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Author:  valerio [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Dedicated to Sinder and Two-Twig who Gave me the inspiration, to the fans of this story and Grapenut devoted. May our hopes come true!

Outside, wild winds are calling
Broken leaves are falling

The slow refrain of Ultravox’s ‘Call of the Wild’, performed by Martin Foster, accompanied by a chorus of the three Milton wolves, caressed the evening air, partly appeasing the powerful excitement instigated by the metal piece that preceded it.
And Grape Jelly Sandwich was dancing that slow song in the arms of Peanut Butter Sandwich.
At 9:30 on an early summer Sunday evening, on the park of the Foster property, before all the neighborhood animals, a dog and a cat were violating a social taboo, hugging each other beyond all possibility of misunderstanding. A hand of one held close into to that of the other. Grape’s free arm encircled the neck of the dog, Peanut’s free hand firmly placed around her waist.

Outside, wild winds are calling
Broken leaves are falling
Like I fall before you
Outside Nightfall is returning
Our home fires are burning
Like I burn before you

Wasn’t it merely ironic that Max had taught her those very steps, two winters ago, in an attempt to win her over during the Yarn Ball? Remotely, Grape wondered if this song had been requested by Peanut – silly question, right? The wink Martin had given them before starting would have sufficed already. It seemed that half the world had conspired for this moment to arrive, while the other half looked, baffled...

Wind and rain may blow
Will we watch them come and go

Funny, Grape had thought that by now she would have gone into hysterics. Her fantasies invariably ended up with terrible tantrums, fights, physical aggression, the shame of being singled out as ‘that crazy cat’ for the rest of life...

Don’t go
And in my heart I held you just for a while
Don’t go
And in my eyes I see the love of a child
Don’t go
You can’t deny you feel the call of the wild
(call of the wild)

Martin’s and the wolves’ voices resonated inside her like an ancient message. Just like before, when the amazing band formed by that man and his pets had not only sung, but had given her strength, had shown her the way, with the accompaniment of Tarot’s and Sabrina’s magic who used notes instead of some mystical blathering.

In your hand a heart is falling
A howling wolf is calling
And it’s calling your name
And before the night is ending
The message that it’s sending
Will it all be in vain

And her road was here, drawn to walk along it with this wonderful dog. This friend, turned confidant, and then mate. The one who was always there for her, for better or for worse...

Say that you will stay
And we’ll watch them come and go

How many problems had come and gone, how many things were still to come?

Don’t go
And in my heart I held you just for a while
Don’t go
And in my eyes I see the love of a child
Don’t go
You can’t deny you feel the call of the wild
(Call of the wild)

Yet, it was still there, her traitorous heart that fluttered like a bird in the cage, frightened to go out and race toward the clouds... “I’m scared, Peanut,” she whispered, her head resting on his chest, terrified inside yet blessed with his scent, his warmth.
“And I will fight it for you,” came his voice, softly, almost a growl, not a dog’s that plays the grownup, but a dragon’s caring for his princess. “I will send it away from you. I will be here for you, with you, against every evil, because I love you more than my life, because nothing in the whole world is worth as much as our happiness.”

As the wailing winds are calling
And the broken leaves are falling
And the magic that surrounds you
I will build a world around you

Grape raised her gaze.
The veil had fallen and the night had granted her one last magic.
Peanut Butter had grown. In front of her, to protect her with his arms, was the adult dog that he would become. More erect ears and outlined chest. His eyes were really as blue as the sky.
He was her champion, and he was beautiful.
And then here he was, his muzzle graying, the white mask rising up to his eyes, as the warrior was being replaced by the one who, even then, would continue to stay beside her in their calmest years…
That was not the promise of an enthusiastic and inexperienced pup. It was not an oath done under the romantic influence of a star-filled sky. It was not a bitter challenge.
It was their life together.

Don’t go...

They kissed.
The song disappeared. People disappeared. The park disappeared.
The world had become a place too small for the glow they were radiating. Their star was a part of a constellation, timeless, burning in their hearts, their souls.
Their kiss was a long moment of pure sharing. Not an appeasement of the senses, not a repressed desire. There was no fear, there was no awe, and there were no tears.
There were them, aware to a level that turned their true first contact into a communion. From that moment on, there was no longer Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly, dog and cat.
There was only one soul.

The last notes of the song and the voice of the band faded as their lips finally departed, and there remained only fragments of sun lost in fragments of sky.
Grape knew that their hearts were beating as one, now. At the same calm pace of their breathing.
Peanut’s placed his hand on her cheek, wrapping it like a delicate glass objects. She sank against him, gently purring.
The song was finished; there was an astounded silence around them. One could almost hear the crickets chirping.
Grape went back to rest her head against the dog’s chest. “Peanut?”
“Hmm?” He said, his eyes closed and stroking her back, gentle and yet protective.
“We are being looked at?”
“As if we’re crazy?”
“By almost everyone.”
“Are they elbowing, gesturing, and grimacing?”
Grape removed her head from Peanut’s chest. “And what do we think of social conventions?”
“THPPPHTTHTHPH” in perfect synchronicity, they closed their eyes and put out their tongues in a cheerful raspberry.

At that point, from the stage erupted the notes of another rock piece, although certainly not as powerful as the one that had started the evening.

In society, many dogs in many variations,
Come on, let’s talk
Interesting facts that you can share
With people who really care...

The many dogs, cats and other pets, already charged up, unleashed themselves into this new dance without worrying too much about this very strange new couple.
Peanut and Grape took the opportunity to move a little ways from the concert. Moreover, the female canine population of Babylon Gardens was totally game for the colossal twins Antares and Aldebaran, who gave a splendid performance on the bass and drums. While Alcor, standing behind his keyboard, launched Cheshire Cat-grins that the spotlight reflected on, showing as separate lights. Males were drooling for the new district female, the beautiful Mizar, mastering her electric guitar with the expertise of a human, the white fur contrasting sharply behind the instrument’s black strap.
The dog and cat took a seat on the fresh grass. “They’re really amazing,” she said, looking at the Foster Pets. She had not even noticed she was still panting slightly, just like Peanut. “I love you,” she said, stroking his hand. And what else could she tell him? There wasn’t a word for what she was feeling, for the sense of comfort and power that ran from her head to toe claws.
That night, up there on the barn roof at Uncle Reuben’s farm, she had discovered for the first time how great her desire for Peanut was. But faced with today, she realized that they had just been playing, then, newbies at exploring without ever fully understanding every nuance of those three words so many people randomly uttered.
Grape knew exactly what Mizar and Alcor felt for each other, and was proud to feel those very same emotions, that awareness that at last a stage of her life was closed for good. Some fears were now merely a memory.
“I love you,” said Peanut, without removing his eyes from hers, his every sense intoxicated by just one look, one sniff, one caress of the supple, silky body.
He loved her to the point of losing his mind. She was not only the object of his desires, she was his destiny. He knew, indeed, that she was what he had looked for, because in his future he wouldn’t have to be with any other. That day, at the shelter it could not be any other. It was as if space and time had agreed to drive his eyes to the sad figure sitting in the corner of a dark cage and whisper, ‘it is her’ to him, who in that moment was seeing only someone to share his puppy life with.
Before, both had often wondered how their lives would be if they had taken that step.
Now they knew.
They were still themselves, for now, caught in that unstable balance between infancy and adult age, in that vast land of conflict called ‘adolescence’, but when the final change would come, they would know how to face it...
“PEANUT!” The excited barking had brought their hair on end, tails straight as broom sticks, and dot-sized pupils. Peanut turned his head just in time to have a furry projectile landing on him, crushing him to the ground. Usually, it was Sasha and Kevin to display such an… emotional display. To see that puppy with a spot around his left eye was half a surprise for Peanut. “Hello, Joey?”
It was Joey’s turn to squeeze him with an unexpected strength. “You were hypermegaultrafantastic, man! I’m so proud of you!” He rubbed his fist in-between his ears. He had a grin worthy of a cat.
Grape cleared her throat. Bad idea, because Fido and Bino’s younger brother gave her the same treatment. “And you were awesomeyawesome too, Grapey! Awww, I would have liked to be there instead of this lucky mutt!”
The lavender cat pulled him off with difficulty. “Joey, I believe you, but please, he’s my boyfriend, okay?”
Joey was kneeling between them. He frantically wagged his tail without dropping that smile, his hands clasped to his chest and showing enormous eyes. He seemed ready to be adopted by them. “I... We owe you so much, you know? Oh, two or three little things are gonna change, starting tomorrow, you’ll see. In fact, you know what? Come by tomorrow at 9 to the park. I organized an event just in case *Hmrphmm!*” Grape’s hand brutally shut his muzzle.
“Wait just a second, you scheming mutt! Do you mean you... had a bet on us?”
Joey nodded frantically. He was turning purple from the lack of oxygen, but didn’t seem to care. With a sigh, Grape let him go.
Joey said; acting half offended as he crossed his arms on his chest, “Hmph, it wasn’t a ‘bet’. We were absolutely sure about you two! And tomorrow we will celebrate all together to tell the world. You will be surprised,” he commented, adding a wink. Then he stood up, and gave Peanut a thumbs up. “I love you, champ!” and ran off excitedly.
Grape gave Peanut one of her withering glares, ears flattened and whiskers twitching. Peanut quickly raised his hands as if they were shields. “ThereisnothingbetweenusIswear!”
Grape sighed. Undoubtedly, interesting days were waiting for her... “Hey, Sasha.”
How long that airheaded female was standing there, staring with those shiny candy-pink eyes of hers? Just as Grape had spoken to her, she leaned quickly between them and locked them in one of her patented viselike hugs. “AWWWWW!!! You two are such CUTIEPIES!” Then let them go, and while the poor couple made sure their heads were still attached, she added, “I wish Bino would kiss me like that. Or Fido. Or King. Or one of those beautiful black biggie dogs... “
“Thanks for the encouragement, Sasha,” said the cat. “and for the images you’re giving us.”
The dog wagged her tail. “Ah, it’s nothing. And you’re lucky, Grapey: he is so cute.”
Peanut blushed violently. It seems he had never noticed how many fans he had among the other sex. Well, it was difficult, considering that he had his eyes and heart set only on one of them.
Sasha stood up. “Well, I just wanted to tell you. If you are looking to me for a chat, you know where to find me!” She blew Peanut a kiss and walked away giggling like a schoolgirl.
Grape sighed. “I do not mind that there is someone that admires us for what we are, but I admit that I would feel better if it was someone of more–” whatever gaffe she was about to blurt out died in her throat with the clearing of the throat from someone behind them.
“I hope this isn’t a private party. Yet,” said Max, approaching the couple. “Weirdos those two may be, but they’re right about one thing: You two were great. You kiss like a real gentledog, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and I chivalrously surrender to those more gallant than me.” And to this he made a deep bow of reverence, complete with arm raised. “Even the first time you looked at me in the eyes, my beautiful princess, you didn’t have half the passion that I see in you now. But know that it was an honor and a pleasure to hope to make you mine, at least for a time. You leave this rogue with charming memories with which to delight during his old age.” And he repeated the gallant bow.
Grape almost pushed him to the ground. “Come off it, some actor you are! You knew everything from the beginning, you just enjoyed it at my expenses.”
The two males stared at her, dumbfounded. Max, after a long ant terribly embarrassed pause, his ears still low, said, “You knew that I knew?”
“If you had not already discovered it by then,” she said, standing up, “I would’ve had a bad impression of your intelligence, feline playboy. But by then I wasn’t playing with you, I was in a very difficult time, and in your own way you helped me take the right decision. Indeed, I thank you for not forcing our hands, for respecting my feelings.”
Max blushed slightly as he put his hand behind his ears. “Heh. Anytime, my lovely. So... still friends?”
“We’ll always be friends. And I hope you won’t be ashamed to spend some time with me and Peanut. Even in public.”
He suddenly cheered up. “Seriously? The queen of the neighborhood and her two best boys? We’ll be the envy of that pack of gossips!”
Grape put a finger on Max’s nose “Wonderful. Tomorrow, then, at 9, the public park. Looks like Joey has organized an event for the weird couples.”
The black cat showed off his familiar grin. “A tough challenge. You know how to make me happy, my pretty lady.” Then the bold expression gave way to a more timid one... if such a sentiment could be applied to a creature like Max. He gave Grape a sad expression, reminiscent of the ‘special occasions’, when he really wanted something from her by pressing the right buttons. The rascal was a born manipulator, but his manners were never irritating; perhaps certain goals, but not the means...
“What is it, Maxie?”
The tip of his tail waved slightly at hearing the nickname that she had reserved for him. “Well, even though a year has already passed, there was that resolution, if you remember, and...”
Grape thought about it for a moment. What resolution was he talking abou— But of course! Her first Yarn Ball, when Maxie had pulled her out of her shell of cynicism to show her that the world might not be such a bad place.
‘Happy New Year,’ she had thought, somberly. ‘May it suck a little less than the last one.’
He had made a resolution to kiss a pretty girl.
Grape blushed. “You haven’t forgotten?”
Max did his best act as the timid one, when in fact his eyes sparkled and he had a fresh wave of cunning with the phrase... “You know I could never forget that. Well? Last chance?”
Grape glanced at Peanut, fearing he would show a dark, jeaolus expression, or worse, collapse like an injured puppy. She felt herself die a little inside, every time she wounded him, although he always tried to appear strong.
Instead Peanut was wagging his tail. He was happy, and looked at the two cats like Sasha had looked at him and Grape before. “It’s okay,” he said simply, and he wasn’t lying: he was happy to have a friend like Max, one of the few that truly understood them, their true guardian angel. Peanut felt it.
Max drew Grape close to him like a true Rudolph Valentino of cats, and kissed Grape with enough passion to melt concrete! The lavender cat, though initially surprised by so much vehemence, melted for all it was worth into the arms of Max, moaning.
Peanut began to feel a bit alarmed. “Grape..?”
Max parted from her, helping her to kneel on the grass. “Well?”
Her eyes were wide as saucers with surprise. “Whammola.”
“You know what you’re missing now, hm?” He said, more mischievous than ever.
Grape answered by getting back close to Peanut, who held her tight, this time looking a bit more cautious and with a funny pout on his face, although he intended it to be a warning. The cat said, “I know, yes, and that is why I am convinced now more than ever to love him with all my heart and soul.”
Max took a final bow. “One of us must try, my dear ones. I’ll come to get you, tomorrow? “And he walked away without waiting for an answer.

When he was close to the driveway leading to the exit, Max yawned, stretched briefly and said, “I know you’re there, you pest. You can show yourself now.”
Bino emerged from the reeds surrounding the driveway. Grape was right: there would be a lot of work to do, to put them back in shape. “How can you accept it?”
“Do I have any choice, mon brave? It gnaws at my soul to see Grape with that... with that mutt. But she is happy as if she found her angel, and if I were to separate them, even with a plan so evil and perfectly crafted that she couldn’t possibly know about it, I would only manage to destroy her own soul.” Max’s eyes were shiny, while staring at the crescent moon that, as if the sky itself had remembered to do its part, was the same to have witnessed that first fatal kiss on the farm... “And if you try to separate those two, Bino, I’ll separate you.” He flexed his wrist, and showed an impressive set of claws. His tone was casual, almost distracted, and this made the threat – no, the promise – even more sinister. “…In so many pretty slices. Think rather of Sasha’s happiness, you ungrateful wretch: she almost breathes for you, and you are here wasting time fretting because there is a weird couple minding their biz.” That said, he walked away, not so boldly anymore, his back slightly curved. Be happy, my princess.

“I’m sorry... what was that?”
From the stage, came the last notes of the cover of Cosmo4’s Peek-a-Boo, with the voice of Sasha combined with Mizar’s. Judging from the energy the band Project ReFur were putting out, they looked still far from being tired.
Fido had really thought he’d misheard, perhaps because of the music. After resting a few minutes, Sabrina had come back and now, here they were, behind the stage while the applause was unleashed once again.
“It’s not ‘if,’ but when you want to tell your friends about us, my love, I’ll be ready. I’ll support you in whatever you decide.”
He never believed that he would ever hear such words come from her lips. Sabrina was always so terrified that they could be separated because of their relationship, and Fido’s reassurances that humans found interspecies relationships between their pets a very cute thing hadn’t eased her mind at all…
But Fido hadn’t helped her. He had built his career with much passion and sacrifice, and alienating his colleagues of the K-9 corps would have had disastrous consequences for his work as a policedog, and thus to those whom he wanted to protect ...
But now, seeing his beloved so confident, so... relaxed, as if fear had finally become just a memory for her, also renewed his own courage. Fido stroked Sabrina’s cheeck. “Thank you. Although I can’t make such an announcement so bluntly in front of everyone, just now, I promise that I will think this over very carefully. In that case, I hope you want to come live with me.”
The black cat nodded. She owed something to that meddlesome Tarot, yes. “Nevermore,” she said, in memory of the very first poetry he recited to her one night, so long ago. She kissed his nose – the most scandalous act she could afford, given the circumstances. Fido became pepper-red, and let her go, while Martin was saying, “...And with the piece you are about to hear, the Project ReFur Band bids you a good night! It was a fantastic day, and I’m sure even better ones will follow!” The crowd enthusiastically approved. “This song again is dedicated to you, romantic souls. I can’t do much but give you best wishes for a beautiful, long life together! And now, to conclude to the best this evening, let me introduce you again our exceptional guest of honor, the beautiful Sabrina!
Fido sighed and walked away quietly.

Grape felt her shoulder about to sprain. “So, what’s gotten into you, now?” she snapped, when Peanut finally released her. When the dog had realized the song that was playing, an alarm had gone off in his brains. “Ohmygoshmygoshmygosh, I almost forgot! Come on, hurry!” he said like the white rabbit on caffeine, and practically pulled her back toward the stage. He was definitely in a panic, but what could be wrong? At that point, the evening was just perfect, memorable, unforgettable, while now...
Martin was announcing the end of the event, when Peanut, cutting the crowd in two had come just in time to see Sabrina take the stage. Many in the crowd threw glances ranging between distrustful and disgusted, but he ignored them all. “Sorry,” he said instead to Grape, then recomposed himself quickly as the drumsticks gave the attack.
Peanut took his beloved cat back in his arms as he had done before, and threw a grateful glance to Martin.
The man walked away while on stage, Mizar’s guitar, and the two females’ voices came together in an angelic melody that Grape instantly recognized. The lavender cat felt like fainting from the emotion, her eyes became two shiny glasses. “My favorite song. You... You remembered.”

Are you goin’ to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there, She Once Was a true love of mine.

Peanut showed her a smile as warm as the sun. “I love you, Jellybelly.”
“Hmm,” she snuggled against him thoroughly. “I love you, silly mutt.”

The Beginning...

Author:  lightwolf21 [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Here it is ... the conclusion to what is probably the longest prologue ever.


EDIT - Section moved to main post, above.


Author:  valerio [ Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

And with this, Housepets: The Ballad of the new Days in English is officially completed. :D
My many, many thanks to Lightwolf and Obbl for translating and correcting this work, and an even BIGGER thank you to all of my readers who bore so much patience with the Italian version. :mrgreen:
And the adventure has just started...

