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May 09, 2002: In the still of the night

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It started out innocently enough. First, there was the bat, which traveled upstairs and down in a game between Richard and the cats. He would toss it downstairs in the evening; the next morning, we'd look around the master bedroom, upstairs, to see where it had been stashed the previous night. Soon super balls and other noisy toys joined the migration, traveling up the stairs at night, and being hurled back down the stairs the next day.

Lately, however, the bat no longer travels. In fact, we have not seen the bat in weeks, nor have we seen the super balls (they're probably all underneath the couch and a better cat-mom than I would have fished them out long ago). But what we are seeing now, are the dragons.

We have this set of stuffed dragons. There are eight of them, ranging in size, and the largest stands (or rather, sits) not more than seven inches tall. They are each unique, with horns, teeth, scaled backs and tails. Some have wings, while others have crooked claws. They sit on the windowsills in the breakfast nook, and except for the occasional jostle onto the floor when a cat decides that their need to see outside is more important than the dragon's need to stay in its place, the dragons have been pretty sedentary. It's about what one would expect from a set of small stuffed, colorful dragons.

A few months ago the red one was sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor. We rationalized that since it had wings, perhaps it flew (the cats, specifically she-who-transports-all, were not talking).

A week or so ago, the pink one was sitting in the same exact spot in the upstairs bathroom. This one doesn't have wings. I pondered the awfully steep climb for such a little dragon. Again, the cats played dumb. The dragon was returned to its windowsill and nothing more was said.

That is, until this past week. Nearly every morning now, for the past several mornings, we wake to find dragons. Each morning Richard or I steps out of bed, surveys the floor, and utters "This morning's dragon report is..." At one point, three of them were lurking, one in the bathroom and the other two on either sides of the bed. Monday morning it was the little aqua one, lying on its back near the door. Tuesday morning, three dragons lurked near the foot of the bed. This morning has been the only dragon-free morning in over a week, and that is only because yesterday I gathered up all the dragons (the ones that weren't upstairs were on the floor) and grouped them together on the table in the breakfast nook. Tonight I will put them all back in their places, and wait to see if the dragon-transportation continues.

Rosemary is the prime suspect here. In fact, Richard is convinced of it, even suggesting that because she spends her nights transporting dragons, and her days recovering from the work by burrowing under the bedspread for naps, that she is, in actuality, an Undercover Operative. (Uh - direct all your groans and shoe-tossing at him, okay? I swear I don't make this stuff up).

But the cats, as I said, are not talking. We've tried to watch them surreptitiously, even putting the dragons right next to the likeliest suspects, but the cats barely even register their presence. So far, each of the eight dragons has made at least one trip upstairs - a fact that stands out almost as much as the recent flurry of dragon activity noted in the past week.

Richard suggests that the dragons have coerced the cats to do their bidding. I have trouble imagining anything coercing a cat to do anything it doesn't want to (unless there was tuna involved, but even then, the cat will insist it was all the cat's idea all along). Nevertheless, the fact still remains that there is something afoot. So if you have dragons in your house too - especially little stuffed dragons with crooked-tooth grins and hairy ears - pay attention. With dragons (as with cats), you just never know.

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