Chapter 41

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by DeeJAY

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by DeeJAY

After Grandpa falls asleep
in his extra-pillowed queen bed
with the blue-striped duvet
that smells like fifty
shades of cologne
and five percent
of hoomanity,

I slither around
the metal legs of the bed frame,
coffee table, and side chair,

my camouflaged tail tucked
an inch above the ground,
knees poised to lunge,

crawling toward
the sliding glass window
left ajar
from a last hurrah
of drinking shots of tequila
over the neon
green-lit swimming pool
shaped like a horseshoe.

Once I'm poised
on the balcony banister,
and I see that I'm alone,

I telepathically connect
to the GalaNet server
where I expect to find
Greg and Tom.

Both of them ping
a busy signal not unlike
the low-tone beep
of a another call
tying up the line.

I think of trying
Philosopher Jones next,
except I know he needs
his rest with Hooman #1.

Who am I supposed
to consult about the status
of the lizardman
in the City of Sin?

I lift my eyes
to the white saucer moon.

Am I supposed
to search for Babylonians with
the needle-in-haystack method?

Or I could contact
Buttercup and Phoebe.

Lahea might still
run on analogue,
but the other two
prestigious woman-cats
could send me an update
speedily through the GalaNet.

I survey the pool
glowing like an emerald below
before pinging
the One and Only Bengal.

Another busy signal.

I tell myself
to think about good things
to keep my frustration at bay,
yet I can't shake feeling irritated.

I'd love to hunt
a little brown bird
right about now.

Instead I head inside,
unlatch Grandpa's Chromebook,
and old-school log online,
connecting to Lahea.

Bee-bzzt-bee-bun.
A text message blings
brightly onto the screen.

Lahea
Commander DeeJAY?

DeeJAY
The hooman's asleep.
Can you relocate
the lizardman who pinged
on our stealth monitor?
I tried Phoebe, but—

Lahea
She's with Hooman #1
and Philosopher Jones right now.

That probably means
the One and Only Bengal
was using GalaNet
to speak to Philosopher Jones
without Hooman #1 overhearing.

Lahea
The lizardman is at a hotel
called the Lizaggio.

DeeJAY
Where's that?

Bee-bzzt-bee-bun.
Grandpa's Chromebook
shuts abruptly off.

I duck low,
flattening my ears
against my skull.

An iguana
skitters up the wall
on the other side
of the moonlit room,
hiding behind
an outdated hotel television.

I prowl closer.

Then the iguana scurries
towards the sliding glass window
for the safety of the balcony.

I can't let it escape;
if it's the reason
the pseudo-laptop crashed,
it's the only link
I may ever find
to the lizardman
hiding in the City of Sin.

I don't leap too early.
As desperate as I feel,
I've learned not to let emotions
get in the way of the hunt.

Rather, I time my pounce
so when the iguana crawls
along the lip of the sliding glass,
I catch it making a sharp turn,
knowing it can't jump
or speed up
in that compromised position.

The iguana hisses.

I hold it nimbly
in my mouth, the same way
my mother once delivered me prey.

Iguana
Pesssky catsss!

DeeJAY
You interrupted my Internet.
Prepare to die.

Iguana
Kill me, then!
Your threatsss will notsss
ssscare me into sssaying anyth—

I swallow him
before thinking much about it.
Listening to bravado
from food in my mouth
is too much for me.

I guess I'm not
an ideal interrogator.

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