Monday, July 28, 2014

Growing older kinda sucks sometimes.

My grandfather is turning 84 on the 30th of this month. Eighty-freaking-four years on this planet. Sure, it's not really that long of a time, considering the age of the universe, but still. He's seen a lot in his eight decades of life: several wars, his own immigration from Canada, civil rights, raising four kids on a small salary, trying to figure out "kids these days" through the actions of his (now ten) grandchildren. I'm not going to lie and say that I have a great relationship with the man, because I don't really. I don't know him very well and haven't spent a lot of time with him, mainly due to the geographical divide between us. Growing up a military brat meant that I spent a lot of my childhood moving across the U.S., and eventually, my family set itself up in Nashville, TN, a good twelve hours away from my mother's parents, and then, due to my parents' work schedules, it was very difficult to find time for traveling. Once a year or so, my parents would take me and my sister up to see him once a year or so, and he and my grandma (before she died in the late 90s) would do the same, usually around the holidays, as many families do.

But it looks like that is going to change. A few days ago, my grandfather was involved in an exceptionally bad car accident, where his car turned into this:
Via my mom, who's currently in the hospital with my grandfather
The police are still going over details regarding what actually happened in the wreck, but as far as we know now, my grandfather ran a red light and was t-boned by a teenager who was speeding (and driving his parents' car, which suuuuuucks). His car rolled over and over, leaving him with multiple injuries: broken sternum and ribs, punctured (and then collapsed) lung, a heart attack (not so much an injury, but related to the event), and a perforated small intestine. You know, things that would be difficult for someone who is not 84-years-old to recover from. Luckily, the other driver was not harmed and was able to walk away, but my grandfather was taken to the trauma unit. Two surgeries later, he's still in the hospital, with my mom by his side as often as she can be, sedated and in a ton of pain.

From talking with my mom, Grandpa has been slowly struggling with bouts of dementia. Prior to his wreck, he was known to ask her who the hell she was when she called, only to not remember having the conversation a few hours later. This isn't an uncommon thing for the elderly community, but it's still incredibly difficult to witness when it's someone that you know and care about, even if the care you have is more abstract theory than anything else. The last time I talked with him - about a month ago, I believe - he seemed his usual self: whip smart, sarcastic, and eager to get off the phone*. I am having a very hard time dealing with the fact that this man, as socially awkward as he is, is gradually losing a lot of his freedoms because of things he can't control.

Basically, now that my grandfather has had his right to drive taken from him, my mom and her brothers face a dilemma: what do they do now? I can't even imagine what's going through their minds. They all have complicated relationships with their father - not bad or strained, necessarily, but ... different - and there's a ton of responsibility, regardless of who takes on the mantle of caretaker. It doesn't help that they haven't been able to speak to Grandpa about it, since he's sort of in a sedated haze right now. Everything is speculation right now, which is just making it that much harder.

Of course, my mother decides to bring up their living will in the midst of all of this, which just makes me cringe. It's not like I don't know that they aren't going to live forever; they're human beings and we all have an expiration date. That doesn't mean that I enjoy talking about having to make medical and financial decisions for my parents when the time comes, if ever. My mom made it clear that she wants to be cremated and then have her remains buried with my dad (I'm assuming this is if they die together because um, no, Mom, I'm not digging up Dad to put you in his casket if statistics keep you living longer than he does). I guess this is what I have to look forward to now that I've crested into my thirties. My parents are in their sixties now** and probably have about another twenty years, maybe more. I just never expected all of this to hit me and come out of nowhere: Mrs. Carroll, my high school teacher, died, Mamaw had a stroke, Grandpa got into a wreck after having another episode ... I don't want my life to be just one story of death or dying after another, where I'm on Facebook asking for happy thoughts to be sent my way. It's a reality of life, I know, but that doesn't make this any easier.

For now, I'm going to focus on sending as many good vibes as I can toward my grandfather in Virginia. And I'm going to call Mamaw and ask her to tell me another story about growing up on her farm in Kentucky. And I'm going to relish the time I have with my family and friends as much as I can. I guess that's all I can do.