Author:  lightwolf21 [ Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I'll post a section a day, I should be able to finish Book One, Chapter One by Saturday evening at the latest.
EDIT: Man, did I miscalculate. -_-;

Author:  valerio [ Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Season I
The first day
By Valerio
Translated by Lightwolf 21
Cleaned-up by Obbl

Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens. Monday, at 6:59

Although the summer was almost in full swing, the nights of Babylon Gardens were still cool. And they were even more so, within the larger property beside than Milton Manor.
The first sunlight broke through the large window of the room, projecting a grid on the five figures huddled closely on the big bed in the middle of one of the three guest rooms.
Normally, the animals of Foster Mansion would sleep in their two rooms on the ground floor, but they would never have done the discourtesy of leaving a guest to sleep alone.
The female dog, Sasha, was in heaven. The big party the day before, during which Mr. Martin Foster had officially introduced himself and his pets to all of the neighborhood pets and their owners, was a huge success and had concluded with a concert performed by his same four animals against which she was blissfully huddled in a heap of fur which had no discernible beginning or end. The huge red-hued black silhouettes of the twins Antares and Aldebaran merged with the immaculately white female GSD Mizar and the male cat Alcor. In their midst, her head leaning against the belly of Aldebaran, one leg resting against the neck of Mizar, Sasha felt protected like never before. Dad loved her, although sometimes, too many times, he didn’t want her around, but how long had it been since he even allowed her to cuddle on his bed?
Mr. Foster was different. This huge bed could comfortably include him as well, and by what Alcor said, that happened often. Yet, after that particularly busy day, they did want to give him some rest. After all, he had entertained the whole neighborhood all day and evening.
The alarm clock chimed with a gentle bell sound – almost imperceptible to the human ear, but not to the canine or feline ones. Sasha opened her eyes, enjoying the warmth of her sleeping companions and their scent. Hmm, the girls would have had such a fit of envy her when they sniffed her...
The pile of fur began to unravel between yawns full of teeth and languid stretching. As the vertebrae cracked like automatic weapons. The two giants, crosses between Doberman, Wolf and Alsatian, shook their heads each one reflecting the movements of the other. Those two perfectly embodied the concept of ‘identical twins’ in everything. Hmm, Mr. Martin had said they were a new Ukrainian breed, right..?
“Morning, Sash!” they greeted in perfect stereo, with the same smile and the same wagging of their tail stumps.
“Morning to you, shinies!” She returned, beating her frantic tail against the bed. Alcor, who was licking his arm, frowned, wondering how this female could talk to them that way, those two things compared to whom virtually all dogs were Lilliputians – a large part of the Babylon Gardens, anyway. Antares and Aldebaran were tall enough to reach the chest of their master, and muscular as bears. Usually, when a ‘new dog’ was presented to them, there was a kind of ritual of inspection, the general evaluation to determine whether or not they were the dominant type, the brawler, or the buddy...
Those two goofballs looked intimidating. No one would dream of being cocky with them, despite them wanting to socialize with everyone. Sometimes it was not clear if it was their Dad who had taken that sociable streak from them...
Alcor gave a final stretch, then leaned forward and kissed Mizar’s lips. The two embraced. “Good morning to you too, beautiful,” he said, purring.
“Aww,” said Sasha. “I didn’t know you were a couple. You could organize a picnic with Peanut and Grape! “
The cat and dog broke the embrace. “Maybe,” said Mizar, watching Sasha with her deep tourmaline-blue eyes. “For now, let those two get used to being a couple in public. Should they need a little help from us, we will oblige with pleasure.”
The animals began to get out of bed. “What do we do now?” Asked Sasha.
Aldebaran glanced at the clock on the wall. “The usual: Alcor makes coffee. While the rest of us prepare to wake up Daddy, then we have breakfast. Want to watch?” His brother nudged him, not even so discreetly; Aldebaran became mortified, his triangular ears low. “Sorry, I forgot: Do you also want to have breakfast with us?”
“If your dad is fine...”
“Believe me,” said Mizar, intent on brushing his teeth. He spat into the sink. “He’s taking it for granted that you will accept. He’s never denied a meal to any guest, especially if it is an animal. “
In a sense, for Sasha this was a new situation. It was the first time that she had felt such an atmosphere of harmony in Babylon Gardens. It came natural to her, to try to make others feel at ease, she liked to be around happy people, she refused to feel discouraged. These creatures were, in a sense, like her. It was like having so many brothers and sisters!
Alcor left the room first. “Gonna fix Dad’s coffee, I’ll let you know when it’s ready.”
Mizar opened a new toothbrush and gave it to Sasha along with a tube of toothpaste. Sasha went up on the stool and started brushing her teeth. As she felt more and more awake, she was back to her cheerful, chattering self. “Is your Dad going to the shelter, today? You two do gym before going out, instead? How do you wake up Daddy? *Spu!* What will be for breakfast? I get kibble, sometimes leftovers from my Dad’s breakfast... “
Antares and Aldebaran exchanged a knowing glance. “One question at a time,” replied the first.
“Wait a few more minutes, and you’ll see how we wake him up,” said the second.
“And what we do eat.”
“Breakfast of champions.”

Alcor filled the cup with black coffee. Very, very hot. No sugar, no milk. A wake-up blow, even if the cat used to think about it more like the killing blow.
Mizar entered with Sasha at that time. The white female opened a folding metal stool and began to run though the cabinets. Then she passed the dishes to Sasha, who set the table. A small job to which she was accustomed, if only to make her Daddy happier...
“Are you two ready?” Alcor asked, after about ten minutes. The clock on the wall marked 07:27. There was a good bet that those two juggernauts were already in pole position. Once, he and Mizar had tried to join that ritual, but they’d nearly come out with their tails broken... Yup, this was those two feisty twins’ special time.
Mizar nodded, then, turning to Sasha, “Come here and see. This, you can’t miss.”

With Alcor leading the way, the three animals walked from the kitchen through a short passage leading to the master bedroom.
Martin Foster was sound asleep, totally abandoned to the world between the blankets. He’d said farewell to his last human guest around half past midnight, after the pets had returned home intoxicated by joy and weariness, granting one unusually calm Monday morning to the neighborhood.
Aldebaran and Antares were standing on the master bedroom’s threshold. They were quivering, squatting like athletes ready to leap, giggling like two puppies, and staring at Martin with a disquieting desire. They reminded one of two missiles ready to launch... and in a way, they were just that.
Alcor stood in the corridor’s doorway. Sasha leaned out from behind him, intrigued. Mizar gave a thumbs up to the two dogs.
“Dad?” whispered Alcor to the man, almost inaudibly.
*Fup!* Antares Aldebaran took off. They jumped with the same cat-like lightness, causing the parquet floor barely to vibrate.
Martin Foster opened his eyes. “Hrm, yes?”
Then, for a second, time seemed to stop. The man knew what awaited him. In that split second, he saw them get on him with arms outstretched, open jaws and tongues lolling, the fur on their neck straight with excitement.
Then time began to flow again. “GOOD MORNING!” They roared.

There resounded this A-bomb-like explosion. Foster’s house was shaken by a short Richter-8 quake.


Sasha could not believe her eyes. She, who sometimes got severely admonished for greeting her dad out loud, was witnessing a true act of happy domestic brutality, with Martin fighting and struggling and laughing with those two colossuses. It was not clear whether they were kissing or drowning him with their tongues.
“Goodmorningmorningmorninggoodmorning..!” they panted, ending the ‘wake-up ritual’ with a long group hug.
Martin kissed both on the head. “Good morning to you, earthquakes.” Then he sat on the bed, and gave a kiss and a hug to Mizar and Sasha as well.” And hello to you two beautiful ladies. Alcor...” One last kiss on the cat’s face as he took the cup of coffee. Alcor blushed slightly.
Martin took a sip... 300 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT!! He let out an inarticulate cry, then jumped off the bed and ran toward the bathroom, from which came shortly after a jet of steam as his tongue was placed under the sink.
Now he’s awake,” said Alcor, grinning with all his teeth.
“And you all do this every day?” Asked Sasha.
Mizar chuckled. “When they were still doing renovations to the mansion, we used to stay in a resort. They destroyed six beds this way. The manager almost paid us to leave.”
Martin shut the bathroom door.
“What mood do you suppose he’s in, brother?” Said Aldebaran
“Excited, methinks, brother,” grinned Antares.
A moment later, Martin put on Children of the Dream by Power Quest.
“EXCITED!” the dogs gave five, and then played a session of air guitar and drums. “Cool, huh? We taught Dad metal!”
“He used to listen only to new age and pop. Booooooring!”
Alcor went to the kitchen. “Come on, let’s get the breakfast out of the fridge, Mizar. Coming, Sasha? “
“Oh, I’m staying,” she sighed dreamily at the sight of the two ‘artists’.

From one of two refrigerators, cat and dog took an industrial amount of food: eggs, sausages, potato mixture, cheese, bacon, butter, fruit... There was enough to satisfy the domestic breakfast demand for half the human residents of Babylon Gardens. Mizar lit the electric plate.
The notes of the song ended shortly thereafter. Then they heard the door open wide, and a moment later a sort of terrified squeak coming from Martin.
“Breakfastbreakfastbreakfastbreakfast” hummed the two giants, holding their human over their heads as if he was a ragdoll. Martin, in blue robe, began to prepare the meal.
Aldebaran took the chair at the head of the table and gallantly moved it out for Sasha. “Beautiful young ladies, first.”
“Hey, I wanted to do it!” Protested his twin. To which he received a tongue.
“Well I’m the prettier one, Nyah nyah!”
While the eggs and sausages cooked, Martin took an envelope of white chocolate powder from the nearby cabinet, then poured it into a bowl, and added cold milk from a glass bottle, then frantically began to stir. He put it in the microwave and left it there for a minute. “I usually use fresh ingredients, Sasha, but I hope it’s alright.”
“What?” She said, looking curiously at these preparations she didn’t understand.
As the oven chimed the end of the program, Martin said, “This.” He took the bowl and handed it to the dog. “Rebuild your taste buds, darling.”
Sasha took the bowl. “For me?” Now she was wagging frenetically. The only white chocolate she saw came from the dogs who gave her as gifts for Valentine’s Day! And even though she received a lot from the neighborhood dogs, it was never enough. She certainly never had breakfast with white chocolate..!
Sasha took the bowl and lapped frantically until it was polished as a glass “Good!”
“I’m glad.” Meanwhile, Martin was finishing with fixing the first portions. For once, working in all those restaurants and fast food joints had really come handy. He discovered he loved to cook, and had gained a lot of experience. “And you will like this even more,” he added, handing Sasha a plate of scrambled eggs, sausage and potatoes with cheese. Then he went on to do the same for his animals... But when he arrived at the last one, Mizar, he discovered that Sasha’s plate was empty. And the girl’s face was pleading.
The man looked at Antares, the one sitting closest to Sasha, but the dog shook his head firmly.
Martin shrugged. He took the empty plate and filled it again. Odd, his boys did not seem the type to steal a guest’s food...
He gave the dish back to Sasha, and then turned to fix some food for himse--
This time, when he turned around, his food almost fell from his hand. There she was, the dog with a bright smile and shining eyes handing him an empty plate! The other animals looked as if they had just discovered they were eating alongside a T-rex.
Martin took the empty plate, slowly, and gave her his. “Glad you like my cooking, little one. Careful not to engo...rge yourself” he barely had time to say it before seeing the dish emptied and tongue-polished. Sasha burped again and sank back in her chair like a satiated python, stroking her belly. “Yummyyummyyummy... Mmmm...”
Martin helped himself to what remained on his plate. Did Roger even feed her?
“The veterinarian says that I consume a lot of calories,” she said, giving body to the thoughts of those present. “So Dad buys me special kibble. Yummyyummyyummy...”
OK, so maybe Roger wasn’t a completely heartless jerk. Martin slowly ate his meal; he had to be at the office by nine, and the drive would take about a quarter of an hour... “The service staff will be here at half past eight to put in the sprinkler system for the garden, take out the trash and tidy up the house, so you all only have to worry about having a good time, okay? I will be back by six.”
“Dac!” replied all four of his pets in chorus.
“And you, Sash?” asked Martin to his guest.
She wagged her tail. “Oh, can I play the keyboard that was used yesterday?”
“Of course, dear, but you must wait until the staff brings it to the cellar. I’ve assigned a specific room, for music.” Martin got up. “Well, I must go. Be good.” He kissed them all on the forehead and left.
Aldebaran rose, and chivalrously helped Sasha out of her chair. “Ready for a ride, my lady?”
“A ride where? *Yowlp!*” She found herself raised in his arms and from there almost thrown astride on the shoulders of the mighty dog. Immediately, her candy eyes lit up again, while Aldebaran began to run at full speed towards the exit.

