Friday, February 08, 2019

Back to Brooklyn writing contest

I was ensconced with Her Grace the Duchess of Yowl for three weeks, and then with Intern Ty for this past week.

Needless to say, I'm quite blue at the prospect of being furrless after Sunday. Thus, a writing contest is needed. Nothing is more fun than seeing what you guyz do with prompt words.

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


To compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize (or if you are Steve Forti) you must also use: calamity

3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.

Thus: cat/catchy is ok, but cat/cast or cat/tacky is not.

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.

Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.

Contest opens Saturday 2/9/19 at 5:52am
Contest closes: Sunday 2/10/19 at 9am

If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's an .xls spread sheet here

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?

Not yet! 
oh darn, too late, contest closed.


french sojourn said...

“It’s that finishing school that finished her…Calamity College and that starch lipped Headmistress.”

“Honey, it’s Amity College, London.”

“I just about horked, every time I wrote those fucking clowns a check.”

“She met that nice boy there…”

“Nice boy? Looks like he spent his developmental years trapped in a mayonnaise jar.”

“Don’t be catty George, she loves him.”

“He’s a walking snore fest.”

“They want to set a date”, she purred.


“It’s true George, he loves her,” she sensed George retracting his claws.”

“Does he?”

“He adores Carrie.”

“So, now she’ll be Mrs. Carrie Oakey of Old Brokenote, Sangloudlieshire.”

Kitty said...

Cabin Fever Catastrophe On A Winter’s Day

She sat on the couch
with Her Grace, D of Y,
when out of the blue
She said with a sigh,
“I wish we had something to do!”

They did nothing at all
but sit sit sit.
They did not like it,
not one little bit.

“You claw the couch
and hork up your fur.”
“You snore all night
and drown out my purr.”

“I’m putting an end
to this calamity:
Cream for you,
Macallan for me.”

They lounged on the couch,
their worries were few,
no longer caring
they’d nothing to do.

Steve Forti said...

Approaching footsteps in sync. LA waterfront at night. Dangerous territory.

My pulse quickens as he seizes me. Hunger. I can feel it. I’m ready. Eyes close as his teeth bite my neck…


“Yeeeooowwwmmmffffpphh!” The vampire reels, fangs blunted and broken against my titanium cybernetic skeleton. I turn, purring at his terrified face.

This is what I was made for. I raise the stake and bury it in his undead heart. Catch or kill is no debate. There is no remorse.

I am Bionic Undead Fighter, model E (BUF-E). This is my America. LA. Mi tyrannis. I slay the night.

Timothy Lowe said...

My author kept questioning me.
I answered with my typical amity:

1) No, I will not engage in a romance just to titillate some ‘readership’.
2) There’s no specific law requiring me to undego an arc. Attempted or otherwise.
3) No, I will not be pitted against some arch-villain. Snore.
4) No, I will not develop all kinds of emotional baggage to spur reactions from others. Seriously.

Finally, he stopped asking. Got the point. I wasn’t gonna be pushed around, not by some loser spends his whole life dreaming up some fairyland.

Then he renamed me Eustace Clarence Scrubb.

Guess I showed him.

NLiu said...

He sits in the midnight bar. A cool cat, if you don't see the tight way he claws his drink, ears pricked for trouble. He glimpses his tail in the window glass. Twitches. The straying ginger eyes him across the room, her purr limp as her pawed greenback.

This isn't his territory. Things could turn hairy, fast. He'll get what he came for, then run home - via the fence.

The barman slides his fix under the table. Fresh tuna, cream on the side.

He has no regrets. It would take a true calamity for him to miss night horks.

cjohs said...

He was an uncouth cat, the purrs he horked were hairy and wet.
His claws were vibranium, at least in his head. He wanted the milk and he wanted the maid, he wanted the world - it did not want him back.
He could snore with the best, but the car didn’t care.
Here lies Calamity Cat.

Kregger said...

Four cats saunter into a bar.

Claws von Bulow ordered a Sleepy Sunny to wake up.

Sir Horks-a-Lot asked for a Hairball Scramble. No surprise there.

