“Hey, little bro, what’s got you looking so...serious?” Michael laughed.
“I knew it was a horrible idea staying up with you watching a Batman marathon,” I groaned as I laid my head down on my desk.
“Well, it was your idea,” Michael reminded me.
“That it was but trust me when I say I’ve learned the errors of my ways. Did you upload the new job posting for the vet tech position?”
“Damn, I knew I forgot something,” Michael mumbled.
“You gotta do better than this. You're the oldest, and I shouldn’t constantly be policing and checking behind you. Please get it done today so we can start interviewing next week. We’re swamped, and I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of working 12-hour shifts.”
“Don’t worry, little bro, I got you,” Michael said as he began to make his exit.
“Yeah, that’s what you said last time!” I shouted at his retreating form.
I leaned back in my chair and sighed as my eyes perused the many plaques of achievements and framed pictures of my family, animals, and signed movie posters on the walls. My eyes shifted towards my multiple degrees ranging from Biochemistry, Zoology, and finally, my Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. My brother and I were raised our entire lives with animals because our family owned a prosperous ranch for several generations. It was only natural we would open our own veterinary practice. Michael’s specialty lied in livestock. He would travel to local farms and ranches providing preventative and emergency care to livestock while I stayed in the office and cared for the common household pets.
At one point, the practice was manageable with just Michael, me, and a few staff members, but in the past year or so, business has been booming, and we’ve been working double-time to manage the overwhelming workload. Within a month, we lost two staff members; one married, and her husband told her she didn’t have to work any longer, and the other quit because he relocated to another city. I was leaving the hiring of the new staff member up to Michael because I couldn’t be bothered with the extra responsibilities that I’ve taken on in his almost daily absence from the practice. Not only was I seeing patients, but I was basically HR and the Accounting Department. I ensure that the staff and the bills are paid and complete the orders for medicines and supplies. I pleaded with Michael to hire an office manager last week, and he said he would “think” about it.
I looked at the clock and noticed that it was quickly approaching 8:00, and I had officially been at the office for 12 hours today...on a Saturday. I wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep until noon the next day. I had noticed a moving truck parked outside the recently unlisted house right across the street from me this morning, but in my haste to make it to work on time, I couldn’t meet my new neighbors. Perhaps, I will stop by tomorrow afternoon and welcome them to the neighborhood? I knew that whoever they were, they would love living there as much as I do. The neighborhood is tucked away from the main roads and traffic; however, you can still easily access local amenities. Surprisingly, we don’t have to deal with any solicitors or unwanted loiterers.
I drove home thinking about the pizza I was going to slide in the oven and what movie I felt like watching tonight. Michael and I almost finished all of the Batman movies from beginning to current, and I couldn’t help the feeling that the X-Men series would be next on the list.
“What the fuck is this?” I muttered to myself as my gaze zeroed in on the multitude of cars that lined the street. I drove slower than usual down my street in an attempt to not hit the swaying bodies that drunkenly stumbled down the sidewalks and the street.
I finally managed to pull through my driveway, only after having to wait for some drunk girl to poorly attempt to help her drunk friend who had fallen in the street. What a good friend because I would have left her at a certain point, but that’s just me, and that’s probably why I don’t have any friends. That and the fact that I don’t have the time to maintain any personal relationships outside my family.
“This can’t be fucking happening,” I cursed as I eyed the red solo cups and beer cans that littered the street, slamming my car door behind me. Whoever my neighbors were might as well pack that U-Haul back up and return to from wherever they came because this was unsatisfactory. The vulgar rap music was loud, and the bass reverberated the windows on the house and could be heard at the beginning of the street. I needed to have a word with the owner because this kind of behavior would not be tolerated.
I stomped across the street and fought my way through the maze of bodies to get to the front door. I politely knocked on the door a few times and earned some curious looks from some partygoers. From their looks, they appeared to be college students, and some definitely did not appear to be old enough to consume alcohol. The homeowners were not only disrespectful, but they were clearly irresponsible by letting this mayhem occur.
“Are you a cop?” a girl curiously asked.
“Of course not. I’m a vet,” I answered.
“Oh...I didn’t know that vets made house calls this late at night. Is something wrong with Zoe’s dog?”
“I’m not on the clock. Who is Zoe, and does she own the house?”
“Yeah. If you’re not a cop, then you can just go in. You look a little old, but I guess you’re never too old to party,” she smirked. Little twat. I’m not too old. I’m in my prime. I wanted to tell her that she was a little too old for braces, but I had bigger fish to fry.
I entered the house and almost gasped in horror. The house was packed wall-to-wall with drunken kids grinding seductively on each other. The house smelled like an overpowering mixture of sweat, alcohol, and weed. The hardwood floor was sticky in some places where drinks were obviously spilled. I noticed a DJ set up in the corner, and that would account for the boisterous racket. I cringed as I fought through kids sloppily making out and were one step away from making horrible decisions that may or may not lead to them contracting an STD or a fetus.
I slowly approached the kitchen, where people were doing bodyshots off of this girl on top of the bar and others lining up to participate in keg stands. Maybe Brace-Face was right. I was too old for this shit because I was utterly appalled.
I asked those that appeared to be within the legal limit if they had seen Zoe. Most of them responded with shrugs, headshakes, and some straight-up ignored me. Most of them also asked me if I was a cop, and one had the balls to ask if I was her sugar daddy.
I made my way to the backyard and found multiple tables for beer pong were set up, and the enormous pool was filled with foam. These children were animals, and I was never going to find Zoe in this madhouse, I thought as I stomped back to my house across the street. There was only one thing left for me to do.