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        The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM



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Welcome To The November
Issue of Mil Mania!

Volume 2, Issue 10, November 2006


Music Mayhem    

As noted in the December 2005 edition of Mil Mania, I will continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com.  In addition,  for each issue I will also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, of course, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist…


Counting Crows — I sup-
pose it’s funny how often I
struggle to find a “worthy”
artist to feature in this sec
tion and in the process
overlook the most obvious
choices.  Given I’ve loved
the expressive delivery of haunting poetry by Adam Duritz for well over a decade I’m surprised it took me so long to at last share this appreciation with
Mil Mania readers.    And, upon first realizing it might be time to do just that, I pulled out their debut album, August and Everything After only days ago, to be immediately reminded that while some artists take a bit of time to evolve into the greatness for which they’re ultimately remembered, others emerge fully developed right out of the chute.  Counting Crows undoubtedly fall into the latter category.  “Round Here” the song track that kicks off this album not only sets the tone for a full and rich listening experience to follow, it also persists as one of my all-time favorite songs by any act.    The same can be said for “Colorblind”, a beautifully atmospheric piece from the soundtrack of a film released several years later, and which proved forgettable at best for everything except that one stunning musical interlude.   Beyond any doubt, this band can make a lasting impression.  For example, their VH1 Storytellers special back in 1997 proved my favorite in that series, and I still regret to this day not having slipped a tape in the VCR the night it aired.  Intelligent and engaging, the discussion by Duritz added an insightful new dimension to many already more than memorable songs. 

     For more information go to www.countingcrows.com.



Third Eye Blind continues to keep a rather low profile as fans await further news of their next release.  As a fun divergence, however, (the band’s guitarist) Tony started a contest in which entrants could write lyrics and sing their own interpretation of an instrumental by him and (drummer) Brad.  To learn more about the recently chosen winner (and download the resulting finished song) visit the 3eb page at myspace.com now.


Brian Fitzpatrick posted a new blog on his own myspace page earlier this month...and has promised to post new songs there soon.  Stay tuned for both these and additional news regarding the upcoming 5th Brian Fitzpatrick release.


Michael McDermott recently played a two night residency at Schubas in Chicago to rave reviews.   Lest you were (like me, alas) unable to attend, you can view a couple video clips of songs from these shows made available by an audience member…


Fools’ Avenue


Tread Lightly, My Love


     Also, it has been announced that the new album is tentatively scheduled for a slightly later release date than originally anticipated, currently expected to hit stores in March or April 2007.  And, of course, Michael continues to present new, never before made available tunes via Monday Morning Musical Madness on myspace.com.    Go there now to check out this week’s songs, December tour info and more.

Ravings of a
Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.


I’ve actually seen three movies since the last issue of Mil Mania was sent out.  As I really can’t say I felt very strongly about any of them, however, I’m not sure any deserve the entirety of this column.  With that in mind, I’ll just offer a brief bit of commentary on each...and hope fervently that something better comes along soon!


Prime — By far the worst of the three, this film suffered primarily from a great premise on which it failed to deliver...a 37 year old recent divorcee who unknowingly begins a romance with her likewise unknowing therapist’s 23 year old son.  Worse yet, that premise was revealed with perfect timing in the film itself, but given away via an inescapable barrage of TV ads before one ever had a chance to see it.  Even so,  had the subject matter been dealt with in a more original, against the odds manner, this picture might have worked despite itself.  Undoubtedly there are many enjoyable and touching moments, particularly between Rafi (Uma Thurman) and her therapist (Meryl Streep).  The outcome of the relationship itself, however, couldn’t be played more stereotypically.  I knew the movie was about to crash and burn when the sentiment, “Sometimes love isn’t enough” was pulled out as a nugget of serious truth.  To an unflinching believer like myself that instead “Love conquers all” such a declaration invariably signals a film’s death knell.  In this case, though, it also triggered a bit of potential insight regarding why the role of Rafi may have appealed to Thurman.  Having been briefly married at age 20 to a then 32 year old Gary Oldman, one can’t help wondering if her participation in this film wasn’t a “prime” example of a need for a little therapy to make peace with her own past. 


