|Dante and Augustine in happier times|
Dante: Yeah. So, you know I love to go outside on the back porch in the mornings, but normally I have to beg and whine a little. However, yesterday when the male slave opened the door without any prompting, I didn't think anything of it, I was just celebrating my good fortune! Augustine trailed out behind me,
Judge: And what were you doing in this time?
Dante: Doing my part of the backyard watch, making sure the squirrels and birds knew their place. There may have been some tail twitching, some guttural noises, some frantic pacing. You know, the usual.
Dante: So, I noticed after a few minutes the male slave opened the door again to see if I wanted to come in, but seriously, who would protect our backyard if I wasn't there?! My shift wasn't over, and I refused to slack off, like one other cat I know (*cough* Augustine! *cough*). And it's not like the male slave tried very hard. Now that I think about it, I think he only opened the door a sliver, and even had I wanted to end my shift early, I'm not convinced I had any chance to actually cross the porch and get through the opening before he shut it again without some crazy awesome ninja skills. Yeah, he's definitely in on this.
Judge: Let's avoid empty speculations.
Dante: So, finally, I figured it was probably time
Dante: So I entered the kitchen, and there was a smell of tuna in the air. TUNA! I love that stuff! I'm not even sure I heard a can opener, so nefarious forces must have been at work to keep me in the dark. Fat chance of that! I sniffed and scoured the floor, but I couldn't find anything. So, anyway, it was clear there had been a dish...or two...on the floor with the beloved tuna water quite recently. But not anymore.
Judge: Tuna water? Can you elaborate on that?
Dante: Sure. Well, the female slave sometimes gets out a tuna can. She hasn't realized it's only for feline consumption (as if!), but as she drains the water into two little cat dishes, even sometimes letting actual tuna chunks in the mixture, I usually let that slide. So, when all is right with the world, she sets those two dishes down. Now, I admit that usually Augustine is the first to spot this bounty, but through no fault of my own. She's just not keeping up with her kitty guard duties, so she's more likely to react in her lazy state.
Anyway, usually her speed alerts me that something's going down, and I join her. She tries to pick a bowl of her own, but it's up to me to see that she's chosen wisely. Usually she hasn't, so I shoo her away from the first bowl. And then I realize
Judge: Hold on a moment. [Papers ruffle] My records show she's only about a year or so older than you. Is this correct?
Dante: Exactly. As I was saying, in her infirmity, she should watch what she eats -- and how quickly -- and that's where I step in and help her finish.
Judge: So, yesterday you thought you smelled tuna in the air. What happened then?
Dante: Well, I didn't see any bowls with the evidence, but I bet if my slaves would have let me jump on the counter, I would have found them in the sink. But they looked as if nothing was out of sorts, although they were quite attentive to my actions, more so than usual, which should have tipped me off that they didn't have my best interests at heart. In fact, I've lost track of how many times the male slave has catered to Augustine, telling her how sweet she is, how pretty, how "good," and then he has the nerve to hold her up as an example to me, telling me I should be more like her. I'm so misunderstood in my own house!
Judge: You're off track, again. Please stick to the account of yesterday's events with minimal tangents.
Dante: So I went to Augustine.
Judge: Describe her, please.
Dante: Well, that good-for-nothing cat, she thinks she's all that, was sitting primly in the living room on the rug. She tried to look all innocent as I approached, like I'm dumb or something. And just because I'm polydactyl and there happens to be some anecdotal evidence -- planted, I'm confident of that, because anyone can edit Wikipedia, you know, and there are wrong things on the internet--
Judge: What did I saw about indulging in these unnecessary tangents?
Dante: Fine. Some individuals claim that cats with such traits happen to be a little slow on the uptake -- liars! -- they all think I won't notice. But my olfactory senses are beyond belief, I tell you!
Judge: Let's rein it in. Return to the point of the story where you approached Augustine yesterday.
Dante: [Grumbling and muttering under his breath about well-planted hairballs for a moment before composing himself] Seriously, this is an outrage; don't you want to know all the facts?! Whatever. So I approach her, and you know what happens? I sniff her breath, and anyone want to hazard a guess of what I smelled?! TUNA! On her breath! There are only a few ways that could happen. First, she could have a tuna fish that she's slowly licking to death. But I ruled that out. Because, seriously, where would she hide it? I know everything about our dwellings and all her hiding spots. So unless she found the elusive "second basement" I've heard in legend, there's no tuna fish she's keeping to herself. So I moved onto my second guess: that she hadn't cleaned since the last time we had glorious tuna water. But as I thought about that, I smelled my breath, and there was no tuna. Let me tell you, Augustine has this weird thing about being cleanly. After all, when I was brought into this abode, she had the nerve to imply that I was a mangy, ugly feline and needed a little help in the hygiene department. So if anyone was going to have residual tuna water breath, it was going to be me. And I didn't. My third guess was that my pending patent for a tuna-flavored breath spray had made it to market. But last I'd heard, it was held up in development as they tried to figure out how we could operate it without opposable thumbs (and, um, there's also some difficulty creating a container safe for consumption, since the test subjects keep trying to eat the cat spray once they catch a whiff). So I moved onto another thought, the most evil, darkest, and convicting of all. There had been tuna water set out for us, and she had drank not just one bowl, but BOTH bowls.
Judge: Did you confront her?
Dante: Why, yes, I did. I got up in her face, asking whether she had just had a treat in the form of tuna water goodness. And you know what she had the nerve to do?!
Judge: We're all waiting on pins and needles for your account, I assure you.
Dante: She LICKED her face! In front of me! She was taunting me, right there, her tongue licking her non-existent lips. It makes me crazy! Like I had this coming to me or something! Oh, boy, she better watch her back! Why, the next time we...
Judge: I think I've heard enough. We'll take a ten-minute recess, and I will relay my decision when we reconvene. And before then, I suggest you think long and hard about what has been shared here and conduct yourselves in a manner befitting these solemn proceedings, or I won't hesitate to throw this case out. We're adjourned.