* I'm with you there, Grandpa. I hate phones. Like, actively hate. I'd rather text or email and then talk in person. Three figured out fairly quickly that my tone changes after about, oh, three minutes into a phone conversation and understood that I was kind of over talking but selflessly pushing through. My mom has yet to figure this out (love you, Mom).
** Dad is officially 60 and Mom is 58, but she considers herself 60 already for some reason. She enjoys getting her senior citizen discount at Cracker Barrel. /shrugs

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pet Peeve #12307

Okay, guys, I'm a nerd. This is not something that I hide or forget to mention. It was actually one of the first things I told Three when we went on our first date, in addition to the various issues that had ended previous relationships*. When I meet Fellow Nerds, I am, more often than not, delighted, particularly if we are interested in the same things. I love hearing about other people's fandoms, even if I don't share them, but there's just something about geeking out with others with similar tastes that makes it that much more fun. Extrapolation from source material is always a blast to discuss, and it's hard to find a nerd who doesn't have at least one fan theory that changes how you may look at something.

For instance, Mass Effect. I have my own ideas as to what goes on in Shepard's head, which is kind of the point of the game. For instance, in one of my play-throughs, my FemShep (who had seen her entire squad die in a thresher maw attack at the beginning of her military career) had fallen in lust with Kaiden Alenko but was forced to leave him to set off the nuke on Virmire, and after she (spoiler alert) died and was resurrected at the beginning of the second game, she decided she wasn't going to wait to declare her love for someone and chose Garrus, her long-time comrade. She continued the relationship into Mass Effect 3 because it was obvious that his loyalty and dedication to her hadn't wavered and because it was obvious that they were perfect for each other: life-long servicemen with a penchant for bending the rules. See? Most of what actually is in that comes from inside my head; it's not explicitly stated in the game, but it was a feeling that I got when I saw her make choices and actions. And that's what made me love the game and assert that it is probably one of the best games ever created.

But it's also a lot of fun to bitch about parts of your favorite stories (games, comics, books, movies, etc.) that make no sense, were poorly executed, didn't have as much thought as was necessary. I don't consider it a betrayal; it's not about attacking or tearing them down, leaving nothing but your exceptionally sad soul to stare at the pieces that remain. It's important to approach these things objectively, and most of the time, it make me appreciate whatever I'm watching/playing/reading even more. Going back to Mass Effect, I found that the treatment of Thane, particularly if you romanced him in the second game, was kind of insensitive to the character. Like, okay, you get it on in ME2, which actually is a pretty emotional scene:

"Thane, be alive with me tonight." 

Their relationship is actually pretty solid, and I was really looking forward to the continuation of it into ME3. When they're reunited on the Citadel, FemShep and Thane (hilariously) start making out in the middle of the hospital (even after she's all, "You want to get outta here and spend some time alone?" /eyebrowwiggle), and afterward, he lets her know that he's not in the physical condition necessary to help her out on her mission to unite the galaxy against the Reapers (or to have sex again. ever). Then he helps save the salarian councilor from Kai Leng but dies in the process. Okay, this I didn't have a problem with, since, hey, it's war: shit happens. But then ... nothing**. You can even start a new romance if you'd like. Shep is all, "Oh, well, he died. Better not grieve or anything." It left me feeling a little cheated and didn't fit the character I had played with for three games***.

Finally, here's where we get to my pet peeve. I try to actively engage people on the praise and criticism of their favorite anything. If you think that I'm being a little too hard on certain aspects, I have no issue with you pointing that out to me. Having good-natured arguments about our takes on things isn't a bad thing, but when somebody starts to interject their head-canon as absolute fact, and I am stupid for not agreeing with them? Yeah, you're about to get a giant middle finger from me, and most likely, I'm not going to talk to you about anything substantial ever again. Example (and actual conversation):

Me: I noticed between the first [Mass Effect] game and the second that Tali's name was pronounced differently. It was Tah-lee first and then Ta-lee next. I mean, I guess it's kind of like how Dodonna in A New Hope pronounced Leia's name as Leah, but still.
Person: Tali just finally got enough balls to say, "Nope, you say my name Ta-lee."
Me: Maybe? (furrows brow) It's a possibility. 
Person: That has to be what happened. Otherwise, it makes no sense.
Me: (joking) You may be thinking a little too much about this.
Person: Hey, you brought it up.
Me: Wait. Are you seriously angry about this?
Person: (getting more and more irate) Look, all I'm saying is, the writers didn't mess up here. 
Me: I didn't say that. All I said was -
Person: You don't have to shit all over this great piece of work.
Me: Um ... I'm going to go ... do something ... over there.