Broken Flowers — Like Prime, this film begins with a great promise of ultimate cinematic payoff.  And, like Prime, it really never comes through.  What it offers as consolation, however, are actor’s actor performances by Bill Murray and Jeffrey Wright, which depending on why one watches movies may just add up to its salvation.  As one reviewer noted, no one compares to Murray for his ability to do nothing and make not doing it so interesting.  And, indeed, the active stillness he puts forth in nearly every scene is riveting...as is Wright’s perfect counterpoint of fully engaged energy.   The impetus of the storyline is a discovery by Murray’s character (via receipt of a mysterious unsigned letter) that he may have a 19 year old son.  Spurred on Wright’s character, Winston, who fancies himself a bit of a sleuth (in addition to working three jobs and helping his wife raise five kids), Murray’s Don embarks on an odyssey into a past he already knew couldn’t really be reclaimed, and a present that very closely resembles the one he had before all this began.   Again, that may not comprise much of a journey”… and yet as lived by the fascinating and enigmatic Murray, it might be one just enjoyable enough to make a viewer forgive the fact the film never quite reaches any definable destination.  


Just Friends a bit of holiday B-movie fluff that certainly won’t win any awards for originality — or much else for that matter.  Still, honesty compels me to half-ashamedly admit I actually enjoyed this the most fully of these works...for the very reason one of the critics who reviewed it found it intolerable:  Ryan Reynolds.  Before a certain now nearly forgotten night-time game show completely re-shuffled the demographic of the network on which it aired there was a sitcom entitled Two Guys and a Girl...in which Ryan Reynolds was one of three hugely likable stars.  As smart and sarcastic med student Berg, Reynolds created a broadly comic character who with a wonderful supporting cast helped bring the level of this show ever higher with each season until it truly proved a sad day when it finally left the airwaves.  And, indeed, his role in this film is essentially a chance to spend a couple more hours with Berg...for better or for worse.

     In this instance, however, Reynolds plays a teen whose life path seems determined by his weight, which is cause for ridicule and which prevents him from being the most physically desirable “hunk” to the young ladies...except, that is, his best friend...a lovely blond who adores him — “like a brother”.    Frustrated and determined to change his fate, he moves across the country immediately after graduation and transforms himself into a rich — and svelte — bachelor living life in the fast lane.
     When unexpected circumstances land him back in his home town and still in love with his oblivious “best friend”, he determines to break the “just friends” curse once and for all.  But as the course of true love never quite runs smooth, there are many obstacles he must first overcome, including a rival who seems all too perfect, and a past that continues to dog his present and threaten his future.

     But, it’s Christmas in romantic comedy land, and we all know how that goes.  And, when you just want to sit down for a couple hours of fun, you’re glad you do.   Enjoy.

                             (If you haven’t met me yet, you might want to
                             read the
Dec. ‘05 issue first.)

Dear Molly,

    A kiwi.  Can you imagine anyone being afraid, I mean really scared of a kiwi?  A friend of mine orders an organic produce basket every week, and the week the kiwis arrived brought to light something I had never known about her.  This poised and confident gal has a fuzzy fruit phobia!  She peered into the bag and hesitantly reached in.  “Do you like kiwis?” she asked and quickly dropped two on my kitchen counter.  She stepped back like she was anticipating their attack.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  “What is so wrong with a kiwi?” I asked.  “They’re weird, creepy. I don’t know, but I don’t like them!” she said.  “What about the taste?” I asked.  She was silent for a moment and confessed that she had never tried one.  She couldn’t get past the grief caused by their strange outward appearance to enjoy the beauty in their flavor.  “I’m sure they taste good,” she said. But there was no way that I was going to get her to try one.  OK.  So, on
the outside kiwis aren’t as cheery as lemons, as vibrant as blue berries or as gentle as peaches.  But slice one in half and I am awed by the sheer perfection of its center star burst and cool green sheen--and not to mention their spry and refreshing ranginess.  Molly, what do you make of fearing something for no sound reason when knowing it only intends goodness?

                                                         Confounded by Kiwi Concern

    Funny you should ask that particular question now, Confounded —  given only a few weeks ago my adoptive mom shared a letter with me from a very good friend.  She had sent him a link to the page of Halloween costumes for which I, my boys and my neighbors had recently posed.  Here’s what he said…

     “Nice pics...they look cute in the pics...scary in real life!”

