Found wisdom: If it's worth shooting, it's worth shooting twice

Found wisdom: if it's worth shooting it's worth shooting twice. Pin It Now!

The reunion: part 25



“—it could be dangerous,” Kitten concluded

Suddenly a vampire porn star zombie burst into the restaurant riding a dinosaur.

“Huh,” CC noted. “This must be coming from those books she reread recently.”

“Oh, crap!” Twitch screamed. “I thought I had problems before! Now I’m really in danger!”

Then Chris burst into the room.

“Stop, stop, stop,” Chris said. “Now normally, we would have a big action scene here and have you guys find the resources within yourself to let you overcome these new problems.”

“Or fail to find those resources, and have your problems become even worse," a disembodied voice called out. "After all, this is only the second act.”

As the cats stood around unsure what to do, thirty ghouls, pursued by Viking and Valkyries, burst into the room jostling everyone and forcing them to dance around to avoid the battle axes and spears.

“Thank you, Anchorite,” Chris said, as she deftly parried a sword thrust. “Unfortunately, my dear cats,   these enemies you’re facing, imaginative as they are, are not the product of my own imagination and could have copyright have implications.”

“Like anybody reads your stuff,” Kitten muttered. All the new characters suddenly disappeared, and Twitch did something that Kitten attributed to a departing Viking.

“Thanks for getting us out of that, Chris,” Twitch said. "You're the best!"

“A little deux ex machina,” Kitten mumbled, and Twitch splashed his tailored suit with another helmet-full of mead.

Chris pressed her lips together and gave the two cats a hard look. “You cats be good,” she said.  She met eyes with CC, TingTing and Astrocat. "That goes for you too. I’m leaving now to have dinner with the Anchorite. I don’t think you should be writing your own story, but if you do, get your material from another part of my imagination. And don't expect me to come back and get you out of any trouble.”

Chris left.

“Well, we reminded her that we are waiting for a story,” Kitten said. “Let’s just relax a little and wait for her to get back.”

All the cats agreed to this. It was the best and safest plan. All they had to do was wait for Chris. Chris would probably write for them as soon as she got back from dinner. They waited quietly and patiently.

Two minutes later, Twitch got bored.

And two seconds after that, they were in an ice hockey rink, facing the Chicago Blackhawks.
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The reunion: part 24


All the cats sat around a table, their jealousies and rivalries long forgotten. Too long. Ting Ting brushed a cobweb off Twitch’s sleeve. The once solid, mahogany table was now translucent. The hipster restaurant been replaced by an enveloping fog that defeated the eye. A man who was part human and part chimpanzee floated by riding a smiling shark.

CC waved at them while Mr. Kitten followed them with dull eyes. “Who was that,” AstroCat asked.

“The shark is this really cool fish,” CC said, lighting up a new joint using the ember from his old one and taking a hit. “Dude, he’s always smiling and laid-back, and you should see him eat people. A whole stadium once.” CC blew out the smoke and gave a thumbs up to the departing shark. “Hardcore, yeah. Chris hasn’t written about him in a year.” CC leaned back and closed his eyes.

“The guy is a character from Chris’s third unfinished book.” Twitch said. “She hasn’t worked on it in like three years.”

 “We are really in limbo now,” Mr. Kitten said. “Chris has forgotten about us.”

“Chris would never forget about me,” Twitch said. “She’s just busy doing other things.”

“Like what,” Ting Ting asked.

Twitch answered quickly. “She’s working really hard writing stuff, so that she can work from home and be with me all the time!”

“That’s not what I’ve seen,” Mr. Kitten said. “She’s been rereading those books about that private detective who is also a wizard and watching the Stanley Cup finals. And exercising like a dummy because now she wants to play hockey on a women’s team.”

