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Although the wound had healed remarkably fast, leaving only a small bald patch roughly the size of a dime on Tammy’s leg as the only sign of the original injury, the whole episode seemed to have upset the girl deeply, and for the past couple days she had been lethargic and moody.

Bernie finished scooping out the food and stood up, his arthritic legs giving protest. He tossed the can in the trash and used his foot to nudge the bowl closer to the little bed he had made for Tammy near the wall. He made little kissing sounds through pursed lips.

“Come on, old girl, eat you scrumshums.”

Tammy made a deep purring noise, but didn’t move. Bernie tapped the side of the bowl with the corner of his shoe.

“Come on, eat up. It’s your favorite.”

Tammy raised herself out of her little bed and walked to the bowl. She sniffed at the food, looked up at Bernie, and then back down at the food. Finally she leaned her head down and started eating.

“Good kitty,” Bernie said as he bent down to stroke Tammy. “You sure are getting big. Maybe we have to think about putting you on a diet, girl. You eat while Daddy takes a little nap.”

He left her to her meal, and went back to his bedroom. He kicked off his shoes, climbed into bed and pulled the covers up.

When he woke, it was dark out. Bernie checked the bedside clock, and then cursed at himself; his “little nap” had ended up being three hours long. He knew he would be up until two in the morning now, unable to fall asleep at a proper time. He slipped out of bed and shuffled out of the bedroom and into the bathroom, where he relieved his bladder with a sigh of satisfaction. He flushed, washed his hands, and went out, taking a seat on the couch in the living room. He picked up the remote and clicked on the TV. He channel surfed (as much as one can channel surf when one only gets network TV) and settled on the evening news. He left the volume turned down, not much interested in the day’s happenings.

In the dim blue light of the television a shape appeared, sauntering over to Bernie. Tammy settled down near his feet. He reached down without looking and stroked her fur. Something didn’t feel quite right, so he looked down at her.

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