The cat seemed to smile at him. Did cats smile?

Erwin smiled at him. He shoved a picture across the table at him – Olano with Mugwump cock right down her throat. It was obscene – he wasn’t sure what to say.

‘It’s not good walking into this.’

‘How did you know?’

‘Who asks for a Janus Cat unless they’re aiming to placate a Whispergate Sentinel and stitch through into Interzone? And in there there’s a limited number of people that would be of interest to you.’

‘You’d make a good detective, Erwin.’

‘I have.’

‘Huh?’

‘Made a good detective. A cat – it likes the game. Dispassionate, a little cruel, with good instincts.’

‘Called?’

‘Spay.’

‘You didn’t? You called it Spay?’

‘I did. And then I fired it into the future.’

‘Oh, to do what, exactly?’

‘It has a mission to find out what is happening out there, and then come back and change things by any means necessary,’

‘Some days, Erwin I wonder at the insanity that is my world. I wish that I could just work a 9 to 5 job and just enjoy going to the beach on the weekend. I’d like to spend my time bingewatching shows. It might be nice to Netflix And Chill sometimes.’

‘Yeah, but you’d get bored shitless.’

‘Well, you must have a similar thing going on. Mad experiments aren’t a high that are easy to replace.’

‘So, you just want the one cat, right?’

‘I only need one right?’

‘Sure, you know cats were always great for physics though. The reason for that is that they are rooted in uncertainty. Don’t trust the fucker.’

‘Is this thing bipedal, or is it an all fours kind of deal?’

‘Uncertainty – I’m just hooking you up; I have no control how he chooses to manifest.’

‘This is going to be interesting. I am going to be walking into Interzone, looking for someone addicted to Mugwump jizz, with a Dragon Slayer and a Janus Cat. I had to brush up on my Nadsat and my Newspeak.’

‘Rather you than me, AIM.’

‘Yeah, sometimes, that acronym bugs me as much as my name. I should change it all and disappear.’

‘I hate to say it, but for you I don’t think that’s going to happen. I have known you for a while and you just stumble around bumping into this shit. You’re a shit magnet; you’re the fan the shit hits. Dude, you might even be the shit singularity.’

‘Wow, thanks, Erwin, you really are trying to make me feel better, aren’t you?’

‘Not what you come to me for, is it. So, that’s not what you get.’

‘Sure.’

‘Anyway – here’s Hinge.’

‘Hinge?’

‘Yeah,’ said Hinge ‘Got a fucking problem with that?’

‘Catitude, I always dig it.’

‘Wow, a prejudiced human for us to hang out with and skeleton key into a place. Erwin, you sure know how to pick assignments for us. The pay better be doubletime for dealing with this shit-head.’

AIM laughed, Hinge scowled, and Erwin shrugged. Erwin figured the way this multiverse was diced and sliced people and cats getting on with each other or not was always a gamble.

‘Take some of this,’ said Erwin, and handed him a pouch full of catnip.

‘I saw that, Erwin.’

Erwin shrugged at Hinge; he’d be thankful for the intervention later. And they were, after a short stop to pick up their Dragon Slayer, off on their way.

The cat seemed to smile at him. Did cats even smile?

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