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“Marooooou!”

“Buddy, hush!”

“Mromfph.”

“I said HUSH! I’m trying to sleep!”

“Mrou?”

Stage Manager: Only a few short months ago, Buddy would not have dreamed of jumping onto the caretaker’s bed in the morning. But desperate times call for desperate measures: Buddy is convinced that if the caretaker does not get out of bed *right now* the world as he knows it will end. He’s not sure why, but he thinks he read it somewhere.

“Umph. Ouch. You’re heavy, Butterbean.  And do you really have to play ‘Great Wall of China’ today?”

Stage Manager: “Great Wall of China” is Buddy’s favorite morning game. You see, the caretaker sleeps on her side, and Buddy loves to walk from her ankles to her shoulder and sometimes back again. Cats have amazing imaginations. Internet scripts require a LOT of explanation.

“Prrrrrrrr.”  *nudges the caretaker’s face with his cold nose*

“Oh, you’re just too sweet. Or something. O.K. I’ll get up now and feed you.”

Stage Manager: The caretaker is a pathetic pushover, but she does have a point. If Buddy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And so, led by Buddy doing his best Pied Piper impersonation, she shuffles into the kitchen, where they are joined by Madame Fishfrau, otherwise known as Bear.

“Yow. Yow! YOW! YOWWWWW!!!!!!”

“Bear! Do you see me, standing here trying my best to get your breakfast ready?”

“YoW. yow. Prrrrrrrr.”

Stage Manager: And then breaks forth the glorious sound Bear has been waiting for: Kxxxieeeey. Thupp. Clink! As the cat food can lid is removed, the kitchen fills with the perfume of oceanfish and shrimp in a light sauce (a.k.a. gravy). Bear can hardly contain her excitement. She marches up and down, brushing back and forth against the back of the caretaker’s legs, as though to provide energy in the form of static electricity.

“O.K., goof, you need to move so I can serve you. Here’s your plate.”

“Splurph, psluplrp, shplurfp. fffpt.”

“Bear, can you please tell me why someone who has no qualms about biting into my very large arm will not eat pieces of food that are more than a quarter-inch in diameter? Those perfectly good shrimp are going to waste. Never mind. Just enjoy your gravy.”

Stage Manager: But Bear answers not a word, now that her palate has been satisfied. She pads back to her warm blanket and settles in for the morning nap that always precedes second breakfast. The caretaker searches for Buddy, but he has repaired to his throne and is surveying the front lawn of the palace.

“Buddy, does anyone ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?”

Stage Manager: Buddy has no idea. He only knows that he realizes gravy every single minute he slurps it up from the breakfast dish. Every. Single. Minute. And then again as he grooms his face. He yawns and looks away. But since it is my job, I will provide the correct answer to the caretaker’s question: the saints and poets may have a bit more insight than most. Maybe. But probably not, now that I think about it.

“Sorry to wax nostalgic on you, old man. I have to get ready for work now.”

Stage Manager: Buddy softly mews his displeasure over being interrupted in his birdwatching pursuits. He turns toward the caretaker with that special look that can mean only one thing: “You really can’t help disappointing me, can you?” Yep, that’s our town all right.

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