Martin turned on the car. In the garden, Sasha played with unexpected speed and strength with those two titanic mutts who were most definitely melting for her, ending belly-up as they rarely did so with the other dogs. Martin smiled to himself: Something in that quicksilver-lively creature made one extremely protective towards her. Sasha was pure joie de vivre, her owner must have had a heart of stone to not be influenced...
The man maneuvered out of the driveway and onto the main street.
Babylon Gardens was beginning to awaken. The first animals were getting out from the lawns into the street, greeting each other. Almost everyone had an excited greeting for the master of Foster Mansion, who never failed to return the salutes, like some politician parading before his voters... “Holymama!
With an enviable promptness of reflexes, for one only realizing at the last second, Martin nailed the brakes, sending the car veering. If it weren’t for the fact that he didn’t hear anything other than the screeching brakes and his own pounding heart, Martin would have been sure he’d hit the dog that had appeared right in the middle of the road! Did he just appear out of nowhere!?
Martin got out, as many curious pets were moving toward the scene. “King, what the heck..?”
Pete’s corgi approached the owner of Foster Mansion. He was showing his frown that for some reason made him look even cuter than usual “Help me up,” he said, staring into his eyes.
Martin was not sure he understood. “Beg your pardon?”
If possible, King’s blue eyes became even more piercing. “I said help me up. Into your big metal horse. Do I have to draw a picture for you?”
Martin looked at his watch. He was going to risk being late... “Oh, okay, okay!” He bent down quickly to lift the dog and placed him in the car, into Alcor’s seat. “Buckle up.”
Martin climbed aboard, and restarted the engine. “So, unless you’re the victim of some extremely self-destructive impulses, why this sudden desire to accompany me? Not that I mind, of course, but I’m not going on a pleasure trip. “
“Duh,” the dog snorted. “I am a pet dog, not a pet rock, if you hadn’t noticed. And you need my help.”
Martin glanced curiously at his passenger. “Explain.”
King crossed his arms across his chest. “You can put more cameras in there than at Fort Knox, and recruit an army of bureaucrats, to make all the improvements you want, but you don’t have two real eyes to keep the situation under control.”
“Yeah. That is the purpose of those entities called ‘personnel’.”
“Of those entities called ‘personnel’!” Mocked King. “You know perfectly well what I mean, mister. I have been abandoned, I have been kidnapped, and I ate my share of mud. I understand those ‘guests’ in there. As much as your little angels can work well and even be like you – and that is close to disgusting – they still will be humans. Let me do the real quality inspections. If you know someone more qualified, I’d like to meet them.”
Martin thought about it. It was not a bad idea, truth be told: for how much he had to trust the word of the guests themselves on the quality of their reserved treatment, an… outside perspective could make a difference. “Of course, I can’t name you head inspector or something like that, you understand.”
King shrugged. “I would have liked ‘undisputed liege with the power of life and death’, but beggars can’t be choosers.”
Martin seemed to remember he was basically a happy person. He showed off one of his infectious smiles to the sulking corgi. “You will be the mascot of the future Lucky Charm Garden Grove. You will have full freedom of movement, and you’ll keep your eyes, nose and ears pointed to every single thing that seems suspicious. You’ll be my shadow. What do you say?”
“It’s not bad.”
“You’ll be given a speed dial number from any phone in the shelter. Press the magic button, and the cavalry will come running.”
“Just keeps getting better and better. What’s the icing?”
“A wired radio collar identical to the one you’re carrying now. To use only when necessary. I like to have proof for any mistreatment lawsuits. And all of this for an abundant meal with the best pet food money can buy, plus an allowance of fifty dollars a week. Deal..?”
King sported a smile full of teeth. “To play secret agent, I would have done it for free.”
“Mind you, you risk getting bored. I intend to be very selective with the new staff, although I don’t pretend to be infallible. Ah, here we are.” Martin said, as darkness came down on his smile.
At the Sandwich household, the activities of Earl and Jill in the kitchen made a certain lavender cat’s ears to move slightly, while her muzzle was still sunk in the pillow...
No. It wasn’t a pillow.
The pillow of her bed was not made of fur.
Didn’t smell like dog.
Like Peanut.
Not that she minded, oh no! In fact, she stood where she was, enjoying the smell of her companion, the gentle, rhythmic rise of his chest.
But wasn’t killing him, playing the pillow to her for who knows what? Judging by the calm rhythm of his breathing, he was sleeping soundly.
Grape Jelly had confused memories of the previous night – or rather confused after Martin’s concert for his housewarming party. Oh, Grape remembered well every piece sung, especially Call of the Wild, the song that had celebrated their first kiss, no, their first real kiss.
In public.
In front of everyone.
Grape lifted her head from Peanut Butter’s side. She a felt pleasant warmth in her stomach.
They had really done it. The notion touched her thoughts like the light of a star, intoxicating her. Peanut and she were declared to the world and the world had not collapsed. Nobody had lifted a finger on them, (almost) no one had started a roaring laughter in the face of that crazy couple, a dog and a cat!
And anyway, it didn’t matter to Grape. Looking at the sound asleep Peanut, the very image of blissful innocence, the cat could not help but feel so proud of him...
She stroked his cheek a few times. “You’re my dog,” she whispered. “You’re the most beautiful and courageous dog that there is in the whole world, the best friend of all. What would I do without you? “
Curious how certain things had changed.
Until yesterday, she saw Peanut as the weak link of their relationship, the airhead unable to keep a secret, an overenthusiastic puppy whose eagerness to show his joy to the world would have had dire consequences for the two of them. And she had to watch over them both...
Instead, he had turned his ‘weaknesses’ into strength. He had caught the magic moment during the concert yesterday, had arranged things so that it wasn’t ‘his’, but their chance. He had opened the way for Grape, and then had led her while keeping her close to him, to protect her now and forever.
And Grape had gone with him. Her wonderful dog had given her strength. And she was happy...
Then her thoughts returned to events after the concert. Now, only a handful of guys had had the courage to greet her and Peanut, and a few of those were a little embarrassed (except for Joey and Sasha, for what it mattered). Okay, basically it would take some time for the others to get used to the changes.
And then? Ah, yes, a death-hug from Antares and Aldebaran.
And then? Yes, at home. Grape distinctly remembered that during the (short) walk from Foster Mansion, she had giggled and improvised dance steps, trying to involve the poor Peanut, who was increasingly on the verge of collapse. The poor guy must have eaten the liver of a lion for that outing, and was now paying the consequences, while she was kite-high as if she had smoked two bags of catnip.
And then? Peanut’s room. Yes. He was supposed to go to sleep first, but not before a sound goodnight kiss, and...
Grape touched the mattress on which she lay.
She realized that it wasn’t even a normal pet bed.
It was almost a human-sized bed.
What was it? Ah, yes, Peanut had entered the room, then saw the thing in the place of his old bed and had gone all excited, briefly finding additional reserves of energy. There was something written on the side of the bed, if she remembered correctly.
Grape leaned downwards, and there it was, just a big label, black on white, saying only ‘Peanut and Grape’.
They had a common bed.
Martin, yes. Dad had said that Martin had given it to him at some point after the concert for the pets, taking advantage of a collective moment of distraction.
Yes, Dad had said it was a gift for the party’s cutest couple...
Grape blushed throughout.
Peanut had had barely gotten into the new bed, before suddenly falling asleep. She had pretty much wrapped around him, before collapsing herself.
Grape almost bent in two for a nice stretch from her sitting position. So there was something else, something to do this morning, she was sure... except pet Peanut properly, of course.
Cheeks reddening, the cat looked at the wall clock: 08:20
It was almost 9.
The park!
As if that thought was a signal, there came a knock on the door. Not the doorbell, but definitely a couple of knuckle shots, the pets ‘doorbell’. Then Dad’s footsteps heading towards the entrance, him greeting with a sleepy voice someone that seemed in high spirits, instead...
MAX! For a moment, for one terrible moment, Grape felt an absurd sense of guilt. Then she remembered not only that Maxie knew all about the two of them – well, now that he had seen the two of them dancing and kissing at the concert! – but had also conceded the honors of war to Peanut and had accepted the role of her best friend... and had come to accompany them to the park for an unspecified event organized by Joey, Fido and Bino’s younger brother.
But it wasn’t the shame of being engaged in a full and public relationship with Peanut that sent the cat into a moment of panic. After all, Max had been her suitor, and he was a proud cat; it must burn him a lot, to take a step back in favor of a dog.
Max was a good cat, a heart of gold beneath that street rogue shell. Grape hoped he would soon find another cat with whom to stay, he didn’t deserve to be… alone?
Grape thought about it. Maybe she could help him in that sense, right? What were friends for, otherwise?
A new knock, this time on the door of their room (not ‘Peanut’s room’, but ‘their room’). Peanut’s ears went up as he muttered, “Come in, Dad.”
Max came in, cheerful as always, a black cat with aquamarine eyes as irresistible as his smile. “Rise and shine, lovebirds!”
“GAH!” Peanut could have found the guts to do the unthinkable, last night, but inside he was still the heart of pudding that everyone knew and loved. At the understandably unexpected sound of Maxwell’s voice he jumped, causing him to tumble to the ground, since his bed was still laying on a cabinet.
“Peanut!” Grape said, leaning forward. “Everything okay?”
“Maybe one or two dislocated vertebrae, but I think I’m good...” came his wheeze from the floor. “Good morning, Grape.”
Max jumped on the bed. “Hmm, jumpy. Ahoy, Dongiovanni, sorry about that. “
“‘s nothing. One foot is already working again, the right.” *Twitch!*
“I came to this place of perdition to drag your sorry tails to the park. Can’t wait to see what Weird Al Joey put together. Can you imagine it at all? Him, arranging something that is not an evening watching TV or playing D&D?”
Peanut stood up. “You should not talk about him like that. He’s quite savvy, you know?” He said, rubbing his back.
Max lay back, and stared at him with a sort of inverted cross-eyed look. “I beg you, mutt! Take not the last certainty of my life. Though I still own my remaining seven lives, I want to lose them in the least traumatic ways possible.”
“Cats have nine lives, right?” Peanut said, distracted by that talk.
Max hit him with his forefinger on the nose, causing Peanut to let loose with a yelp. “You two took one from me last night, scatterbrain.”
“Stop dragging this out,” said Grape, getting out from the bed, faking indignation at her ex. “I bet that within a week you’ll have another feline begging for your attention.”
The black cat seemed to think it over, chin in palm, index finger tapping his mouth and eyes to the ceiling. “Actually, I don’t remember all their names...” He shrugged, and then rubbed his hands. “Come on, I want to see just what this event is all about!”
‘Babylon Gardens Animal Shelter ‘, read the simple (to put it mildly) sign at the entrance of the avenue. Half a mile around, it consisted of a dirt track cutting a straight line in the grove surrounding the lager.
Martin Foster could not imagine it otherwise, as he approached slowly with the car, the ground crunching under the tires. Half rusted fences, rows of barracks – hot in summer, cold in winter – and a smell that assaulted you from a hundred meters, like a monstrous ghost that no exorcism would ever be able to drive out.
King saw Martin’s face darken, becoming grim, while his hands were locking onto the wheel as if, inside himself, the kind man everyone knew was strangling someone. The corgi shivered: in his actually previous incarnation, he had been the brother of Martin. They had grown up in a difficult situation, both familial and economic, their father was the typical product of poverty, drunk and violent.
There was all the ferocity of their old man in Martin’s face now. King felt frightened, remembering what Jeremiah Robinson had been capable of when he wanted to teach a bit of ‘education’ to his children... and their pets...
Martin kept focusing on that stench. If he focused enough, he could see it as a dragon crouched to protect its prey. A dragon made of wet fur, skin diseases, amputated limbs, pain, sorrow, and the deepest fear that one could impose on an innocent being.
Martin abhorred that monster. “I will destroy it, Helias. You’ll see.” He gritted his teeth, and stopped the car in front of the entrance. Helias! King recognized the name instantly, of course: their cat, from a lifetime ago, their first pet. When Martin had left the family, leaving his poor younger brother alone, Helias and the dogs Honcho and Ringo had become Dad’s favorite victims. Then their own escape had followed... And the nights when the tortured animals had took revenge, for the tragic irony of fate, on the only person who had run away with them because he loved them, and...
The car jolted slightly when it stopped, shaking King from those thoughts. “Do you want help getting down?” asked Martin, who had regained some self control.
“I can do it myself, thanks.” King opened the door. It was useless to brood over his own problems, when he could see, from a mile away, that Martin was again following the call of his obsession. He’d loved Helias and the others, and he’d abandoned them, just as he’d abandoned his brother, and he had not yet forgiven himself. King had joined him that morning to watch over him... and to keep him company. God, how he wanted to spend day and night with his re-found brother, but how could he explain that a magic griffin had transformed him into a dog to punish him for the abuses he had inflicted on animals in the name of a terrible, vicious cycle?
And then, ghosts of the past aside, Martin had found happiness with his four pets, he wanted to become a benefactor, worthy of the elder Milton, starting with the total restructuring of the ‘shelter’.
By the way, King thought, puzzled. If the old Milton wanted this place, and he founded the entire Babylon Gardens specifically thinking of it as a living space for pets and their families, how was it possible that a place like this was born at all!? A macabre joke then crossed the corgi’s mind, making him ashamed of himself. Perhaps the old man died of a broken heart after seeing what it had been reduced to!
Martin closed the car door and walked with King toward the entrance, delimited by a wire netting that looked like it could come down with the first autumn breeze. This place very clearly said ‘flee from this place, for all we care’.
Along with the smell, the first thing that struck the two visitors was the silence. Apart from the sound of the clicking sounds of nails on the floor when the ‘hosts’ moved, no one would speak a word. King, as an activist of PETA in his past life, had managed basements full of pets ‘liberated’ who were happier than the ones kept here.
And the looks.
Anger. Sadness. Hope. Defeat. Indifference. Eyes that spoke a silent language, yet louder than the roar of waves crashing on the bluffs.
Why am I here? Was I bad? But I want Mommy! Don’t leave me alone! I’m not worth anything, anymore. I HATE you! Where are my puppies? Save me! Take me away! I’ll do what you want! Savemesavemesaveme...
King felt as if a scalpel was digging into his brain, searching for the deepest corner of his fears.
He had condemned them to this fate! He was complicit in their suffering, an architect of their pain the moment he’d ‘liberated’ the first of them. Fox, the dog Fox, his dearest friend in the motley community of Babylon Gardens, Fox who was going to be ‘liberated’ and sentenced to this horror, if not worse...
For this reason Pete had given him permission to follow Martin. Drink a bit of the medicine that you advertised, King! You could have said no, you could have quit from that pack of PETA fanatics, and yet you stayed with them because animals are ugly and bad, right? Then drink your medicine, down to the last drop...
The hand that gripped his shoulder almost made him throw a howl of terror.
It was Martin.
The man was squatting in front of him. He looked at him not with anger in his eyes, but with deep compassion. “You never get used to it,” he whispered. “But all of thiscan be changed. Do you still want to do it? “
Martin, dear brother Martin of his… in the end he was always his lighthouse, his guiding star... “I do,” said King. “Sor…”
“Do not apologize. Never. Ready? “
They were in front of the only brick building that was still decent, the administration office.
King nodded. Martin stood up.
The couple approached the entrance. Martin knocked on the door a couple of times. “Come in,” replied a raspy female voice that must have spoken through many cigarettes already.
The two exchanged a last look, and entered. Martin closed the door behind him. Immediately, his ability to always wear a mask for the appropriate mood came into play. Opening his arms theatrically, he greeted the two figures sitting in the one office that occupied the entire room.
“Celia! Thomas! My friends, I am ever so happy to see you!”

Author:  lightwolf21 [ Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

TN: :oops: Regarding the initial missing section ... Well, I can't say I'm perfect at keeping track of this stuff. I should have known Valerio wouldn't have ended a chapter and begun another one with the same scene.


EDIT - Section moved below.


TN: Martin is such a nice guy. ;)

Author:  valerio [ Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

It was 9 am, the park at Babylon Gardens was quiet.
At least it was at its entry.
“No sinful crowds?” asked Max, looking around. “No forbidden petting in the sunlight? I’m disappointed; I want my ticket money back.”
Max was leading the trio formed by himself, Peanut and Grape. The latter two were trying in vain to hide their embarrassment at the black cat’s nonchalance. They repeated to themselves he had earned the right to a little extra sarcasm since he’d lost the race to Grape’s heart, but what the heck! They’d given that alley cat a hand and he took an arm!
“Max,” Grape said. “Why don’t we try entering the park, ok?”
“An excellent idea, neighbors!” said a new, cheerful voice. All three turned, having already recognized its owner, or rather the artist and host of the Sunday party... “Hi, Alcor,” Peanut said, wagging his tail and waving.
The white cat, a perfect contrast with Max, his eyes like two suns, was accompanied by Mizar. “Hi, folks,” he said.
“Are you also here for Joey’s party?” Grape asked.
“Yes and no,” said Alcor. “We are here to mess up the bigots.”
Max cocked his head to one side, a questioning look in his eyes. “Huh?”
“For sure, today you are the couple of honor,” said the white German shepherd. “We wouldn’t try and steal your spotlight.” She went to Peanut and gave him a kiss on the cheek, then ruffled his head. “You’re cute as a cookie. I’m not surprised that Grape had a crush on you.”
Peanut turned red as a watermelon and went into hiding, all embarrassed, behind his cat, giggling.
Grape raised her eyes to heaven, but was grateful that her ‘cookie’ was still as much a shyboy as ever. “Let’s go to Speaker’s Corner. Special occasions are usually celebrated there.” And, usually, Der Fuehrer Bino held his most ardent speeches there. He lived for the crowd’s attention, and he could have a large one in the park. I hope he doesn’t try to spoil Joey’s party, today, or I’ll slice him up! Grape thought. Joey could be a bit weird, but according to Peanut he had a heart of gold worthy of Fido and had worked his tail off for this mysterious party dedicated to the mixed couples of Babylon Gardens. Who knows how many and who they are... But they were about to find out.
“What do you mean by ‘messing up the bigots’” asked Max to the new neighbors, after they set off again.
“What I mean,” Alcor said with a nonchalance very similar to Max’s, “is that all dogs of the opposite sex are sharpening their claws for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Indeed I think that, starting today, we’ll find our mailbox full of letters and love pledges in white chocolates and bones. The lady cats, modestly...” He ran his paws over himself, with a theatrical gesture, from shoulders to feet. “As soon as they have recovered their strength from last night, the serenades will begin.”
Max muttered something unintelligible.
“Mizar and I want to see how long the representatives of the other species will take to come forward. At that point…” the cat put his hand to his chest, the other he raised theatrically, “...I will have to break their poor hearts and declare my tormented love for my true star!” He winked at the Peanut+Grape pair. “I love the names Dad gave us!”
Peanut wagged his tail, chuckling. Grape was glad to see him so comfortable, at least for that specific topic. And she was happy to be at ease. It was as if the Foster animals were the catalyst of her life, the last ingredient for unleashing a wonderful reaction that had waited way too much time to set.
The group arrived at Speaker’s Corner.
And before their eyes could realize what they were seeing, the air vibrated with a powerful collective cry. “SURPRISE!”
Five jaws fell to the ground.
This party was surely not the super-event from yesterday, but it was impressive in its own way.
Babylon Gardens Animal Shelter

Martin Foster took from his shirt pocket a blue box emblazoned with the word, an elegant white flourish, ‘Life’. He put the box on the desk where, on the opposite side sat a man of about fifty, with a black mustache, without a hair on his head and two eyes grim as the grimace on his lips.
Martin opened the box, and took some sort of small white plastic tube. He lit it and inhaled. “These electronic cigarettes are disgusting,” he said, exhaling a puff of nicotine vapor. “But at least they won’t give me cancer, and they help me relax. Being relaxed helps to support a civil conversation, don’t you agree, Thomas? Celia?” He added to the blond woman sitting next to the desk. If Celia Milton, Thomas’ sister, used to be a beautiful woman, it must have been when Al Capone was king of the roaring 20’s. Rarely seen was a female figure so withered and surly. Her eyes flashed darkly.
King, sitting beside Martin, decided that of the two jerks that ‘managed’ the Babylon Gardens Animal Shelter, she was the one to really look out for.
“Get to the point,” she said unceremoniously.
Martin nodded, exhaling another puff of steam. “You know what a funeral’s about, right? The flowers, people crying at the priest’s sentimental speech, a green meadow and a nice band playing the good old ‘Ave Maria’. I’d like it gospel, something a little more cheerful.”
Brother and sister exchanged a puzzled look.
Martin seemed to be back to his old ‘self’, the fun-loving landlord. “And a nice, extra-accessorized coffin. Latest fashion, with a TV screen and a voice mailbox to collect messages from all your living loved ones. Ain’t it cool?” he asked with that enthusiastic, friendly smile.
“Uh...” said Thomas, after another puzzled look to his sister, who shrugged as if to say ‘humor him’. “Yes..?”
The cigarette in his mouth, Martin clapped his hands together with the enthusiasm of a child. “Great!” And a second later – no, so fast that it seemed he had overlapped two distinct images at the same time, Martin leaned forward, grabbed Thomas by the collar of his shirt and pulled him with a violence that tore the fabric of his shirt.
And Martin the murderer was back with all his reinforcements! His voice was like a beastly growl, guttural, enough to frighten a wolf. “Because it will be yours, you dirty b a s t a r d s! I will personally make sure to bury your mortal remains so deeply that it will take a paleontologist to find them, in a million years!” He let Thomas go; well, threw him against the chair with such a force as to make it bash against the wall. Thomas was white as a corpse. He was sure he was already dead. He certainly did not dare to breathe.
As soon as it came, that fit of rage passed. Martin stood up and, with a new-found smile, went to Celia. Now she felt a little less competitive... She startled when Martin placed his hands on her shoulders. “Celia! My sweet viper. Bloody, greedy leech, genius.” And gave a pat on her shoulders.
“Beg your pardon..?”
Martin sat down in front of her. “Genius. A little evil genie, who instead of a pretty bottle, you live inside a skull. You two are smart, you know?”
Thomas could not understand what was going on. “Mr. Foster...”
“Call me Martin.”
Thomas rubbed his temple. “Martin. What happens now? Are you here to kill us or what? “
“It depends on you, my dear. You see, no matter how strong my desire to slowly put you into a meat grinder, I realize it would give me little satisfaction. Like a Chinese meal, excellent and well-seasoned, but soon afterwards, you’re hungry again. Now, for how much you two are responsible and complicit in many others’ suffering, you never got your hands dirty. Even if you didn’t like animals, at least you had the decency not to touch one. This does not make you less guilty, of course... But this is not what I wanted to talk to you about, forgive this young screwball.” He exhaled one last puff, then put the cigarette in the box and put the box back in his pocket.
Martin returned to sit next to King. “So,” he said, stroking between King’s ears. For some reason, the corgi felt like the SPECTRE guy’s cat. “For certain, you won’t set foot here again. Needless to say, to establish a slow and long lawsuit to recover the funds that you have stolen, I’d spend more on lawyers and lose even more precious time. So, what I offer, instead, is to work directly for me… as my administrators. I have a good friend that’s a lawyer, but I need him for other types of legal protection, such as in the case of your violent premature deaths.”
Thomas Milton’s gaze lit up on the word ‘administrator’. “You want us to manage your assets?”
“Not exactly. You’ll manage the account I created for my own pets. Even though you two are incurable spenders, you don’t partake in gambling, drugs or... other deplorable things. You enjoy the good life, you like it so much you’ve spent much more than you earned, to the point that old Milton, knowing you all too well, left you but a crumb of his assets and the stash to his beloved ferrets. Of course, you’ve managed to eat what little bit has been given to you, and now here you are, doing a ‘job’ that, for you, must be a nightmare, just to pay for lunch. Am I right in my assumptions of your current financial condition?”
“You have done your homework,” said Celia, lighting up a cigarette, a real one. “What’s in for us, should we accept?”
Martin took a pen and post-it note from Thomas’ desk and wrote a figure. He handed the paper to Thomas, whose eyes seemed to light up even more. “I want you to work hard on it. I can transform this place, but I know that you can put the steroids in a bank account. I will give you enough so you can make my beloved creatures the second richest after the Milton ferrets, and the two of you will earn extra commission. Use junk bonds, radioactive materials, Chinese boxes; every vile but legal trick you know that can turn one hundred U.S. dollars into one hundred thousand in three days. With the condition that if you try to double-cross me...” he left the sentence hanging. “Well, what do you think?”
Celia, herself, was simply satisfied with the idea of not having to spend another minute in that hole. “For someone who loves animals so much, you know how to make pacts with the devil.”
Martin shrugged. “Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies even closer. What’s done is done, and I repeat, killing you won’t turn back time. In addition, your work will ensure a future to some innocent. I love karma. You start in a week. From now on I manage this place. Thomas?”
Thomas gave him a look suspicious. “Yeah?”
“What’s that attendant’s name, strong guy with a greasy forelock..?”
Martin nodded. “That’s him. Can you send for him, please?”
Thomas shrugged, and pressed an intercom button. “Mac? Come here for a moment.” Then, to his new boss, “He’ll be here in a moment.”
As promised, not even a minute later, the door opened and in walked the man described by Martin. In addition to that, he had an annoyed look, as if he were always about to tell people to mind their own business. He recognized Martin instantly. “‘lo,” he said as if wanting to spit in his face. “What’s up, boss?” he asked Thomas.
“This gentleman needed to speak to you,” said Thomas. Fortunately, the rip in his shirt was on the back.
Martin stood up. He smiled, while holding out his hand. “Mac, glad to see you! I missed your gruff demeanor!”
A confused Mac shook his hand. He looked towards his employers, who were not confused at all and wisely keeping silent.
“Do you remember when I came to take the cat? The white one... Ghost, he was called.”
“All those visits, and that teensy-weensy accident and me telling you ‘no, Mac, no beat the kitty’, remember? Do you? And remember how Ghost was limping, the next day? Just as if someone had repeatedly kicked him? And me not saying anything because I still was not the boss, because in the end I was taking him and Angel away from this place... Do you remember, Mac?”
Thomas was preparing for an amusing show: Mac was a tough guy with those filthy beasts. He had once quelled a fight between three angry bulldogs by force, putting two on the carpet with ease. A wicked grin and one of those ridiculous threats would certainly not impress him, quite the contrary...
Mac, in fact, looked at Martin as if he were a cockroach. “Well?”