This conversation, sadly, didn't end there. After that point, every single time I started talking about anything that was related to anything, up to and including the fact that I found the Star Wars prequels to be universally awful****, I was accosted by this guy's head-canon. And it wasn't even a conversation I was having with him; he just jumped in and started yelling at me. I'm very open-minded, almost to a fault, when it comes to the interpretation of art, no matter what the medium+, and I expect the same courtesy from everyone else. Maybe that's naivete speaking; I don't know. But from now on, I am pretty much avoiding that guy and anyone else who is just being a dick. Don't be a dick, people. It rarely gets you anywhere, at least with me.

* I'm not even joking here. I went down a list, point by point, with the idea that, if I got it all out in the open, we'd both make sure we weren't wasting our time. We'd both been in several long-term relationships (he had been married for eight years), and I was just done with casual dating. Thankfully, he found my candid reveal refreshing, and almost four years after we said "I do" in front of the county clerk, we're still going strong. 
** Unless you download the Citadel DLC. There you get to have a wake for Thane, which I guess is a kind of closure? 
*** I also get that this game is basically a more complicated choose-your-own-adventure book. You can only have so many options programmed into the game, or else you're going to have about 10982364786234 discs (and even then, you'd miss one story). Ain't nobody got that kind of money. Well, maybe somebody does, but I prefer not to think about that.
**** I didn't realize that there were people who defended these movies. I mean, I think I recognized this academically, but it was really shocking when I came across him. 
+ Hell, I don't even judge people who like what I consider to be bad:  Twilight and its fan-fiction response piece, 50 Shades of GrayJem and the Holograms, etc. I have a soft spot for Surf Ninjas, a movie that cannot be considered anything but simple martial arts fluff. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My teenage self is both proud and jealous of me right now.

I got a job at ... drum roll, please.

A COMIC BOOK STORE.

Even typing out those words gets me excited. I know that it sounds like I'm stuck in some sort of adolescent fantasy, and in some ways, I totally am. The job pays minimum wage, and I'm surrounded by comics, movies (VHS tapes, even, which makes me laugh), toys, figurines, geeky T-shirts, etc. I will definitely have to curb my desire to buy the $75 Wonder Woman statuette that I've had my eye on since I first walked into the store. But honestly? It's perfect. On my first day, I talked about all things dork: Magic the Gathering, comic books, video games, movies. I fit right in with the group, and my boss understands how to best manage me (I seriously think that she may be Future Me), something that hasn't happened ... since college? When, I think it's important to note, was at a bookstore. My schedule is flexible, which leaves me plenty of time to paint, draw, and write, and even the boring tasks (stuffing comic book bags with backers, for example) don't leave me with a certain numbness of mind that other jobs have (coughDHScough). Sure, it's retail, and I've already had my first "weird" customer, although it's a comic book shop. What else can I expect?

But the kicker is the talk I had with my boss about my own comic. She has her own policy for local artists: she buys books outright instead of doing a commission thing, and she even said that she doesn't mind taking a monetary hit if it means that she can spotlight something other than DC or Marvel. I'll even be able to promote with other merchandise, like cards, T-shirts, and drink coasters. This really is a match made in heaven, and I'm sure the honeymoon period will end at some point. I already have a plan for organizing the floor (something I'm oddly good at, despite looking at my own house), and I think I'm going to approach my boss with my idea tomorrow when I go in for my first New Comic Day. Obviously, we're going to be busy, so I won't be able to implement it just yet, but eeeee! I have goals! Who am I?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Life with Pets: Baby - A One-Act Play

Because Juju was unemployed*, one of Three's friends in need of a babysitter brought his child, M, for her to watch while he and Three spent their day working. JUJU, having spent the entire previous night cleaning the house - or as she called it, "unfucking her habitat," is both wide awake and loopy, but determined to provide a safe and friendly environment for a nine-month-old. M sits on the carpeted floor, holding her blanket silently and eyeing the four non-human creatures - ZOLA, BINA, KITKAT, and BITSY - that seem to be, at worst, vaguely interested in her existence. 

