The fact that she had not been drunk and still woke up outside started to worry her. She wanted to believe that those were just bad cases of sleep walking but part of her didn’t believe it at all. Part of her was beginning to worry that her teleportation events were becoming just that.
It happened a third time that very week. Wednesday night she fell asleep and woke up to someone else’s snoring in the middle of the night. Again she had been sleeping sitting up, this time on a bench with her back to a wall. Lying on the bench next to her was a woman whose clothes were torn and in shambles. The woman smelled awful and snored as if a farm of swine were lodged in her throat. The room she was in was windowless. The walls were all concrete block, save for a barred door. Bright fluorescent lights flooded the room. She quickly realized she was in a jail cell.
She panicked then. In her panic she shook the jail cell door, screaming for help. A young woman police officer came running around the corner.
“What am I doing in here? I shouldn’t be in here!” Kitty yelled at the officer.
The officer chuckled, smiled and looked straight at her. “Probably your life choices honey,” she offered while chomping down on chewing gum.
“I don’t know what I did though. I don’t remember how I got here. How long have I been here?”
“I don’t remember either. Not sure how long. I just came on shift. I’ll go pull your file. Name?” she bruskly asked.
That Friday night came and Kitty never showed up to the non-date with Jonas and his friends. It was a strange week for her and she bailed on Jonas to get trashed with friends. That was her way of dealing with the odd things happening to her.
The odd things started on the Sunday she met Jonas for breakfast. That was a full recovery day for her, meaning no substances apart from caffeine and fast food delivery. The four days prior wer an all out bender, so Sunday she used as God had intended it. That day was spent partly watching television while mostly scrolling on her phone and texting friends. That night she went to sleep at a reasonable hour. In the early morning she awoke in the hallway outside her apartment. She didn’t have her keys and had to ask the building manager to let her back in. She chalked this up to sleepwalking and told the building manager so much, which wasn’t out of character having not had any drinks the day before and a history of sleepwalking as a child. Her parents once told her a story of her sleepwalking into their garage and strapping herself into the carseat in their sedan, just staring forward, ready to go on a trip, before they coerced her back to bed.
Tuesday night that week she had gone out and had a couple drinks, not nearly enough for a blackout though. That next morning she woke up to a police officer checking if she was alright. She had been asleep sitting up against the outside of her apartment building on the sidewalk. On her way back in to the building she asked the building manager if she had seen Kitty leave last night. All she got in response was “How should I know”. The manager had to ler her into her apartment again. Kitty slept with a spare key in her pajama pants pocket from then on.
She looked around at the diner as her mind, slow and in a subdued state, worked to figure out why she would leave her friends on a night out and eat pie at a place like that? And what was it that drew her in to that man? She felt it that morning as she did the previous night, though she wanted to fight it and resist it. Deep down she wanted to get up and walk away from this strange uncertainty but something kept her glued to the booth.
He sensed the conflict in her and offered to buy her breakfast, hoping to transition her focus. He told her she looked like she could use the food. First she refused the offer but as he insisted she agreed and stayed to eat.
Over breakfast the man did most of the talking, which Kitty was grateful for. He had a gift to carry on the conversation and somehow retain her attention and not grow dull. Kitty loosened up over the course of the meal and actually grew to enjoy the morning.
After they finished, the man paid for the food and coffee. As they got up to leave he said to her “Next Friday, some friends and I have reservations at a place you might like. I think its more your style than this. I’d love for you to join.”
“Are you asking me on a date?” Kitty replied in half jest, half seriousness.
“If thats what you’d like to call it,” he said.
She did not want to call it that but accepted the invitation. As they parted ways on the street she turned back to him and called out, “Hey! You never told me your name.”
“Its Jonas,” He called back with a smile.
“Mine’s Kitty,” she told him.
He held that captivating smile, said “I know,” and continued on his way.
At the diner, Kitty recognized the man straight away. He was the man from the rooftop bar the night before. He was sitting at a both and drinking coffee while reading the morning paper. When she walked in, his eyes raised from the article that held his attention. He waved at her and slowly folded up the paper. As she sat down, he said “You look like you’ve seen better days.”
She shot him a loot that could kill and din’t reply to his comment. The server came by and Kitty ordered a coffee with cream and sugar. “What did we do last night?” Kitty asked ready to get straight to it.
“You really don’t remember?” Kitty shook her head. “Well it wasn’t anything unsavory, unfortunately. I saw you walking by outside the diner and invited you to have a slice of pie with me.”
“We had pie?” Kitty asked in surprise. Not that the act of eating pie was one that warranted such incredulity, but the fact that she took time out of her night life to sit down with a stranger and have pie in the wee hours was quite out of character for her.
“Well, yeah. I had a delectable blueberry pie and you had a lemon meringue that you couldn’t finish so I had to help you with the rest.”
“Lemon meringue?” she parroted again, but what her reply was really communicating was “This is what I got out of bed so early for? To hear that I ate pie with an odd man, 20 years my senior, and thats what I don’t remember?”
Kitty awakened the following morning in her own bed with a splitting headache and no recollection of the previous night’s exploits. She checked her phone to find multiple texts from Jessie and Skip asking where she went and what she was doing. There was also a text from a number she didn’t recognize saying “fun night, lets do it again soon.” Having no idea who it was or what was fun about last night, Kitty responding asking exactly that. All she got back in reply was a text saying “after the diner, remember?” Of course she didn’t remember and told the mystery person just that, to which they responded by asking her to grab coffee at the same diner in half an hour where they would fill her in. Coffee appointments in the morning hours were strictly forbidden in her world, but she decided to make an exception, being intrigued. It’s also rare for someone else to offer to fill in the gaps in her memory from her teleportation events and she felt the need to take advantage of it. The peron on the other end gave her the name of the diner and its location, a short cab ride away from her apartment. She quickly threw on a ball cap, some sweats, and deoderant and left her apartment to meet the mystery person from the night before.