For a moment, the attention of all animals in the shelter was attracted to that sort of explosion that shook the windows and the door of the office administrators.

Martin rubbed his fist repeatedly. He had a seraphic expression. “Mmm-hmm, what a rush!”
Thomas and Celia were very, very pale, while watching the figure lying on the ground. It was not biologically possible to be bent in two like that... or to be alive for that matter...
Ow...” wheezed the attendant.
Martin sported a wide grin to Celia and Thomas. “Now I must attend to selecting the personnel to be kicked out of here. While leaving, you two do me a favor and take out the garbage.” He pointed to the attendant. See ya, hm?”
After the two had left hastily together with their ‘load’, King swallowed. “Not bad...”
Martin was already checking the register.” Hmmm, jerks they may be, but meticulous. Not a file out of place, I appreciate that.
“What’s this ‘accident’ you referred to earlier?”
Martin shrugged. “If you want to talk about it, we will when we have some free time. Right now, I am really busy, buddy.”
“How can you be sure that those two will behave? If I may say, I can sense when someone is rotten inside...”
Martin turned and winked at King. “I am prepared for that possibility. You’ll see!”
Joey was discreet, in his own way. In the sense that he wasn’t hiding his felinophile tendencies, nor he was hiding his relationship with a mouse, everyone knew he went every year to the Yarn Ball wearing a coarse cat costume when all the cats would have willingly let him attend even without that improvised suit...
But he was never the type to take a sign saying ‘Kitty Pride’ and waving it proudly. If the others did not like him for what he was, he didn’t make a drama of it, and wouldn’t go around throwing it in their faces.
Except that time he had made a really frightening comment on a drawing of Peanut.
And today.
“Wow,” said Max, to which all three undoubtedly agreed.
First Friendship Summer Picnic, read the banner. Mixed couples welcome!
And there were mixed couples. Grape counted at least three dozen dogs and cats all together to greet their heroes with their glasses raised and fluttering confetti, everyone holding paws with their own.
Joey, for the occasion, kept his beloved little mouse on his head as Fido did with Spo. He walked quickly to Peanut and Grape. He smiled like a cat, this was their day, and he was well aware of it! “Welcome!” he said to the two Sandwich pets, vigorously shaking their paws. “See how many of us there are?” He was on the verge of squeaking and hopping around like a groupie in front of his idols.
“Ah huh,” said Grape. She simply could not believe it. Where did all these… these couples come from?!
And she was so terrified at the thought of being alone! “That’s Prince and Leila,” she almost stammered, referring to a German shepherd and a Persian who were sweetly holding by each other’s hips. “Joey, how? How come I never knew...” If only she had sensed the sheer number of cats and dogs that she knew, that were like them, she would have saved herself... and Peanut so much suffering.
“For the same reason that all of them felt as isolated as you two,” said Joey, looking downward. “It’s not the kind of relationship you want to advertise. But, like I knew about you and Peanut long before he confessed it to me, I knew about the others as well…”
Peanut saw a look of sincere admiration by Max and he knew what the black cat was thinking: When Joey spoke like that, well, there was an unnervingly resemblance to Fido, the hero of all the dogs in Babylon Gardens.
“...But when I learned that Peanut was going to make the big step, at the concert, I said it’s ‘now or never’, so I spent the afternoon and evening setting this up.” He gestured sweepingly over the picnic scene with his arm. “It’s not much, but at least we can stop looking behind our shoulders, for now.” Then he placed his two paws on the shoulders of Peanut and Grape. “Thank you again. Want some biscuits? We also have the type you love, Grape.”
The cat did not really want dog biscuits so soon after breakfast. “I’ll pass for now, but thanks.” Again she took a look at the couples who were now returning to their businesses. The atmosphere was very special, at the same time more energized and spontaneous than that of the party, yesterday...
She hadn’t noticed she had put up a gloomy face, until Peanut asked, “Grape? Everything okay?”
“You know what? Before the concert, yesterday, I was scared out of my wits. When we kissed in front of everyone, it was... well, the most unique and incredible experience ever. I felt unique. And now, now I could say I was mass-produced.”
Peanut giggled and embraced her, encircling her hips.
“What’s so funny?”
The dog put his head next to hers. “We did do something special yesterday. Unforgettable. And if there are this many like us, now, it just makes me happier.”
Grape shook her head. “Can’t you ever see the negative in things?”
Peanut went gloomy. “When I couldn’t be with you, I did.”
Okay, Grape, now to find a foot large enough for your mouth! “Sorry...”
Quickly as it came, the shadow left the canine’s muzzle. “Nah, what’s important it’s that those days are over. I love you. “And he gave her a peck on the cheek.
“And I love you...” The cat returned the kiss. Then, she shouted at the only apparent single. “Joey!”
Grape approached him quickly. “It’s very rude of you not to present your... err...” Okay, perhaps there was a limit to the mind openness of the day. She looked at the mouse, trying to decide whether it was a snack or a goof friend.
“Squeak,” said the little creature holding out a tiny paw. “Don’t worry, it always takes some to get used to it, you’re not the first.”
Grape extended a claw to shake it. “I understand that Fido and Spo are best of friends... in a sense. But, in short, you and Joey are...”
Very good friends,” she finished for the cat. “He makes me very happy, protects me, and gives me a home and food. *Sigh* pity that his great heart beats for cats. And that it’s too big.”
“Ah! Oh, that is, you...” Where was a rock to crawl under and feel ashamed to death? But, as far as the rumors went…
“So you’ve listened to the gossip as well, huh?” he nudged the cat. “You really thought that... Hmm?” *Nudge nudge wink wink*
Wow, was it really that hot, today? “Peanut told me, once, that you told him you and her are in love, and you wanted to live together!” screamed Grape.
The activities of the others came to a sudden stop, every single eye in the clearing focused on those two and a crumb.
Joey put his hand to his forehead. *Sigh* “Grape...” Then he sat down, imitated by his friend. “I love Squeak very much, insofar as she is the best friend I ever had, but please. I am a devoted cat-lover, I disguise myself as a cat, eat things cats eat... In fact, I think someone up there...” He pointed to the sky “...has made a real mess with the assembly. The only thing I miss is a sweet kitten, but that’s because I was always too shy to propose. Even if I try to keep cheerful in front of others, it burns me to be unable to find that one ounce of guts...” he brought his thumb and forefinger near together almost making a circle, “ ask a girl to go out with me. I know that everybody at the Yarn Ball knows I’m a dog in disguise, but it’s the only time I feel less... weird. If I went without that funny suit, I would feel as naked – well, you know what I mean. All dressed up, instead, I feel like I belong to the gang, I don’t know if you can understand...” he sighed. “Squeak always cheered me up. I don’t know how she does it, but whenever I need a shoulder to cry on, hers become the biggest ones in the world. And I love her very much for this. And I hope that she lives with me, even after I’ve found my better half.” He had spoken all that in one breath, then sighed.
Squeak stroked his forehead. “Aww, don’t worry. You’ll see, it’ll be easier from today on, darling.”
Grape was left speechless. “Joey...” she didn’t know what to say and put a paw on his shoulder. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I... well, you know what I believed... Can I do something to help?”
His tail he wagged weakly, while a smile came back to his face. “Yes. Help Max, first thing. The poor guy would never admit it, but he’s really down. If there’s someone who has seen his world fall before him, that’s him.”
“How do you know?”
“Guess what,” interjected Squeak. “Helloooo? Espionage service is included in the friendship package. Joey gives me a lot of cheese, which I hate, but I use it to bribe the neighborhood’s fellow mice. If you need to know anything about anyone, including humans, give me a whistle!” And she pointed at her chest with her thumb, standing proudly.
“You never said you hated cheese!” said Joey.
“Two Christmases ago… I paraphrased. But the piece was so big that it yielded a lot of information.”
“So,” Grape said, beginning to realize, “if I asked you about this circle of lovers of biodiversity... I would have saved more than a year of torment, insecurity, and pain?”
Joey swallowed. He did not like where this conversation was going. He tried to show an innocent puppy smile to the cat, whose eyes instead were flashing like those of a dragon’s. “Err... It helped you two to mature..?”

While a sort of purple lioness was chased after poor Joey who was fleeing like a gazelle, Max went to a couple of cats with their mates. “Tibbets? Enola?”
“Max!” The two ginger tabbies marked by white stripes greeted him in unison, and began to nibble on their cheese crackers. “What a surprise, you’re one of us?” said one of them.
“Yes, I mean no! Well, you... but, every time I talked about this type of relationship, what was with the whole ‘I hate those cat lovers’, ‘what a bunch of crock’!”
Brother and sister exchanged glances, embarrassed. “What could we do? With you, whenever we talked about cats and dogs, it was a competition to see who was more narrow-minded,” said Tibbets.
“So we’d play the game,” concluded Enola.
Max felt dizzy. “But you had a boyfriend,” he almost screamed to the cat, who shrugged.
“Pepper? He was playing the game. There he is.” She pointed to a pepper grain-black tomcat, playing happily with a female Dalmatian.
“…Skye?” said Max
Enola chuckled. “Pepper was really patient, the poor thing! At one point, Skye had the gotten the idea that he might have left her for me.” She took a sip of juice. “I lost track of what a tangle of lies this has become for all of us, what with these false dates and playing ‘Dudley Do-Right’. *Sigh* I’m so happy that part of our lives is over, and all thanks to Peanut...” Enola looked around. “But where is Grape?”

“I didn’t know that dogs could climb trees!” Squeak said, excitedly.
“Neither did I!” Joey yelped, looking down at the furry angel of death. “Grape, please, let’s talk! I swear, I’ve never made fun of you and Peanut!! Please don’t kill me!”
“I won’t kill you, dog!” She growled.
“No. First, I will paint the walls of my room with your blood, then make a yarn ball with your guts, and then I’ll kill you!”
Joey again squeaked like a chipmunk, then climbed until he disappeared among the branches.
Grape prepared to jump, in pursuit… when Peanut took her by the shoulders and turned her abruptly.
“Peanut, wh-HmpphhhmmmMMMM” every protest broke up in the long moan of pleasure when her dog covered her mouth with a wonderful kiss, holding her tightly in his arms like a perfect poster of Rhett Butler in ‘Gone With the Wind’. When he was done, she hung wrapped around his neck with her arms as if she were a living scarf, sporting a magnificent, toothy grin. “MrrrooOOWWrrr!”
“It’s like pushing a button,” said the dog happily to the others, wagging his tail. “I love this game!”
It was then that a bouncing object passed before Peanut, attracting his attention. His eyes became two pinholes. Then a voice resounded in the air. “FETCH!”
The rubber ball instantly became the object of lust for 20 already excited dogs. Peanut completely forgot his girlfriend and ran in pursuit. In no time, a big brawl made of barks and yips and growls resounded through the area.
Max,” said Grape, recovering after being knocked down very gracelessly. “But why?!”
The black cat was nodding, all pleased at the sight of that scene. “Fortunately some of these weirdoes had brought a ball to play with.” He sighed. “It’s nice to see that something works normal again, these mu–”
“YARN!” Was the voice that broke in the air, as a big wool yarn ball bounced in front of the two cats.
Then a feline civil war exploded, while the yarn turned into a net that inevitably entangled the cats in their battle, ending up to involve the dogs as well.
And watching the happy chaos were a pure white cat and a pure white dog that clung to each other’s shoulders, both laughing loudly...

Author:  lightwolf21 [ Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

End Season 1 - Episode 1 - Chapter 2.


EDIT - Section added above.


Coming soon: First part of S1-Ep.1-Ch.3

I haven't stopped doing this, I'm just not doing it as much. I've been a bit busy since school started and I have my own fan-fiction I'm working on.

Author:  zeekgenateer [ Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

After reading the first translated bit I've read some of it using google translator, and let's just say it leaves a lot to be desired. I don't think I'd be a good first editor/translator but if you need any help rereading or touch up I'd be glad to help.

Author:  lightwolf21 [ Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

zeekgenateer Wrote:
After reading the first translated bit I've read some of it using google translator, and let's just say it leaves a lot to be desired. I don't think I'd be a good first editor/translator but if you need any help rereading or touch up I'd be glad to help.

Any and all help is appreciated. :D

Author:  zeekgenateer [ Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

lightwolf21 Wrote:
zeekgenateer Wrote:
After reading the first translated bit I've read some of it using google translator, and let's just say it leaves a lot to be desired. I don't think I'd be a good first editor/translator but if you need any help rereading or touch up I'd be glad to help.

Any and all help is appreciated. :D

Just PM me with anything you're working on. If I don't have time I'll let you know (college is ugh), but if we're both working on it, it should go quicker.

Author:  zeekgenateer [ Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Sorry for the double post, but adding this deserves the bump. Any errors that I missed just PM me and I'll fix them in the post. When Valerio posts the section I'll remove it from here. The first part was translated by Lightwolf, the last bit and the remaining clean up by me. Thanks again Valerio for this fanfic.
Valerio posted section below.

Author:  valerio [ Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

The car more than just parked in the parking lot outside of the condominium at the extreme south of Babylon Gardens, it screeched to a halt. The driver’s door opened, and Thomas Milton jumped out in a hurry. His sister Celia came soon after. “Thomas, I think we should discuss this as rational and civilized individuals.”
The man did not want to hear it. “Rationalize it yourself, sister!” He slammed the door with enough force to make the car shake. “That fanatical animal lover will pay us, and pay us well to handle the refuge’s accounts, and considering that the alternative is what he did to Mac, I’ll not only accept the offer, but it’ll be even better for me if you give up. One more slice of the pie for me!”
Celia shook her head, while her brother left, striding toward the elevator. She joined him just in time to enter the elevator with him. “Thomas, don’t you understand? This whole thing screams ‘trap’. I tried to collect information on him, but it was canceled by the Net. He used one of those special services to protect his privacy...”
The elevator was an old model that squeaked when running, and their apartment was on the top floor. Actually it wasn’t as good of a bargain as they had thought, since two out of three times the elevator was out of order.
Thomas cut his sister short. “I would disappear from the network, too, with all that money. Listen, Celia, do you think we have a choice? This is the last month’s rent we can afford to pay, then they’ll put us in the basement. And if I must move, I want to move to a more dignified place. And you want that too,” then he stated the obvious “And of course it is a stinking trap! That guy is waiting to bury us soon as he finds proof of embezzlement or money laundering... So the only way I can avoid that is by working honestly. The very idea disgusts me, I could make a hundred dollars into a million in three days if I had a blank check, but right now I’m happy to be alive and in one piece. You know, that man does not seem the type to waste time calling the police. You want to end up like Mac? Because I think he would do the same to you!”
Celia left him to vent. Thomas always became hysterical when his personal safety was involved. Sometimes he was easy to manipulate, but when he was in that state, an angry porcupine was more approachable. The elevator opened into a corridor with three wooden doors definitely not secured.
Celia took out the apartment key from her purse. “Could we put off everything until you feel less hysterical? Foster says that he wants to hire you, but he didn’t tell us anything about where you will work or by what means, apart from a money fund. What does he want us to do?” she continued, opening the door. “…Buy a laptop, connect to Wall Street and start making millions? The whole thing stinks.”
“Actually,” a female voice greeted them from the living room, “This place is what stinks. How many years has it been since the cleaning lady’s been here?”
Thomas had his second shock of the day. Celia gave a resigned sigh, as she entered. She’d had a rather difficult day, already. “Let’s skip the pleasantries. Did Foster send you?”
“Martin sent me,” nodded the young woman, dressed in an impeccable gray suit. On her face were thin-rimmed glasses with black metal frames, and her black hair was styled with a bob cut. She approached the two siblings with an outstretched hand, carrying a black folder in the other arm. “Very pleased to meet you. I am Janet Masterson, and as you have probably guessed, I will be your… supervisor”
How did you get in here?” Asked Thomas, closing the door behind him. Nobody offered their hand to the woman, who lowered hers and shrugged.
Janet rolled her eyes. “With a credit card. *Tsk* Haven’t you ever heard of ‘security’? But never mind, in your new home you can enjoy some more comfort, including a real lock.”
“Home..?” Said Celia.
‘Well, not really yours. Martin will let you live there as part of the fee for your services. It’s not really the best the Gardens have to offer, but it will be fine for living and working together as a beautiful, happy family!” She flashed a smile worthy of a model for a toothpaste commercial.
Celia was staring at Janet as if she had just found something unspeakable on her pillow. “He wants us to live and work in the middle of that flea-infested pile on the property that should’ve been ours? Well, Thomas,” she said, addressing her brother, “I’ve had it! I will not participate in another second of this madness, I’d rather go back to interior decorating! If you need me, you can find me at the bar… No, first you’ll wait for me to get drunk enough,” she headed for the door. However, she paused when Janet said, “I am afraid that is not a viable option, Miss Milton.”
Celia shook her head and turned to the small insolent brat... “Really? Why, would the wicked Martin of the West send his flying monkeys after me?”
Thomas meanwhile, had moved stealthily toward the only chair in the living room and to enjoy the battle from a safe distance. In his case, the contract was signed. Celia had these absurd delusions of getting revenge on the world, but he was content to get back on track, doing what he did best, handling a lot of money. And it was a rare pleasure to see the prim and pompous Celia wallow in her own bile... he just needed a good bucket of popcorn to complete the show.
Janet raised an eyebrow. “Actually, he told me to remind you of a paleontological expedition... I don’t know what he meant, to be honest.”
Thomas swallowed. Celia had a fleeting but very clear vision of Martin Foster, who snarled his threats like a wild animal lusting for blood. The woman hesitated.
“...Then he told me that at best you would be imprisoned for the next three hundred years, for your previous embezzlement and involvement in animal abuse... Which brings me to the third incentive for talking you out of your refusal.” Janet turned her head toward the kitchen. “Ivan?” she called.
The Milton siblings suddenly had a bad feeling.
A dog emerged from the kitchen, a male Doberman with perfect, shiny fur, eyes like two pieces of coal. From a blood red collar hung a medallion with the symbol of the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones. Although he was not growling or anything, his posture suggested an imminent danger, it was as if he were waiting for the slightest excuse to devour their entrails. He stared at the two Miltons with the calmness of a killer; it could not be described any other way.
Celia felt it. Thomas wanted to run far, far away.
The dog moved to stand beside Janet. She gave him a rub behind the ears. “This is Sergeant Ivan Danko. Call him any of said names, he’ll be here right away. I personally raised and trained him during my years at the K-9 Police Academy.”
“You a cop?” Asked Thomas.
Janet nodded. “Not anymore. Me and Ivan, we were on patrol for six years before being expelled for, let’s call it, over-zealousness. For some reason this guy we had arrested, charged with serious mistreatment toward his cats, didn’t reach the Station in one piece.” She shook her head. “The poor thing, he was too scared to tell anyone who had hurt him.” and again stroked Danko. “In the end, the force gave us the sack, and I got a hold of Ivan. I did the private detective work for a while, and that was how I met Martin, while he was investigating the staff of the shelter. When Ivan met him, well, it was the first time I saw this lug to go belly up for a rub by someone who wasn’t me.
Martin, Ivan and I talked for a bit about things, including you two. He told me how he wanted to use you and offered me the position of your supervisor, and so here we are! What luck, that I was the first in my information science night classes, eh?” she said matter-of-factly.
“Don’t tell me,” said Thomas.
Celia took a chair and sat down, resting her elbows on the table. “So, you’ll sic your mutt on us if we don’t play by the rules?”
“Well, Martin suggested something a tad more creative, truth be told.” Janet took an apple from the bowl of fake marble fruit that decorated the table. “He told me to tell you,” she said, showing the two Milton, “‘This is your head’. Ivan? Bite.” She threw the fruit to the Doberman.
The dog grabbed the marble apple with his teeth in mid-air, or rather, with a single bite pulverized the object in an explosion of dust and debris. Danko then wiped his mouth with his arm and spat out the last of the fragments.
Janet bent over to kiss him on the nose. “You were great as always, darling. Well,” she added, turning to the two Miltons, “I hope you understand...”
Celia was unconscious, lying on the table. Thomas was in a coma on the sofa.
“Yes, I think they understood.”
“What did you say your name was?” asked Martin Foster, without looking up from the mountain of paperwork. Poor King, who was moving items between indexes, was loaded like a mule.
The woman was standing across the desk wearing a long dress with a flower motif. She wore her black hair long and was bespectacled with a pair of circular, wide-rimmed glasses. “My name is Evelyn Sunman, Mr. Foster.”
“Miss Sunman, eh? I understand that you are a bit of ‘the good conscience’ of this place.”
The woman nodded, a sad smile on her face.
“Please, sit down, we’re not in a barracks, from now on.”
“Thank you, Mr.—”
“Call me Martin. First names and all that stuff.”
The woman nodded. This man made her feel so comfortable, however... “I beg your pardon, but my mother did not raise me to be so informal with my superiors. As I said before, yes, I am one of the few volunteers who worked for the shelter before they turned it into a horrible place. I have seen a lot of poor souls come and go, and too many of them are... Well, you know that, I guess.”
“Municipal Law 223/71,” started Martin, suddenly cold, “if a shelter animal does not find accommodations within one year of its accession to that shelter, or if during its stay it proves to be the bearer of any seriously incapacitating illness, or its social dangerousness is established to be beyond any reasonable attempt of therapy, that animal will be suppressed by means of lethal injection and the remains cremated on site.” He stopped to browse the documents. A dead silence hovered about the room. “This is the law, Miss Sunman, and judging by how they treated the animals in here, I do not think an effort of imagination is needed to deduce that for too long, too many have died prematurely because of negligence. And that is why from now things will be different, and why I sent for you.” He stood up. “If you will be my guide?”
Evelyn stood up. “Sure.” Then she looked at King. “Is this your dog? He’s so adorable.”
For some time now the corgi had been told he had a ‘ladykiller’ face, but it still embarrassed him enough to make him blush. He accepted, however, the caress the woman gave him. Instinctively, he found her very nice.
“No, he belongs to someone else. He wanted to accompany me, ah... Miss Sunman... “
“His name is King. And I consider him my trusty right hand. Should I not be available for some reason, talk to him as you would with me, okay?”
The woman nodded. “No problem.”
“Excellent. You have a natural rapport with animals.”
“Otherwise, I could not have come here every day for thirty years, Mr. Foster. This is a job for those who love them.”
If a man had been able to wag... “Just what I wanted to hear. Let’s start with the veterinary clinic, then.”

