Chapter 36

6 3 1

by Lahea

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by Lahea

While Hooman #1 sings
to the elder-cats
in the bedroom,

and Buttercup
yowls in the kitchen
over lackluster food
that'll never be fishy
enough for me,

I watch the radar
where Philosopher Jones
normally sits,

as well as the status reports
on Commander DeeJAY's laptop
and Major Tom's Gateway PC,

but when #M🍑
trends on Twitter,
I forget everything except
how much I hate seeing
hooman children in cages
and lizardmen ruining
my tasty poke.

On a different day,
Phoebe would have hissed
to pull me out of this funk;
she's good at poofing up
when any of us stray-cat
from first-priority tasks.

She isn't here, though.
She's taking care
of Philosopher Jones.

It's just me
and this tiny tablet
the hoomans call smartphones,
which aren't large enough
to navigate with thumb-gloves,

except my thumb-gloves
are kitten-sized
and quite precise
on teeny-tiny keyboards.

I'm looking at
a Pelosi meme on Facebook
when Phoebe struts
into the living room
with turkey on her breath.

She realizes
at the same time as me
that no one's monitoring
the lizardman in Las Vegas,

which means
when DeeJAY gets there
with the old man on the plane,

and Tom and Greg
arrive next by train,

we won't have the coordinates
for a covert target
hiding in a city
forever brimming
with shady business.

I flinch, lower my head,
and flatten my ears
as I back away
one careful paw
after another,

then Phoebe growls
and sprints to the kitchen.

I hear words
spat between hisses,
as well as scrambling feet
on slippery tiles.

Phoebe
Why are you still in here!?

Buttercup
I'm eating—

Phoebe
For an hour!?

Buttercup
Ten minutes
tops.

Phoebe
You left a kitten alone
with an adult responsibility—
nay, a moral responsibility—
to supervise
a man-eating lizard!

Buttercup
Did you
just say 'nay,'
O Dignified Lady?

As they continue to bicker,
I army-crawl under
a bookshelf and sigh
in comforting darkness.

I'm not sure
I'll be able to make friends
with Buttercup or Phoebe,
but I'm certain
I'll never let myself
grow so much disdain
for someone else.

Hatred sounds exhausting.

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