ZOLA: OMG IT IS A TINY MOMMY I WILL KISS HER.
KITKAT: My environment has changed and I'm not too happy about this. I'm going to hide in the bed-closet. (scampers off stage)
BITSY: Does it bite? Wait, Tyrannical Not-Friend is not here? Freeeeee!
BINA: She smells funny.
JUJU: Zola, back up. Seriously. You're going to scare the baby.
M: Eeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh??

Zola cocks her head to one side, confused by this new sound.

ZOLA: Is she hurt? Is she hungry? Does she need comforting puppy kisses? Does she need to poop? Are we going on a walk? I LOVE WALKS. She will love walks, too.
JUJU: No, she just got here, and her dad says that he's already changed her diaper. Calm the fuck down.
ZOLA: (pouts) I'll go get on the couch.

While Zola hops on the couch, Juju picks up M and places her on her hip. The baby seems rather comfortable with the goings on, for which Juju is grateful. 

JUJU: I'm not sure if I could have handled this if you were crying.
M: (blank stare) Pbthththth.
JUJU: I feel ya.

Juju knows essentially nothing about babies, except what she previously Googled earlier. She takes the plastic toy bag, which holds pretend doctor utensils (stethoscope, complete with sparkly lights, one of those knee-thumper things, a thermometer, and a syringe) and chewing rings. M seems unaffected when Juju dangles one of the rings in front of her and simply sticks the edge of her blanket in her mouth.

JUJU: Do you watch TV? I have Netflix, which apparently has a kids' section. You know, I've always wanted to watch that new My Little Pony show. What do you think?
M: (nothing)
JUJU: Sounds good to me. Zola?
ZOLA: I don't know what TV is.
BINA: I am curious about this small human thing. It is a human, right?

Bina approaches the baby cautiously and sniffs her hand. M reaches out for the cat and starts to kind of stroke her fur. Bina purrs and inches a little closer, and M grabs her ear, pulling at it slightly.

BINA: This too shall pass? What do I do? Mommy? WHAT. DO. I. DO.
JUJU: Alrighty, little one, you probably shouldn't hurt the kitty.
M: (with delight) Eeeeeeehhhhh!!

The baby lets go of Bina's ear.

BINA: That ... wasn't so bad. It was kind of like petting?
JUJU: You are such a good cat.
BINA: I often think so.
BITSY: I don't trust it.
ZOLA: I want pets!
JUJU: Zola, stay on the couch.

Juju checks her phone for the time.

JUJU: Well, it's nine o'clock. Your dad said that you were supposed to be fed every four hours, so I guess it's time for second breakfast for you, M.
M: (no reaction)

Because Juju wanted to corral the baby in a safe area, she had placed a barrier of plastic bins to block the way to the kitchen and the rest of the apartment. She is hesitant to carry a baby as she tries to climb over them, so she puts M down and heads toward the fridge.

JUJU: Well, you should be okay if I set you down for a second, right? I'll have you in my line of sight, and the animals don't really seem to be intimidated by you.
BITSY: So you say. Is she taking my place?? I AM THE BABY!
JUJU: Oh, hush. She leaves at the end of the day.
BITSY: I have no idea what that means.

M keeps staring at Bitsy, who is perched on top of the counter. As Juju fetches one of the bottles M's dad left, Bitsy jumps down to investigate the intruder.

JUJU: Bitsy, be nice. She is small.
BITSY: She is bigger than me, so she has the advantage.
JUJU: (rolls eyes) Well, her motor skills are far below yours, so I think you're safe.
BITSY: Whatever.

Bitsy creeps toward M, who has suddenly decided that this white kitty is worth her full attention. She crawls toward Bitsy with unprecedented interest.

M: Aaaaahhhhh!!! (smiles)
BITSY: OMG SHE IS JUST LIKE TYRANNICAL NOT-FRIEND. FLEEEEEEE!!!

Bitsy's tail floofs out and she dashes like a madman around the living area, simply exciting the baby even further.