“Is this some kind of joke?” said King.
If there was anything aseptic in that place, only Indiana Jones could find it. Under layers of rust, paint flakes deposited on the floor like some coal seam, and stains that were better left unanalyzed. The tools were better kept, but King would have chosen to work solely with flint and fire rather than be touched by that stuff. “But has anyone ever come out alive from here?”
“The doctor works miracles with what he has, King,” replied Evelyn. “If he had what he needed...”
The vet was a man of about sixty, thin, graying hair and black goatee. Ignoring King, he reached out to Martin. “Mr. Foster.”
Martin bit his tongue. Better get used to being the chief and to be treated with due deference... “Dr. Mordecai Stanwick, right?” A talented doctor, who had worked on military dogs in several international theaters. Before losing his partner and plunging into a severe depression. When he was discharged, he was no longer Uncle Sam’s material, and did not have enough money, ending up working for the shelter, at least trying to do something good in that pit of pain. A dedicated man, as was Evelyn, as was Martin.
“Right,” replied the vet vigorously shaking hands with the new boss. “They told me that perhaps, thanks to you, I’ll get some new plates for X-ray.”
Martin looked around. That closet smelled much like some of the hotel rooms he had ‘stayed’ in when he had barely the money for a sandwich a day... “New plates, CAT, PET scan, EEG, EKG, crash cart... By 17:00 I want a complete and detailed list of what you need, doc, including support staff. Don’t you dare limit your fantasies. And do not worry about room. If there’s not enough, I will build it. One month and we’ll be ready to start again. Questions?
“Can I marry you?”
“I’m married to my pets already. As soon as possible, I’ll introduce them to you. Now excuse me, I must see the rest of this rat hole. It’s been a pleasure, doc. And for anything you needed, ask Ms. Sunman or King.” He pointed to the dog, as they left. “See you soon.”

They then went to the mess hall. King turned green and almost retched. It was not possible, not even a very hungry raccoon could have managed eat something that smelled that bad! Was this a shelter or a lager!?
“You get used to it, unfortunately,” Evelyn said apologetically. “And the guests here are so hungry, that...”
“You must not apologize, Miss Sunman.”
“Whenever I can, I use my money to buy some canned food. You should see how they love it.” At that thought, a smile flashed across his face.
“I will refund these expenses, of course.”
“No need, really, I did it willingly.”
“I believe you. And I think that such devotion deserves recognition. Do fifty thousand dollars and a job as personal assistant sit well enough? You’ll also have overtime and a dental insurance plan. There is much to be done, and overseeing the work will… Miss Sunman?”
The woman was standing in the doorway, stunned, her notepad in one hand and the pen that threatened to fall in the other. “Geeee...”
“Certain news should be given out a little bit at a time, boss,” said King.
Evelyn recovered instantly. She looked twenty years younger and had a puppy-like look of adoration as she followed Martin in this new inspection.
“Yo! Who’s the chef?” The man said in one of his outbursts of joy.
Someone of uncertain age came forward. He too looked like he wanted to be elsewhere. He was unloading a pallet of boxes of canned dog food of an unknown brand, written in Cyrillic. The Cyrillic alphabet was predominant in the shelter’s pantry, and King, during his time with the ASPCA and then with PETA, knew what that meant. “Bribes,” he whispered. He pulled Martin by his pants. “Boss, all this stuff comes from East of the Volga. Given the stench, I’ll bet that the ingredients are as old as the Great Patriotic War.”
“You wanted to talk?” Said the chef, putting down the package. He was thin, but his spoke of someone accustomed to fighting. And his eyes had the same arrogant look of Mac, the attendant…
“Yes. Just a moment. Miss Sunman, if I were to ask an opinion about this fine young man..? “
“Fire him,” was the dry response.
“Ditto,” added King.
“Hey,” said the chef. “You two effing...” he found himself staring at Martin’s admonishing finger.
“Ah-ah, vox populi and all that stuff. Get your rags and shove off, bub, I don’t have all day.”
The former chef was about to say something when he got a good look into the eyes of Martin Foster. He had enough fear to keep quiet. Muttering an oath, he left stomping.
“That ‘boy’ had been recommended by the… ‘food’ providers themselves,” said Evelyn. “Mr. Foster, I anticipate that we may have problems in the near future.”
“I know. I recognized the tattoo, a similar one was on the arm of a rogue who did the rounds with me in a restaurant where I worked.” Martin’s eyes narrowed. “You know why I asked you if we should’ve kept that guy around, Miss Sunman?”
“To see if I would hesitate. If I was afraid. “
The man nodded. “And you did not. You are the right person for this place. But now we need a new chef and supervisor for the produce. Recommendations?”
Evelyn pointed to a boy. He was twenty years old, plump, with reddish hair, and a freckled face. To Martin, he looked like a mouse committed to finding a hole to hide. “Well, young man,” he said, hand outstretched as he approached the ‘mouse’. “You have a name, or should I guess?”
“I– my name is Liam, sir. Very... very pleased.”
“A true Irish name. Right, Liam? I am Martin Foster.”
“Right, sir, ah, Foster. Do you want to promote me?”
“With all the honors. What do you do in life, outside this place?”
“I study, sir. Here, I make some cash, it helps me, and then I can be close to animals.” He blushed and seemed to sprout new freckles on his face.
Martin showed off all his magical charm. “You make me remember my old self. Well then, son of the green island, if you feel like taking any responsibility as a man, earning a regular salary and everything else, then you can choose every single morsel for our beloved guests, and don’t be afraid to hand me the bill. Okay?” He held out his hand again.
Liam’s face almost lit on fire, and he shook with a force he didn’t expect to have. “Okay, yes, sir! Thank you, sir! “
“Excellent! Your first task is to run to the phone and order some serious stuff instead of this unholy slop. Get whatever is best and ready to be served for lunch. And make no mistake: I want meat, pasta, vegetables, and fruits, finest quality. The best-brand dry and canned food I want made available for emergencies. All clear? Oh, and also take a lot of Febreeze, by tonight, this smell of morgue must disappear as well. “

The trio came out while Liam was talking on the phone as if he were the boss.
“How much money you have, exactly?” Asked Evelyn, who was taking notes like a typewriter. “I don’t want to pry, boss, but this is becoming a very expensive business.”
“$400 million after taxes,” was the answer, given as if he had just given his name. “That should be enough for this place, but I also want to be sure it will multiply quickly, even with the help of those two wretched Miltons.”
Evelyn was flabbergasted. “You won the Powerball? The mysterious ‘lucky charm’ winner? The man everyone has been looking for since last year!?”
Martin took off an imaginary hat. “Present and guilty as charged.”
“And with all that money, you decided to come here to improve the lives of these...” The poor woman was almost crying. “I love you.”
“We will have plenty of time to devote to perdition, then,” he said. “For example, how are things on the informatics side? Internet, computers, things like that? “
“What we have in your office is all there is.”
“Then take notes for a stock of the following materials.” And he listed enough material to make a Wi-Fi haven out of the shelter.” And I want iPads for animals, at least they’ll have something to distract themselves with, while we arrange for new housing. Do you know one or two good builders ready to respond immediately to a call?”
“With the crisis biting as hard as it is? They’ll line up. Many workers and artisans here in the Gardens will jump at the chance.”
Yes, including a certain owner of Sasha... “Excellent. Contact them, but, first find me an architect. I made some sketches from the last time I was here, and I added a list of facilities for the new housing, and I want an architect to take a look. Give him this.” Martin took a flash drive from his coat and handed it to his secretary. “I want a viable project in a week at most. When we get the green light, I want it all done in a month, sharp. My lawyer, whose number is on the drive, should have prepared a draft contract. There are extremely strict clauses, to be sure the deadlines are respected to the second and the work carried out to perfection. Before the summer holiday, this place must be able to accommodate those animals who will inevitably be abandoned. You are fully delegated, and King will bite their butts for you if necessary. Anyone who steps out of line will pay dearly. All clear? “
“I’ll get on the phone immediately, boss!” Evelyn never felt so charged up since she was a cheerleader. The man was… contagious.
Martin nodded. “Excellent. And now... Let’s talk to the dearest ones concerned. “
“Why did you continue to let everyone think that you and Squeak..?” Grape asked.
The cat, Peanut, Max and Joey were lying on the lawn, under the shade of a large tree. Around them, dogs and cats were playing in a strange spectacle that for once did not see them competing in the name of their respective species.
Joey had chosen the name well, ‘Friendship Party’. The atmosphere was so serene...
“I don’t know,” replied the dog with the spotted left eye. “Or rather, I didn’t know how to set a date with a cat. I could never find the right words, I never had the courage, and I couldn’t even make a few comments without being laughed at. If it were not for my family’s reputation *sigh*... I met Squeak by chance during a Yarn Ball, and soon we became friends. Then the rumors started spreading, and no one thought of my attraction toward cats. I was officially ‘the weirdo’. I imagine I was always too afraid to tell the truth, so I let the others talk. After all, as Fido’s brother, no one would touch me. And on some occasions Bino has protected me as well.”
Three pairs of eyes stared in disbelief at the big puppy. “BINO?” They said in unison.
“What?” Said Joey quite naturally. “He’s still my brother, right?”
“I’d say that Cain would be afraid to be his brother,” Max said, “You’re making fun of us, mutt: Bino nurtures only one feeling, self-centeredness.”
“I’m serious. Sure, he can be... difficult, if you will, and sometimes he’s downright mean. But he has always treated me well. He teases me about my tendencies, but he always makes sure that no one would dare to harm me. I think he just needs to be understood, sometimes. I think that’s why Sasha is so attached to him: Although she flirted shamelessly with poor Fido, in the end her heart is truly with Bino.”
“I live with him,” said Max, already going into mocking mode, “and I can assure you that... that...”
You know those moments when you awaken from a long dream? The reality stands right before your eyes, but you can’t put it in focus... Maxwell felt exactly that way.
They were talking about Bino.
Bino, for goodness sake! The very Bino who had tormented Peanut with his ‘The Game’. Bino, who had given King an explosive catnip package for Christmas! Bino, who would not hesitate to ruin his own brother’s career if he came to know of his relationship with the cat Sabrina (and it was the reason why the two of them had not come to the picnic, today).
Max twitched his tail nervously. When he and Bino interacted, in the best case it ended with a ritual exchange of insults. Usually they tried to avoid each other altogether. Their room had been divided in two, and both did very well despite the smaller space.
Max frowned. What did Bino do when nobody was looking? His room was secured, and Dad made no mention of its contents.
Everyone knew him as the neighborhood dogs’ ringleader, the founder of the Good Ol’ Dogs Club, the satanic planner... And that was all.
Max leaned on his arms, staring at Joey with astonishment. “Joey, for how much I, and not only me, believe that your brother is radioactive... What do you mean by ‘he needs to be understood’?”
Joey shrugged. “I don’t know. But I do know that all we see is a very, very thick shell.”
Thick and hot as the walls of Dite! Grape thought. Whatever problem afflicted Bino, he didn’t want to be understood. He was the classic example of how misery seeks company. And even if he needed to be understood, the process could drag you into that septic tank that was his heart... “When you think he needs help,” said the cat, staring at the blue sky through the leaves, “Give me a whistle, so I know when to keep myself away from trouble.”
“You are cruel,” said Joey.
“I may eventually apologize, but I have yet to discover what he is holding in store for me and Peanut. I’m pretty sure he’ll make us pay dearly for this. We have broken the ‘sacred rules’,” she waved her finger, “And we must be puuuuniiiished.”
Listening to her, Peanut wagged his tail slightly. It was nice that she finally was getting into the swing of things…
Even his sincere admiration for Joey was growing by the moment. That boy was more sharp and sensible than anyone had thought. He had to help him find a girlfriend, yes...
That was the number of survivors, because there was no other term to define them, housed in that ‘shelter’.
Fifty-four dogs and cats of various ages and breeds. They were there in the loading and unloading yard, a thick concrete wall between them and freedom, which at that point, with all its risks, would be far more welcoming than staying in there another minute longer.
King felt all the tension that radiated from those creatures. Bombs ready to explode, a resentment accumulated over time until it felt like a physical presence... Maybe just a curiosity for the unexpected news had prevented them from exploding right there, right now...
Martin Foster was standing in front of the crowd, hands clasped behind his back. He had a deadpan look, as he examined his guests one by one. Without a word, he walked toward them until he was just a few steps away.
Then he fell to his knees. Not just knelt, but let go completely until falling into a prostrate position, staring at the floor, his voice full of pain. The animals stared at him, divided between curiosity and stupor.
“I wish I could apologize for what has been done to you,” he said without raising his head, “but what words can ever describe the shame without sounding hypocritical? This place was designed to be a haven, a place of peace in your misfortunes, a step towards a new life, and instead became a hellish garden planted with the seeds of hate and watered with blood. Your blood and that of the hundreds of innocents who never left.” Martin barely lifted his head. His eyes were filled with tears and immensely sad. He closed them for a moment before continuing. “You have no reason to trust my words, my promises, anything. You just want to get out of this place, and I will commit myself fully to that end, but it’s not enough. Not enough for me, and can’t be enough for you. I know what it means when an animal ends up in the wrong family, and I swore to myself that I would make sure it would not happen again.
“I can’t save the world, but I can save you. And if you don’t believe this promise of mine, the promise that you shall never again know pain and hunger, the promise that every single one of you will end up in a caring family... Then I ask you to make a last effort, look within yourself and believe in hope.
“I called the workers. The first thing to be destroyed of this unholy place shall be the crematorium. You no longer need to know that fear. That fear that I saw in Ghost and Angel, whom some of you know, two creatures who like you were lost in their own lives, and who now are the lights of my life.
“I ask you to hope. Not to believe in a human being, but in the fate that can watch favorably over you after these terrible trials. I... I will do what is my desire and duty to do, whatever the cost, not to obey an ethical principle or law but to respect a pact that too many times has been violated at your expense. You do not deserve any of this...” His eyes went to the barracks, then back to the animals.
Martin seemed to regain himself. “Nobody deserves it. That’s why I took over the shelter, made it my personal property, disengaged it from a series of obligations of the law. As I speak, my attorney is registering a list of temporary adoptions for all of you, just like for all animals that will be here after you. Thus, exploiting this loophole, I can ignore the one-year stay requirement. And if that means some of you will grow old in this place, so be it, but not a drop of your blood will be shed in the name of bureaucracy.
“Your lives will change in here, for the better. In a few days, rebuilding shall start. No more cages, no more cells, no more lager. You will have to endure one last month of discomfort, for which I deeply regret, but I will give you a place to live and will endeavor myself and my new team to find the best possible accommodations for you.
“Although you are officially shelter guests, you will live like any other pet. The family that you will end up with will have a creature that has already become reaccustomed to a life he thought he had lost forever. You will have real food, medical treatment, games, everything. A month of patience is all I ask. In return...” At that moment, a truck displaying the brand of the most luxurious pet food franchise entered the yard. In that moment, the guests of the shelter began actually to hope, and many tails started wagging in a frenzy.
“In return,” said Martin, while Liam went to meet the truck, “let me give you the first test of goodwill through what you will be receiving from now on. Hunger will be the first enemy to be defeated today, you’ll never have to worry about food or its quality. I gave the assignment to Dr. Stanwick to stock a wide supply of medicines and vaccines that will serve as the most immediate care. At night some of you will have electric blankets and anything that will make this last month of discomfort as cozy as possible. After... After that, you’ll be all right...” Suddenly, tears began to flow from the eyes of Martin. “You’ll be all right. I swear that no one will ever hurt you. Never... again...” He lowered his head again, the tears flowed in large drops onto the warm concrete. “Never again...” his voice was reduced to a hissing, teeth clenched. Nobody heard him say in a faint voice, “Helias, forgive me...”
It was then that Evelyn witnessed an extraordinary event in its own way.
The dog, a black and white-furred male Alaskan Malamute, one blue eye and one brown, had been hosted for a while now, and had never socialized with anyone. He did not speak, did not utter a word, nor whined in his sleep, as if he was afraid even to dream. He was always standing apart, never aggressive, never open to those people who wanted to adopt him, managing to discourage them with a wall of impenetrable silence. Mac, witty as ever, had called him ‘Silent Bob’, and the name had caught on. When the dog responded to something, it was just the survival instinct that drove him to the bowl, and he never complained about that filthy mash...
Silent Bob had approached Martin Foster and hugged him! He squeezed hard, his muzzle sank against the trembling shoulders.
Without stopping from crying, Martin returned the hug, and soon almost all animals rushed to comfort him. Them, comforting him.
“Did I already say that this man is wonderful?” said Evelyn, herself struggling to hold back her tears.
King nodded. “Oh, I know, believe me. I know.”
The corgi made a mental note to thank Pete for allowing him to join him in that job...

