The stick was just sitting there, but when I picked it up, I heard a quiet growling noise.
I put it down.
The growl stopped.
I couldn’t just let it lie there, so the battle of minds between owner and cat got underway.
The stick had a string with a feather bob on it. The cat was attached to the feathers, and unwilling to let go of his prey. He clearly knew that anyone picking up the stick was going to attempt to take the prey.
As the game continued, my gaze wandered among the knickknacks collected where they were safe from the cat. A plasma ball. A line of Hummels. A magic eight ball. And in its own alcove, a lava light. The slow circulation of the waxy goo was hypnotic. It drew the eye and held it there while the background music (and the cat) did their work.
The cat was still growling.
The door opened, and one ear twitched as if to confirm that the right person had arrived.
He was dressed slightly oddly, as if as displaced in time as his tchotchkes, but his suit was also somewhat threadbare and worn.
The he held his hands out in seemingly empty space, and the most hauntingly beautiful music appeared. The slightest wiggles of his fingers were translated into audible liquids that washed over us.
A prince cannot remain in exile for ever. That is why this meeting was so important.
Exile was itself unjust, but in order to end it and return home, it would be necessary to agree to the fiction that there was a justifiable cause for it. Pride made that a tough requirement, but returning to the homeland was more important that pride.
The day was ominous. Gloomy clouds, just enough rain to notice dominated the sky.
But when the prince arrived at the agreed upon cafe for their first meeting, he found nothing but a smoking ruin. Someone had burned it to the ground overnight.