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By Ann Borges

Michael was lonely; he’d just moved to Seattle for school. He’d dropped out of college four years earlier in Monterey to work at the local Save-Mart. He’d finally realized his life wasn’t going anywhere.  His girlfriend of the last three years had dumped him and taken her college degree superior attitude off to Santa Barbara. Going back to school got his parents off his back and set him on course for a decent job.

He walked into the darkened neighborhood bar with the flashing neon signs. A group of twenty- somethings was playing pool while others sat around talking. He ordered a Blue Moon and studied the crowd. Seated at a table with two other girls was a great looking girl with long, wavy, honey-colored hair and big blue eyes. He couldn’t stop staring at her; he liked her laugh and the way she tucked restless strands of hair behind her ear. Her thick dark eyelashes were seductive as they slowly closed every time she took a sip of her beer. She must have sensed him; he looked up and sent a sweet bashful smile his way.

One of the pool tables opened up and he decided to play a game, but first, he walked slowly toward her table. “By any chance, would you like to play some pool?”

She hesitated, looked at her friends, and then seemed to make up her mind. “I’d love to, my name’s Katy.”

She carefully slid herself across the leather seat of the booth and stood up. Michael felt a rush of heat as he drank in her figure: full breasts, small waist, and long legs in snug jeans. She reached for her beer, but he beat her to it. “I’ll carry that for you. Name’s Michael.” Again that great smile lit up her face.

“Nice to meet you, Michael. I was hoping you would come talk to me.”

They spent the next few hours playing pool, drinking beers and laughing in a conversation that flowed as though it was meant to be.

“God, Katy, I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.”

“Yeah, I’m having fun, too.”

“How about we meet up tomorrow and go hiking around Green Lake. I hear it’s pretty nice. I have a dog I’d like you to meet. You up for it?”

“Sounds like fun. I like dogs.  What time you wanna meet?”

Michael couldn’t believe his luck; the girl was hot! “Say about 11:00. We can walk and get a bite to eat.”

After a great lunch of calamari and beers, she hit him with the bad news. She’d just quit her job and was moving back to her hometown in Arizona the following week to take care of her grandmother. It was all settled; she was leaving. To try to cheer him up, she told him they had the next two days to hang out before she left. Shit!

They spent the remaining time drinking, dancing at bars, talking and…  falling into the sack. It was inevitable; neither of them could stop it. Her silky smooth skin and slightly pouty lips drove him mad; he couldn’t get enough of her.

And then, she left. Michael couldn’t believe the emptiness. God, they’d only been together a few days, but her touch and those blue-grey eyes were all he could think about.  Right after she left, they began texting one another and talking on the phone till the wee hours of the night.

Two months later, she took a flight to Seattle and stayed with him for a week. They could barely let go of each other when she boarded the plane back to Arizona. They needed to work something out.

They rendezvoused a few more times when Michael decided to move back to Monterey and go to school near Santa Cruz.

“Move to California,” he told her. “ You can find a job here with your experience. Let’s do this, let’s live together.”

They started making plans; she searched for jobs online and he transferred transcripts. They found an apartment and she moved in. He was on cloud nine.

They set up house and he found a night job as a waiter at a restaurant close by.   They partied, drank and made love constantly.

Walking in late for his shift at the restaurant a few weeks later, his fellow employees started ribbing him.

“Another night of drinking till four in the morning?”

“Check it out, Michael’s hung over again.”

He was really starting to screw up. His grades were slipping; he’d been skipping classes and always seemed to be nursing a hangover. The restaurant manager chewed him out for being late again.  A couple of friends at work started pointing out a few things: his girlfriend seemed a bit too clingy; the two of them drank too much.

He thought about it, but had trouble making any changes. The hostess, Diane, flirted with him and everyone at work said she had a crush on him. He was flattered, but he was in a relationship. As the weeks went by, he spent more time at work hanging with his friends and getting to know Diane. She was bright, friendly, and he noticed she didn’t drink, and when he spent time with her, he didn’t drink either.

One night, Katy showed up at the restaurant really pissed off and drunk, wondering why he hadn’t come home yet since his shift had ended a few hours earlier. She was slurring her words and knocked some menus off a stand. Instantly embarrassed, he went home. They had a huge fight with her screaming and cussing him out. He tried to calm her down, but she was filled with jealous rage.

“You’d rather spend all your time boozing with your friends than being here with me,” she whined. “Who was that tramp I saw you sitting next to at the bar, your new girlfriend?” The fight lasted for hours; she wouldn’t let it go.

Michael was blown away and suddenly began seeing little things he hadn’t noticed before. Katy was checking his phone for texts to see if he was cheating on her. She started standing outside of the restaurant when his shift was over, waiting for him to leave. It was creeping him out.  Returning home from work, he found her drunk, sitting in front of the television with a bottle of Scotch. It was like the less he drank, the more she drank.

“Why don’t you have a drink?”

“I’m tired, I worked a long shift and the tips were lousy, I’m going to bed.”

“What’s the matter with you? You never used to be so tired. Stay up with me.”

After taking a shower, Michael collapsed on the bed. Katy came in, removed her clothes and lay on top of his lean muscled body.

“Make love to me. I’m horny; it’s been two days.”

Michael tried to gently push her off, but she grabbed his shoulders and locked her legs around him, sticking her alcohol breath in his face while she screamed obscenities.

“You’re screwing the little bimbo at work and you don’t want me any more!” She began hitting him in the face.

He firmly removed her from on top of him and locked himself in the bathroom. She banged on the door and hurled threats through the locked door. He tried calming her down, but all she did was cry and drank more. Eventually she fell asleep.

This went on for a few weeks. He avoided going home, but she would find him and cause a scene.

He wondered why he hadn’t seen the problems sooner. He knew she drank too much, but now realized she was probably an alcoholic and a mean drunk! Her behavior was psychotic; she definitely had a screw loose.  Finally, he’d had it. “I think it would be best if you moved out.”

“What do you mean? You’re not leaving me for that tramp are you? You can’t do that to me!” With that she began taking off her clothes.

“She’s just a kid! I’ll give you two weeks to find another place. I want you out.” He turned around, leaving her there half-dressed, and closed the door to the bedroom.

She ran over and began pounding on the door, screaming. “I have nowhere to go. I’m not from here; I have no friends! You can’t do this to me!”

Eventually, she moved out, and he thought he was free of her, but she kept up her bizarre behavior, showing up at his place late at night pounding on the door, waking up the neighbors. He was at his wits’ end. He threatened to call the cops. She left.

Late at night he would fall asleep, only to hear the dog growl at the window. There he would notice a shadow outside, just standing there. He never looked, just bolted the windows and doors and tried to get back to sleep.

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