It was a dark and semi-windy night, perfect for a nice leisurely stroll through the empty burbscape. Those who had been out on the town had already turned in, but it was too early yet for the secret traffic of early morn to have emerged. Thus, she was the only one out and about at this temperate hour
There was another presence
Unhurriedly, she crouched and reached out her hand, waiting for the cat to approach. It did, slowly, tentatively, then meowed and headbuffed her leg. A few short moments of scratching later, it meowed again and meandered off into the night
“Okay. We can sort this out. Blink once if it’s cat-related”
“Blink twice if it’s cats, plural”
“Blink thrice if it’s more than five cats”
blink blink blink
“Ye gods. So many cats!”
“What shall we do with all of them?”
“Well, you know…”
“We could embrace the situation and keep them. All of them. Have all the cats”
“So many kittens”
“I like this plan”
“So many kittens”
“We’re gonna need a bigger bowl”
She liked fan fiction, but never had time to read any. Life insisted on other things. Not having time to read was no reason not to enjoy it, and thus, she rebelled.
The rebellion consisted of speedreading. Or, rather, reading the tags and imagining what manner of stories might emerge from them. A good set of tags could keep her imagination going for hours, even as life demanded she be somewhere else, not reading. A good set of tags are worth more than a thousand words, she’d often say.
To be sure, of all of us, she is the one who has read the most stories.
The cat glared
It was an unmistakable glare. It said, plain as day, that no one would get past this spot, and that even thinking about attempting was foolishness beyond foolish. This was conveyed with such authority that it took on a truth of its own, beyond the merely physical. It was, all things considered, a metaphysical statement
It was ever so slightly undermined by the fact that people walked past all the time, both back and forth, with the only result that the glare shifted to the next person in line, but this was of little concern
The cat continued to glare, unperturbed
Someone who is not me is listening to it. Someone nearby. With the loudness
Startled by this realization, he sprang into motion, surprising everyone present. As he got closer to the song, he thought about what it could mean. Or, rather, about what it meant to hear it right here, right now. Rounding the corner, he saw exactly what he expected to see
“Hello, big brother” a young girl said
“Oh yes. I thought about calling you, but then I remembered phones are considered rude inside libraries, so I boomboxed instead”
“You always knew how to make an entrance. This time, you didn’t even have to enter the building”
“It was the polite thing to do, I reckon” she said, with a smile so bright as to give the sun a run for its money
Ah! Finally, it arrived! The new book, ordered so long ago and awaited long before that. Finally, it is here!
For years, two authors have been at war with each other, and every new book they publish is a new attack in this extended conflict. Never openly, of course, or as the main topic of a book specifically dedicated to broadsiding the adversary. But a war is waged, and it is waged in the footnotes. If you know to look for it, it is as clear as day; if not, then the books are just about the things they are about.
She did not, admittedly, care that much about the early development of international maritime law in 16th century Europe. But this was apparently what the author decided to write about, and so it was a small price to pay to get at the numerous and extensive footnotes.
Walking home from a lecture, a sudden urge for a snack caught up with him. Ducking into a convenient convenience store, he found a suitable (albeit overpriced) energy bar to munch on. As he stood in line, he noticed something. The clerk. He knew her from somewhere. From – that’s right, she was a neighbor at the old place.
What’s the protocol? A nod? A greeting? He didn’t know her very well, and he was sure the reverse was also true. Still. Old acquaintances renewed are stronger than when they were a thing. Oh – he’s up. He’s being processed. He’s treated no differently than those in front or behind him.
Probably for the best, he thought as he continued walking. The energy bar remained unmunched for some time.