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Rolls Upon Prank

by Jeff Somers

About the Author: Jeff Somers ( began writing by court order as an attempt to steer his creative impulses away from engineering genetic grotesqueries. His feeble memory makes every day a joyous adventure of discovery and adventure even as it destroys personal relationships, and his weakness for adorable furry creatures leaves him with many cats. He has published nine novels, including the Avery Cates Series of noir-science fiction novels from Orbit Books (


The little house was silent and dim, the sunlight held at bay by the thick curtains and a certain palpable stubbornness rubbed off from its inhabitants. Coco stepped over to the fraying black cushion in the hall and nudged Pierre with her snout.

“Husband,” she said, settling back onto her haunches.

Pierre opened his eyes slightly, the inner lids sliding back. He studied Coco for a moment. “I am not your husband,” he said with a sigh, settling himself and closing his eyes.

Coco blinked her eyes slowly, twitching her whiskers. “We are common-law. We have lived together for many years.”

Pierre didn’t open his eyes. “Along with your preening brother, and The Beast, and The Phantom, and our people,” he agreed. “It does not mean we are married.”

Coco seemed to consider this, shifting her weight and lifting one paw for inspection, splaying the claws. Then she settled again.

“Husband,” she repeated.

Pierre snorted lightly, nostrils flaring. “Yes?”

“There is a dog in the garden.”

Pierre opened his eyes and lifted his head from his snowy paws. “What? A dog! In the garden!”

Coco nodded peacefully. “It is dead.”

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