BITSY: SHE IS RELENTLESS!!
JUJU: Bitsy! Seriously! Just jump back up on the counter! She can't reach you there.
BITSY: YOU DON'T KNOW THAT TO BE TRUE.
JUJU: Yes, I do! She is a baaaaabyyyyy.

Bitsy follows Juju's instructions and nervously keeps an eye on M, who is still fixated on her until Juju climbs back over the boxes with a fresh bottle of formula. After a few minutes, M falls asleep on the small pallet Juju makes on the floor. Kitkat emerges from the bed-closet and slowly makes her way over to investigate the baby. She smells her hair and jumps back when M twitches a bit.

KITKAT: What. Is. That.
JUJU: That, my friend, is a baby human. She's not dangerous.
KITKAT: I don't believe you. The last time you brought something into the house that was alive, we kept it. And my life was forever changed for the worst.
BITSY: HEY.
JUJU: Well, she's not ours. She's someone else's kid. He'll be back in a little while to pick her up.
KITKAT: We shall see.

A few hours pass, and M wakes up with a slight whine.

KITKAT: Well, back to the bed-closet. See you later, bitches.
JUJU: Well, good morning, sunstar! Have a good nap? I bet you probably need your diaper changed.
BITSY: What's a diaper?
JUJU: You shall see.

Juju has not changed a diaper in years and is ever hopeful that no poop will enter the equation. Thankfully, M has only peed, so cleanup isn't as disgusting as it could have been.

BINA: That's her litter box??
JUJU: Hey, stay away from that!
BITSY: Babies are weird.
ZOLA: That doesn't smell tasty.
JUJU: That's because it isn't.

M is happy again with a dry diaper and raises her arms with expectation.

JUJU: Oh, I know! Throw the baby!
ZOLA: WHAT. NO.

Juju tosses M lightly into the air, and M giggles gleefully. As she descends, Zola freaks out.

ZOLA: Is she hurt?? Does she need kisses? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? STOP, MOMMY!!
M: Eeeeeeeeeeeee!
JUJU: Zola, she's fine! I swear. This is fun. And oddly enough, it's pretty good exercise for me.
ZOLA: OMG SHE COULD DIE.

Once Juju finally tires physically of playing the tossing game, she places the baby back on the floor and sits down next to her. Zola ignores her owner and zeroes in on M, who laughs when Zola slobbers all over her face.

ZOLA: I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO DIE.
JUJU: Hey, quit it! Damn, now I'll have to clean her face. I don't think her dad would appreciate her smelling of dog breath.
ZOLA: I choose to disregard this comment. (continues licking M)

Several more hours, episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, puffy organic snacks, and naps later, Three and M's dad, Big M, arrive from a long, hard day. 

THREE: We're home! Where's Kitkat?
BIG M: Hey, baby girl!
M: (grins) Eeeaaaaahhhhh!
JUJU: Kitkat's in the bedroom. Oh, and M's just been changed again. No poop for today, but I leave that for you. You're welcome.
BIG M: Much thanks.
THREE: How'd the animals do?
JUJU: Well, Kitkat has been hiding almost all day, Zola adopted M, Bina is really good with babies, and Bitsy is terrified of them.
THREE: Oh, well, good! Then they'll be great when we have our own!
BITSY: WHAT??!
BINA: Um, okay?
ZOLA: YAY!!
KITKAT: FUCK THAT.

The End.

* NO LONGER. She had an interview on Wednesday and starts on Monday! Woooooo, comic book store employee!!

Also, tune in next Friday for a special edition of Life with Pets! Three is doing a guest post! Whee!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

31 Days of Battlestar Galactica Challenge

It's that time again. A while back, I did a 30 Days of Buffy challenge, which had me watch the entire seven seasons (oh, season six and seven ... sigh). I wasn't necessarily as punctual as I'd like to have been, and I present no excuses. Anyway, BSG is probably one of my favorite television shows of recent times, and it still holds up much better than Buffy the Vampire Slayer does (oh, the lingo and fashion statements), which had a lot of nostalgia for me. I grew up with that show, and while I still enjoy pulling out my DVD collection of it, I find that I have a lot of issues with which Adult Juju has problems (i.e. how Joss Whedon presented people of color, or a pretty big lack of presentation, homosexuality, rape, Xander ...). It's not that BSG doesn't have its ups and downs, because it totally does, but there's a sort of maturity and self-awareness that I appreciate. 

