By Jeff Baker
“One-two-three-kick! One-two-three-kick! Other-side, roll-over-and-one-two-three-kick!”
Scott sighed. If it wasn’t for the money he wouldn’t have taken the job. 175 light-years from Earth to sit behind a desk. He’d been told the Emaulphi were an efficient, business-oriented society. He hadn’t been told he’d be assigned a trainer to do morning stretches and workouts.
And nobody had told him his new bosses were cats.
He wasn’t going to make the mistake the Ambassador had and try to pet one of the Emaulphi superiors. (Talk about rubbing someone the wrong way!) And, thank God, he wasn’t allergic like his immediate predecessor who’d had to leave the planet in a sneezing fit.
The Emaulphi weren’t so bad, once Scott got used to the twelve hour workdays. On the other hand, since days were thirty-five hours long, he had a day to kill between shifts. But then every time office management would change, the new supervisor would spray everyone in the office, including Scott. And there was frequent turnover; the only Emaulphi who’d been there as long as Scott was his trainer. The one who had him laying down raising various limbs.
The job wasn’t that bad. Sit at a desk, taken incoming calls and orders from human customers, type up orders and send them out to the distributors. At first, Scott had thought the customers must’ve preferred human interaction to talking with a feline. Turned out the Emaulphi regarded that as grunt work, which is why humans like Scott were paid a bundle to relocate.
Plus, if he wanted to, Scott could take a catnap during the day.
The afternoon was long, the twin suns were arcing through the sky and Scott was dozing at his desk when he heard the howling from the front office. In a gray blur, his boss streaked into Scott’s office, followed by the District Supervisor, an orange tabby. They hopped on Scott’s desk, facing each other, still howling and spitting, backs arched, claws at the ready.
They were snarling and hissing and Scott could make out some of the words in the Emaulphi tongue; “Spay you!” “Oh, yeah? Spay you!” “Your breath smells of mice!!”
Scott couldn’t make out the rest. He jumped out of the way as the two cats began fighting on the desk, knocking his coffee cup to the floor and banging into his monitor screen.
Scott sighed. He’d be sprayed by a new boss and a new supervisor soon. He didn’t want the job himself, thank God.
Office politics were the same all over the galaxy.