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by Laurie E. Smith

Have you ever wondered...
Ponder no more, for here is the answer!
(a little fan-fic by Laurie E. Smith and Amanda-chan, The Computer Sprite)


(SCENE: Lister’s sleeping quarters. Rimmer is absent, and Lister is sitting on the bench in front of the window, doing a puzzle in a magazine.)

(The Cat spins in to the room.)

Cat: “Aaaaow!”

Lister (without looking up): “Hi, Cat.”

(The Cat comes to a dead stop and looks at him.)

Cat: “Feed me.”

Lister: “Not now.”

Cat: “Why not?”

Lister: “I’m busy doin’ this jumble.”

(The Cat plops himself down on the bench next to Lister, pleading.)

Cat: “Come on, buddy, pay attention to me.”

Lister: “Later.”

Cat: “Feed me!”

Lister: “No! Y’can wait until after I’ve done me -- CAT!!!”

(The Cat has just done something that feline owners everywhere will instantly recognize: he’s lain down across what Lister is reading, and is grinning up at him, hands clasped behind his head.)

Cat: “Hi!”

Lister: “Get off me jumble!”

Cat: “Nope -- not until you feed me.”

Lister: “Oh, for smeg’s -- okay, okay, I can’t do it while you’re lyin’ in me lap, can I? Get up!”

Cat (sitting up and beaming): “Thanks, monkey!”

(Lister takes the Cat to a food dispenser and feeds him, then returns to his quarters.)

(The rest of the day passes uneventfully. Later that night, however...)

*Poke poke...*

Lister: “Mmmmmmph....”

*Poke, poke, POKE!*

Lister: “Mph!” (Without opening his eyes, he pulls the blanket over his head.) “Oh, God... go away!”

Cat: “Feed me.”

Lister: “No.”

Cat: “C’mon, buddy, I’m starving!”

Lister: “Why can’t you eat at the same time as the rest of us?”

Cat: “What? I’m a Cat -- I eat when I want, where I want. And I’m hungry now! Feed me!”

(Lister turns his face to the wall.)

Lister: “For the last time, go away!”

(The Cat pokes him savagely a few more times. Getting no further response, he jumps down from the ladder and steps into the center of the room, where he goes into a little spinning dance.)

Cat: “Ow! Ow ow aaaoow! Feed me, feed me, feeeeeed me! Ow, ow aaaow! Feed me, feed me now! Ow! Aooow wow --”

Lister: “CAT!”

(Rimmer is now awake, too.)

Rimmer: “For God’s sake, Lister, put the Cat out -- of the nearest airlock!”

Cat: “Ow! Yow aaaooooooow --”

Lister: “Cat, shut up!”

Cat: “Feed me, aaaaoooow --”

(Lister pulls off a boot and throws it. The Cat ducks, continuing to sing --)

Cat: “Yow, yow yow aaaaaaaoooooooaaaaoooooow --”

(Lister throws the other boot, which the Cat smoothly sidesteps.)

Cat: “Wow wow wow, feed me n --”

Lister:”All right! ALL RIGHT!”

(Lister knows when he’s beaten. He rolls over, drops out of the bed, and surrenders to his fate -- the task of every cat owner since the distant days of the ancient Pharaohs, passed down through the centuries and millennia to disrupt the sleep the very last human on the very edge of the universe.)

(He stumbles to the food dispenser and feeds the cat. As he heads blearily back to bed, the Cat calls after him cheerfully --)

Cat: “Thanks, buddy! See you in the morning!”

Lister (already three-quarters asleep again): “Yeah, whatever...”


And so it went, more or less, until the fateful day when Rimmer taught the Cat how to use the food dispensers himself. The rest (as they say) is history. ;)

Cyber Bat’s message
Reminds me of my cat <..>

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