Chapter 1: Breakfast Burrito's

"Thank you." I said as I handed my menu to the waiter who smiled, placed the menu under one arm and walked away.

"That's the fourth time you order that, you know." Shannon said as she sipped on her wine.

Shannon Keri was my fiancée. She was about five foot seven, five foot ten with the three inch heels she had on. Perfectly calculated, by her, to be half an inch shorter than me. Her slender body probably weighed 110 and 115 and looked perfect in the black dress she currently wore. Her long bleach hair shaded perfectly with her milky white skin and light blue eyes. She was obsessed with perfection and image. I didn't mind anymore as she would open her legs for me four or five times a week.

"So what? I like pepper jack chicken and Spanish rice." I replied defensively.

"It's boring, plus what would people say when they find out how predictable you were."

"They'd say something along the lines 'that's one classy and charming fellow' and go on with their lives."

"Doubt it."

"Why are we fighting?" I asked and drank some red wine. "It's Friday and tomorrow is Saturday and we don't have to wake up at five bloody thirty, if you get what I mean." I said and stirred the wine slowly, as Shannon trained me to do, and stared at her suggestively.

"Yes, that would be an adequate reason to celebrate." She replied and placed her slender hand over mine and stared seductively.

-0-

I mumbled the lyrics to the song Crazy Train by Ozzy Osborne as I stumbled with Shannon by my side.

"Why did you drink so much?" She asked as she held on to me.

"Why didn't you?" I asked. "You...you need to loosen up. You're always uptight and punctual...and... Whatever the word is for people who are uptight and punctual. Plus...we had like a quarter bottle left and stuff."

"It's wasn't a quarter bottle, it was a bottle and a half. Besides, there wasn't a reason in which we couldn't save the bottles for tomorrow."

"Tomorrow always sucks. Why isn't tomorrow here yet? It's never here. It's always here that is here and not tomorrow! Hey! Get over here, tomorrow! I don't got all day!"

"Oh God. This is why I should't allow you to drink when in public. Good thing that none of my friends are around to see this."

"Yeah good thing too... Because Mary...Mary is a bitch...I don't like Mary...she's too...aristoc...aristo...aristroraric..."

"Aristocratic?"

"Yeah that too."

We walked for another 20 minutes before we turned the corner and headed for my apartment.

"I'm still gonna get some, aren't I?" I asked as I sobered up enough to be stumbling by myself.

"No, not when you're drunk. You always pass out half way through and I have to finish by myself." She said as she walked besides me, exactly a quarter step behind me.

"I would want to see that." I replied.

"Maybe one day."

She helped me through the glass doors, after I hit them twice, and let me push the button for the fifth floor...and the fourth...and the third and the second after I pushed the basement.

I giggled as she sighed heavily when the elevator headed away from room 509.

"You're such a child." She sighed.

"You're such a child." I repeated in a mocking tone.

"Stop it!"

"Stop it."

-0-

I groaned awake and realized three things before I stood up. One: eleven glasses of red wine made for a big ass hangover. Two: eleven glasses of anything alcoholic probably wasn't that good for you. And three: the sun can be a bitch.

I grumbled as I stood up and stumbled before I held on to a wall for support. I made my way to the bathroom and stared at the new toothbrush and toothpaste that lay on my bathroom sink. Shannon must have placed them there after she came to the conclusion that I needed a new set.

The phone rang loudly which made me hold my hands up against my ears. The sound made my head pound and feel as if it was going to explode. Shannon must have raised the ringer before she left, to prove a point.

I made my way towards the phone and picked it up right as it stopped ringing and went to voicemail.

"Yo, it's Carlos Sera. Something, something, message after beep. Have fun." My machine said as it played the recorded message before beeping loudly.

"Carl, it's me Shannon. Its 10:54, I hope you're up. In fact, I'm pretty sure you are, but whatever. Call me when you can as we need to talk about the office, and I don't mean the show."

