"Who's that?," sniffed Charles, as we took a turn about the room.
"What? Oh, him? That's Yoshi," I said, preoccupied with thoughts of whether or not our walk was showing off my figure to its greatest advantage (blame Jane Austen for putting that into my head).
"Yoshi? Yoshi?!," sputtered the mantis, making no effort to conceal his disdain, "What kind of a name is that?!"
"It means splendid in Japanese," I said, idly fingering my ringlets.
"Charles, your blood pressure, darling," I murmured.
"I don't have blood...remember? I'm just a sack of indeterminate body fluids, no pedigree here! I guess I'm not as splendid as that preening, vainglorious minnow!"
I sighed. It was true. Yoshi did preen.
But could you blame him? Could you begrudge such a blatant clean sweep of the genetic lottery??
"Charles, what's this really about?," I said.
His shoulders crumpled and he clutched his raptorial forearms to his chest in an expression of despair.
"You know me so well," he murmured.
"Is this about Cubby?," I prompted.
"That mammal?! That useless ball of fluff? Why, she eats anything you put in front of her!," he scoffed.
"No, it's about Sophie. Word on the street has it she got her driver's license. Much as I want to be happy for the girl, I can't bear it. I can't bring myself to pat her on the back nor chuck her under the chin. Not while I entertain the suspicion that little green car you gave me is a toy!"
For one brief moment I considered saying I harbored no actual recollection of having given him the car, then thought better of it. What difference would it make? Between Charles and me one of us has an indisputable memory and the other walks on two legs: that's why we make such a great pair.