Ipurr4u stared and surreptitiously rubbed his head on the back bar. He got what he wanted.

Kitty (YAWN, dumbest name ever) got a Tom and Jerry, heavy on the mouse, light on the puss because drinking… was just wrong.

As a group they ig’snored the Kibble sitting down the bar.

Calamity, a cat-as-tropes and litteral estrous-heroine had broken rules.

Trolling her stray cat strut.

The boys chose to nap.

Alpha cats before all that.

Luralee said...

M- (reading) General: saved kitten from burning dumpster. Honorable.

G- Thank you, sir!

D- Snore.

M- Beg pardon?

D- I don’t belong here.

M- (consulting luminous scroll)
You’re not the real Duchess, Cuddles McFlu—

D- DUCHESS! All cats are royalty.

M- That does sound like her.

D- (horks)

M- General. New assignment.
Bad mailmen, egotistic lawyers on bicycles, freshly planted petunias, sausage factory...
Inspect them thoroughly.

G- Hot damn, I’m going to the Good Place!

M- It’s the Bad Place. Don’t tell the people.

D- I’m going to the Good/Bad Place too?

M- Depends on your point of view.

D- All viewpoints are mine.

M- I’m sending you back.

D- (smirkpurrs)

M- a Golden Retriever

C. Dan Castro said...

“Hork isn’ a word.”
“Typo? Maybe horn?”
“The rrrrarrre horrrrned cat? Purrrre rrrrrubish!”
“York? Hurk? Maybe…horm?”
“Jus’ use ‘em all.”
“Surrrrrre. The Yorrrkshire horned hork hurked home.”
“You’re losing your accent. And we’ll work this entry out. Fast and easy.”
“Neither fas’ nor easy.”
“Yourrrr wasting ourrr time. And I abhor keeping—"
“Your fans waiting, yeah. You didn’t roll that last “r”, and you’re a terrible Scot.”
“Shoulda stayed in contrac’ law.”
“Borrrrring being a lawyerrrrr. Hey, Google says hork…horrrrk is to vomit.”
“Like a hairball?”
“Forge’ this. Lezz go get horkin’ drunk.”

Mike Hays said...

The cat paused over the open book. “Mistress Weatherwax’s recipes?” he asked with a questioning purr.
The young lady shooed the cat away. She checked the cookbook. “Let’s see...claw of newt.”
The cat peered around the pot. “Phantasmagorical Amity?”
The young lady paused. “It’s almost Valentine’s Day.”
The cat faux-horked a hairball. “Not again! It’s a holiday for a guy who got his head cut off.”
“’s Valentine’s.”
“No reason to lose your head.”
She dumped a vial into the pot with a roaring snort that shook the walls. "Snore of feline.”
“Hey! Where did you get that?”

Aphra Pell said...

I am cousin to the serval, not a servile beast.

I want to be a leopard in Udaipur, roaming the lakes.
Or the sacred pet of King Neferkahor.

odkods stalking the Chilean hills,
Or an iriomote, laying down pacific law.

I yearn to be an ocelot, margay or manul.
A jaguarondi, lynx, or hunting caracal.

Am I ty

For I am not a Pallas, nor Egyptian god.
Not a ball of demonic atoms, ruling star-lit paths.

I am a creature of pink collars, fancy bows and bells.
Brushes and dry kibble. Clean bowls.

Did they have to call me Snookums?

Marie McKay said...

She'd had a breakthrough. Orkney was the birthplace of her great-grandma.The archivist confirmed it, along with details of Innes N. Ore's life.
After clawing around for information for months- her dad no help at all- she'd positively purred with happiness when the email dropped in.
She began reading:
Innes was a fisherwoman which had been frowned upon by the menfolk.
"Go Innes!"
She'd been a poet.
She'd had one child.
"This is it."
But catastrophe: Innes was murdered.
The perpetrator, her only grandchild, was released from incarceration at age 25 having spent 15 years in prison.

P. Andrew Floyd said...

Falfekhf'ton started awake. He had become used to many of the cat’s behaviors, but this sudden horking was most unpleasant.


It answered the demon with an image of itself purring while licking its fur. Falfekhf’ton did not understand.

