Marissa had had it up to there with the little blue twerps! What was the point of having a cat in the house if he couldn’t keep the smurfs away? Ok, technically, they were pygmy dwarfs but they were blue, annoying and were constantly getting into the tea leaves. Didn’t matter that she didn’t keep sarsaparilla around; they still got into it and made a mess.
“I guess I shouldn’t expect them to respect the lack of rootbeer fixings in my coffee shop since they aren’t actually smurfs,” Marissa grumbled to herself as she swept up the evidence of yet another tea raid.
“Who are you talking to?” a sultry, somewhat raspy voice asked. Marissa jumped dumping the contents of her dustpan back on the floor. She spun around looking for the speaker, mindful of the fact that it had been a while since that bitch, Maggie, and her batboy toy had taken a pot shot at her. She found a large, white Persian cat with the lightest silver points she’d ever seen. Wow, what a lovely cat! she thought to herself. This being Talbot’s Peak and all, she figured out pretty quickly that this was probably no simple cat.
“Yeah,” she said to the cat, feeling a little silly. Lex could speak in his cat form, but he usually didn’t. “Can I help you? I’m closed right now so—”
The cat sighed miserably. Marissa cocked her head to the side, recognizing the mannerism.
“Hey, aren’t you that lady who ordered an Iranian coffee this morning?”
“Yeah,” the cat said, mirroring Marissa’s earlier one-word answer.
“So what are you doing back here?” Marissa asked, curious despite her best effort not to be.
“The truth? I have nowhere else to go. I had a bit of a row with Lexor earlier and…”
“Enough said,” Marissa interrupted, not unkindly. “I’ve lived with the little twerp since I was a child; he can be a very… interesting person to get along with. So I’m Marissa and you are?”
“Dorri,” the cat spat out. Marissa stared in amazement.
“The cat-goddess who stole Lex’s heart and broke it when he was just a kitten?” she asked in amazement.
“You know of me?” the cat, Dorri, asked, sounding a bit amazed, as well.
“Oh my god!” Marissa laughed out. “Every time Lex gets morose—which is a lot, I asure you—he goes on and on about how love is a fickle bitch and recounts the story of the protector goddess with the body of a siren and the heart of a hag.”
“Are-are you his cub, then” Dorri asked hesitantly. “You said he raised you.”
“He bought me from my good-for-nothing mother for some spell casting supplies when I was a child,” Marissa said, shaking her head. “I’m not his cub, per say, but he did raise me, after a fashion.”
“Oh!” the cat said, sitting up prettily. “You are the monkey child he’s always talking about!”
“That’s me,” Marissa confirmed, rolling her eyes, “though I’m neither, of course.”
“Neither what?” the cat asked. “You mean a monkey child? To one as old as Lexor, you most certainly are a child and you are human, so you are a monkey.”
“Monkeys have tails,” Marissa shot back. “Humans don’t so we are, technically, apes. And twenty-three may not be old, comparatively, but for my species, it is full grown. Nor am I his child, so I am not a child at all. If anything, that makes me an ape-woman. I prefer witch, though.”
“Ah,” the cat purred wisely. “Yes, I imagine he would have need of a slave who could work magic.”
“I’m not a slave!” Marissa shot back, beginning to get angry. “You have a lot to learn about life outside of whatever hole you’ve been living in!”
“Yes,” the cat murmured, sinking back down to her tummy, looking dejected. “That is what Lexor told me what he threw me away.”
“Dang,” Marissa said , feeling low for hurting this little goddess’s feelings. It wasn’t her fault she had no idea how to get on in a town like this where all the species got along. More or less, anyway.
“I don’t suppose you could help me figure out how to fit in better,” the cat asked cautiously. Marissa eyed the cat consideringly. Then she eyed the mess on her floor from ruined tea leaves.
“I’ll tell you what,” she said in a calculating tone. “You run off these dammed smurfs and I’ll help you win the twerp back.”
“I don’t want to win him,” the cat sputtered, flustered. “I am only here because I need cover so I can serveil the Yakooza!”
“Sister, you can tell yourself that all you want,” Marissa poo-poo’ed. “You haven’t been moping about your job, though. You’ve been moping over that goofball, Lex.”
After several minutes of her and the cat having a stair down, the cat looked around.
“So what are these smurf things? I don’t want to get into trouble for attacking something that is not considered food here.”