Most people at the party ignored them, though taking notice they weren’t party of the business that was celebrating. However, one middle-aged man, well dressed and well groomed, approached Kitty.
“Glad you got the invitation and you made it… to celebrate me,” he said in a snarky manner while ordering a drink.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Kitty quipped back with a sardonic grin, not missing a beat.
The man chuckled at her reply. “Enjoy the drinks tonight,” he said as he was handed a drink from the bartender, “their on me.” And with that he turned to go.
Kitty watched him walk away, surprised he left it at that, and turned back to her friends who were still scheming the next plans for the night. Skip was saying he knew the DJ spinning at some posh club not far from them and he thought he could get them in for free and even past the line, maybe VIP he added. Skip often made claims like that, and they were often true. He had an extensive underground rolodex made up of bouncers, band roadies, dealers, club promoters, gogo dancers, DJs, limo drivers, and the like, all of which somehow kept in touch with Skip and kept him apprised of the goings on each night. They three opted in for the club and finished their drinks. Upon leaving, Kitty met the eyes of the man from the bar. He smiled at her and raised his glass to her as she left.
Her ability to brazenly answer that question is what kept her unemployed and living a life according to her whims. That life was primarily made up of partying all night and merely existing through the day.
The remainder of that day was spent lying in bed, staring at her phone until Jessie called early in the evening, urging Kitty to grab dinner with her and plan the night ahead. She already knew of a couple parties they could hit.
They bounced out of the first party of the night relatively early. It ran out of liquor shortly after they arrived and no one seemed to be willing to take on the task of getting more. On the way down to the street they ran into Skip. Skip told them about some corporate shindig he knew of that was happening on a roof top. Some event to celebrate some companies great successes or something or other. It would have an open bar with free booze until they could figure out where else to go. “Plus,” Skip added in, “those guys always have coke.”
The event was classier than what they were dressed for and they stuck out, clearly not belonging there. They posted up at the bar without a care if it was their scene and proceeded to drink freely.
Kitty flipped the card over. On the back side it had a poorly designed building logo and said Urban Realty Group. On the front it had a picture of the man pretending to button a sleeve cuff and smiling into the camera. Gavin McCullers was his name. Kitty laughed to herself and wondered how she ended up partying with someone so cheezy the night before. Gavin wasn’t exactly the type of person Kitty would tend to spend time with. When she exited the stairwell, she threw the business card in the first trash bin she could find and proceeded home.
That afternoon, she woke up from her recovery nap to her phone ringing. It was her dad calling. She silenced the call and lay back down in bed. It had been months since she last spoke with her father, though she knew they would need to talk again soon. Her bank account was running low on funds as she already blew through the last $100 thousand he gave her and she would need to ask for more soon.
After he parents split, her father couldn’t find a way to properly show love and affection to Kitty. Giving her money to “help her out” was the only way he could think to show he cared. That was fine with Kitty at this point in her life. She didn’t want to work and happily accepted anything he would give her to uphold her lifestyle. The conversations with her dad were cringe worthy and difficult to get through, though she would always muscle through to the end until he would ask: “Are you doing okay? Do you need anything?”.
Down the stairwell she heard footsteps echoing from below, moving up in her direction. When her path met with that of the footsteps, she hid her stolen items, holding them against the side of her body. A man in a tailored blue suit said hello to her, his cognac colored leather oxfords continued their clapping on the stairs as he passed. But the sound ceased as he stopped, turned around and said “Kitty?” unsure if he recognized her correctly or not. She paused and cringed, hating to be seen on days like that, and turned around to see the man. She kept the champagne flutes and wicker ball hidden at her side as she turned.
“I thought it was you!” the man exclaimed. Kitty wore a false grin in reply, unsure who that man was. “Last night was crazy, huh? You disapeared into thin air though and we all were wondering what happened to you.” The man took a breath and paused as the pieces slowly came together in his dense head. “Wait, have you been in the building all night?”
“Guess so,” Kitty said, dying to be released from the conversation.
The man laughed hysterically, only able to add “Wild.” Then after an awkward moment he excused himself, “Hey I’ve got to check on the penthouse. Got a showing in a bit and don’t know how bad it looks in there after last night.” He reached into his pocket and produced a business card which he handed to Kitty. “Text me. Let’s do it again sometime.” And with that he continued on his way, feet clapping as he hurried up the stairs to the penthouse.
Her memories were blurry though. All she could recall this time was going to a party at Skip’s place with Jessie. There was a band, though she couldn’t remember who the band was, and maybe, she thought the cops had broken up the party? No memory of getting to or being at the penthouse.
She sat on the leather couch in the living room and stared out the floor-to-celing glass wall at the city sky line, the polished stone veneers and glass facades of the towers reflecting the mid-morning sun back into her eyes. When she felt that she had recouped more of herself it was time to move on to Step 4: find whatever she could pocket from this teleportation location. There was not much there in the penthouse. She had reached the conclusion that it must be a model unit or staged and for sale, the way it was so barren of any signs of life. Not being able to find much anything worth taking in the bedrooms or bathrooms, she settled on leaving with two champagne flutes and a wicker decor sphere.
With her pinched items in tow she left the penthouse and searched for the building’s stairwell. Elevators were an absolute last resort ever since the incident at Circus Circus when she was a kid. In her mind she can still smell the smoke that wafted into the dingy casino lift while she was stuck there, helpless and alone for hours before it started downwardsw again and let her off on the main floor.