Effective communication

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


That song

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

”You’re early”

“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

Citations needed

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.

Other plans

Meatballs at IKEA, just to taste the stereotype. As the meal came to a close, a couple walked by. The boyfriend was obviously not in love with her, but had not yet done the emotional heavy lifting of realizing it, and probably never would. The girlfriend was utterly oblivious to this, and had planned ahead for many merry moons to come. Based on the look of things, their imminent purchase ranged in the thousands, regardless of which currency they’d use.

Just to taste the stereotype indeed, she thought as she put away the branded kitchenware. A taste of how things could be.

Motivated buyers

“Love”, she said, “is the greatest pain in the ass. First off, you’re never sure if it’s actually the real thing. So you gotta go find out. If it turns out not to be the real deal, it just leads to everyone involved getting hurt. And if it is the real deal, then that is a metaphysical commitment, with hard work all the way through. Having loved and lost is way worse when you could have made the effort not to lose it”

“Is that why we are opening a pet store?”

“You bet”

It honks

It walked to and fro. This was usually an indication that it wanted something, and so too it was on this early morn. Above and beyond the to and fro, it had escalated into rubbing against legs to get the point across. There even was a rare headbuff, signaling that this time the need was dire indeed.

And then it came. The honk.

In truth, it was a very short meow, as if someone had recorded a longform meow and now only partially replayed it. The result being a very honk-like sound, dubbed “the nom honk” by tired minds of earlier morns.

Truly, a hungrier cat never did honk.