The phone call ended and I celebrated the silence by yawning and scratching my ass.

"My name isn't Carl..." I mumbled.

I dragged my feet on my way to the coffee pot and hit the ON button hard enough to move it a few inches back.

The coffee pot cracked and sizzled for a few seconds as I blankly stared at it.

Eight minutes later, I finished the last of the black coffee as I rinsed the Head and Shoulders off my short curly hair.

I slipped slightly on my way out of the shower and caught myself with the towel rack then sighed and wrapped a towel around myself then stared at the new change of clothing for a long while.

My vision shifted from the new set of neatly folded clothing and the old set lay on my bathroom floor. I decided on the old pair five minutes later.

It seemed stupid to take five minutes on deciding whether or not to put a new set of clothing on or not but Shannon surreptitiously controlled a large part of my life, not because she was my caretaker or anything but because I let her. It's not like I let her but she just forced herself onto me.

My old boxers, shirt and socks were damp but I kept them on to prove a point. To who though? Shannon? Myself? The Superman: Returns poster in my living room that she keeps bitching for me to take down?

I sighed after silently admitting that my fiancée controlled my life and grabbed my keys and walked out of the room then walked back in when I realized that I lacked exactly one pair of pants.

The line of the newspaper stand dispersed when they found out that all copies of the daily newspaper were sold out. The five foot six girl, that ran the stand, smiled and apologized to the displeased customers.

"Sorry." Elizabeth said politely as she smiled sheepishly to her unhappy customers.

Elizabeth was 24, five foot six, and average built. The kind of girl who was attractive even though her thighs touched. She wore a bright pink shirt and some pink sweatpants that showed off her curves. She was a one in a million girl, quite possibly too, as her long straw like red hair and the three to four dozen freckles on her face made her a ginger.

"Morning, Elizabeth." I said as I stepped closer and smiled at her.

"Good morning, Carlos. It looks like rain today." She said as she adjusted the copies of Time and set them in a slot on top of her.

I looked at the gray sky and smiled slightly. "That means that it'll be a good day today." I said and looked at the magazines.

"You are the only person I know that loves the rain." She said and handed me a hidden copy of the daily newspaper and an anime magazine that she pulled from underneath the counter.

"You are the best, Elizabeth. How much do I owe you?"

"Today, or are you talking about your tab?" She asked.

"Um... Today."

"Six fifty."

I pulled out my wallet and handed her a five dollar and two one dollar bills. She took the money and handed me two quarters.

"Turn them around." She said.

I flipped the coins and smiled when I saw the Arizona and Mount Rushmore designs on back the quarters.

"I needed these two!" I said, a little louder than I should have.

"A customer paid with them a few minutes ago and I decided to hold them for you." She said.

"Elizabeth, I love you, don't tell Shannon that though." I replied.

"Why are you still with that punctual woman?" She asked as her face shifted to more of an annoyed look.

"Beats the hell out of me." I said and folded up the newspaper and anime magazine then placed them under my arm. "Imma go to get some breakfast, do you want anything?"

"Sure, just whatever you get."

"Credit?"

"Yeah, yeah... I'll pull it off your tab. Get out of here, you're depressing my clientele." She said smiling again.

I laughed and waved goodbye with two fingers and made my way down the street and around the corner. I pulled out a pack of Marlboro Lights and placed the semi last cigarette into my mouth and lit it with my yellow BIC lighter, as the first of the rain started to fall.

I entered the small time Mexican food restaurant and wiped my feet on the mat.

"Welcome to- oh it's just Carlos, never mind." A man said arrogantly from behind the counter.

The man was probably about six foot one and weighed about 180. His jet black hair and tanned skin placed him into the Hispanic category, not unlike me.

"Manuel, you have exceptional customer service skills." I said sarcastically and stood by the counter as Manuel rung me up for two breakfast burritos and a large orchata.