Anyway, here's what you have to look forward to during the month of August, starting on August 1, 2014:

Day 1: How did you discover Battlestar Galactica?
Day 2: Favorite Female Character
Day 3: Favorite Male Character
Day 4: Favorite Cylon
Day 5: Least Favorite Cylon
Day 6: Favorite Character All Around
Day 7: Least Favorite Character All Around
Day 8: Character I Loved that Everyone Else Hated
Day 9: Favorite Season
Day 10: Favorite Miniseries Scene
Day 11: Favorite Season 1 Scene
Day 12: Favorite Season 2 Scene
Day 13: Favorite Season 3 Scene
Day 14: Favorite Season 4 Scene
Day 15: Favorite Razor/The Plan Scene
Day 16: Favorite Episode
Day 17: Least Favorite Episode
Day 18: Most Upsetting Death
Day 19: Something Happened that I Wish Hadn't
Day 20: Something Didn't Happen that I Wish Had
Day 21: Favorite Dream/Prophecy Moment
Day 22: Most Surprising Moment
Day 23: Most Hated Scene
Day 24: Favorite Pairing (Canon)
Day 25: Favorite Pairing (Non-Canon)
Day 26: Best Promo Picture
Day 27: Favorite Quote
Day 28: Favorite Ship
Day 29: Favorite Battle
Day 30: Favorite Music
Day 31: The Ending - What Did I Think of It?

I'm ridiculously excited about this since, a) I get to watch all of Battlestar Galactica again, b) these challenges actually make me really think about why I love what I love, and c) I get to watch Battlestar Galactica again. This also gets me thinking about other 30-31 day challenges I want to do: Bubblegum Crisis, Friends, Star Wars, The Matrix, The Wheel of Time, etc. Although it also gets me to worrying about getting my own work done. Hmph. Well, maybe it will be an instigator to get the five arcs of "The Legion" done. Who knows. Eek!

Monday, July 14, 2014

I will remember you.

Last week, my mind wandered to one of my favorite high school teachers, Mrs. Carroll. I first met her when I applied to be admitted into her journalism class in my sophomore year, and she was warm and encouraging, eager to invite a new mind into a fairly well-funded extracurricular (seriously, we were given around $42,000 to make the yearbook). Mrs. Carroll was also the junior English teacher, so that next year, I got to be in her class twice a day, depending on what part of the week it was. She was a tough instructor, expecting the best from her students, but more than willing to help someone out, if they were truly putting forth the effort. As you got to know her better, she proved herself to be witty and self-deprecating, wicked intelligent and motherly. One of the best bits of journalistic advice she ever gave was, "Act stupid. You get the best information that way." She was also the only teacher who approached my parents when, after a friend of mine committed suicide during senior year, she had concerns about my mental state*. One of the only parts about graduating from high school that I was actually sad about was the fact that I would never be in one of Mrs. Carroll's classes again.

Then yesterday, I got a text from my mother, telling me that Mrs. Carroll had passed last week from cancer and offering to clip out the obituary for me. It was one of the most surreal things I've experienced yet. I hadn't even been aware that she had been sick, let alone that close to death. I ran and grabbed my yearbook and nearly burst into tears looking at her picture. And then I ran across a photo of her accepting the award I'd won (second place in the state for layout design) with this big cheesy grin on her face, full of pride and sheer joy. I vividly remember that moment, a time in my past when I thought I could get somewhere in the journalism world. She made me believe in myself in a way that no other teach before or since had. I loved her.

And now she's gone. I'll never get to tell her how much she meant to me or how much she had affected my adult life. I'm sure she's had plenty of other former students tell similar stories, letting her know all the good she did during her life. So all I can really do now is live in a way that I know will make her proud: focus my energy on creating words and images, much like I had done in high school. And I will, Deanne. May you rest in peace, my wonderful friend.

