Serendipity had gotten used to Timmy, her cat from the Phone for a Clone pet store, calling her ‘Mommy’. She thought it was cute, and now that his vocabulary had increased tremendously, he was able to string all sorts of little words and phrases together – particularly since he had checked out that ‘I can has cheezeburger’ lol cats site, so now he and his little friends, all of who originated from the ‘Phone for a Clone’ pet store, had a regular little gang – all speaking like them lol cats and doing them lol cats kinda fun stuff.

Timmy had just come back from a session with his friends – Rusty – a short, fat, racoonish type given to sticking her nose in pretty much anything she could get vicariously off on, PsycoCat – a quieter creature with a distinctly exotic appearance but with crossed eyes, Shrapnel – another cloned cat, and some of the others he had befriended. Serendipity had told him time and again not to keep Rusty’s company, knowing of course that their minds were like peas in a pod, and there was little chance that he would heed her words. And there he sat, looking ever so slightly perturbed – in his myopic, cloned-cat sorta way. The only thing with these ‘Phone for a Clone’ beasties was that although they were, for the most part, highly predictable, one never knew when their mental makeup would get short-circuited, causing them to freak out and express themselves in the most outlandish ways. Of course it seemed perfectly ‘normal’ to them – following from the mental makeup that had been programmed in the cloning process – but to Serendipity, it had got to be embarrassing on a few occasions.

For instance, that time when the Troubadour was in town and Serendipity took Timmy to the concert – she’d rather forget about that one! Her friends wondered what made ol Timmy react in the way he did – all offensive and slighting to the Troubadour at the reception after, and then when confronted, taking the ‘hooze me? or, ‘I wuz juz bein funny’ route. Serendipity rationalized it as best she could, even making up bits to protect Timmy. You see, her friends didn’t know he was from the ‘Phone for a Clone’ store and thought Timmy was ‘the real thing’.

Then there was the percussionist with the documentary fetish – Timmy went for him too – and the others noticed immediately. Serendipity was distraught. No amount of trying to reason with Timmy made any difference at all, it looked like he was oblivious to reason – ‘the cloning process’, was all she could think. And how, she wondered, could she re-programme her pet?

Anyway, there he was, looking ever so slightly perturbed – in his myopic cloned cat sorta way – staring at the wall and mumbling. His bandicoot-type tail was tucked firmly between his pants’ rear-end and he seemed to be deep in thought. Serendipity set about getting dinner together, humming to Billy Holiday doing Body and Soul and thinking of bed – it had been a long day. Table set, she got Timmy to help with getting the food to it. His skills had improved considerably, and his ‘fingers’, with the claws attached (one of those mishaps in the cloning procedure), had adapted well enough to get most things done.

The roast with assorted vegetables and baked potatoes looked good and smelled delicious and Timmy purrrred in anticipation. He still had a hard time with the soup – the slurrping sound had reduced, but Serendipity wasn’t about to give up trying to make him improve. He didn’t care for salads at all, but she didn’t make a big deal out of that – knowing how it was with cats – even these kinds. He did, however, have a craving for pickles and scoffed so much, she had to ration them.

And this is what did it for him that night – he picked up the jar, his claws striving for purchase, and took a whiff of his favourite food. He wrinkled his nose and sneezed so hard, his contact lenses nearly popped out.

Hey Mom, I can haz smell like rottin pickelz’, he said.

And he was so mad he went to bed without dinner.