The vessel’s claws dug into the countertop, it gave one final jerk of its abdomen, and . . . something expelled from their orifice.

The feline curled up on the counter and before long began to snore. 

Falfekhf’ton sighed inside its head. There were some things about possessing a cat to which he would never acclimate

Alina Sergachov said...

Putting your cat on a diet has its risks. After all, cats want to be fed. Frequently. If you attempt to stop your pet from horking that tuna down…. Well, expect calamity. Hell has no fury like a famished feline. Purr? Don’t let feigned friendliness deceive you! Beware of claws.

P.S. no redemption is possible.

Melissa said...

"Please. How much of a calamity can it be?"

"He's started to snore. Loudly. If nothing else, it's inappropriate for a funeral. And you know it's only a matter of time before the destruction begins."

"I've heard that story, and I still don't believe claws could do all that damage."

"You weren't there. The worse part was the purring--like he was enjoying himself."

"Look, no matter what you say, Thor, king of Asgard, is a good kitty."

"He may be cute, but he ruined the catafalque. That's the third one this month."

Michael Seese said...

His lips moved. But the words bounced off my eardrums.

My head had room only for silence, undercut by the gentle “purr” of the adjacent freeway. Transfixed by the hypnotic drone of countless steel carcasses, piloted by empty souls who snore through the commute as they catapult toward drudgery, I could imagine the allure it held for a child.
His final question clawed me back to the here and now.

“Sorry?” I mumbled. On several levels.

“The question was, latch or key? How was the gate secured?”

“Key,” I lied, squeezing my wife's hand. I couldn't bear losing her too.

Unknown said...

“Thank you for calling Robyn’s Intimates. This is Mity, how may I assist you?”
“Will the Cat’s Claw thong support my boys, if you know what I mean?”
She muted, stood up and yelled, “I got Frank!” She grabbed some paperclips and tossed them over the cubicle walls & her coworkers jumped up like a game of whack-a-mole; just another day.
She unmuted. “They do have sizes up to 3XL, would that work?” She purred, and sipped her tea. Sheila laughed, someone snored.
“Oh Calamity, you’ll know soon enough.”
She horked out her drink. He knew her name.

Megan V said...

Calamity Jane had nothing on me.
She claimed to be a perfect shot, while I was the purrfect one.
She visited Deadwood. I clawed dead wood.
She had cat-like prowess, while I had true cat skills.
Honestly, there was no real comparison.
And yet, my human insisted on naming me after the woman.
Then she had the audacity to just serve up the dry stuff, without ever inquiring if I preferred fish or kibble. Well…she wanted a cat that caused trouble.
I pounce, aiming for her sleeping head, her hair my newest ball of yarn.
Calamity Mane strikes again.

Dena Pawling said...

2005. Tiffany surveyed her domain. Clean. Orderly. Perfect.

Unlike next door. Poor Lorraine. Clawed furniture and destroyed drapes. Dead rats [and sometimes live ones] brought inside the house. Horked up hairballs.

Who would want a calamity-with-paws?? Inside the house! [shudder]

One Saturday morning, Tiffany found Midnight on her back patio. First mistake was naming him. Second was googling “cat snore.”

2019. Tiffany surveyed her domain. Not unlike Lorraine's. She stroked Midnight in her lap and smiled. How wrong she'd been.

“You taught me love.” A lone tear coursed down Tiffany's cheek as the purring slowed, then stopped. “Thank you.”

Sherin Nicole said...

It was a teeny little cataclysm.

Only she’d been hurled through time, leaving claw marks at the edges of reality, horking up yesterdays,
and her purrfect self had transformed into a [sigh] snore.

The first word from her anthropomorphized throat: Calamity (as in Jane).
Mary Fields two.
Scruff-y cowgirls with sharp ears and fast draws.
Then confabs with Zora in Harlem…conquests with Zenobia…coquettish leisure with Makeda.

After eight lifetimes in as many centuries, she’d decided to spend her last at the start.
Back to Brooklyn, a patch of sun by the window, bridging the difference between nine and one.

Lucy Crowe said...

