A Man and a Cat Walk Into a Bar…

I’m always sharing my reading news around here…  Meanwhile in writing news, I’m currently working on three novels–which is making my head spin a little!  Two are at different points in the revision stage, and one is still being planned.  In the midst of all that, naturally the logical thing to do is work on a short story.  Though at least it’s a short story related to one of the novels!

It uses characters from the novel, but the story is meant to exist independently.  I wrote most of it, only to get a bit stuck maybe 75% of the way through.  So I thought I’d toss the first page up here and see if sharing it inspires me to write that last stretch…


When Jasper and Tom walked into the tavern, they attracted no immediate attention.  It may have looked a little odd when Jasper opened the door for the orange cat and let him walk in first, and even odder when Tom made an efficient line between the tables, chairs and boots directly to the bar, springing up to sit on top of it.  But the tavern’s inhabitants were intent on their drinks and their conversation, and didn’t pay any mind to the newcomers.

Jasper followed Tom to the bar, where the tavernkeeper looked them both over, didn’t comment on the cat on his counter, and just said, “What’ll it be?”

“One ale and a bowl of milk,” Jasper answered, prompting a snicker from his nearest neighbor.

But it wasn’t until Tom said, “And have you got any fish?” that heads starting turning.

Jasper hid his grin behind the mug of ale the tavernkeeper had handed him.  Eventually the fun of shocking people with a talking cat was going to wear off, but after a month of traveling with Tom, it was still amusing him.

“I, uh, yeah, I think we do,” the tavernkeeper managed, staring at the tabby.

“Excellent.”  Tom sat down, sticking his nose in the air with his most regal attitude, plainly aware that the entire room was looking at him.  “One order of fish, please.  Any kind will do, only not too spicy.  Spicy food makes me sneeze.”

“Right,” the tavernkeeper said.  “So…d’you want it raw?”

Tom bristled, tail lashing.  “No, cooked!  What do you think I am, a savage?”

“He thinks you’re a cat,” Jasper pointed out.

“That doesn’t mean I can’t have refined taste.”

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