"Customer service skills, tus nalgas, eleven sixty four, fool." He said. I smiled and handed over my debit card and he took it from me and slid it on the card reader. "Where's long legs?"

"Shannon? Who knows." I replied, taking back my debit card.

"Do you care?"

"No."

"Now you sound like a man. Who you should be doing is that freaky chick from Kinko's, son." He said and nudged me slightly.

"That puta is nothing but a puta." I replied.

"Hey, she's one freaky puta. She could do this thing with a coca cola bottle-" He started but I stopped him, some things are just better left to the imagination.

"Either way, I'm with 'Long Legs', who sometimes goes by the name of Shannon, and I'm happy." I said.

"Mmhmm" Shanelle, a slender black girl who worked as the cook today said as she dropped the burritos into a bag. "Now I don't know what a puta is, or whatever all that Spanish-Mexican mess is...but that girl isn't right. She too up herself. I mean, I know you like the light meat but she isn't all that. I'd get the girls to pop her upside the head if you wanted me to Carlos."

"Thanks, Shanelle. I'll keep that in mind." I replied and took my food. But I'm happily taken and am going to be married soon, happily married I might add."

"So why you buying a burrito for newspaper girl, Mr. Happily taken?" Shanelle asked.

"Oh snap!" Manuel said and high fived Shanelle. "You tell him, sister."

"You guys are dumb." I said and walked out with my food that was inside of a paper bag inside of a plastic bag.

It was hard to not think of what they said as I walked back. Was I really happy? And if so, why was I bringing food for a girl who wasn't going to be my wife soon. Why did I uselessly buy newspapers and magazines that I never read, simply to talk to Elizabeth?

My musings were interrupted when I heard a baby crying. I looked around but the few people who walked by with umbrellas and either talked into the phone or was too busy paying attention to something or someone else.

I shrugged and kept walking in the rain until I passed an alley. The crying grew louder as I walked by so I stepped back and saw a hooded figure hunching over something.

"Hello?" I asked and jumped when the figure quickly turned and saw me.

I wasn't able to make out any of the person's features before he/she hissed and ran towards the wall and, to my surprise, right up it.

I stared at the creature as it climbed up the wall on all fours on reverse until it disappeared into the other side of the roof of the building as my mind raced to understand what happened just now but got interrupted when a baby cried again.

I looked down and saw what looked like a crib. An orange blanket covered the figure entirely. The loud cry was muffled under the blanket as I picked up the crib.

I held the crib with my right hand and gently unwrapped the blanket off the figure.

"Holy shit..." I mumbled as I saw a baby girl that was covered with a one piece suit. It covered her entirely, from head to toe. Her hands were inside of some gloves that we're attached to the baby clothing and her feet were inside of some baby booties. Her head was covered with the exception of her face with a warm hoodie.

She cried loudly then stopped when she felt the rain fall on her face. She stopped and opened her eyes then stared at me curiously.

"Hi baby." I said and smiled widely.

The baby stared at me before crying loudly again.

"Yeah, I feel that way too when I look into the mirror..." I mumbled and looked around for the figure that climbed the wall.

I sighed when I didn't see anyone then placed the food I carried into the crib next to the baby girl and pulled out my phone.

I dialed Shannon at her work phone then hung up the call. She would, undoubtedly, tell me to leave the baby alone and let some other passerby figure out what to do.

I placed the crib on the floor and used my umbrella to cover both the baby and me as I searched for the number to CPS (Child Protection Services) then finally hit call button when my mobile browser found the number.

The phone rang and rang for at least two minutes before someone answered.

"Hello? CPS?" I asked. "I found a baby in the-"

"Hello, you have reached the offices of the Child Protection Services." The message machine on the other side said. "You have reached us after hours and will open on my day at 9am Monday morning. Please contact us then, for any emergencies please hang up and call 911."

I sighed and closed the phone then stared at the baby. She was still crying.

"What was wrong with you?" I asked. "Are you hungry? Sad?"