Twitch stared at Mr. Kitten hard for a moment. Twitch narrowed his eyes. Mr. Kitten narrowed his eyes. Then with lightning fast cats reflexes Twitch sprang at him. In the same moment, Mr. Kitten started running with reflexes just as fast. Even in human form, they had a grace, agility and strength of cats. Twitch ran a step or two, then sat back down at the table. “I’m too bummed out to chase him.”

Kitten came back and put a hand on Twitch’s shoulder. “I’m bored to death. I wish Chris would have us do something. But she's forgotten about us.”

“Maybe you,” Twitch said. “But she would never forget about me. I have an idea! Let's help her out and do our own story.”

“How would you do that?” Ting Ting asked.

Twitch looked at her blankly. Then he grabbed her chair and pulled her next to him. “I'm more a doer than a thinker, baby. Kitten?”

Kitten cleared his throat. “It is possible that we could tap into Chris’s subconscious. The story could flow out of it, probably based on what she has been doing lately. The only problem is –“


Twitch jumped up shouting, “Let’s do it! I’m bored to death!” The walls of the restaurant solidified around them—they were back in a story. Then CC, Ting Ting, and Mr. Kitten startled and stumbled as something huge crashed against the building. The chandeliers swayed, dishes fell to the floor, and a crack opened up in the front of the building.

“—it could be dangerous,” Kitten concluded
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The reunion: part 23

"Yeah," Twitch said, his jaw hard, looking from the interloping cat to Ting Ting and back again. He slapped his fist into his palm and sneered at the back of Astrocat's head. "We're gonna have a party and you're gonna be the piƱata."

Ting Ting gave  him a dark look and turned back to Astrocat. "I've never met an astronaut before. It's so exciting! What's it like in outer space?"

Astrocat put his arm around her waist and squeezed her. "Well, doll face, I'm more interested in inner space right now."

Kitten frowned. "What? What does that mean? Is that you flirting with her?" Kitten rolled his eyes and Astrocat shrugged.

"Dude, are you that French cat Felix, that went up in outer space, way back in the day?" CC asked. Derision colored his mostly-stoned tone of voice. "French cats. Like, wow."

"Where's that box of circuitry on your head, then?" Twitch asked. "I love those postage stamps thee did with that box on your forehead. That didn't look stupid at all." Twitch made as if to shove Felix from behind, but Ting Ting smoothly blocked him.

"You look very handsome," Ting Ting said. "And I don't see anything strange about your anatomy," she added in a silky tone of voice, looking him up and down while the other male cats growled. "You're an astronaut..." She paused and looked up at him with wide eyes. "Astro...naut. Does that mean you're naughty?"

Twitch, Kitten and CC's growls intensified, while the Anchorite, who was watching with Chris, groaned at the pun.

"Are you Felix Baumgartner?" Ting Ting continued. "The Austrian who parachuted from outer space?"

A couple knuckles in Twitch's fist cracked. "You better hope you're an astronaut, cause you're gonna be seeing stars in a minute," he muttered.

The three toms closed in on Astrocat. He ignored them and answered Ting Ting casually. "No, sweetie. I'm AstroCat, from the cover of the Klaxon album."

Twitch stopped in his tracks, as did the others. "The Klaxons?"

Two hours later, Ting Ting was painting her nails and sulking in the corner. The Anchorite and Chris Hugh were on their laptops, trying to catch up on answering at least a portion of their mountains of fan mail. And the male cats were over by the sound system, listening to punk rock and hanging on every word as the AstroCat told them stories about his days with the band. Pin It Now!

The reunion: part 22

"It sure is good to see the cats so amicable. I was almost expecting trouble when I came across that scene," Chris said, turning to the Anchorite.

"Indeed," the Anchorite said, raising his eyebrow and giving Chris an arch look. 

"I suppose it goes back to the reproductive behaviors that have evolved among the feline species," Chris speculated.

"Yes," the Anchorite said drily.  "I am sure it has nothing to do with the imagination of any particular author."

"Hey, I'm just trying to make this interesting to a wide range of…" Her words were cut off by the heavy electric guitar intro to an Aerosmith song. A few bars sounded through the room and faded away as a tall handsome man walked into the room wearing an orange flight suit.  

