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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore - Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami When I awoke, I realized I had slept through the night. But had it been a dream or not? It was impossible to tell. I got up, took a shower, brushed my teeth and shaved, paying special attention to my neck. When my face was again smooth and slightly pink from the razor, I went into the kitchen for breakfast.I washed down an English muffin and jelly with two cups of strong black coffee, no sugar added, and walked out onto the balcony. The sun was still creeping higher in the sky, struggling to break through a heavy bank of clouds. "It looks like a rather gloomy day," I said to no one in particular."I don't know about that," a voice said to my left.I turned to see a small gray tabby cat, lounging on the next balcony over. Even without a sunbeam to sleep in, he seemed to already be enjoying what promised to be another gray, humid day."Oh, hello," I said, slightly surprised. I had never seen this cat before. "I thought I knew all of the cats around here. Where did you come from?""Who can say?" replied the cat. "I go where I want to, when I want to. I don't like to think about such things. It's how I prefer to live my life.""I see," I replied. "Well, what is your name? It is easier for me to speak to you if I know your name.""I don't have a name," the cat said. "Why should I? I don't need one.""Well if you don't mind, I will call you Princess Sparkles," I said."If that makes things easier for you, though I am a boy," the cat said, yawning lazily. "You seem altogether too concerned with formalities for such an early morning. Why so serious?"I studied Princess Sparkles with interest. He was a very astute judge of character. Or at least mood."You're right," I said. "I have been thinking of a strange dream I had last night and I am not sure I understand what it was all about. Would you like to hear about it?""If you like," Princess Sparkles said. "We cats aren't much for dreams. Our lives are so very interesting that we don't have much use for letting our imaginations wander during sleep.""Well it was very strange," I said. "And it did involve cats. In the first part of the dream, I was a teenage boy, recently run away from home due to a possibly abusive father. After traveling solo for several days, I came across a quaint little library operated by an odd man and a woman who seemed very familiar. She reminded me of my mother, but then again, maybe she didn't. I was never quite sure on that score.""I never knew my mother," interjected Princess Sparkles, stretching out a paw to bat at a passing ant."The odd man liked to talk about philosophy a lot, and music, and pencils, but a lot of that went over my head. When things got really obtuse was when he took me to an isolated cabin in the woods, where I started having vivid sexual dreams and visions of another world.""Sounds fascinating," said the cat, eying a small squirrel crossing the telephone wire. "I haven't had much use for sex, either, but not having balls might have something to do with that."As if to illustrate his point, Princess Sparkles quickly shifted position, stretching a leg over his head, and began to lick his crotch. "Go on," he said, looking up at me. "I'm still listening.""Well," I continued, "in the other part of my dream, I was this old man who was a bit slow-witted. I could still talk to cats, but I couldn't read. I was actually looking for a lost cat when I met an evil man who liked to kill cats quite brutally, cutting them open while they were still alive. It was quite horrific.""We do have our enemies," Princess Sparkles said, again looking up from his washing. "Some people find us threatening. I suppose it is because we don't let them boss us around like mere dogs.""So anyway, I killed this evil man, who was a product mascot, even though I didn't recognize him, not being a whiskey drinker, and then passed out, but when I woke up, there was no blood. I tried to tell the police but they wouldn't listen to me. But then I felt compelled to leave town, and hitched a ride with a truck driver who took me a couple towns over. We didn't do too much along the way but I knew I had to keep looking for something. The guy was really quite nice and interesting. Eventually we found that same library, and I talked with the woman and man, but the boy wasn't there. I wasn't sure if that was because he was another version of me or maybe because he was at the cabin. It was all very confusing. Like having nine lives, I bet."Princess Sparkles eyed me angrily. "That is a myth," he said. "When I die, I am just as dead as you. People just say cats have nine lives to justify their ill treatment of us.""That's probably true," I told him. "Lots of people don't like to think about the pain and suffering of others, especially animals. Continuing my dream, my truck driving friend found what we were looking for, which was this big rock, but I didn't really understand that part. The man from Kentucky Fried Chicken helped him. Colonel Sanders was also a pimp and set the truck driver up with a beautiful college student who quoted Hegel. Come to think of it, there were other sex parts in the dream that I forgot to mention. Quite a few, actually."I continued my story, gazing out again at the overcast sky."The truck driver had to turn over the rock, which I think was the door to the underworld or limbo. Meanwhile, as the boy, I visited the underworld and met the ghost of the lady who worked at the library, even though she was still alive previously, or maybe not, because she was old and young at the same time. I left the strange place and in the other part of the dream, the truck driver turned over the rock again. There was a bunch of stuff about a painting, a UFO, song lyrics, jazz, time travel, a slug monster, war, death and memory too, but those parts are slipping away, even now."I took a deep breath. Suddenly I felt more exhausted than I ever had in my entire life. "What do you think it means?" I asked, turning to the cat.Princess Sparkles had fallen asleep.--"It's not something you can get across in words. The real response is something words can't express.""There you go," Sada replies. "Exactly. If you can't get it across in words then it's better not to try.""Even to yourself?" I ask."Yeah, even to yourself," Sada says. "Better not to try to explain it, even to yourself."--Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 28: Last book you read.