Grand champion, p.1

  Grand Champion, p.1

Grand Champion

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Grand Champion



  Lea Tassie

  Copyright 2016 by Lea Tassie

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without

  prior written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the

  author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or

  dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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  Sy Meeze and Abby Sinyon, long, sleek tails gracefully waving, strolled along between the two rows of cages where the top contenders in the Annual Twoleg Competition sat waiting for the final judging session. In less than an hour, one of these twolegs would be awarded the coveted Blue Ribbon naming it Grand Champion. Pinned to each cage was a list of the twoleg's attributes and the prizes won thus far.

  “Look at this one,” Sy murmured. “Strong, good hunter, and took top prize in the maze competition.” He peered closer. “Its name is Pookie. Looks to be in fine shape, with a good lap configuration.”

  “I hear he's a strong contender for the Blue Ribbon,” Abby said. “I wonder if he responds to strangers.” She stuck a paw through the bars and trilled provocatively.

  Pookie sat quietly, his hands on his knees, and stared, apparently entranced, at the cage across the aisle.

  “Snooty, isn't he?” Abby said, withdrawing her paw. “He probably realizes he's championship material.” She took a closer look at the list of attributes. “He's quite a common breed, though. White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.”

  “I wonder where they get these names,” Sy said. “He's not white, he's pink. Well, sort of a brown-pink, the way some of them get in the summer. I wonder what Protestants protest.”

  “I don't suppose he knows and I'm sure it doesn't matter,” Abby said. “You must have noticed how twolegs love to form into groups and give them fancy names, then fight each other about which group is best.”

  “They do have some very strange customs,” Sy said. “My twoleg belongs to a group that meets every Wednesday morning. She's always ravenous when she gets home, so the meeting can't be about food. And she's never had a baby twoleg, so it can't be about sex.”

  “Perhaps they play.”

  “For four hours at a stretch?” Sy asked, his whiskers twitching.

  “You said yourself, they're strange. Anyway, you don't know that they play four hours at a stretch. They might have naps.” Abby moved back to Pookie's cage. “Pookie Wookie,” she crooned, “Pookie, Pookie, Pookie! Pookie Wookie want a cracker?”

  “You mustn't make fun of him, Abby. That's politically incorrect.”

  “Don't tell me you take that twoleg game seriously,” she said. “My grandmother says it's a new one and quite ridiculous. They spend hours hissing and spitting over what names to call each other.” Abby sat down and licked her left shoulder blade. “At least we have the sense to call a spade a spade. The truth may not always sound pretty but it's accurate and that's what counts.”

  A hiss behind her startled Abby in mid-lick. “Don't disturb my twoleg!” It was Allie Catt, a sleek, sexy ragdoll and proud of it. “You have no idea how difficult it was to train him for this competition.”

  “Oh, I think I do,” Sy said. “It's old news that twolegs do what they want and rarely listen to our orders. When I want to train mine, she wants to play with her computer. When she's ready to accept training, I've generally just settled down for a nap. The frustrations are endless.”

  “My Pookie is looking a bit disturbed,” Allie said. “Please move on.”

  They walked to the next cage, but Abby glanced over her shoulder to see Allie flop on her back at Pookie's feet, so that he could lean down and caress her tummy. “What a slut that cat is,” she whispered to Sy.

  Sy looked back in time to catch the action and then twitched his ears. “Indeed,” he said, “but perhaps it’s the only way she can make him obey.”

  The next cage held a male with black skin. “I hope his owners are black, too,” Abby remarked. “Otherwise it would be terribly difficult to keep him looking presentable. If he belonged to me, he'd have to brush himself off every five minutes. Even just one of my copper hairs would show up on skin like that.”

  Sy sat down in front of the cage, his tail tucked around his feet. “I wonder if it would be possible to breed them for blue skin?”

  “Goodness, where would one begin? Though I've heard it said there are red twolegs and yellow twolegs.”

  “Red and yellow make orange,” Sy said, with a superior smile. “I think it might be yellow and green that make blue. My human is always talking about little green men in space, so if we could import a few of those, we'd have a start.”

  “I think it's a wonderful idea, Sy, but I can see problems. It would be almost impossible to get a green male to breed with a yellow female if they didn't like each other. Or the other way around. But what a feat if we succeeded! We'd be famous.”

  “There's no doubt they're obstinate,” Sy said, “not to mention totally unpredictable at times. But I can get mine to do almost anything I want by purring and rubbing my cheek against her hand.”

  “I've found that kneading without extending my claws works well, too,” Abby said, “especially if I keep my eyes half closed and purr at the same time. My Skinnie Minnie simply melts. But I do wish I could get her to eat more. She's far too thin and bony, which means I slide off her lap if I'm not careful. And, of course, if I hang on with my claws, she gets annoyed. Twolegs would be much more manageable if they had thick fur like we do.”

  “When I was a kitten,” Sy said, “mine thought it was cute when I climbed the drapes or licked the butter. It offends my dignity more than I can say to do those things now, but sometimes it's necessary.”

  “Oh, look!” Abby's excitement was barely controlled. “I didn't realize the other top contender for Grand Champion was right across the aisle from Pookie.”

  The cage sported a name tag which had 'Precious' printed on it in large letters. Pinned to the tag were several red ribbons, indicating that Precious was proficient in agility, massage and obedience.

  “I wonder if she's a good provider,” Abby said. “I could do with a dish of tuna about now.”

  “So could I,” Sy said. “Though I doubt she's allowed to feed anyone but her owner. And, speak of the devil…”

  Devon Rexford marched along the aisle toward them. “Isn't she gorgeous? I couldn't believe my luck when I found her.”

  It took a moment, but finally Abby caught on. “Ah! That short, curly black hair on her head does match yours! She's got big eyes, too.” Under her breath, she said to Sy, “Lucky for her she doesn't have the big bat ears!”

  “She calls me 'Pixie,' which I think is very sweet,” Devon said, pacing in front of Precious's cage, tail straight up. “Precious, love, you can reach through the bars and scratch my ears, if you like.”

  But Precious was staring intently across the aisle at Pookie. Then she turned away and ran her fingers through her short, wavy hair.

  “She's grooming herself,” said Sy.

  “Nonsense,” Abby said, “she's fli
rting with Pookie.”

  “Oh, dear,” Devon said, looking back and forth between Precious and Pookie. “You don't suppose…”

  “I’m sure of it,” said Abby. “Twolegs are constantly in heat, you know. That's why they often make such bad servants. They waste an unbelievable amount of time in courting rituals and ceremonies they apparently think are necessary before they get down to it.”

  Sy lifted one paw to wash his right cheek. “They do seem to regard mating as very special. They certainly talk about it a lot. What I find amazing is that they are so secretive about actually doing it. Whenever my twoleg takes a male into her bedroom, she shuts the door so I can't get in.”

  “Oh, do stop chattering,” Devon moaned. “This is a terrible situation. They'll be impossible to handle if they're in courting mode. I must find Allie Catt and see if she has any suggestions.”

  The twoleg, Precious, was still grooming and pretending not to look at the male twoleg, Pookie. Sy and Abby strolled on down the aisle.

  “Did you hear that Percy's twoleg is very ill?” said Sy.

  “Percy? Oh, that's the Persian that lives next door to you, isn't it?”

  “Yes, and he's having a tough time. His female twoleg has been in bed for weeks, so he's not being fed properly or groomed. Other twolegs come and tend to his female and he says they're looking very gloomy.”

  “I suppose his twoleg is going to die,” Abby said. “Too bad they're
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