Then all eyes turned to an elegant female form that glided sensuously to the man, molded itself to his side and looked up at him with shining dark eyes. 

From there all eyes turned to three male forms disentangling themselves from the white leather couch on which they had been lounging. Slowly and menacingly they approached the interloper. Two stood before him, apart from each other and just outside of striking distance, while one circled around and planted himself behind him, disconcertingly out of his line of vision. 

The Anchorite strode up to the stranger and embraced him. "Felix! My favorite feline astronaut! You finally got here! The party can finally start!"

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The reunion: part 21


Tinting was seated between Chapterhouse Cat and the Warrior Cat in the penthouse living room looking out the nightlights of Silicon Valley. The reunion had taken over the rodizio restaurant entirely, and had built a tall and well-fortified tower above it to provide living quarters for all good or at least neutral characters of the Chris Hugh and Anchorite universes. Regular battles were fought between those forces of good and the villains created by Chris Hugh and Anchorite.

Tinting stretched, the thin silk of her tight dress shifting intriguingly against her graceful body. She was not so much seated between the two male cats as sprawled on both of them. She nestled with her back against Warrior Vat's chest, sipping a glass of wine as he smoked a cigar. Her long legs were stretched across CC’s lap. CC had removed one of her white stiletto shoes and was languidly rubbing a delicate so with ruby red nail polish when Twitch walked into the room.

Tension immediately strummed through the penthouse; the Anchorite, Rico, Blondhilda and the other humans turned to watch, all of them poised to intervene if violence erupted.

Twitch walked straight to Ting Ting; she put out her hand.

Twitch took her hand and kissed it. "Darling," she pouted. "I haven't seen you in ages."

He smiled down at her. "I was sick for a while, but now I feel great." He fist bumped the male cats. "Hey CC, hey Warrior Cat."  

Warrior Cat leaned over and clasped Twitch's shoulder as Twitch sat down on the floor. Twitch leaned back against the sofa, stretched out his long legs and looked out at the city lights. Ting Ting shifted so that she was lying on her side, and began softly stroking his head and neck head with her long nails. "I'm so glad you're feeling better," she breathed. "You look wonderful," 

CC passed Twitch a joint. Twitch took a long pull, leaned his head back onto Ting Ting’s waist and exhaled smoke toward the ceiling.

The Anchorite and Rico looked from the cats to each other. Although his face was hidden in the dark folds of his cowl, something of his posture revealed the Anchorite's puzzlement. Rico's mouth was hanging open. 

"Ah," Blondhilda said. "The way of the cat has much to teach us."

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The reunion part 20


After another failed attack on the reunion, Evil Chris brought her minions to the Northern California mini mansion of the vampire Lily.

Lily had the face of an innocent girl on the brink of womanhood and flame red hair that flowed down her childlike figure. Her skin was the color of a marble statue, as soft as a fog that rolls across a graveyard under a new moon. Her sweetness was a beautiful dream from which the sleeper never awakes, the morning finding him cold and grey, his eyes open and staring into the middle distance, seeing what no living human can see but that we will all see some day.

Lily folded her arms and leaned against the doorway wall. "So nice of you to remember me after 10 years."

"I needed somewhere to go," Chris said. 

Lily walked to the bank of floor to ceiling windows in the living room. She had crossed of the seas of the Atlantic over a thousand years before.  She had been a slave. And then she became a vampire. She had never known love, or warmth or human kindness. Chris had brought her into existence, with her thousand years of horrible memory, and then abandoned her. Now Chris was bringing a host of new characters into her lonely world, to stay for a while, and then leave, leaving Lily behind in the void. Lily had been used cruelly when she was a slave, and when she became a vampire she lost her soul. And yet Evil Chris's callousness seared her down to the empty place where her soul used to be and filled it with an ocean of hot, bitter tears.