Season I
Episode 1

Author:  valerio [ Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

And a BIIIIIIG THANK YOU to Zeek for his very precious work on these translations!
*purrs* for Zeek! :D :D :D :D :D :D

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Man, I love your ficcies, Val!

Author:  valerio [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Tha Housedog Wrote:
Man, I love your ficcies, Val!

And I love you for loving mah work! :D
And so MUCH more is coming... ;)

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

valerio Wrote:
Tha Housedog Wrote:
Man, I love your ficcies, Val!

And I love you for loving mah work! :D
And so MUCH more is coming... ;)

Edit: Man, I should have taken Italian in high school instead of Spanish :x

Author:  valerio [ Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Annnd episode 1 is complete thank to the collaboration of THAHOUSEDOG anf LIGHTWOLF21. YAYZ! :D :D :D :D

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Yeah! Put 'er there, Light!
*Holds out hand*

Author:  lightwolf21 [ Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Tha Housedog Wrote:
Yeah! Put 'er there, Light!
*Holds out hand*
Wolves don't 'shake.' :|

Nah, I'm only kiddin'. *Takes hand and gives it a good shake.*

Author:  valerio [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Season I
Episode 2 - An Ordinary Day

“Tell me that we’re not really doing this, please!” Pleaded Grape Jelly, simultaneously excited and terrified.
“You can always withdraw at anytime, chicken,” said Max, showing his famous Cheshire Cat grin. His tail shook with excitement.
Grape blushed. “Chicken? You think I lack the guts to play along with you? You don’t know me very well, Maxwell!”
It was his turn to feel uncomfortable. “You know what I think about using my full name.”
“Oh-ho,” she mocked him. “Little Maxie’s afraid that Daddy will discover who is misbehaving, eh?” In fact, the human called the cat by his full name only when he was really angry with him, which seemed to happen a bit too often. Moreover, this black cat loved trouble like a plant loved the sun. Doing misdeeds recharged him. Like now: dangerous game, mucho adrenaline.
Max approached the door stealthily as if any moment it could open and reveal the room’s angry resident. He tried the knob, quickly testing the lock. Closed, as always. “Looks like it’s your turn, sweetie.”
Grape approached quickly. She had been in the house before, especially during the times she devoted to that absurd game of ‘mock dating’ with Max. Yet, she realized that she had never been in Bino’s room. Assuming she could do ‘her part’ now. At home, she had opened many locks, it was a kind of innate talent. She had seen them do that in many detective shows, surprised that it would take so little! Since then, her occasional ‘nomming frenzies’ were no longer a problem. She had always been very careful not to be discovered, she wouldn’t do anything to upset Dad and Mom, but that hunger did not stem from her desire to break some diet. Sometimes, simply, a perverse mechanism of her memory brought her back to those sad stray days, when she had to literally fight for a bit of trash. She didn’t want to anguish her parents talking about it, but she had to sate her hunger, period. She had only a snack, nothing more, just the toll to the monsters of memories.
What she was doing now was a bit more dangerous, and that made her feel so mindlessly excited! Peanut Butter might be her boyfriend (her wonderful boyfriend), but it was Max that came up with the more thrilling plans.
Everything was born from Joey’s speculations, the day before, during the first picnic devoted to mixed dog/cat couples. Beyond the fact that Joey and his friend (just friend)Squeak the mouse had proven a source of unexpected surprises in terms of perceptivity and sensitivity, they were right about one thing: no one knew how Bino was, in his private life!
Everyone knew his public image: ringleader, jealous (at a pathological level) of his own brother Fido, arrogant, peevish, egomaniac.
His private image was a mystery, period. The truth was, too, that nobody really wanted to know Bino. In the absence of Fido, he was holding together the large dog community of Babylon Gardens, and that seemed to be enough. Despite his negative qualities, he was a natural born organizer. Fido was more the kind of dog to throw himself into the flames to save someone, while Bino was the type to set up volunteer squads to extinguish the flames.
The more Grape thought about it, the more she... remained fascinated. Fido and Bino were complementary. Perhaps, was that why Bino played the hateful type? Because he was not charming and smexy as Fido (clean thoughts Grape!), because Fido had all the attentions from the Gardens’ canine ladies, and Bino got the crumbs, make that one crumb, Sasha?
Sasha was a genius ditz, you never knew what was going through her head, and it did not help that she was tragically sincere about her intentions with Fido.
Joey had said, ‘Try to understand him...’
And there she was, in fact, with a white plastic card, her thoughts in turmoil, ready to violate the privacy of the last of the dogs to whom she would have given her help. Max took it as a good opportunity to annoy his housemate. Grape... Well, suddenly it did not seem quite so funny.
Are you sorry for Bino? The thought jolted her, but did not prevent her from inserting the card in the door jamb, and simultaneously turn the knob handle... Aha!
With a gentle click, the door opened. Two cat heads leaned in cautiously. “But,” said Max
‘Babylon Gardens Animal Shelter’, read the sign of a shelter that was better described as a lager rather than a place to help the strays and the abandoned.
Well, things were about to change. Indeed, the change had begun already. Starting with the removal of that old, rusty cartel.
The shelter had been invaded by the first working crews. A swarm of men in the east wing of the complex was setting the explosives charges inside a red brick building that sported a tall chimney blackened by years of soot and ashes... The ashes of those ones too unfortunate to find a family, the last insult to an already troubled existence.

Martin Foster had made it clear. The winner of the highest Powerball ever, the new owner of the future Lucky Charm Grove wanted it finished at a grueling pace, and was willing to spend any amount to transform the old, sad lager into a veritable second house for the unfortunates.
Starting with the destruction of the accursed crematorium. The law required that after a year of residence, to prevent overcrowding, with related problems and costs, the ‘hosted’ animals were to be killed and cremated. They were treated as public property, and public administration is not spending too much on those innocent lives.
Martin had found a way to circumvent the law, hoping that other private millionaires would follow his example: buy and completely privatize the formerly public shelter. He appointed himself custodian of every single soul housed there, and now he was their master, and could ignore hospitality term limits, while he was busy finding a new family for these creatures. And should he not succeed for some of them, oh what a shame that someone might grow old at the shelter, in peace, nurtured and cared for until the natural end of their lives. A tragedy, ladies and gentlemen!
Observing the men at work, Martin thought that it was somehow a shame not to exploit that space, but what the heck, he had bought the entire lot of land around the shelter just to bring it to a second life! He could sacrifice those two hundred square meters. There he would raise a monument as a testimony to those days that could never return.
Martin turned towards the area where the barracks stood. Although there was strict schedule to restructuring, it was for the best. It would be better for it to be functional during the warm season, without jeopardizing the health of the animals. Miss Sunman, his faithful assistant, was running, with German preciseness, the reshipping of the animals into vehicles which, in turn, would take them to the new structure erected the night before, far enough away from the construction site and noise. The woman’s recommendations on the construction companies had proved well founded: Two had responded to his calls almost instantly, and with the money Martin was paying and the economic crisis that was biting too many butts, a small army had moved within the first twelve hours.
Martin allowed himself one last look at the already empty cages. Those would come down right after that accursed oven. He would have personally driven the bulldozer to do the sweeping, except that he did not want to waste the workers’ time...
“So, Mr. Goldman, how is it?” He said, returning to contemplate the laying of the explosives, as if to hasten the work just by looking at it.
The man beside him, the forty-five year young owner of the best known architecture firm in the Gardens, promising housing genius, nodded with satisfaction.” I have seen your sketches, Mr. Foster. Formidable, give me five days...”
“Three,” came the icy reply. “Use all of your staff, work as much overtime and as many shifts as humanly possible, but give me the completed plans in three days. You must start work Monday. Exactly one month later, it will be finished. Mobilize every construction company there is in the county, if necessary, steal the personnel serving at competing firms, but make this miracle happen, architect. If not, tell me now, and I will immediately send for another.”
Abraham Goldman nearly had a heart attack at the prospect of losing such a customer. “I swear that your deadlines will be met to the second, Mr. Foster! I just wanted to... ah, compliment you for these basic ideas. Have you studied architecture, by chance?”
“No. I just used a freeware tool for amateur architects with preloaded models.”
“I understand. However, I was saying... A helicopter pad?” he was going to say ‘don’t you think it’s a bit over-the-top?’ , but Martin Foster looked him in the eyes, and Abraham turned pale. For a moment he was sure he would die.
“If I had a belief in religion,” Martin said, “I would say that we are all children of God. But being agnostic, I’ll only say that they hold intelligence, heart, feelings, and that they speak and relate with us every single day. And I shall not deny them any form of aid, including air transportation, if this will help save one single life. So that heliport, make sure that a Mil-MI-26T can land smoothly with room to spare, okay?”
“I will,” squeaked the architect.
At that moment, the owner of the shelter’s phone rang. Martin touched the Bluetooth headset. “Hey, look who Johnny Walker brought in! What can I do for you?”
“It’s about Roger,” replied a male voice
“That’s what I figured.” Martin motioned the architect to leave. Abraham was happy to take this opportunity.
Left alone with his interlocutor, Martin said, lowering his voice, “Tell me that you have good news, old man.”
“Yes and no. He came, introduced himself and recited his part by the book... A ruse, my friend: that guy’s entered and left programs like this many times, he learned how to manipulate people just to get to the next bottle. He’s clever, but he can’t fool this old horse. I’m sorry.”
Martin rubbed his temples with his hand. He was sorry himself, for more than one reason: he had misjudged him, and it annoyed him. Worse, this meant that Sasha, Roger’s dog, was in even more danger. She was already exposed to a traumatic environment, and Martin had a personal mission to keep her away from that crook… “Jack, do you think you’ll see him again?”
“Only a few days, just long enough to get the certificate. Then he’ll go back to the bottles. I know how it goes. I cannot compromise myself anymore, otherwise the club will be endangered.” Confidence was the strongest link in any Alcoholics Anonymous circle. If someone like Jack, who was sober for the longest time, was found to pass confidential information to a stranger, no matter how much they were friends, the confidence of the other participants would disappear...
“Then I won’t bother you anymore. Do what you are doing, Jack, and maybe God really does exist and will send us a miracle and the guy changes his mind at the last minute. Keep me informed in case he leaves, I’ll take care of the rest. I owe you big time, chief.” Martin hung up. He sighed. Unfortunately, he could do nothing but wait for the news. Worst case, Roger would discover that it was not smart to lie to Mr. Martin Foster, oh nossir! Not when it came to animals!
“Who do you want to beat up this time?” Asked a familiar voice. Martin turned. “Oh, King. Hello little guy.” He bent down to rub his knuckle inside one of the small corgi’s big triangular ears.
King never failed to feel ecstatic from that contact. Pete had done a good job, turning him from human into a dog, providing him with just the right sensitive spots. And though it was odd that Martin was the brother of the man King was now, he knew how to cuddle..! “Your fist was shaking that way,” said King.
Martin nodded. “Sasha’s Dad. Looks like I’ll have to have a serious talk with him. Excuse me...” The man took the phone and pressed the speed dial button.
Antares and Aldebaran.
Embodiments of canine perfection. A new breed, Ukrainian, designed for military operations in the mountains and extreme theaters. A breeder was called such only by providing the finest war machines destined to protect their soldier partners.
The two puppy twins were to be discarded for their too playful nature… where ‘discarded’ meant killed.
Martin raised the seas and mountains, commuted between two continents, but he managed to take them with him. And within a year, they had grown enough to outsize a Newfoundland. Grape had said once that they were not dogs, they were mountains.
And they were happy and playful just as any puppy was. They were romping along with Sasha, in the park of Foster Mansion, when a buzz from the collar of Antares interrupted his game. Immediately the dog stood up, took a small headset connected with a cable to his collar and placed it in his ear. “Hello Daddy!” he barked happily.
Sasha, who apparently, against the laws on tonnage and size, was keeping Aldebaran firmly on the ground, ran excitedly to meet with Antares. At the sight of the headset and cable, her candy-colored eyes became all bright. “Oooh, cool! A microphone like in the superspy movies! Hello Uncle Martin” she barked in the Ukrainian’s ear.
Antares tried in vain to avert the furry pogo stick. “Dad says hi, Sasha. Tell me, Daddy, yes ..?” He listened for a moment, then nodded. “Of course! Now? Lunch? Okay, we’ll be waiting for you! Kisses.” He took off the headset, the cable self-rewinding into the collar. Then, to Sasha he said, “Dad wants to know if you want to stay today and tonight too with us. Pizza for lunch! He has already asked your Dad and he says it’s fine.”
Sasha wagged her tail frantically. “Beautiful! Can I invite someone? Maybe Tiger, he loves pizza, and then...”
Martin put the phone in his pocket. “I don’t think Roger will give us any problems, since he thinks he can manipulate me at will. He really loves the bottle, and I am the tap that fills it. I’ll make sure someone keeps an eye on him, while I arrange an appeal to relieve him of parental authority.”
“Is there is no other way? To save time, I mean.”
Martin shook his head, his expression still dark. “I have to do it by the law. I could smash his face, but only against a clear and present danger to Sasha. Right now… it’s just a difficult situation.” A situation that the female dog was not reporting, a perfect case of denial in front of repeated abuses. Just like a long-abused wife that, despite the evidence, keeps seeing the violent husband as the center of her life. With a dog and its natural affection toward its master, it was even worse...
“Mr. Foster?” Said the foreman, approaching as he carried a black box with a keyboard protected by an orange cover. “We are ready, sir.”
Martin took the box. With two movements, he first drew out a telescopic antenna, then lifted the lid that protected the only button. He pointed the detonator toward the crematorium. “Look well, King. Thus dies a nightmare,” and he pressed the button.
In a single second, a single explosion turned the building and the chimney into a cascade of bricks and dust. Martin looked satisfied. “Good job. Now we begin to clear the rest. By tonight I want to see that pile of rubble out of this place. Miss Sunman?”
The woman at that moment was closing the door of the last van with cages. Hearing the call, she turned around. “Yes, boss?!”
“Wait just a second,” said the man approaching, closely followed by King. Martin leaned inside the van, where there was an assortment of dogs and cats. “Did you see?” He asked them.
A chorus of nodding heads replied. “Thank you, sir,” said a cat, a gray tabby, visibly pregnant. “Thank you so much.” Then also the others murmured their own thanks to their benefactor.
He would have gladly climbed aboard to give a cuddle to everyone, but time was a tyrant..! “You will find everything ready for you, including a decent meal. Forty days tops, and you’ll see your new home. Now take care, I’ll come visit you later.”
“YAY!” The animals said, in chorus, before the door was closed. Theoretically, they could travel comfortably seated as any human being, but the Law was adamant: The wards of any shelter were to be transferred in cages.
The driver went slowly, to allow the animals to see through the large door windows, as the bulldozers led the last charge against the old shelter…

Author:  Private Elliot [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I would read the update, but wall of text... aggh....
hard as heck to read.

