beginning.” He squatted down. “Who are you?”


“Tanji? Is that right? Am I…am I saying it right?”


“Alright then, Tanji.” He pulled up a stool, allowing her to climb on it. “Where are you from?”


“Osaka! We are getting somewhere. Listen, I want to get you to your owners. This isn't kidnapping or anything like that.” Michael scratched his thin beard, looking away. “Eh…do you have somebody to call?” He took out his cellphone, a large crack across its screen. “I don’t think I can afford a ticket to Japan.”

“Poor bastard.” She snickered, draining all the joy from the man’s face. 

“Yes, yes. Very funny. Listen, I don’t know where that came from, but I would appreciate you being a bit nicer to me.”

“Please, say again!”

“Okay, now I think that you’re just fucking with me.” Annoyed, he took out a cigarette and a worn-out cheap red plastic lighter. Tanji pointed towards it, making a gesture of a lighter with her fingers. “You…you smoke?” She nodded. 

Before he could even process that, there came a heavy knock on his door. “Michael?” The familiar voice of Miss Chen cried out. “Package came for you. Please don’t tell me you’re still sleeping.”

“On my way Miss Chen!” He responded, realizing the predicament he was currently in. A half-naked - no, more like three-quarter naked with that mini-bikini of hers - woman was currently sitting in his apartment. Not only that, but she was also 2 ft and looked like a cat. 

“Think quickly, dammit!” Michael shouted quietly, looking around his small living space. He took the initiative and picked up the small woman, throwing her into his closet like a football. As expected, she thrashed and swung her arms wildly yet again.

“Miss Chen!” The door finally opened, with the man trying to look as casual as possible. “Sorry, I had to deal with something. Overslept a little…you know how it is, haha!” 

In the distance, there came the sound of something scratching against wood. It got progressively louder and mixed with the sound of a small creature shifting from left to right.  

“Yes…” She raised her eyebrow, handing a small package into his arms. “What is that noise…Listen, Michael, do you have a pet in your apartment?”

“What? No, of course not.” He tensed up, his eyes darting to the closet and back. “No pets in the complex, you made it very clear. And how would I even afford a pet? Animals are expensive, you know.”

“True. Listen, sorry for asking.” Embarrassed, Miss Chen left. Finally being able to shut the door close, a wave of relief washed over him.

Opening the closet, he could see the Neko walking out of it, digging her way out from underneath a pile of hoodies he threw in there and promised to fold later. 

Animals are expensive, you know.

Those words echoed in his mind as he watched the woman once again stretching, arching her butt in his direction in a way that seemed more intentionally rude. 

“Let’s try to find your owners.” He said, lazily cleaning up the closet. “I can’t afford to have you here eating through my fridge. Plus, ciggies are expensive, you know.”

“Poor bastard.”

Michael just rolled his eyes. And despite calling him a poor bastard, Tanji did partake in a meal consisting of two scrambled eggs which the couple split between themselves.

“I am not sure what kind of luxury she is used to. She looked a gifted horse (which saved her life) in the mouth and even spat in it.” He thought, looking over as the girl reluctantly wolfed down the measly meal. She sat down on his counter, knocking over a plastic plant while leaving an imprint of her ass on it. “I guess she really is a cat, huh?”

In all the confusion, he had almost forgotten about the reason Miss Chen even came to his door. Opening the package, Michael began unloading its contents. Inside, there was a neatly folded T-shirt with a few pairs of underwear and socks. He used to be bothered by it as a child, but he grew to like getting clothes on his birthday. Even thinking it made him feel old. 

Putting on the shirt, he outstretched his arms and turned toward his new roommate. It had a simple pink-yellow vaporwave pattern with a large text saying “Game Over” on a backdrop of some city skyline. “Good?” 

She gave him an ok sign, making a little clicking sound with her tongue.

"I will take that as a yes." Looking at the cat girl, he slid off his shirt and placed it in her hands. It looked like she needed it more, considering her wardrobe situation. "I will try to get you some proper clothes, I promise." He gave a reassuring smile as she struggled to put the oversized shirt on. Frankly, she looked ridiculous. It might as well have been a blanket at that point.

Michael left the apartment, locking the door behind him. He has subconsciously been repressing them for a while now, but a dozen or so questions raced through his mind. It was a skill he picked up a while ago - just focus on the task and don't ask questions. Now, during his walk to the bus stop, he could finally think.

Tanji was intelligent, there was no doubt about that. But she also must have an owner, otherwise, she would have objected to him trying to find them. That owner - whoever they are - must be worried sick. Looking for her. But what is she? He has never seen anything like this back in Oklahoma.

The mundanity of yesterday became almost nostalgic.

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