Lily looked out at the night lights of Silicon Valley. "So these are the characters you've been working with lately, are they?"

"Yeah," Chris huffed as she set down the last bucket. Under Lily's cathedral ceiling, 15 buckets of blood and meat stood leaking onto the parquet floor.

"Do you take your companions fishing?" Lily said coolly. "You could use them as bait."

With a squelching sound and a barely audible scream of pain, two chunks of meat fused into one. The villains were beginning to coalesce again.

Evil Chris stuck her finger into a buckets and swirled it around a  bit. "Hey, don't insult them," she said, slapping her thigh. "These are my chums." 

***

Back at the rodizio restaurant, all the characters were huddled in the underground dining area except for Chris, the Anchorite and Twitch.

Crouching low, a waiter ran to Chris's table and offered her and the Anchorite a serving of fillet mignon from a barbecue spit. When he saw Twitch come around the corner, he dropped it and ran.

"You would think people who dealt with barbecue all day long wouldn't be so afraid of a bit of fresh meat," Chris said.

"Yes, um. Maybe more than just 'a bit.'l The Anchorite shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Twitch seems very… Energetic today. I didn't expect him to deal with the attackers single-handedly and with such…"

"Decisiveness?" Chris suggested.

"I was going to go with 'unimaginably bloody savagery' but yeah. Okay. Is there anything going on with him today?"

After dispatching the attackers, Twitch had spent the next six hours intermittently running around the restaurant screaming invectives, and cuddling with Chris.

Upon hearing the Anchorite's  question, Twitch thundered across the room and curled his 6 foot six frame into Chris's lap. He threw his arms around her and started licking her neck. Chris laughed and pushed him away. "Oh, sweetie. You're getting blood on me." She scratched behind his ears and he drooled with happiness. Then he shook his head and, as always, flung his saliva into Chris's eye.

"Okay, here's what happened. There is a pill I'm supposed to give Twitch that I am supposed to cut into eighths. I'm just supposed to give him one eighth. And there's this other pill, where I'm supposed to give the whole pill. So—"

Twitch bounced on Chris's lap and shouted, "just the headlines, human! Get to the point! You overdosed me, you stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid stupid stupid —"

"So I called the vet, and he said to give Twitch a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to induce him to vomit —"

"And then you looked at the Internet! And oh by the way, do you think I enjoy having hydrogen peroxide shot down my throat? This was the worst day of my life! The worst! Worst, worst, worst, worst worst worst —"

"And several reliable sources had instructions to make the cat walk in order to mix the contents of the stomach —"

Twitch turns to the Anchorite. "And then she put a leash on me and triedto make me walk! Make me. Walk. Am I a dog?" He turned to Chris. "Am I a dog? Ha? A dog? —"

"Well, after a while, he just refused to walk —"

"It's called civil disobedience, stupid human. You made this the worst day of my life. The worst, worst, oh, let me skip ahead. We ended up having to go to the vet. I hate the vet! This was the worst, worst, worst —"

"Well, of course, I was going nuts by  this time. I knew that the stomach contents needed to be agitated, so I put Twitch on the bed, let him support himself with his front legs, and jiggled his back end to try to mix the contents of the stomach—"

"— Worst, worst, worst —"

"Then he peed on me."

"Okay, maybe the day wasn't all bad."

The Anchorite coughed. "He's rather...biological, isn't he?"
"Well," Chris continued. "I took him to the vet and the vet talked with his oncologist and did other research and decided that no further action was necessary."

Chris sighed and patted Twitch's  head. "The vet just warned me that Twitch might—"

Twitch jumped off Chris's lap and ran away screaming. He jumped into a pool of blood and skidded for 15 feet, whooped, then walked on his hands over to the railing of the mezzanine. From there he jumped to his feet, unzipped his Saville Row pants and urinated onto the buffet on the floor below.