     Of course, at least your friend who fears Kiwis has actually seen these offending organisms at pretty close range...however reluctant she may be to befriend them.  Most folks who fear rats (both pets like me and even more widely, of course, my wild counterparts) by contrast, have seldom if ever encountered one of us as more than a shadow scurrying as far away from them as possible.  And, although I don’t know for sure the history of this particular gentlemen’s acquaintance with us (or lack thereof), I’d be willing to bet it isn’t sufficient in terms of firsthand experience to justify his statement. 
    What’s even more strange, of course, is the less friendly animals who are perceived as much less threatening.  While being visited by my boys during a hospital stay recently (in ratensive care for a couple of days), one of the vets came in and couldn’t resist picking up my adorable Noonan.  And, as Noonan lapped up the attention eagerly, snuggling in for more petting, the vet noted to mom and dad how lovable rats are —
and how misunderstood our (usually!) gentle nature (not including when aggravated by a foolish gibberish spouting hu-man DJ or faced with some similar injustice, anyway).  “They never bite,” he pointed out (which fact I think mom and dad already knew!).  “Hamsters,  gerbils, ferrets — they all bite.  But not rats.  They’re so sweet.” 
     In all possible humility I would have to say that’s true.  But I also have to say truth is  far too often a sadly blunted weapon when faced with ignorance.  Worse still is a determination to persist in that ignorance despite heaps of evidence to the contrary  — a statement which applies to kiwis, rats and any other unfair victim of prejudice.
     As the character Nicodemus (himself a rat) in my beloved
Mrs. Frisby book points out, “we [are] about the most hated animals on earth, except maybe snakes and germs.”  He went on to say, “That seemed strange to us, and unjust, especially when we learned that some of our close cousins — squirrels, for instance, and rabbits — were well liked.  But people think we spread diseases, and I suppose possibly we do, though never intentionally, and surely we never spread as many diseases as people themselves… Sometimes we were accused of biting human children; I didn’t believe that, nor did any of us — unless it was some kind of a subnormal rat, bred in the worst of city slums.  And that, of course, can happen to people, too.”
     Needless to say, if you know the rest of Nicodemus’ story you know how beneficial he and his friends proved to Mrs. Frisby.  And all it took on her part to be blessed by their acquaintance was a bit of information and a mind open to receiving it.
     That said, your friend might want to read up on the health benefits of Kiwis, which you’ll see from
this article are considerable — just like (if I do say so myself) the benefits of knowing ME!!!  

                           Molly Madvises 

                      (by... Molly, of course!)




















Click Here for a host of info and ideas regarding this holiday.





Comments from Mil Mania readers
             on the October issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

“While researching the topic of research 
   (my line of work), I found a web page 
   that cleverly laced into the topic [from
   the Molly Madvises column] —  a quote
   by Blaise Pascal:  "The heart has rea-
   sons, for which reason cannot under
   stand."  Makes me think that Molly sub
   scribes to this thought.  Maybe some of
   her distant relatives "worked"…errrrr!...
   with Pascal and the philosophy tran-
   scended down through the genes.”


“I'm reading the Oct. newsletter in sec
   tions.  LOVED! Molly's answer!”



“I loved ‘Mrs. Frisby’,  too. I still think
   about it every time I mow the lawn; I
   keep my eye open for little families of
   animals... Best wishes for all that your
   doing. Keep  going. All we can do is per

I'm so curious how [Josh] develops and
   what happens.  I can't imagine
   undertaking a novel…”   









I loved "Mrs. Frisby..." too. I still think about it every time I mow the lawn; I keep my eye open for little families of animals.
Best wishes for all that your doing. Keep going. All we can do is persist!

Text Box:         As always, feel free to drop by 
                      my “space” at


        Given the ongoing war over which network has the fewest dropped calls and greatest area of reception that persists in commercials yet today, I thought this essay (rant?) written just after purchasing my first cell phone a couple years back might still be one Mil Mania readers might relate to...and hence worth sharing here.


The Things I'd Call My Cell Phone…If Only I Could!


     Always trust your instincts.  So I was admonished through years of acting classes.  So Regis Philbin advised contestants on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  Hmm, come to think of it, maybe it's the latter of these examples that convinced me to deviate from mine.  I mean, when I start seriously considering advice from game show hosts I'll really start worrying about my level of insanity -- and I'm not talking about the positive artistic kind.

     But anyway, the point is I instinctively hate cell phones.  I don't know if it's the annoyance of driving behind motorists too intent on the object attached to their ears to notice objects like cars and red lights on the highway or if it's simply the fact that they've always represented to me the tangible embodiment of pretension.  Come on, how many people really need one in the course of everyday life?  As far as having one in case of an emergency, at this point you could borrow one from almost any person, dog or cat you find standing next to you.  And, believe it or not, there are still those antiquated devices known as payphones kicking around.  Yes, yes, I have tried to get one of those to work so I hear the objections you're shouting at me about now, but that's a different story for another essay.

