Joe

The kitten huddles under the dresser, peering askance at Joe.

“Look, Cat, I did get you to be my pet. It would be nice if you would cut me a little slack here and at least make the effort to try to like me.” Joe is lying on his bedroom floor, watching the kitten. “I mean, I do feed you and all.” The kitten just blinks at him. Joe sighs.

“Do you know why I got you? Why I decided I needed a pet?” The kitten did not voice any guesses, so he continued. “I got you because I wanted something to connect me to the world… this world. Something… something to care about. I’m alone, alright? Even here, even among the others of this cabal, I don’t fit in. They all have lives on the outside… I don’t. I don’t belong, anywhere. Hell, to the rest of the world, I don’t even exist. So, I have to ask myself… why? Why am I fighting? Why do I even care? I don’t have a family, or a religion, or a career… hell, I can’t even remember if I have ever been kissed!” Joe sighs again. “So I figured I would find something like you, something to care about, something that would care about me… but I guess you can’t force anyone to like you, not even an animal, huh? After all, I’m just a Key, and I’m beginning to suspect that it’s to something nobody wants opened.”

Joe sits up. “Oh well, I’ll fight anyway; what else have I got to do? Besides, I want to get those fuckers who tricked and used me.” He looks down at the kitten again. “Okay, Cat, I know you want out. Go see Sway. You remember her, the pretty girl from when I picked you out; you’ll probably like her alot more than you do me. Jason’s cool too, but stay away from the others; Allistair might try to convert you, Sylvia might try something with her squirrels, and Howard might try to stick you in his machine. You’re one cute little piece of possibility I would rather be in this world than the weird little one he’d creating. Even if there doesn’t seem to be any possibility for me in any of them.” He opens the bedroom door. The kitten eyes him, weighs it’s chances, then bolts out. “And watch out for that goddamned Roomba!” he calls after it.

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