The baby still cried as I scratched my arm slightly with my cell phone. A few people talked loudly as a thunder bolt hit somewhere off into the distance. I put my cell phone in my pocket and picked up the crib.

"Fuck it, I'm taking you home." I said.

The baby stopped crying and stared at me.

"You like that idea right?" I said. "Yeah it's warmer than out here, I'll tell you that."

The baby looked as she was going to cry again.

"Shit, no don't cry." I said as I started walking out of the alley.

The baby smiled and giggled slightly as she tried clapping her hands.

"You like it when I cuz?" I asked and stared at the attentive baby. "Let's go home." the baby started coughing and began to cry. "Fuck man..."

She giggled as I walked towards home.

-0-

Took you long enough, Carlos. What's that?" Elizabeth asked as she looked at me while she hurried to close shop.

"Shh, well... You wouldn't believe me if I told you." I said as I helped her push the folding sheet of wood with my hip.

The baby was fast asleep after a long round of swearing. She especially liked the a-hole word.

"Holy crap... Are they giving out babies in the burrito shop?" Elizabeth asked when she saw the baby inside of the crib.

"Yup," I said playfully. "When you buy two combo's."

"You're funny." She replied and caressed the baby.

"Want to come up to my apartment and help me set her in?" I asked.

"You're keeping her?" Elizabeth asked.

"At least until Monday when I can call CPS." I replied and started walking into the building that houses my apartment in the fifth floor. "Plus, Shannon wouldn't let me keep her."

She made a type of whipping noise which made me smile. I shoved her slightly with my elbow and she laughed out and pushed me back with her hip.

Elizabeth cleared out the table and I placed the crib on top of it. I rubbed my hands together to try warming up and glanced at my answering machine. The little red LED indicator said that I now have three messages. I had one when I left so that meant that Shannon must have called me at least two more times.

"Her clothing is wet; let me take them off to change her." Elizabeth said as she began to unhook the baby's clothing. "What are you going to call her? I mean at least until Monday. I doubt you'll want to keep addressing her as Baby."

"I don't know, you pick something." I said and drank a quarter gallon of orange juice from the bottle as I stood by the refrigerator.

"Call her Sarah. My sister's name was Sarah." Elizabeth said.

"Your living sister or the other one?" I asked. I knew that she has a sister and two brothers as well as a sister that died after she was hit by a hit and run when she was 12.

"The one I visit once or twice a year." She replied.

"Okay." I said and lit a cigarette.

"You smoke?" Elizabeth asked, curiously.

"Only when I'm stressed." I replied and tried blowing smoke rings like I used to be able to.

"Stressed? So now and whenever you spend more than 15 minutes with your girlfriend, right?" She asked as she loosened the hoodie.

"That would be it." I said. "I'm kinda getting tired of-"

"Holy shit, dude, look at this." Elizabeth interrupted.

I threw my cigarette out of the window and walked over then gasped when I saw a small pair of cat ears protruded out of her baby head.

"The fu-" I started then realized that my jaw was opened as her ears started flickering as if to indicate that they were real. Sarah opened her eyes and stared at us.

"Are those...cat...ears?" She asked as Sarah, the baby, stared back at her curiously.

"So is she a person or a pet? I'm confused." I said and held her right cat ear between my thumb and index finger.

"You're confused? I wonder if she has a tail." Elizabeth said and began to remove the rest of the one piece suit.

I was going to stop her but I was curious too. So I decided to bite into my breakfast burrito and watch her as Elizabeth changed her diaper. A cat tail extended slowly, from where it was held by the baby clothes, and waved slowly.

-0-

30 minutes later, Elizabeth changed Sarah's diaper as I was sent out to buy a new set of baby clothes. I saw her holding Sarah up and smiled, despite myself. Sarah: the only baby in the world with cat ears and a cat tail.

"So how's the little animal human thing doing? Did she meow yet?" I asked as I walked closer.