     Back to this one, however, the bottom line is I just somehow knew from my instincts that cell phones were evil.  And although all of us as humans do find certain evils tempting, I long prided myself (obviously forgetting that pride is itself an evil) on the certainty that a cell phone would never become one of them.

     Ah well, as the saying goes, "never say never".  Because sure enough, once you do you'll find yourself suddenly faced with a frowning friend whose ride seems to have left without him, and who subsequently can't believe that you, his trusted ally, has the audacity to not be carrying a cell phone in his time of need.

     It's amazing how strongly a frowning friend can weaken one's resolve.  Because somehow that's all it took to make my wall of cell phone resistance begin to crumble.  And then, as fate would have it, wouldn't you know that only a few days later I found precisely such a hated object along a busy highway near my place of work.  Unable to track down its owner, I was therefore left to stare at this vile piece of equipment for so long that its malevolent nature, so palpable at first, began to abate.  Soon I found it actually beckoning me with an almost piteous tone reflective of its orphaned state.  "Pick me up," it said.  "Hold me.  I don't bite.  I'm harmless.  Truly."

     Indeed the devil does too often appear as an angel of light.

     Be that as it may, having opened the door the tiniest crack to the possibility that cell phones might not be quite as evil as I'd once thought, I soon found myself at Radio Shack, charge card in hand, my wall of resistance now a mere pile of dust further soiling the bristly commercial carpet on which I stood.

     Still half conscience-stricken after actually making the purchase, I shuffled through a Pigpen-like cloud out of the store with my new compact, lightweight, working Motorola unit somehow feeling strangely heavy.  I took it home and charged the battery, peering at it closely from time to time for any signs that I might yet be harboring a demon.  But it just stared back at me silently, its cheerful backlight reassuring me that all would yet be well.

     Not quite ready to take the step of actually giving out the number right away, however, I carried this new creature around in my purse for several days to get acquainted with its presence.   About 7:30 one evening, however, I came home and pulled my little friend from his purple pouch to offer him a well-deserved recharge. Upon doing so I noticed a small envelope icon flashing in the top corner of his screen.  Puzzled (as I still hadn't given a soul the number) I wondered how I could have already received a voicemail message.  But certain at this point my tiny friend could do no harm, I eagerly called my mailbox and listened for some wonderful communication from the outside world.  Instead I heard about thirty seconds of hissing, crackling and eventually my own heart pounding in my ears.  But no voice -- except, of course, that sadistic-sounding digital one so cruelly calm in its pronouncement, "End of message."

     How could it be?  How could my tiny harmless friend have so betrayed me?  No warning.  No offer to reply to the message.  No clue to who had left it.  Nothing to relieve the cold, sinking dread of knowing I was about to be labeled one of "those"…you know, "them".  The inconsiderate, the thoughtless, the wicked  -- one of the truly evil people who never return their calls.

     Truly frustrated, I fairly stormed into Radio Shack demanding an explanation as to precisely what dark force had suddenly taken over my phone.  Faced with a maddeningly calm salesman, however, I was casually informed that my phone was fine.  It was merely an issue of poor signal strength in certain areas, possibly complicated by the caller also using a cell phone, blah...blah...blah.

     In other words, the phone is pretty much guaranteed to work great as long as I'm standing next to a cell tower talking to someone themselves using a "land-line" phone -- or even a cell phone provided they're standing close enough to drop the phone and merely shout…which is pretty much guaranteed to work better than the phone itself at any and all times.

     Ah well.  I guess such an outcome is no more than I deserve.  Like I said, I should have realized right away that I was in for a mixed blessing.  But hey, if I'm in this wireless (dis?) agreement for at least a year, then why not make the most of it.  Before I got this phone I was a very private person, one who judiciously shared my home number only with good reason.  But now I distribute my cell one with reckless abandon and encourage friends and foes alike to spread its digits like wildfire.  After all, I dare anyone who uses it to actually reach me.  And as for friend or foe, well, we know which side they'll all be on once I never return their calls.  Indeed, as the saying goes, it seems there really is a thin line between love and hate.

