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Chinita

Lounging lazily in the warmth of the midday sun, contemplating her left paw as if she hadn't previously realised it was hers, her peace and solitude was unexpectedly disturbed by the sound of footsteps. The footsteps were heavy, not through bodily weight, but as if weighed down by a heavy heart and a troubled disposition. Chinita wondered about moving to somewhere less conspicuous, but the sheer effort of raising her body to its feet was just too much to contemplate, so she decided on a compromise … she turned a lazy eye in the direction of the footsteps. Quickly she realised her mistake as she found how uncomfortable it can be when you’re cross-eyed, so she relented and turned the other eye as well.

Chinita was delighted to see the familiar shape and form of her warm and caring mistress, ChinaTea, walking solemnly into the showroom, but she was also most concerned at the worried expression on her face. “Oh dear, what’s wrong mistress” she tried to ask, but as usual it all came out as “Meiowww”. “Hello my little ray of sunshine”, ChinaTea said, which struck Chinita as a fairly stupid answer to her caring question. “Please tell me what is wrong mistress” repeated Chinita in her most caring voice. “You’ll have to wait … it’s too early for you to have your dinner just yet” came back the reply.

At this point Chinita realised she wasn’t going to get much sense out of her owner and looked around for something else to occupy her time. To her surprise she found she also had a right paw, so she settled down to some serious grooming and manicuring.

ChinaTea sat in a nearby chair and looked studiously at a blank area of wall where once a painting had been hanging. ChinaTea is a very generous and warm person who loves to do things for other people. Having a nicely decorated showroom with paintings hanging from the walls was just one of the many ways she tried to make a visit to her store as interesting as possible for her customers. In typical ChinaTea style, she liked to display the work of up-and-coming young artists so that her store visitors weren’t the only people to benefit. It transpired that regrettably one of her artists had moved away and now she had some blank areas to try and fill.

The “ding-a-ling” chime of the sprung bell above the shop door broke the silence so suddenly that it made Chinita jump and, losing her footing on the smooth table top on which she was perched, she tumbled unceremoniously to the floor with a thump. She quickly found her feet … damn, there are four now!!! She hurried back to her table top to check out both the nature of the new arrival in the store and the other two paws.

Slowly the slightly grey and thinning gentleman crossed the floor and said “Good day” to ChinaTea. “I was passing by and decided to drop in just on the off-chance that you may be able to help me” said the stranger. Chinita was also of the opinion that they don’t come much stranger. “I’ll happily help if I can”, ChinaTea said in a soft and warming tone, “What is it you need?”

The gentleman explained that he had recently started a small club for novice painters and he was hoping ChinaTea might be agreeable to displaying a small poster in her shop window inviting others, interested in trying their hand at painting, to join the club. As they talked the man saw the blank outlines on the wall where paintings had previously hung … and ChinaTea noticed that he had noticed. There was long silence as the man looked from wall to ChinaTea and back to wall, and while ChinaTea looked from wall to man and back to wall, and while Chinita looked from left paw to right paw and back to left paw.

The idea seemed to dawn on both of them at the same time. Chinita didn’t have an idea because she was too busy with her grooming. After a short and mutually beneficial discussion, the man left the store heading off enthusiastically to his art club to tell his members he had found the perfect place to display their work. ChinaTea started flitting around the store with her feather duster, singing happily to herself as she realised the blank walls needn’t be blank any longer.

Chinita, having dealt with 4 paws started looking around for another. She found something she hadn’t been previously aware of. It certainly wasn’t a paw, but what the heck, it needs grooming anyway. She arched her back and used her front feet to push her body back on itself so she could get a closer look between her back legs. Suddenly she was aware of rolling backwards and she fell from the table, again landing with a heavy thump. “Oh you silly billy” laughed ChinaTea, “Come on you … let’s get you some dinner”.

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