Cuddles, it turns out, is a demanding little feline. Long about four o'clock yesterday afternoon, as I sat at the table and the sun streamed in behind me, Cuddles lurked beneath a nearby chair, intently staring at my wheelchair. Every muscle, every nerve, every instinct in her small body was now under the influence of a billion years of predatory evolution. Her prey: a fairy-like twinkling of sunlight, reflecting off my wheelchair and skittering across the floor or wall. As long as the wheelchair remained idle, however, there was no sparkling light, and her lithe body, exquisite musculature and razor-sharp instincts were as useless as any intellect greater than an eggplant during a Rush Limbaugh tirade.

Lying there a few feet from me, she sought to intimidate with her stare, attempting to bore holes through me with her beady little eyes. "Enough," I thought, and I powered up the wheelchair. Then I moved the joy stick, causing that electrical clicking noise the motor makes a split second before the wheels start turning. At the sound, Cuddles became taut, her eyes narrowed and she was poised to pounce. But I let the joy stick fall back into the neutral position before the chair moved, and Cuddles reluctantly relaxed, the disappointment on her face as obvious as that of a boy who discovered that the big package under the tree with his name on it was full of underwear. Elated by my ability to frustrate, I did it again and again and again. I did it a fifth time, and the sight of her anticipation giving way to disappointment was no less pleasing than the first time. In the interest of ergonomic efficiency, I left my hand on the control, ready to issue false alarm No. 6 as soon as I stopped gloating over No. 5. Alas, Cuddles couldn't wait; she came over to me, raised herself up and began batting my hand with her front paws in an effort to get the chair to move. She said, "You've had your fun; now it's my turn." So, I spent the next ten minutes going here and there and around in circles, giving Cuddles an opportunity to chase elusive points of light that she will never catch, but never tires of pursuing.

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