     On that note I can only add that the love I briefly felt for my seemingly altruistic friend in the purple pouch has definitely waned, and that this once more despised object has truly fallen from my grace.  And one of these days he's equally likely to fall (or rather be tossed) from a bridge as well.  In the meantime, I just wish I could call him -- well, lots of things.  For that matter, I just wish I could call him.  Oh, I could.  And so can you.  But I warn you, don't expect an answer…unless, of course, you’re willing to shout very, very loud.

Temporary Insanity








Some holidays require
A fair bit of explanation

As to how they all began...
Why they warrant celebration.
But one special day in autumn
Answers just “what’s in a name”;
For this day by any other
Would indeed not be the same.

It’s a day that reminds us
Of the way we should be living:
In a perpetual state of
Sincere and true  “Thanksgiving”.               

                                         Talk about meeting a deadline
                                   just under the wire, huh?  For those
                                   of you who don’t check the exact
                                   time an e-mail was received that
                                   means this newsletter is only be-
                                   ing completed and mailed out at the
                                   stroke of midnight as the last day
                                   of November ebbs away.
                                        And an event filled month it’s
                                   been...culminating in the holiday featured in this issue’s “Spotlight” and “Nutshell” sections — and which I hope proved a truly wonderful break from the bustle of “ordinary” life for every
Mil Mania reader.  And, of course, almost before the leftover portions of turkey and stuffing had barely begun to cool off in all of our refrigerators, reminders swiftly followed that the next holiday’s season was approaching at breakneck speed — an odd bit of “madness” associated with which inexplicably possessed this diehard crowd avoider and inspired me in the direction of a little research into the “Black Friday” phenomenon.  What that research yielded was the uncanny discovery that bargain hunters actually emerge from their warm beds at pre-pre-pre-dawn hours  (no that’s not a typo) to wait in line with thousands of their peers — and that once the stores open to admit these amazingly still hungry throngs, crash helmets should really be passed out at each entrance as required equipment.
     For our little rodent matriarch Molly, it’s been an event-filled month as well.   Unfortunately, her excitement has been of a similarly dangerous nature,
albeit of no festive sort — centered instead
around a serious bout of illness that left her in “ratensive care” (as touched on very briefly in
 her “Madvice” column below) for a number
of days.  She’s had a few ups and downs in
the couple weeks following and continues to
rest up and look forward hopefully to a full
and speedy recovery.  More on that in the De-
cember issue I’m sure.

     On a lighter note you’ll see the “Tempo-
rary Insanity” column offers a humorous look
at an object most of us have come to look on
as an added appendage at this point...one
which persists in paining us to various de
grees.  And of course, you’ll find another
roundup of the “usual suspects” in their
other accustomed places.  So, as always, hope
you enjoy…and thanks for reading!


                     Newsletter Spotlight                     

As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the prose “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall (you can catch up on all prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

                                  The Leap to Limbo (tentative title)


Chapter 11    “Rats, Cats and the Unexpected
                               Cost of Record Deals ”                    


     “Okay, that sounds good,” Josh said, taking off his guitar.  “Now – we’re gonna meet Chris here at 6:45 tomorrow morning, load up our gear and be on the road at 7:30, right?”

     “You got it, chief,” said Matt, emerging from his drum kit.  

     “We’ll be here,” Chuck echoed. 

     The band had just finished their last rehearsal for a week-long string of dates up the coast in conjunction with a music festival in Seattle they’d booked months ago, and on which they would share a bill with Chris’s group ChrisisinL.A.  It was the same annual event at which he and Chris had met and one which featured a battle of the bands contest sponsored by the label that had recently signed Josh.   Both bands had been working on new material all week, and to save cash, would be sharing a hotel as well as traveling together.  Josh’s band was no longer in the running for the big prize of a record deal, of course, but the label had enlisted them to serve as hosts for the event and debut preview songs from the album they would – ostensibly – soon record.

     Tommy and Josh had walked on eggshells around each other all week, never really quite at odds yet not really feeling so in sync as the decade long band members/almost brothers they had been before Julie’s death.  Since their encounter at the apartment a couple weeks back, the list of off limits topics between them had grown – or rather, doubled.  Somehow it seemed they’d instead undergone an exponential expansion as the two could now barely look at each other without both visibly showing uncomfortable signs of nerves.  It had interfered with their music all week, too – the self-consciousness spilling over into what would once have been the most routine of musical harmonies.  Now just-off timing and false chords were turning the most promising new compositions into little more than a series of tired and sour notes.  If things didn’t magically improve when they arrived in Seattle, both they and the other members knew it was destined to become a very long week.