Author:  valerio [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

“This is retro heaven,” Max said, entering the room of his housemate. He was genuinely impressed.
Grape shared that feeling. She had expected a punk warehouse with swastikas, black candles, SS skulls, books praising social anarchy, and other similar amenities.
Instead, Bino owned things that theoretically should not even exist. The room was perfectly tidy, a single window filling it with sunlight, allowing those who came to embrace in one glance the collection of VHS tapes, small ‘pulp’ volumes of the “Weird Tales” series, 33s and 45s vinyls, cassettes, a cabinet that housed a perfect Hi-Fi Pioneer, a Sony Walkman, Bruce Lee movies posters, and above all, in perfect view over the desk where an old CRT PC was standing... “I don’t believe it,” said Grape. But was it really Bino’s room? Or was Max pulling her leash, really hard?
“Neither do I,” said Max, ecstatic, moving a finger along the ribs of the LPs. “Led Zeppelin... Cat Stevens... Kool & The Gang...” His head was spinning. “I’ll bet that he leant this stuff to Martin for last Sunday’s party.”
“I meant the poster, wise guy!” Snapped Grape, indicating the object in question with her arms. “Look!”
Max turned his eyes... and his eyes became pinhole-sized.” I don’t believe it.”
The poster displayed a dog and a cat, or rather their busts. The dog was a German shepherd, and the feline a red striped tabby. The dog showed a shoulder holster, the cat had a trodden gray fedora on his head. The background was blue, and orange lines gave the idea of a moving black silhouette of a convertible. The title that stood out in white, wide and soft characters, read ‘DOC and SMITH - The eyes of the law!’
Max was delighted.” I would stay up late just to see the reruns on Fox Retro! I couldn’t believe there was anything like that, back then!”
Grape nodded wildly. She and Peanut also had not missed an episode. In a sense, what was their first ‘grownup’ show. Doc and Smith, cat and dog, mind and arm, the faithful attendants and real solvers of the cases of a clumsy married detective couple. By the reviews on the internet, these actors caused hearts to swoon just like their colleague interpreting Petir was doing in Pridelands today.
Max immediately jumped in the desk chair and dialed at random on the keyboard, drawing a metallic-like clicking. He was showing his famous flashy grin and his neck fur was standing in excitement. Then, he suddenly regained his composure. He turned, his face concentrated and serious like the cat’s on the poster, and in a reasonable imitation of their hero’s voice, he said, “Dear Smith, the clues lead us to only one logical conclusion: the suspect is innocent, and Dad will not like it.”
“Hey!” Said Grape. “I should be Doc!” Then she made a fully indignant grimace. “And of course, you should leave the first choice to the lady.”
Max chair-wheeled back to the desk. “But you’re the one who has a doggy boyfriend, so you can better understand their point of view. And honestly, between us, I am the true genius.” He winked. “You adore me for that.”
Grape rolled her eyes upward. The friendship package included that she had to accept his endearments until he found another cat that that could fill the void in his heart. “I admit it, you’re charming. But now we should leave, I think we’ve seen enough. If we move a hair, here, Bino will be all over us with the cavalry.”
Max looked at her for a moment as if she was a curious extraterrestrial specimen. Then he touched his nose. “Ah, Grapey? Bino, dog, nose, hm? We’re already leaving a very detectable trail, or were you thinking of burning the room to hide our misdoing?”
Grape facepalmed, shaking her fist. “Geez!” She cursed. By dint of living with Peanut, love it or not, you tended to forget that doggie trait! “Great, now I know that the day will end with the biggest cathunt since last year’s Easter Egg hunt of the Good Ol’ Dogs club!”
Max shrugged. “Come on, we’ll just do the same as before, we’ll be waiting in a tree while the pups let off the steam.” He raised his eyebrows repeatedly with that coyote’s mischievous gleam.
“Don’t even think about it, Maxwell!” She warned him, using the cat’s full name to indicate that she was serious. “Strictly separated branches, be it the case.”
“Aww!” Then he shrugged. “I don’t know how I managed to get a crush on you, you always spoil all the fun. Let’s see what gruesome secrets are hidden within this box...” He looked at the white metal chassis of the IBM computer. “But where is the power button?”
“On the back,” said a voice behind them. “And it ‘contains’ nothing, since it hasn’t got a hard drive.”
A suddenly frightened cat is usually a funny show, straight hair and the rest.
Max and Grape looked like Lot’s wife in the face of divine wrath. Salt statues. Frozen. Their guts sank into their legs. Their hearts skipped two or three beats. Their eyes shrunk to pinholes. Even their souls tried to escape from their bodies.
“Bino..?” Said Max, not daring to move a finger, still looking straight ahead.
“You can live again,” said Jake’s dog, entering his room, and then closing the door behind him.
Okay, no nuclear explosion. And Bino was alone, no blood-thirsty pack. The two cats dared to breathe.
Bino sat on his bed. He sighed. “I see you like what I have, at least. I have done many jobs for Dad, to save money.”
“Ah, how long you were on the threshold?” Grape said, fearing the answer.
“Since I heard you coming inside.”
Bino pointed toward the floor. “I was on the ground floor to get the notepads that I had forgotten for today’s club meeting, when I saw you sidling upward. And I still can put two and two together.”He touched his temple.” So, what do you think of my humble nest?”
“That it’s cool,” said Max, “But how did you get all that stuff?”
Bino shrugged. “Ebay. I chose the goods and Dad ordered them for me. Then I put them in the garage and brought them to the room when you were out.”
Max remembered seeing boxes of various sizes and shapes coming and going from the garage. “You must have worked hard on this. How long have you been collecting these things?”
“Oh, some stuff comes from Dad’s old things, and Zap helped me to fix the hardware.” He slapped on the computer. “Not bad, eh? ’82 IBM PC 5150, 8088 64Kb RAM, 1x MS-DOS, and...” He went to the desk, where he took a red plastic box emblazoned with the gold IBM logo, and opened it, revealing a series of thin black plastic squares wrapped in paper. “5 ¼ inches Floppy Disk drives. With these you start the computer, and save the data. Anyone could steal them pretty easily, but I challenge anyone in all the Gardens to own a computer like this to read them. It’s better than a safe!”
Grape and Max were fascinated: that proud and happy puppy was the antithesis of the Bino they knew…
Then came the familiar Bino’s grim look. “You will not say anything about what you saw here.”
Max shook his head. “Sorry, bro, what’s to be ashamed about? Heck, you could sell tickets to visit this place! Only that poster is a rare gem.”
Bino was not infected by the outbreak of enthusiasm. “They are my things.”
“I know, but—” Max had to stop when Bino interrupted him with a snarl, his teeth bared.
“I said they’re mine! They serve to entertain me. If you would like to laugh at my expense, do not laugh at my stuff! Got it!?”
It was then that Grape gave him a slap! The blow on the dog’s cheek burst like a gunshot. One might have suspected the vinyl discs themselves had cracked.
Then long moments of pure silence followed. You could hear the dust settle. Max wanted to be on Mars, but could not take his eyes off of Grape. Her inner tiger was back, but couldn’t have she done that with a someone less... explosive?
Bino rubbed his cheek. “Get out of here,” he said.
“No,” said Grape, deadpan, yellow eyes fixed on green eyes.
“I SAID OUT OF HERE!” Bino finally exploded, throwing himself at the cat, taking her forcefully by the shoulders. “Get out! OutoutoutofMYROOM! “He was hysterical and out of control, and the first tears began to overflow. Had Peanut been here, he would have come to defend Grape and an ugly brawl would have followed.
Grape grabbed Bino’s wrists, and took them off her shoulders. Sometimes one forgot that the lavender cat was not a weak girl but a rather tough tomboy. “Forget it, Bino. We’ve gone so far, and I will not go away and let this stupid anger of yours smolder without even knowing why.” She kept speaking in that flat tone, her gaze intense. “We just saw a side of you we didn’t know of, and I’ll be damned if you don’t tell us why you’ve kept this hidden.
“And if you want me to promise something, then I promise I will keep this secret and that I shall not laugh at you. Never. And about Max: If I come to learn that he made fun of you in front of someone...” She shot a killing look at the black cat. He did not know whether to be intimidated or to feel in love. In doubt, he nodded and said, “I promise, Bino.”
Bino was panting with his tongue hanging out in a way that, in different circumstances, would have been cute to see. He sagged the moment he heard those words. He walked to his bed, and lay there, arms crossed behind his head. After a minute, he seemed to regain some control.
“Did you know that as a puppy, I really admired the character of Doc?” He chuckled.” Yeah, of course not.”
“I had plastered my bed with the stickers Dad would find for me. I also owned a model of the ‘SecurInvestigate Inc.’ car, produced by Dinky Toys. It was all made in metal, and...” Again his eyes dimmed. “They broke it.” At the questioning look of the cats, he added, “I was teased because I admired a cat, it was a violation of rules. The dogs must root for Smith, end of discussion. I was the ‘weirdo’. And they broke my car.
“Everyone would ask why the brother of a dog as cool as Fido should be so weird. Pff, the nerve! I was a puppy, I was a year and a half old, and I was Fido’s brother. It was then that I started to detest that little...” His arm muscles contracted rhythmically, while the fists behind his head closed and opened. “I was a year and a half old, and I didn’t even have the right to be myself, to be amused by something I liked. No, I was Fido’s brother. I had to be just as good, just as cool... And you know that he, with all his ‘following his own nature’ blabbering, he was a trouble-maker? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the dog that would give his life for you, even in installments, was an obnoxious bully, even more obnoxious than you, Max. But he knew how to be nice with the humans, disciplined, and everyone loved him. I was the weirdo.
“At some point, I started to work hard to... organize things. I started with small tasks, rearranging Dad’s office, finding his paperwork, and so I discovered that I had a natural talent for order. I didn’t like things out of place, be they objects or behaviors. If the others demanded of me that I act ‘dog-like’, I demanded the same, and found that the others... obeyed me. When I would give orders, I was obeyed. Maybe it was instinct, perhaps the fact that I was ‘Fido’s brother’, or both... But I didn’t care. I was the boss. I was cool.
“Shortly after we moved into our homes, we went to the Academy, but as you know I was expelled for being undisciplined. I was really competitive, just to prove I was better than Fido; I caused headaches for the instructors and fights with other students. Dad didn’t take it well, the various punishments he inflicted gave me difficult days to spend. It was at this time that Max arrived. Dad was hoping that a playmate would help me overcome some of my attitudes, but I was suffering more than before, instead.”
Max was about to say something when Grape, very discreetly, squeezed his tail like a lemon. He stifled a scream.
Bino hadn’t even noticed. “Founding the Good Ol’ Dogs Club was the best idea I ever had. It was like all the dogs of Babylon Gardens were just waiting for such an event. And it was my work. Fido was the co-founder, but it was not for him that the others kept coming. I was organizing the parties, the entertainments, drafting every record with that computer... And I was happy. Fido could have his glory, his children rescues, the cuddling. I had the largest pack in the Gardens.” Bino sighed happily, just to go back to his gloomy mood. “Then Fido was back. And I’m back to being his brother, the number two, the one who had to elbow himself among the others just to tell them ‘hello’. Since he joined the Gardens’ Police Force, I had to redouble their efforts to give a meaning to my life, and every time something happens, it’s back-to-square-one time.”
“That’s not true,” Max said “Be honest with yourself, Bino: sometimes you just played the dirtiest tricks on the others, and for no other reason that humiliating them. What had poor King done to you, to deserve that catnip bomb, the same bomb that you wanted to give to Peanut the Christmas before –Peanut, of all dogs! Had you done that today, I’d understand...”
“Maxweeell...” Grape said, with a threatening gaze.
“...But then you didn’t know, and it was a real cowardly trick. I love messing with the doggies’ minds, but at least I try to choose a target that deserves it, not that lug. And King...”
“King was a rival.”
“Pardon?” Said the cats in unison.
Bino nodded. “He had just come, and already was taking away my friend Fox. I wasn’t mad at him about ‘territory’ issues, but because he was breaking apart my circle of friends. I don’t... don’t want to lose them. And King was taking Fox away from me...” he gulped. “And now he’s going for Sasha. He plays the gentledog, building that luxury doghouse, but he wants to take her away from me. I hate him.”
Grape sighed. He approached the bed, and planted a finger on Bino’s chest. He went pin-eyes. “You’re talking a bunch of nonsense, Bino! King has not seduced Fox – okay, that picture was disturbing – and Fox is entitled to make friends with someone else out of your gang. It’s called ‘having a life’, and you can’t manage those of the others so far. As for Sasha, you’re taking her for granted, and that is your mistake. Sasha knows you’re a good dog behind that layer of hot magma, I’ll concede her that, but if you don’t return her affection, then what do you expect? She likes having happy people around her, and in a way she’s an organizer too, only with far less complications. And if King feels attracted to Sasha, then start courting her again, show her that you care for her. And as for what Max said, paranoia aside, can you tell me why you’ve got so much on Peanut? Of all the dogs in the Gardens, he’s the one who really would be your friend, and you...”
“I’m sorry, okay?”
That froze Grape once again. Max was tempted to take the Walkman and ask Bino to repeat that memorable phrase and record it for the history.
“I’m sorry for having made fun of your boyfriend, all right, weird cat?” Bino repeated, as if he just swallowed a lemon. “It’s just that... he is so innocent and enthusiastic that sometimes it makes me want to shove his face in the catnip just to see if he’ll cry like a pup…” From his expression, they realized that it was not an example called by chance.
Grape sat on the couch. “Because of Doc?”
“I was ashamed that I liked that series. I was ashamed of myself for admiring a cat, I was ashamed because I wasn’t... conformed. That’s why I protect my stuff. I don’t want to apologize for my tastes. And if you dare to...” he did not finish the sentence, for he was now on the verge of collapse.
“I repeat.” She put her hand on his leg. For a moment, it became rigid as a stick.
“I repeat,” continued Grape. “With us, all your secrets are safe. Though I think I won’t stop to come to your meetings to steal your biscuits. They are very good.”
Bino smiled, an expression warm and almost alien in appearance. “And I’ll do my best to give the torment to your relationship, lovebirds. Don’t think that I won’t try to ruin your next picnic. I have granted a truce, but next time...”
“Next time, guaranteed,” said Max, “will be at the park of Foster Mansion. I would be surprised otherwise. And you do remember his pets, right?”
Bino sported that dear old evil grin of his. “And how. That’s why it’ll be more fun to succeed.”
Grape sighed. At least, the world was back on its tracks. “Bino?”
“Joey... He told us that you protected him from the other dogs.”
Jake’s surly dog thought it over before replying, “I guess it’s true. In some way, he’s like me when I was a pup, just a little too fanatical toward cats. I tease him because I want to get him used to the idea that this is not an easy world made of hugs and kisses. But at the same time I won’t allow them to put a finger on him, to hurt him like they did with me. I couldn’t bear to see him reduced into another me.”
Max was now absolutely sure that, if he looked under Bino’s bed, he’d find an enormous pod!
Bino then said something that on the one hand confirmed his identity, on the other... “As for Fido, it’s such a pleasure to see him grilling himself!”
“What do you mean..?” Grape asked, suddenly suspicious.
“Ahh, you know it very well: he and Sabrina!”
Max looked like he had just learnt there would be an extra Christmas party!
That grim grin became something ecstatic. Grape had a vision of a demon after a very satisfactory agreement. “Oh, I must admit, those two took lots of precautions. Not a word uttered in the wrong place or at the wrong time, never just one approach that might betray their intimacy...” He tapped his nose. “Other than the obvious. Okay, Fido is also helping the cats, and ‘officially’ Sabrina is one of his many fans running after him, but sometimes, when her scent seems just painted on him, there’s no mistake, nossir!” Bino sat. Looking at Max, he realized something. “Didn’t you know?”
Poor Maxwell shook his head slowly. “No. And if you avoided giving me such revelations out of the blue, I’d be very grateful. Now I am left with six lives. Sheesh.”
“Then I’ll just give you a warning, Maxie.” Bino got out of bed and approached the cat, put his hands on his shoulders. “This is another secret that you’ll keep for yourself, or you’re dead meat.”
“But what’s the point?” Grape asked, before realizing that she already knew the answer.
Bino waved his finger at her. “Because it’s fun. That… that Mary Sue has a weak point and I intend to exploit it properly, leaving him in doubt, forcing him to look behind his back for once. If I went to Speaker’s Corner in the park, telling the truth out loud, I’d probably sink his career and everyone would hate me. ‘Behold, the wicked brother who has ruined our idol because of his wickedness!’. Instead, now I just have to wait until he finds the guts and confess, or make a misstep. And I shall see him tumble down along with all his ‘high-and-mighty’ness.” He produced that happy sigh again.
Grape knew that, unfortunately, he was right. She didn’t know the dogs that worked with Fido, couldn’t elaborate a strategy to approach the matter properly. She couldn’t tell Fido that Bino knew: at best, it would make him even the more paranoid, perhaps at the expense of his own police dog job. At worst, it would start a war in the family. And Joey would have been caught in the middle, and.
“It’s ubercool,” said Max, startling the lavender cat out of those thoughts.
Bino looked equally surprised. “I’m sorry..?”
Max was smiling wide, as if he just ate a fat, tasty mouse. “Are you telling me that we virtually have the whole K-9 force in our hands? Bino, friend, my great friend! I think I owe you a big apology for having always underestimated you! Will you ever forgive me?”
Seeing them exchanging enthusiastic pats on their respective backs, suddenly a thought flashed into Grape’s mind, a thought as bright as the light of a supernova burning inside her soul.
She HATED Max!

Author:  yoyodude [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

YAY MOAR!!! The Google translation is painful to read :P

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

yoyodude Wrote:
YAY MOAR!!! The Google translation is painful to read :P

Thats why we're doing this :P

Author:  yoyodude [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Tha Housedog Wrote:
yoyodude Wrote:
YAY MOAR!!! The Google translation is painful to read :P

Thats why we're doing this :P

And many thnaks go to everyone involved! How far ahead is the Italian version? I haven't really been paying attention to how long it's been going for.

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

yoyodude Wrote:
Tha Housedog Wrote:
yoyodude Wrote:
YAY MOAR!!! The Google translation is painful to read :P

Thats why we're doing this :P

And many thnaks go to everyone involved! How far ahead is the Italian version? I haven't really been paying attention to how long it's been going for.

Quite a while.
In translations we've hit season one episode three chapter three.
Val just finished season two episode sixteen. We have a LONG way to go. But it's worth it.

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

ARGH, sorry for the enormous bump and the double post, but I'm getting back to working on the translations, so expect a translation by the end of the day (and by that I mean 12:00 midnight US Central time).
Edit: that is, whenever Valerio gets online and feels like posting the translation... :?
Edit 2: Guess what, guys! You get a double update this week! :D I hope this makes up for me falling behind in the translations...

Author:  valerio [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Given the strict timetable, they had certainly done a good job!
A high fence bounded the large area containing the accommodations for the fifty guests of the former Babylon Gardens Animal Shelter. The temporary pet houses were well-insulated, microclimatized and provided with dispensers of food and water so that its inhabitants could eat calmly and according to their needs. An electric blanket was neatly folded at the foot of a cot attached to the wall. The ceiling was polarized sliding glass. Along a couple of shelves on the same wall where the cot was set, there were an MP3 player, an iPad, a netbook and a PSP, and a power chord for recharging. In addition, each house was open to allow its occupants to get out and move freely.
Even so, these temporary structures were a quantum leap, unthinkable until the day before. The new housing situation had already reflected onto the behavior of the animals, who were walking along the central corridor formed by the houses, chatting, all in small groups. Not one of them seemed willing to remain isolated from the others. This would favor the adopting of pairs.
As Martin arrived, the animals lost interest in whatever they were doing and rushed to crowd around him. “Whoa, whoa, hey, watch ou— *argh!*” Martin’s obviously fake attempt to hold off the furry tide was swept away with him. Laughing, the man disappeared for a few seconds under the exuberant creatures.
King, who had remained at the entrance, was no less happy to see how quickly those poor creatures were recovering, a sign that all of what they needed was to return to living as civilized animals; return to hope, as Martin had said . There was no doubt that much remained to be done to help them overcome the traumas experienced at the old shelter, but at least they were on the right track.
Eventually, Martin managed to get back on his feet. His clothes were stained with saliva and tufts of fur, his face was practically washed, and his damp hair was a disaster. He was happy. “Miss Sunman?” he asked, briefly brushing off his sleeves.
The woman who had gone overnight from being a volunteer to the new boss’ special assistant, stepped forward. “At your service, boss!” Although no longer a young girl, Evelyn Sunman now felt like she was 20 again. She was never separated from her notebook and pen, which would pop out of nowhere as soon as Martin would talk.
“I understand you don’t want to call me by my name, but *sigh* I was saying, I can’t see Silent Bob around here.”
The woman used the pen to indicate one of the pet houses. “Perhaps you will be able to pull him back out of his shell. After all, you performed the first miracle already.”
Martin straightened his hair as much as possible. “Has he at least eaten something?”
“As always. He doesn’t reject food, you know.”
“Okay, let’s see what I can do. King, take a look if you think we need something, and try to socialize with our friends, grumpy!”
King blushed slightly. A golden retriever came forward with her outstretched paw. “Hello, King! My name is Aisha!” Without waiting for an answer, she took his hand and shook it vigorously.
“Oh, my pleasure, Aisha. Oh... um... er... like that...” Socialize? How did you socialize with a survivor of the lager that was the old shelter? He didn’t know who to ask! And the longer he thought he the more King blushed with shame.
It was she who pulled him out of embarrassment. “In my old family, I really liked playing Scrabble with my little Brother George. Uncle Martin gave me a copy of that game, wanna play? Duke and Vinci are already in the team!” She pointed with her head to two sturdy half-breeds, a male and a female.
King shrugged and joined the excited trio.

