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While the women did their check-ins with Megalos, Ambros headed for the men’s room. He pissed and washed up.

He heard a cat yowling, and frowned. He traced the sound, tipping his head from side to side.

“There you are,” he said, as he opened the small door in the garage. “What’s up, buddy?”

“Yowp!” the cat declared. The dead mouse it carried muffled its vocalization.

The cat was a nearly perfect jellicle: yellow eyes, black face, white whiskers and a broad white stripe from chin to crotch, like an upside-down skunk. It also bulked extremely large: ‘Gotta weigh in at eighteen pounds or so,’ Ambros thought.

“Yowp!” The cat repeated.

“Well, we can talk about that,” Ambros replied: “But I don’t need the mouse. You can eat it, if you like.”


“You look pretty stout for a stray cat. You live around here somewhere?”

The beast dropped the mouse into a planter, then buried it lightly, with a few swipes of the paw.

“Mmmm. A lefty, eh?”

“Rrrrrr,” the cat purred. It stepped forward, looking up at him, and rubbed against his leg.

He saw that the animal’s left ear was clipped: “’Save the Ferals’ got to you, huh? I’m gonna guess that you lived somewhere around here, your humans abandoned you, then the feral cat folks nipped your little nubs and released you. You lookin’ to move in with me?”

“Meow,” said the cat, entering the garage bay and looking around. “Urmph?”

“I don’t have any cat kibble or anything. There might be some sausages left in the mini-fridge.”

The cat’s tail waved languidly; clearly it believed things were settled.

“Well, c’mon in, then. I’ll get you some water, at least.”

The creature followed him in to the office. Ambros dug out a flattish bowl from under the printer table, and filled it from the tap. “Thirsty?”

“Mr-r-r-r,” it said. He—it was definitely a he, or had been once—he began to slurp away at the water.

“What about a name?” The cat ignored him. “You look like Sylvester the Cat. I could call you Sly for short.”

The beast looked up and blinked, slowly.

“Okay, Sly it is. Let’s look for some food.”

Marie came out of the bedroom, and stopped short: “Who is this?”

Sly arched his back and got a little sideways.

“Oh, yeah,” said Ambros: “There are other people around here, pretty often. They’re all good folks, though.”

Kim and Luisa came into the office. Sylvester suffered himself to be introduced, and then allowed the women to take turns petting him. He purred audibly during the petting, then turned to Ambros with a “Yowp!”

“Okay, okay, food.” He dug into the fridge and produced some week-old hotdogs: “Best I got for ya, at the moment.” Sly dug in, rending the sausages asunder, and purring and growling at the same time.

“What, did this guy just show up?” said Kim, laughing.

“Yeah. He seems to have won the throw, too. Brought me a mouse as a bribe, which I politely refused. However, I think we could get along. The mouse population out in the nursery area has been getting out of hand. I won’t need traps if this guy can keep the rodents at bay.”

“Well, you’ve given him a name. I guess he’s yours, now,” Marie declared, amused.

“That’s one way to look at it. The way I see it, we’ve agreed to share the space. I’ll put a cat door in the back, by the nursery. He kills mice, I provide supplementary kibble, a water dish, and a warm dry bed. Right, Sly?”

“B-r-r-rrup!” Sly replied.

“You have a pretty large vocabulary for a cat,” said Luisa.

The beast gazed scornfully at her: “Mrrr-ow.”

“Okay, okay,” she said, hands up in surrender: “I won’t mention it again.”


Nov. 7th, 2013 09:10 pm
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
IN the midst of plugging away at the OryCon preparations, I find myself compelled to take an hour off and sit with my elderly cat, Hrothgar. I don't need to cosset him or pet him, just an occasional stroke and a word or two in his ear.

Since I'm sitting here anyway, I think I'll do the final read-through on Chapter Eleven of SALTARAE. If I like it as is, I'll post it tonight. Whoo-hoo.


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