     Stalwartly ignoring this possibility, Tommy clapped Josh on the back in mock casual camaraderie.  “I think that ‘Dorian Gray’ song’s gonna knock ‘em out up there.  See you tomorrow, dude.”

     “Yeah, thanks, man,” Josh returned in the same tone.  “See you tomorrow.”


     Josh stood outside Chris’s apartment lost in thought, slowly coming back to reality as he became aware Chris had opened the door and was watching him quizzically.  “So should I put out my change can and ‘The Doctor Is In’ sign?” Chris asked gently. 
     “Yeah, maybe,” Josh replied, running a hand through his hair and letting out a sigh.  “But I don’t think I’ve got enough change to cover a session long enough to fix me.” 

     “Ah, that’s okay,” Chris responded.  “I take checks, too.”

     Josh smiled and slapped Chris on the arm.  They walked into the apartment. 
     “Can I get you anything?”  Chris asked.  “Beer, food – cyanide?”

     “I might take a raincheck on the cyanide.  Otherwise, I’m good for now.”

     “So, your day’s going that well, huh?”  Chris asked as he flopped down on the floor, beckoning Josh toward the leather sofa. 

     “Patients get the couch, of course,” he offered with a grin.  “Just make sure Henderson’s not under the cushion.  He’s taking a nap in there somewhere.”

     Josh sat down carefully, looking around for a familiar tail or beady brown eyes.  A small dark head appeared briefly near the far arm.  Apparently satisfied Josh wasn’t a predator, the clearly overfed pet rat pulled himself from the couch’s depths by his forepaws and stretched out to resume his dozing in a ray of afternoon sunlight.

     “Let me guess.  You and Tommy again, still, whatever?”

     “Yeah, kind of – no, not really… I mean…” Josh trailed off.

     “I get it.  Everything’s great between you except that it sucks.”

     “Pretty much, that’s it.  Yeah,” Josh replied.  “We just keep avoiding the fact we’re gonna have to make a decision about recording soon.  Or that I’m gonna have to make a decision.  I think he just keeps rubbing some magic lamp under his bed and hoping a genie’ll appear and grant his wish.”

     “Hmm…maybe.  And, what are you wishing for these days in all of that?  Maybe that he wasn’t going out with Allison?”

     “He’s not, actually,” Josh said.

     “I see,” Chris said.

     “And, of course, in addition to not talking about the recording mess, we’re also not talking about the fact he’s not going out with her.  So, that’s not a problem between us, either.”  Josh scoffed.  “Yeah, right.”

     Henderson woke up and yawned broadly.  Shaken temporarily from his torpor, Josh laughed.  “You’re bringing this guy to Seattle, I take it?

     “Never leave home without him,” Chris responded, adding with a wicked grin,  “If the hotels we stay in only knew…”.  Changing tone suddenly he continued, “Hey, what are you gonna do about Sultan.  I mean…”

     “Oh sh—,” Josh answered, his own somber mood returning.  “I never thought about it.  He’s always stayed with Julie… I suppose I could just leave a big pile of food and plenty of water and he could fend for himself just for the weekend.  But I can’t leave him for 9 days.”  Thinking in silence a minute more, Josh finally arrived at an epiphany.  “Hey, that neighbor down the hall can probably do it.  She took care of him when Julie…until I was ready to pick him up after we got back from San Francisco…”  Reaching for his car keys as he rose, Josh continued, “I’d better get going.  I’ll have to get him settled over there and then I’ve gotta pack my own stuff.  Thanks for listening, man.” Josh grinned.  “I think I can wait a little longer on that cyanide.”

     “Glad to help,” Chris said as he walked Josh to the door.  “By the way,” he called as Josh retreated down the hall, “This doc takes plastic, too.”

   “Bite me,” Josh retorted good-naturedly.

    “Yeah, yeah, yeah, good attitude,” Chris shot back.  “Ingrate.”


     Three hours later Josh stood in another hallway, only this time laden down with cat food, Sultan’s bowls and a small animal carrier containing the feline himself. The door opened and the apartment’s occupant surveyed Josh and his burden wordlessly for a moment before reaching to relieve him of the bowls and peer in at the less than happy cat. 

     “I can’t thank you enough for this,” Josh said apologetically.

     “No problem,” Allison replied automatically, adding with an enigmatic smile, “What are friends for?”   



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