* I had been taking muscle relaxers to help with my TMJ, and I was also given an anti-depressant to help counterbalance the side effects of the muscle relaxers. Of course, my friend's suicide wasn't helping matters, so I was in a very weird place at the time.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Life with Pets: When Kitkat Is Happy - A One-Act Play

Mid-afternoon on what appears to be a normal day, JUJU is folding the laundry while watching a new (to her) "Nikita" episode, an underrated (yet still subpar to the original "La Femme Nikita" series) show via Netflix. Both BITSY and BINA have manned the Kitty TV to watch the small flock of birds that have amassed to feed off of the remainder of a fast food meal someone left in the parking lot. KITKAT chooses to ignore the spectacle, instead dutifully opting to wait to take her place on top of fresh towels before Juju puts them away, and ZOLA blissfully snores on her new bed, a gift from Juju's parents. THREE walks through the front door, attempting to whistle, an ability he has yet to master, home from another hard day of work.

THREE: Hey, sweetie! How goes it?
JUJU: Pretty well. Kitkat's being weird.
ZOLA: (jumping up excitedly) DADDY!! I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD.
BITSY: Escape? (Three shuts the door) Damn.
THREE: Hey, Zola. (looking at the seemingly normal Kitkat) How so? Is she sick?
JUJU: She's been nice all day. She hasn't stalked Bitsy once today, and earlier, she was rubbing all up and down Zola.
ZOLA: This is true. I didn't know what to do, so I just stood there with my eyes all wide.
BINA: Hungry?
JUJU: You don't get fed for another two hours.
BINA: (pouting) Fine.

Three approaches Kitkat, who is purring like a motorboat contentedly, and sits down next to her.

THREE: So you're being weird?
KITKAT: I am in a good mood.
THREE: I'm not sure how to deal with this.
JUJU: Join the crowd.

Feeling particularly ballsy, Bitsy creeps up to Kitkat and pokes her head just high enough by the edge of the sofa that all the other cat can see are her eyes and ears.

BITSY: I'm not sure why I'm doing this.
KITKAT: I have no interest in you whatsoever.
JUJU: See? I have no idea what's going on.

Bitsy then places her paws on the edge of the sofa and extends her head to where she and Kitkat nearly touch noses. Three pets Kitkat, partially to keep her calm and also to ensure that he has a way to keep the larger, older cat from lunging at the extremely brave (or stupid) one.

THREE: Bitsy, I'm not so sure this is a good idea. Who knows how long her grace period will last.
BITSY: But I has a confused.

She reaches with her paw and boops Kitkat lightly on her head. Kitkat merely squints her eyes, choosing to enjoy the touch of her favorite person, aka Three. Three looks at Juju and shrugs. After a few moments of stunned silence from everyone, Kitkat stands up and arches her back, stretching. Bitsy squats close to the floor, ready to flee, but Kitkat merely hops over to the coffee table and stops in front of Zola. She tilts her head a bit to the side and then, with no provocation, starts to rub her face and side of her body on the dog.

ZOLA: (completely frozen in fear) What. Do. I. Do.
KITKAT: I like you right now. Let me make you smell like me.
JUJU: She has to be sick. There is literally no other explanation.
KITKAT: I am going to take a nap. Call me when you guys start acting normal.

Kitkat saunters off to the bed-closet, head and tail high, leaving everyone flabbergasted.

JUJU: I think this has been the most uneventful day ever. Probably close to downright boring. I'm so used to playing referee all the time.
THREE: Maybe Kitkat has turned over a new leaf.
JUJU: Methinks you may be wrong. She'll be back to stalking the little one and randomly swiping at Zola any day.
THREE: It could happen.

Juju picks up the folded towels and makes for the actual closet in between the bathroom and the bed-closet, and Bina, thinking that it was now food time, jumps to her feet happily.

BINA: Food?

Grossly miscalculating a) the slickness of the pleather chair and b) the relative distance from said chair to the arm of the sofa, Bina attempts to jump but instead flails to the floor, dragging a blanket and two books from the side table. Zola thinks it's playtime, and Bitsy, under the misconception that the noise is actually Kitkat coming to attack her, bolts ... somewhere? and trips Juju, sending Juju to the ground and the laundry flying everywhere.

JUJU: Serenity now. Serenity. Now.

The End.