Seasonal depression is neither catastrophe nor calamity. It hasn’t teeth or claws; it is, perhaps, a hysterical bit of . . . undigested beef.
Isn’t that how Dickens might put it?
Tucked into her coat, the sleet wrapped purringly round her throat, she faces Nor’easter 2019 with high heels clickety-clacking on the pier, eyelashes frozen stiff.
James once said her lashes were like spider legs, but the memory now is about as clear as the futhork. He’d been five, already such a little poet.
Not seasonal, then, and certainly not beef.
The water stings like . . . awakening.

Deborah McGovern said...

I am a cat who wants the thing that smells good . The lady is snoring on the couch. It is my time.
I have one claw hooked, but it makes sound that wakes the lady.
"Finn. Get out of the cabinet."
I ignore her, and pull. Things fall. The stuff the dogs like scatters across over the floor. I do the work. They eat for free.
"Finn. Oh, Finn. Another cat-calamity?" The lady picks me up. I don't mind.
If I purr she may give me the thing that smells good. I will hork on the dogs bed later.

Craig F said...

It was the fourth try to make the app work, the last three had horked it.

The first was a snore, literally.

The second purred, including the rubbing against legs.

The third try did cat, including clawing at each other’s eyes.

This fourth started quietly. On the third day, after the launch, the impending calamity began. The viral app turned into a real interweb virus, the desecrater of the frontal lobe.

Now those phone zombies are real zombies, stumbling along for a reason. Looking for a working brain.

Mat Thorne said...

“You’re sure this is a cat?”

“Yeah I’m sure.”

Alec frowned. He turned the photo face down on the counter. The other man sipped his coffee and waited.

“Damn ugly.”

“Just a cat. Fur, claws, whiskers. Purrs and horks like the rest of em.”

“Those eyes…”

“You don’t have to look at them. Thing’s sealed in a crate, probably asleep.”

Alec nodded. “Anything else?”

The man hesitated. “Buyer’s orders,” he said. “Not mine.”

“Tell me.”

“She said if it talks to you—if it does anything but snore—you don’t speak back to it.”


“Such a strange lady. Same damn eyes.”

Colin Smith said...

I always love when Jodie comes to visit. These days we talk more about old times, spurring each other on with shared memories.

Her red hair’s turning white now, but her eyes are blue as ever. Like the rest of the family, I need glasses for my milky browns.

This visit, I dug up Mom’s old catalogs. Could’ve been a snore-fest but for the one on the bottom. Never seen it before. Full of ads:

WANTED: SC Law Books. Calamity Jane poster.

Then circled in red:

FOR SALE: Russian newborn. Needs family.

Checked the date. Jodie teared. I about horked.

Kate Larkindale said...

Pushing through the cat-flap, a foreign scent assaulted her senses.

Her favorite navy sofa cushion a purr-fect disaster zone. Coarse white hair. Muddy paw prints. Silver streaks of slobber.

And what in the name of T S Eliot had been horked up here?

Duchess turned her nose, turned tail. The kitchen and her bowl needed inspecting. What if this interloper had (horror) touched her biscuits?

A loud snore made her freeze. Hair bristled along her spine and tail, turning sleek kitten into feral tomcat. Or so she hoped…

Worse than she’d feared.


Was mother holding a…. a… puppy?

KDJames said...

"Cats," she wailed. "Why cats?"

The seventh cat, most recent to appear, purred.

"I've tried half these conjuring spells, but all I get are CATS!"

The largest cat pushed the spellbook off the counter. Pawing, turning pages.


"It's a catastrophe. FURRY CALAMITY!"

The cat calmly clawed a gash under a word in the glossary's F section and gave a slow blink. Then horked up his dinner, curled into a chair near the hearth, and began to snore.

The would-be witch peered at the underlined word, understanding dawning as she re-read the book's title: "Beginning Witchcraft: Easy Familiar Spells."

Christina Lynn Raymond said...

There I’d lie--night after night, sleepless in bed--trailing the water-marked cracks across the ceiling...unable to tune out the caterwaul of snores reverberating from the pillow next to mine.

Not a gentle purr, mind you. Nay, better likened to a hyena-in-heat, horking up a Harley.

