Kim opened her eyes and groaned, rubbing her head.

“Oh good,” Patchie said. “You’re awake. My dish is empty.”

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include The gPhone and Crocosaur vs. Astrodons. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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Did I hear that, or imagine it? Kim wondered as the cat climbed off her chest. “Did you just … talk?”

“I talk all the time,” Patchie said. “You usually don’t listen. So like I said: my food bowl is empty.”

“But….” Kim shook her head and immediately regretted it. She winced as her fingers found the bump just above her hairline. “What happened?”

“One of us isn’t as graceful as the other,” Patchie said. “Sorry about leaving that toy on the floor.”

The memory flickered back as Kim looked down at her nightshirt. She had been walking down the hall to the kitchen when she had felt a sharp pain in the sole of her foot. She had cursed and tried to hop-step over the plastic cat toy, but she wasn’t at her best first thing in the morning.

“So I fell,” Kim said.

Patchie looked at her. “You didn’t land on all fours, so it’ll be hard to pretend you did it on purpose. Now, about my food?”

“Oh, yes,” Kim said. “Don’t let me stepping on one of your toys, falling, hitting my head, and knocking myself out delay that.”

“I’m trying not to,” Patchie said. The cat seemed to regard her for a long moment. “Look, I already apologized for the toy. But you’re the one with the thumbs, and I’m the one with the empty stomach. Perhaps you could link those two ideas into a solution….”

“Smart ass,” Kim said, rising to her feet.

“The kitchen is this way,” Patchie said, turning to head for the kitchen, her tail arched over her back like a directional beacon. “Just in case you forgot.”

Kim waited until the cat rounded the corner, then gave her a one-fingered salute. “I can use body language too,” she muttered.

She picked up the cat’s dish and carried it to the sink, scratching away the dried bits from the night before with her fingernail, then washing it with hot water and a dab of dish soap. Kim then took a can of food from the cupboard, opened it, used a fork to scoop a serving onto the dish, and put it on the floor.

“There,” she said. “Happy now?”

“If you licked that fork clean,” Patchie said, “you’d know better. But this will have to do, I suppose.”

“Don’t you like turkey and giblets?” Kim asked.

“They’re very creative with names,” Patchie replied. “Maybe ‘stewed, strained, squished leftovers’ wouldn’t fit on the can.”

“So what flavor would you like?” Kim asked, looking at the open cupboard.

“Do they have any mouse?” Patchie asked. “Heck, I’d settle for g–”

“Don’t say it,” Fluffy said from his cage. “Don’t even think it.”

“The guinea pig talks too?” Kim asked.

“Well, duh, Mom,” Zoe said as she padded into the room. “What’s for breakfast?”

“That seems to be the topic du jour,” Kim replied.

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Have Fun!