"— act strange for a while."
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The reunion: part 19

Written by the Anchorite


Pope Holt Su Van Hian kicked open the door into the restaurant’s ball room just as he did the last time he came. This time, however, he arrived for a different purpose. Upon making his grand entrance, Pope Hian looked directly into the amber-tinged green eyes of the leader of this gathering: the silver-haired man named Anton. He carries himself like a leader, thought the Pope, of this Baser scum.

“Not you again!” Anton exclaimed with a roll of his eyes. Pope Hian remained determined to teach this Baser a lesson in his proper place, best served on a knee bent in deference to his authority.

“Fool! Heed my words or ignore them at your peril. The villains that you previously repelled are on their way back with reinforcements, and they intend to go all out to destroy you.”

“Not that I’m complaining, big man, but did you come here just to tell us this?”

“Fool! Of course not. These villains are under new leadership that had the audacity to expel me from their group. No one does this to me, no one. I arrived in advance of their invasion and I have firsthand knowledge of their tactics, with the most brilliant of the lot of course devised by me. I shall lead you into victory while I take great satisfaction in showing these villains what it means to cross me.”

“Wait a second, you can’t just walk in here and take charge.”

“Fool! That is exactly what I shall do, unless you care to challenge my supremacy.”

The Anchorite sighed at this plot development. He originally wrote an action-packed fight scene between Pope Hian and the Chaircat, but his computer crashed in the process and the brilliant set piece was lost for all time. He did not have the time or wherewithal to rewrite the lost scene, so he left the story for his writing partner Chris Hugh to continue. She took it in a different direction than his plan, yet brilliant nonetheless although the world would now never witness a one-on-one fight between Su van Hian and Anton Fitzgibbon. 

“How about you save that energy to vent your frustrations on those who betrayed you? We’re in common cause right now as I have a party to salvage and you have your wounded pride to recover. I paid to rent this place out until sunrise and I’ll be damned if I lose my deposit!”

“Very well, Anton, I accept your terms. Wait, what is this?” 

Pope Hian eyed his daughter Regia in the crowd, standing alongside another Arch Regian he did not recognize.

“My willful daughter, I should have known you would cast your lot with this rabble.”

“Hello Father.” Regia’s voice did not hide her contempt, as she spoke in measured syllables that left a palatable chill in the air. She managed to make the word “father” sound like a grave insult.

“Like it or not, my child, we have a common interest for the moment. We shall have words when we return home, but that must wait for now.”

“Any time, Father, it will be a pleasure.” Regia’s tone clearly conveyed that she considered the thought anything but a pleasure.

“Who is your companion? I know her not.”

“I am just one of your many anonymous victims, Your Holiness, spared your wrath by caring friends.”

Pope Hian furrowed his brow as he could not identify this woman, although she appeared to be a good friend of Regia’s. That girl has become too skilled at hiding her secrets, he thought as he resolved to address that issue upon their return home. His search of his memory turned up empty. This unknown woman spoke truly as between his long list of personal prosecutions and the tireless activities of his clergy and inquisitors; Pope Hian did not recall every sinner that suffered divine retribution either by his own hand or by his command. It matters not, he thought, since he knew every member of the elite noble houses and despite her admittedly graceful elegant beauty; she was likely a mere peasant. Perhaps she was the daughter of a merchant or rural farmer, but she was no one of consequence.

“Watch your tongue, or I shall make sure to complete the task left undone.”

Regia stood in front of her friend and faced her father.

“You’ll have to go through me before I let you hurt her again, Father.” Again? thought the Pope.

“Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute.” Anton Fitzgibbon stood in front of the Pope, tipping his head slightly upwards to look into the bigger man’s eyes. 

“There are some family therapy issues over here, but we don’t have time for that. We have a group of villains on their way. We need to prepare and get on with our party. Warrior Cat. CC. Kitten. Twitch. All of my cats gather around. I don’t like working with this overgrown thug any more than the rest of you, but if he’s right about knowing their plans then we’ll all need to work together to win this one.”

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