Clawing at my ears, “How I ache for the peace of quiet!”


The calamity of silence is deafening.

Here I lie--night after night, sleepless in bed--tracing the tear-streaked creases upon the empty pillow next to mine.

“How I pain for the solace of your snore.”

Mallory Love said...

There’s always a catch.
I’m in love with two men.
One snores; the other never sleeps.
One purrs sweet nothings in my ear; the other’s whispers send chills down my spine.
One hides secrets; the other claws into my private thoughts.
One scares me; the other haunts me.
Choices, choices.
Lust or loyalty?
Lush or killjoy?
Happiness or peace of mind?
One says we’re kindred spirits; the other claims we’re soulmates.
One has known me all my life; the other loved me all of his.
I suspect one killed the other.
There’s always a catch.

RKeelan said...

“His’n ore seam's done," Denzil said. "He liketa fruit, but won't, now.”

Spurrey flowers had sprouted all over the alloytree's trunk, but without ore, the blooms would never fall, floating to the ground like phosphor kernels.

"Yeah." I stumped away. No goldplums in the fall. No cat-head for the winter. Dead by spring. "Get a shovel!"


We transplanted the alloytree onto a fat coal seam.

The flowers darkened, leadened, then fell, thudding like clawhammers.
Then the fruit came, tarry, corpulent, and odorous. They never hardened, but they did blacken, then fall.

"Kyam," said Denzil.

I shook my head. "Kerosene."

charlogo said...

>>> Any snackalicious ideas this weekend?
>>> Baby shower?
>>> Not dressing up for wrinkled grapes and a cupcake.
>>> Bunch of cars at Gordon’s FH. Wake = decent spread.
>>> A snore + takes my appetite away.
>>> Check Zillow. Open house at SoCal Amityville catastrophe.
>>> omg. That landscaping. I purred coffee in my lap. Damn Autocorrect. Poured.
>>> It’s listed with the skinny one. No warm cookies.
>>> I abhor keto realtors.
>>> Wedding?!?
>>> We clean up nice. They will thank us for crashing their reception.
>>> Classic law-abiding grannies gone bam. Bad.
>>> Damn autocorrect.

Jeannette said...

Ironic that a guy named Thor would work in carpentry, but there it was. The others spurred each other to the height of hammer humor. Thor had clawed his way to the top, but there’s no respect anymore.

Back to them, he worked late. He was building a masterpiece, curled wood and straight edges. Catherine waited by the window for him to come home, one hand in the pickle jar. She sniffed him when he came in, trailing moonlight.

Thor knew what she thought, so he showed her the crib.

She showed him the baby. “I’ve named him John Henry.”

Bryan Castle said...

The engine purred with the sound of the joker flipping through his spokes.

A clothespin horked from grandma’s line was all it took. While the old woman looks around, Grandpa pretends to snore as ice melts in his lemonade.

With a bamboo stick, can of worms, and red-bottom bobber secured to the banana seat with his belt, Johnny motors to the cattail laced pond.

To his surprise, Susie is there sporting swimwear that hints at an emerging figure. The calamity of the preacher’s mixed bathing rule claws at his conscience… for a moment. Facing Dad’s switch is worth it!

K said...

One went to Wroclaw, tagging along with an author known for fantastical tales
Another hitched a ride to Jaipur, ready to meet a lawyer's new clients
A third joined crowds of commuters in Boston, despite last week's nor'easter
Next the stowaways all followed the same ancient catechism:

Sophia's Papa said...

Poor little kitty cat. How did you go missing your claws? “I don't know,” says poor little kitty cat. “I fell asleep and woke up this way.” Them claws are horked up, I say. “I can't even defend myself,” she says, “not even against the slightest enemy.” Christ, I say. I will protect you, I say. Poor little kitty cat, lie down right here close to my heart. Listen to me snore for just one night and I will listen to you purr for the rest of your life.

Just Jan said...

I can’t fly.

I don’t own a Lasso of Truth.

But I can rock a catsuit. Tonight’s mission is personal. This piece of guano foiled my last heist. It won’t happen again.

