The Reunion Part 13

"It means he's my best friend, silly cat." Stacey replied with a prideful smile. Ting Ting covered her mouth, trying not to laugh...as she anticipated what would happen next.

Twitch looked at Stacey very thoughtfully, his mouth forming soundless words as he concentrated on something. Then he borrowed a pen and wrote something on his hand. At last, referring to his hand, he said, "Do you know what SSGYASYRLB stands for?"

"No," Stacey said. Her voice was richly expressive. It conveyed contempt for anyone who would have to ask what "BF" stood for, preemptive boredom with anything Twitch might say, and the certain knowledge that she was doing him a grand favor by even deigning to talk to him. It also gave the impression that she was watching, hawklike, for anything Twitch might say or do that would give her the chance to mock him. Derision, scorn, skepticism, arrogance, callousness and cruelty formed a nuanced tapestry of sound that she augmented by rolling her eyes, sticking out her tongue, and kicking Twitch in the shins.

"It means," Twitch said, "Someone Should Give You A Spanking, You Rotten Little Brat." 

A moment later, the restaurant was filled with the sounds of Stacey's whiny, petulant, drama queen screams.  Mr. Kitten ran up. He was in human form, a handsome, heavily built man with dark chocolate skin and mutton chops. "What's the problem?" he roared, looking from Twitch to Stacey. "He hasn't even touched you, you spoiled, rude, nasty little--" Stacey kicked him in the shins and ran away. Ting Ting's merry laughter rang out and several characters applauded.

Twitch laughed too. "Someday, somebody really should spank that girl."

Kitten chuckled. "Kids," he said, shaking his head.

Chris was the only one unamused. "If that brat mouths off to Twitch again, I'm going to change her into a ferret."

The Anchorite interrupted. "A ferret? Didn't a mouthy, spoiled kid get changed into ferret in Harry Pot--"

"She hardly has a monopoly on changed brats into ferrets!" Chris snapped. She took a deep breath. "I'm sorry."

"You should be," the Anchorite said, a smile in his voice. "With all these cats here, we should..."

"...change her into a mouse!" they concluded together.

***

A few minutes later, the Anchorite and Chris had gathered their most important and intelligent characters at a quiet table to plan their defense strategy. Claire, one of the the Anchorite's author avatars was there with her girlfriend Heather. Faber, a super intelligent human-chimpanzee from a long abandoned ("On hiatus," Faber corrected) thriller was there with his boyfriend Brian. And Stanley was there, missing Blondhilda and wondering why there were so many gays.

The Anchorite stood and spoke solemnly from within his dark cowl. "My friends," he said, "we are in great danger. We must each use all the intelligence and creativity we have to address--"

Suddenly, a tall, muscular man walked into the restaurant and all eyes turned to him. Wisdom and intelligence shone in his handsome face and strength lay in his hands. Some men felt insecure in the sweeping wave of clean masculinity that emanated from him. They began to posture, but immediately gave it up a pointless. No one could compete, and the man's good humored dignity made them feel foolish. The women stared at him with naked admiration and a few swooned. He walked past the potted ferns and flowers bloomed in them. Wood floors installed, leveled and varnished themselves as his manly boots stepped on them. Stanley Chester Brown took one look at him and threw away his thick glasses.

The man came up to Chris. "Hi, Rupert," she said. "Rupert, may I present my characters. Everyone, say hello to my husband, Rupert."

They greeted him with friendly awe and restrained the impulse to beg for an autograph. The Anchorite was stunned, overwhelmed in the presense of the man he had heard so much about.  "What the Anchorite was saying," Chris continued for him, "is that we need absolute concentration to meet this challenge. 100% effort, no distractions. We need to focus like lasers. Nothing matters as much as this. This planning session is our number one and only priority. Got it?"

"Chrissy?" Rupert said.

"Yes, dear?"

"We're having dinner at the real Pampas restaurant in 45 minutes."

Chris grabbed her purse. "Gotta go, everybody. See ya later."
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