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by Robert Lowell Russell

“Welcome back to the 2028 CFA World Cat Spectacular. Bryan, did you ever expect to see such drama in the ballroom dancing event?”

“I did not, Stan. Our hopes and prayers are with Potpourri Sparkle Bunny and his handler.”

“So now it’s down to four, four of the most impressive specimens of felinity we’ve ever seen.”

“And here they come. First up, we have Stormageddon, the Dark Lord of All, and his handler.”

“Stormy is a Russian Blue. Notice the breed-standard bright green eyes and downy-soft, blue-gray coat. Goodness, how his fur shimmers.”

“Look at him sitting on his platform. His expression is so intelligent, so curious, so tranquil.”

“Stormy is a clone of seven-time CFA world champion, Trixie Hobbit.”

“The undisputed king of cats.”

“And next up we have Catacus, the Right Honourable Earl of Whiskers.”

“Catacus is also a Russian Blue, with the breed-standard green eyes and blue-gray coat.”

“So intelligent, so curious, so cloned from the former world champion.”

“And now here’s a real treat. It’s ¡El Diablo!

“Look at him strut. Diablo positively oozes cattitude.”

“Would you believe he’s another Trixie Hobbit clone?”

“Shocked! Shocked, I say!

“And last...”

“But certainly not least.”

“Mr. Kitty.”

“Green, blue, intelligent, curious, tranquil, clone.”

“Can you feel the energy building in the arena, Stan?”

“I’m certainly feeling something, Bryan. The handlers must feel it too as they brush their kitties.”

“Now entering the arena is Grand Marshall Beatrice ‘dogs are for bitches’ Bartleby, wearing her trademark pink bunny slippers.”

“My, look at those four tails twitch. The feigned disinterest, the—”

“Catacus has broken away!”

“What speed! He’s going straight for the slippers!”

“Pink bunny fur, everywhere!”

“I wouldn’t want to be in Bartleby’s shoes.”

“And... yes! Catacus has been sent off. We’re already down to three.”

“Sounds like the Earl’s not too happy about the disqualification, the way he’s yowling.”

“Definitely not. If looks could kill, the Grand Marshall would be a gift at someone’s feet.”

“If we could ask your patience for just one moment, folks, while the contestant is removed—”

“The Earl’s off like a shot into the audience!”

“OK. Just raise your hand if you see him, people. Don’t be a hero.”

“You see him? Madam, we really don’t recommend you touch—”


“Wow, that’s a gusher. Busy day for the medics. And next up is the public display of affection event. Stan, you okay?”

“A moment, please.”

“Of course, buddy. Long, deep breaths. Mr. Kitty is first, and the Grand Marshall is petting him.”

“Mr. Kitty is responding. He’s rubbing his head against her hand.”

“He has to be careful to stay within the traditional five-second response range. He’s gone over before, and it’s cost him.”

“And... five. He’s turned his head and is looking away. He’s done with petting.”

“Rock solid routine. Exactly what we’ve come to expect from this veteran cat.”

“His performance earns a rare nod of respect from Bartleby.”

“Next up is Stormageddon. Bartleby is petting him.”

“...three, four, five, and done. Another solid routine.”

“Finally, Diablo.”

“Three, four, five, six, seven... Oh, how mortifying. He’s still going.”

“You really have to feel for Diablo’s handler right now. Even after all the training and preparation, disaster strikes.”

“Sorry to get on my soap box, folks, but there’s no room in this sport for this level of feline debase—”

“HE’S BITTEN HER! Diablo has bitten the Grand Marshall!”

“He got gangsta on her ass!”

“Will she send him off?”

“No. Bartleby is allowing it.”

“Is that a smile on the Marshall’s lips?”

“What a brilliant, brilliant move by the young cat. It’s as if he’s saying, ‘Affection on my terms, ‘cause that’s how I roll.’”

“Incredible, out-of-the-litter-box thinking.”

“I think it’s Stormageddon or Mr. Kitty who’s going home.”

“I agree. I don’t envy Bartleby’s decision.”

“Looks like it’s lights-out for the Dark Lord.”

“Hard to say what the Grand Marshall saw, Bryan, but today Mr. Kitty and Diablo had that je ne sais chat and Stormageddon didn’t.”

“So we’re down to two, and it’s time for the final event.”

“There’s the coin flip, and Bartleby is indicating Mr. Kitty will play Lincoln, and Diablo, Mr. Douglas.”

“A stroke of luck for Mr. Kitty, I think, given his previous strong performances as Lincoln.”

“On goes the stove-pipe hat.”

“Each contestant gets twenty seconds to make their argument, then a rebuttal.”

“Are you hearing these meows, Bryan?”

“I’m Stan, you’re Bryan.”

“I am?”

“Silver tongues to go with silver fur and piercing green eyes.”

“What a back-and-forth exchange! The Marshall’s bobbing her head like a spectator at a tennis match.”

“Who will be the winner? Who will be declared Best in Show?”

“The audience is getting restless.”

“Bartleby’s shaking her head. Now there’s a resigned shrug. Will it be?”

“Yes! Once again, we have a tie, folks. The Grand Marshall is motioning off stage for the cage.”

“Well, we’re going to take a commercial break as the handlers don their head-saddles and strap on their cats for the tie-breaker.”

“And when we return to the 2028 CFA World Cat Spectacular—it’s THUNDERDOME!”



Robert Lowell Russell, a native Texan, lives with his family in southeastern Ohio. A former librarian and current nursing student, he once aspired to be a history professor, but found writing about the real world too constraining. Bob likes to write about all sort of things, but frequently includes action and humor in his work. Not satisfied with writing stories of questionable content for adults, he’s also started work on a series of middle-grade books incorporating his love of not-so-super heroes and toilet humor. For links to more of Rob’s stories—or to see him dressed like a ninja—visit robertlowellrussell.blogspot.com.