The cat decided it was time to get up.

Normally we’re up at 8:30ish, which is fine by her, but since she has no real concept of weekends, our apparently random desire to sleep until 10 baffles and enrages her. We are violating the natural order, damnit! It’s up to Athena, last line of defense against unruly chaos, to get us moving before–before– well, it’d be bad, whatever it was. Trust her.

Her first act is to swipe at my ankle. This does not produce the desired result, since my leg thrashes, booting her upside the head, and I make a “GNRFRFF!” noise but refuse to wake up. A repeat attempt merits a louder “GNNNNRFFF!” and a wilder flail, but no consciousness. As far as my brain is concerned, my ankle is in Outer Mongolia. It will check the telegrams in the morning, but there is absolutely nothing that can happen to my ankle that requires the brain to get up early.

Undaunted, Athena stomps around a bit, then hops onto a chair and begins playing the miniblinds like a xylophone. Another “Unghghg…” comes from the bed, a hand emerges, fingers snap in what the hand thinks is a “Cut that out!” gesture, but which Athena assumes is beatnik applause for her percussion solo. Excited by the crowd’s response, she plays with greater vigor, eventually launching herself at the blinds in a fit of crazed musicianship and falling off the windowsill with a thud.

At this point, James succumbs to the inevitable and gets up. James knows when he’s beaten. Thrilled, the cat tears through the house, so that every five seconds, there’s a thunderous thumpita-thumpita-thumpita passing by the bed. If the fog came in on little cat feet like these, people would assume it was an earthquake.

Also beaten, I get up. I slog into the bedroom, where the cat has plenty of food and water already, I slog to the computer, I flop down. The cat, a job well done, plops down in front of me, does a charming wiggle and roll that combines supreme cuteness and supreme evil, and then chirps at me.

“Bad cat,” I mutter, as James brings the coffee.

“Chirr!” she says happily, and throws up on the rug.

And so, the ritual of dawn is again complete…

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