"No, she's a person. She just has animal parts." Elizabeth said. "Oh your wife-to-be called... I've never heard more use of the F word in my life."

"Yay..." I said sarcastically and erased all the messages on the recording device.

"Looks to like you're getting tired of her." Elizabeth said and rocked Sarah on her arms. Sarah's tail slowly wrapped around Elizabeth's arm.

"Yeah... She's just so..." I started but couldn't think of the word. Sarah blew a loud raspberry then giggled loudly. "Yeah, that works." I said and walked up to Elizabeth and Sarah then held Sarah's baby hand in mine.

"So what do we do with her?" Elizabeth asked.

"We feed her? What do babies eat? Some of that glass mushy crap right?" I asked and pulled out a small baby food bottle from the coverts.

"Why do you have baby food in your coverts?" Elizabeth asked as Sarah looked around the room attentively.

"Mrs. Smith, next door, ran out of cabinet room a month ago and asked me if I could hold into a few things. She gave me a few cans of baby food but forgot about this one." I said.

I got the smallest spoon I had and stuck it into the baby food jar then handed it to Elizabeth.

She made baby noises and she tried feeding Sarah who hesitated then finally opened her mouth and swallowed the food then giggled once.

"Sweet!" Elizabeth said.

"Why?" I asked as Sarah ate another spoon full.

"I was wondering if she was going to eat people food or of we were going to have to go out for kitten milk." She replied.

I chuckled and watched the baby eat some more.

We continued feeding Sarah until she ate enough then fell asleep, her cat ears folded closer to her head as her tail stopped waving. Elizabeth made an awe noise and I smiled. We looked at each other, proud of what we did. I let my smile fade as we both moved in closer for a kiss.

I heard my apartment door open and Elizabeth and I turned around and saw Shannon walk in. She had a furious look on her face then lost all the color on her face when she saw Elizabeth and me.

"What the fuck are you doing, Carl." She asked as she slammed the door closed.

I tried seeing the situation through her eyes and came to the conclusion that her seeing her fiancé and another woman in the apartment probably wasn't a good sign.

"Keep your voice down." I said, knowing that it would piss her off but I hated being yelled at and called Carl.

"Keep my voice down!" She continued. "I've been calling you all day! And I come over and find you here with...with...this bitch!"

Elizabeth gasped and looked at her but I stopped her by placing a hand on her shoulder.

"Shannon, calm down, it's-" I started.

"Calm down? How could I calm down when I come over and find my fiancé in his apartment with another woman?" Shannon asked as her face now beamed red.

"HEY!" I yelled which made both the women jump slightly. "Listen! It's not what you think it is."

"Oh yeah so tell me what you and slutty Mcslutslut were just doing?" She asked annoyed.

"Don't you fucking dare call me a slut!" Elizabeth said and stood up.

"What else am I going to call you, Mcslutslut?" Shannon said. "You in here with my fiancé and have done things that I could only imagine."

"You...oh he'll no, imma break your ass in a minute." Elizabeth said.

I stopped her again then sighed loudly. "Shannon, she is my friend and you're not to call her anything like that again, okay? Now apologize." I said.

"No! I think that she needs to apologize to me, Carl." Shannon said.

"His name isn't 'Carl', its Carlos." Elizabeth said.

"He doesn't mind, do you Carl." Shannon said, more as a statement than a question.

"Actually I do, don't call me Carl again." I said and looked back at Sarah who was still fast asleep.

"Whatever. You two do what you want, Carl this is over." She said and took off the ring and dropped it then opened the door. "Have fun with Mcslutslut, Carl." She added then slammed the door.

Elizabeth growled with rage then calmed down when she saw me actually smiling.

"Carlos, are you okay?" She asked.

"I'm fine, better than fine actually!" I said smiling then bear hugged Elizabeth without wanting to.

She cried out as I playfully shook her this way and that.