The mark snores like a freight train. I creep forward, claws unsheathed, and glimpse the man beneath the mask. My breath catches. He’s adorable.

I purr. Shake myself. Refocus.

I don’t need a professional photograph or Kodak moment. Just one snap for the newspaper and game over.

I didn’t count on the butler, dammit. He sets out a dish of liquid kryptonite.


“Here kitty, kitty.”

Game over.

Nate Wilson said...

"What is THIS?"
"Oh, hi boss. Sorry. It's MSN. Or... ESPN?"
"Don't care. Your job's to watch Ork, Jerry. That's it."
"Sorry, boss."
"And where's Na?"
"Nanette? Dunno, she hasn't been in."
"For how long?"
"Two... three days."
"Three days. Yet you've said nothing?"
"Sorry, boss."
"Sorry? Old broadcasts will reach Ork any day now!"
"...and when they see how they've been depicted, it might spur retaliation, I know."
"Retaliation completely justified under cosmic law. That'd be a calamity of global proportions. Check her logs."
"Locating them now. And... shit. They've seen. Warships arriving... tonight."
"Damn. Na knew."
"Na knew."

John Davis Frain said...

The guys at Mensa snore me to death, so I never mention my brain cancer. I don’t mention my brilliance either, but these cats see it.

“Daniel,” some genius purrs. “How’s the book selling?”

“Only the Bible has sold more.”

“You should pen your memoir. Call it the Man in the Window.”

“My life? Nobody would believe it.”

He nods agreement with a grin that makes me hork. I claw my way out of the room and hear the geezer complain to someone. “Where’s the current New Yorker?”

He won’t find it. I canceled the club’s subscription to that rag.

Karen McCoy said...

Sally’s face sagged while her colleagues argued whether the policy should say “active” or “synergetic.” Roberta, who should have been well past retirement, snored next to her.

So many years spent clawing her way to the top, trying to catch a break. Horking out bureaucratic jargon while swallowing authenticity.

Sally’s hamster wheel spurred until it broke. “It’s not like anyone will read it anyway,” she found herself saying.

The room stopped.

A voice rumbled. Roberta was awake. “Perhaps. Your yearly evaluation, however…”

“Will be long buried in your cubicle when they drag away your corpse,” Sally said. “I quit.”

flashfriday said...

“You look deliciously clever,” said the dragon. “Harvard educated?”
“Naww, pretty much just YouTube.”
“Ah, comic law,” she said. “Thor knows just how to trap them, hilarious boy.”
“Speaking metaphorically, dear. More mead?”
“You bet.”
“And you’ve touched neither macarons nor ├ęclairs. May I tempt you?”
“I love temptations.”
“And I love eating local! --Am I tyrannical? So tyrannical, nattering on when you came for business.”
“That’s right, I solved your contest riddle!’”
“Did you? Share the solution, darling.”
“Dragon tired of hoard seeks horde. I won, right?? ‘Prizes to die for.’”
“Clever, clever knight,” purred the dragon.

Barbara said...

Dear Mom,

I'm begging you, stay home. Neither Dallas, nor Ellen, will like it here, since epic lawlessness fills the streets. And I abhor kittens, so it's critical Amity stays away with hers. Mr. Poky's life could end up unnaturally short. Besides, I'd much rather be alone with my harmonica tunes than face the family from Hell ever again. I do love and miss you. It's just them I can't take. Come alone, and you can have my uppur room all to yourself.

Your loving son,

PS. Sorry about Dad. And please excuse the typo. Uppur should be upper.

Amy Johnson said...

I don’t know how she always gets her way.

Brittnee had to choose the restaurant, then showed up late, saying she horked. Horked? Always some catastrophe or triumph. Snore.

She plopped the glittery bag onto the table. “For taking care of Mr. Purrsalot.” It’s Sir Purrcelot.

“What are ex-roommates for?” I pulled out the stuffed, furry . . . thing.

“See the collar? Personalized.” She twirled her hair around her fuchsia-clawed finger, obviously proud of herself.


“Now you have someone to snuggle everyday, not just days I’m on vacation.”

It would have been rude. And futile. “Thanks.”