Martin leaned out of the nest entrance. “Knock-knock?”
Silent Bob sat on his bed, his gaze lost into nothingness. He replied to Martin by barely moving his head.
Martin got down on all fours and crawled inside, then sat cross-legged in front of the Malamute. In his good days, he must’ve been powerfully built, but now he was reduced to the mere shadow of himself. And he never talked, never spoke to anyone, and was always lost in whatever thought was gripping his mind. ‘Silent Bob’ turned out to be a well-chosen name, and there was no ‘Jay’ to play his counterpart. In a place where sorrow reigned supreme, it was already hard for him to find the strength to lift his own head, let alone the others console him...
Maybe Bob would soon make a friend, but it was now that he needed help.
Martin drew his hand just touching one that Bob kept constantly in his lap. “Hi, champ.”
The dog just moved the tip of his tail.
Martin tried to pet his knee, expecting a tightening of that limb. Instead, it was like touching a mannequin. “Bob, yesterday you did something extraordinary, according to what I heard.” He was referring to when the dog had embraced the human to comfort him. “I want to do something more for you than give you some food and medicine. But I can’t if you continue to keep quiet. Hm?”
Martin’s hand went gently to the base of the dog’s throat, sinking in the brittle hair. “Can I look into your eyes? Please?”
Silent Bob stood. Martin knew that attitude all too well, his own animals showed the same look when his father was ready for one of his ‘lessons in discipline’, and the only thing to do was shut out the rest of the world, because whatever they said or did, Martin, Joel, Helias, Honcho, and Ringo would not be able to avoid the pain...
But in the case of Silent Bob, something inside him seemed to be dead. There was no tension in his posture or in his silences... He was resigned. He had lost hope, he was still alive because his body ordered him to be.
Such animals were called ‘sleepwalkers’.
“Bob.” Martin took both hands, without meeting resistance. “I won’t pretend that you can recover overnight, I can’t claim to understand what kind of horrors you have lived. But at least listen to me, okay? I will come to see you every day, I will be listening to whatever you’ll have to say, I’ll let you bite me if this will make you feel better... whatever you want. Tell me what you need, and I will help you realize your desire, if I can. Could you at least make the effort to believe me?”
Silent Bob looked sad. His nod was as imperceptible as the movement of his tail, before.
To Martin, that was enough. “Alright, champ.” He held the dog’s paws. Then he put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a pager. “When you need me, just press the button. If I’m home, I’ll need half an hour to get here, okay? Call even if you just have a bad dream. Don’t worry about disturbing me, OK?” He took Bob’s finger and closed them into a fist around the object. “Promise?”
Another weak nod.
“Good. And remember, even the staff is here to help, so from now on, don’t ignore them. Now excuse me.” He leaned forward to kiss him on the bridge of his muzzle. “I must go.”
Left alone again, Bob kept looking at the pager in his hand for some time, before placing it on the shelf along with other pastime gadgets.
“I can’t believe you, I simply cannot...” Grape was usually a cat that had a relaxed disposition. Outbursts were infrequent with her, but when they happened, it was the equivalent of unleashing a full-blown storm. Being in the middle was a serious risk to one’s safety.
Max had already had the dubious privilege of being vehemently scolded by Grape, once. But he had not seen anything yet compared to the tiger now threatening to tear him to pieces.
“Grape..?” Tried the black cat. She glared at him.
Grape pushed Max against the wall of the garage. On the street, they would have attracted the attention of all animals in the neighborhood. “Fido is the best friend of every furred resident in the Gardens! Sabrina helped me out of my shell and into a public relationship with Peanut. Peanut and I have respected their secret for years, because they deserve it and do not really need more stress. And you, who know what I went through with my secret relationship, you who know very well what consequences the wrong words would cause to Fido and those around him, you put yourself in league with Bino to plan the downfall of Fido!?”
She didn’t let go of his collar. She was so furious, her hair was straight all over. “Shut up! I can’t even begin to count all of the many wrong things you’ve done in the last half hour. We came to help Bino, remember the plan? Discover a bit more about him, try to understand what makes him the adorable jerk that persecutes our lives, and you encourage his hatred? In which closet did you ever leave your brain!? Am I to understand that if it were me and Peanut, you would’ve done your best to separateus?” Grape suddenly let go his collar, panting. “Enough, Maxwell, enough, once and for all. It’s moments like this that prove that us being together wouldn’t work. You would walk over my dead body, if you found it funny. You don’t measure people by their social or sentimental value, but by their wear! I used to find your ability to manipulate others intriguing, but not anymore.” She turned and with heavy footsteps headed towards the door. When she arrived at the handle, she turned one last time.” Peanut and I, and the other couples, we’ll all watch over Fido and Sabrina. Woe to you or Bino if you try anything at their expenses. I never want to see you again, Maxwell!” She opened the door and went outside, forcefully slamming the door.
Max stayed where he was, totally defeated.
Now he had done it.

The cat found Peanut awaiting her in the backyard, sitting on the swing.
“Grape!” The dog wagged his tail furiously and ran towards her, the picture of happiness. Before she could react, he pounced and they rolled in the grass. Grape found the big mutt panting and lying on top of her. “Welcome back,” He then proceeded to frantically lick her cheek, tickling her, causing a playful fight with her trying to knock him off, while all the time he seemed glued to her.
When they had finished they found themselves in the same position as before. But now Peanut was panting twice as hard. “Mizar and Alcor have invited us to play crazy ball with them after lunch! Then we’ll snack with things I can’t pronounce, and tonight we’ll watch a movie on that television so big that you could fit yourself inside it! I missed you!” A drop of saliva fell from the tip of his tongue onto her chin. He blushed and wiped it off with his hand. “Sorry.”
Mizar and Alcor, two of the four Foster pets, living in the property overlooking the street where their house stood. Mizar and Alcor, a mixed couple like Grape and Peanut.
“Never mind. Did you know I’m stupid?” Grape said. Peanut had the gift of always being able to put her in good spirits, but now she felt so frustrated. She had spent a whole year with that stupid cat... “Really stupid.” She stroked his head, ruffling the fur.
“You’re not stupid,” Peanut said cheerfully. Similar concepts in respect to his beloved cat were just as inconceivable as was violence toward an animal for Martin Foster. “You’re a tomcat as stubborn as an iceberg, but you’re not stupid. I love you.”
*Sigh!* She couldn’t stay angry in front of that big smile, and those eyes the color of the sky. “I love you too, lug. What is this ‘crazy ball’?”
His tail began to wag as if it had a motor powering it. “A ball that bounces a lot. It’s really difficult to catch it, and we can only play in teams. It’ll be fun.”
“Will those two behemoths with the strange names be playing as well?” Grape was sure that if those dogs had participated, the game would end with several fractures.
“Antares and Aldebaran? No, they’ll be at the gym, and they invited Tiger. Sasha will also be there!”
At that moment they heard the sound of a car. Peanut and Grape looked up at the same time towards the road, and they got up to see. They knew by ear every vehicle in the neighborhood, and that engine was not at all familiar...
They made it in time to see a sedan pull into the driveway of a house and then slip into the garage. That was one of the houses that the owners had to leave because, although the prices for pet owners were cheaper, the loan had proved too heavy to handle. Grape shuddered, thinking of the identical fate that had befallen her old family. Who knows what had happened to all of them... Dad, Mom... Lucky...
“Grape?” Said Peanut.
She hadn’t noticed that she had suddenly started to cry. Some memories were like monsters that await you in the dark corners, biting hard as soon as you got distracted enough... “It’s nothing, Peanut. Just promise me that we’ll always stay together.” She crouched against him to be embraced.
He wrapped her in his arms, stroking her back. “I’ll never leave you, ever. I Promise.”
“Well, at least it’s not a dump,” said Celia Milton. “And it doesn’t stink like fleabags, for now.”
Her baggage and her brother Thomas’s consisted of a trolley each; all their material possessions were closed in there.
The last to enter the house were Janet Masterson and her dog, a muscular Doberman named Sergeant Ivan Danko.
Thomas turned to the woman and the dog who, in the intentions of their employer, were their ‘guardian angels’. “Please tell me that I don’t have to share a room with her.”
“We all have our private spaces well-distributed,” said Janet. “Martin and I want you to work without stress. Remember that we will accompany you every time you want to take a leisurely stroll, like a real happy family!” She showed an enthusiastic smile, laying her hands on the shoulders of her ‘protegés’, making them start. “I know kung fu,” she added, casually.
“I’m good with seeing how well your mutt’s jaws work, thank you,” said Thomas, who turned slightly pale at the thought.
“Thanks for inviting me to lunch,” said King, when the car was stopped.
Martin turned off the engine. “And for what? I like multitudes of company, when it comes to fur.” And he gave him a pat on the head.
“Can I ask you something? No offense?”
The man nodded. “Sure.”
“Why... well, you’re still single, I mean, without a..?”
“Girlfriend? Wife?” Martin shrugged. “On an affective level, they can’t compete with the joy that you give me. A girl will never have the enthusiasm or desire to wake up in the morning like my earthquakes, will never be cuddly as Mizar and Alcor, and furthermore, she’d be a distraction from the work I do with the shelter. I took a decision, when I won that money, and the only humans I’ll let close to me will be my aides, like Miss Sunman.”
“I understand.” King tried not to betray his uneasiness. How many of those words were inspired by the trauma of having had parents like theirs? Growing up in such an environment could mark you very deeply...
“I am surprised that Pete has left you free for the day,” Martin said, suddenly changing the subject. “From what I hear about him, he sounds more like a warden than a master.”
King opened the door. “You know what they say, a gift horse and so on.” Getting down, however, the Corgi actually wondered why, all of a sudden, the magical shape-shifting griffin had softened up like that. When he had seen Martin for the first time, he seemed rather… intrigued by his existence.
And now this. King had, sometimes, hardly been allowed to leave, and now could spend entire days with this man.
He decided not to ask any further questions.
The two walked through the door that led directly to the entrance hall. “I understand you prepare your own pizza?” King asked, already feeling his mouth water. How long since he had eaten one..!
“Well, not really. I’ve got a stock of frozen ones from an excellent provider. Great for a quick lunch with friends or a TV dinner.”
They entered the house.

About five minutes later, the quiet of Babylon Gardens was broken by a cry full of despair:

Season I
Episode 2

Author:  valerio [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Season I
Episode 3 – Dark Corners
Translated by THA HOUSEDOG – Edited by Valerio

Milton & Masterson Residence, Babylon Gardens. 06:00 am

“Hmm, good morning.” Janet Masterson, in her pajamas and robe, yawned and drank a cup of coffee. “An early bird, Tom, didn’t think you were the type,” she said, leaning against the door frame.
Sitting at a desk in his study, in front of a large window overlooking the garden, Thomas Milton was working tirelessly on a terminal consisting of a pair of central processing units and three desktop screens. The nervous jackrabbit the ex-cop and private detective had met the first time was gone, replaced by a cold and methodical individual intent in analyzing the data flowing continuously from the LCD screens and then grinding across the keyboard.
Without ceasing to work, Thomas, with a smug tone, said, “My dear, ‘early bird’ applies to those who occasionally want to impress their family, or who suffer from insomnia. I simply follow the pace of globalization. And in China, Korea, Japan and India, financial institutions are at work.”
“You forgot to mention Australia,” said Janet, drinking another sip. It was just a joke, since she was an expert in finance as she could be of genetic engineering.
Thomas took it seriously, however. “The Commonwealth has become, ah, receptive to the whims of the current administration in Washington, D.C. And even if what I do is legal, as our dear Mr. Martin Foster wants, Wall Street and its allies may decide to give me some dirty looks. Instead, I’m making use the early hours...” He hit the ‘enter’ key. “Voilà! The fund he has entrusted me to handle the new shelter and the retirement of his beasts has just been increased by 100%. Not bad, for a first night of work, eh?” He boasted a grin that lacked only a large black bandana on his head, an eye patch, and a parrot on his shoulder.
Janet emptied the cup. “It means you’ve played with all the money that you have been entrusted?” She squared the man with suspicion.
“Please, it wasn’t even a risk. The Chinese and Indians love a good injection of capital into their accounts just to support their growth, and know how to repay you with some nice interest. I know it isn’t very patriotic, but it is Martin who wants to make happy his...” He dodged the bullet at the last moment, after seeing the look she gave him. “His beloved ones.” He yawned, and stood up, rubbing his back. “In addition, with these night shifts I will not have to endure Celia during the day. And believe me, that woman is a real handful.” He yawned again, then exited from the study. “If you need me, you will find me in bed. Don’t worry about making noise, I’m a heavy sleeper.” Walking through the living room, Thomas met the watchful eye of Sergeant Ivan Danko, Janet’s Doberman. From the sofa, on which he sat with a crossword magazine open on his lap, the dog looked at him with charcoal eyes and an expression that was impassive and cautious. Thomas was sure that if he ever so much as snapped his fingers, that thing would have been on him like a snarling missile made of claws and fangs capable of crumbling marble...
Thomas shuddered, but decided he was too tired to even pass out, and shut himself in his bedroom.
Janet approached the dog and gave him a hug, rubbing her face against the smooth-haired muscular neck. “Now you can rest, dear. This shift’s mine.”
Danko returned the hug without saying a word, and walked toward his room, the only one without a door. The dog himself had asked Martin for it that way: he had nothing to hide, and he must be ready to intervene without the hassle of a door.
Janet shared with Martin the impression that Celia was the most ruthless of the Milton brothers. Thomas was a man able to channel his passions in the brokering, but he was mostly harmless. It sufficed to give him the chance of a good pay-off, and he was game. Celia, however... was more ambitious, but it was not clear where this ambition was intended. She was cold, detached, and the only emotion that she showed was a profound contempt for animals. But it was unknown if this contempt came from having been excluded from the will of the old Milton in favor of six ferrets, or if this was a personality trait. Janet hoped it was the former. Like Martin, the former police officer could not imagine that one could genuinely feel such dark emotions for the innocent ones.
From the window, Janet saw the last night owls of Babylon Gardens returning to their homes, tired but happy. Almost all of them were cats, but there were also two or three mixed couples of dogs and cats, who parted with a hug or a passionate kiss. Janet smiled to herself: Hm, to think humans still had problems with skin differences in their relationships!
The sound of footsteps shuffling on the floor behind her caught her attention. She sighed and turned. “Good morning, Celia.”
Clothed in a robe, a long nightgown, slippers that had seen better days, and curlers, and with a face further devastated by the lack of makeup, Celia Milton was not a pretty sight at that hour. She knew it and hated having to show this side of her to their ‘guardian angel’. But she also had a bladder that she had to listen to.
Celia muttered something that could have been a greeting or a flourished insult, and went to the bathroom. At least, there was a separate one for that wretched dog!
Janet went into the kitchen. “We could go for some shopping this morning,” she said as she washed the cup.
From the bathroom came another grunt.
“I’m serious. Martin has set up a monthly expenses fund on a prepaid credit card. Knowing you, it was even too generous, but if it helps to keep you two happy… Maybe you could take the chance to redecorate the place. You used to be an interior designer, right?”
“And then we’ll get to know the neighbors. Oh, and we can make cookies to offer. Things like that. We will have so much to do.”
You could almost see Celia pondering over it. Then, “How much does that fund cover?”
The pile of rubble, bricks, concrete, wood, and rusted metal, which adorned the top of the hill as the ultimate insult of some cruel artists to the natural beauty of that area, was the Babylon Gardens Animal Shelter.
Explosives and bulldozers had done a great job, and the vehicles were working hard to pave the entire area to make way for the reconstruction that would start within a couple of days.
The intent of Martin Foster, the richest man in Babylon Gardens and owner of the entire area, Director In Pectore of the new shelter that would be built here, was that the timetable should be respected by the second, in time for summer holidays, when the abandonments would have reached their peak.
Today, there was an exception that they would have gladly done without.
The man, accompanied by Evelyn Sunman, his special assistant, King, the gruff Corgi, and two agents from the K-9 corps along with their dogs, observed, in the bulldozers’ din, the team of workers standing at the edge of a new corner of horrors from the old shelter.
Martin had said to King, ‘So dies a nightmare’, as he had pressed the detonator that had turned the shelter’s crematorium into the first pile of ruins. It was the only structure that would never be resurrected. In its place there would be a memorial to the innocent victims.
Perhaps another should be erected.
During the removal of the debris, the teams had found a metal door set into the thick concrete floor. And behind that door...
A worker handed Martin a dog collar, wrapped in a plastic bag, a precaution that Martin had asked for on a hypothesis that theoretically should have been unfounded.
“Mr. Foster...” said one of the agents, accompanied by a beautiful Weimaraner. “It’s evidence, we need to—”
“Just a moment please,” Martin interrupted him, his voice completely devoid of emotion.
King recognized that tone, the face’s total absence of expression as the human’s hands seemed to move mechanically.
Martin Foster was furious. He was so furious that his mind had closed so as not to leak anything, while reason tried to regain control. Martin loved animals, perhaps more than his own life, and this discovery unleashed in him a hatred that would be beneficial to no-one if given any room... King knew, he was still the man’s brother, magically reincarnated dog or not.
“Miss Sunman,” asked Martin, without taking his eyes from the wrapped-up collar.
“Yes, boss?” She said, sadly.
“Do you recognize this collar?”
In the halogens’ light, Evelyn watched the X-shaped medal plated with gold edges... “Xander,” she said, sighing. “Dear God, I still remember: such a young creature, full of life, a true bundle of joy, but marked by a rare disease. He lived only five years before...” She repressed her tears with a great effort. She hoped she had left behind herself the horrors of the old shelter, and now this... “This collar should be buried with him in the Remembrance Hill Pet Cemetery, boss.”
Martin gave the envelope to the agent. To the worker, he asked, “How many of them have you found?”
The man shook his head, looking back towards the entrance lit by halogen lamps. He was visibly upset. In addition to his wife and two children, he had two animals he took care of, of whom he was very fond of. The idea that their remains could be desecrated this way, as mere trash...”At a guess, a hundred skeletons, Mr. Foster. But we fear there are more, the pile is... well, worse than a game of pick-up sticks, if you will pardon the expression.”
Martin almost couldn’t breathe. “Give full and complete cooperation to the police. Help them to track the owners of these unfortunate creatures, and if necessary, call the priest. I want a regular blessing, as it has been clearly denied them the first time. Agent Parker?”
“Tell me,” said the Afro-American cop who was accompanied by his canine partner, the GSD Sergeant Ralph.
“You’ll have full access to the old shelter’s archives. Ask Miss Sunman whatever you want, you have my full cooperation. No lawyers in between. The work, however, will not stop. If the rubble was evidence related to the crime scene, it’s now lost, I’m immensely sorry. Do not worry that reconstruction may interfere with the investigation, the entire area of the crematorium was not intended to renovations, so we will postpone it on the calendar. Okay?”
“I’ll have to check with my superiors, but I don’t think they’ll object to it. Thanks for your cooperation, sir, I know that you have nothing to do with all of this and I hope you’ll make it on time. We couldn’t stand that place any longer, and if we had known about that... thing...” He looked towards the door to the mass grave.” God, we would’ve had this place closed and demolished so fast that you would’ve only needed to rebuild… Mr. Foster? “
“Tell me, Agent Parker.”
“Do you think that all the animals we’ll find here should be at the cemetery?”
“So says logic, Agent Parker...” He was interrupted by the buzz that came from his pocket. “Excuse me.” He picked up the phone, and on the screen he saw a familiar number. A half-bitter smile started showing on his face: Very bad timing, or welcome distraction from the horrors of that day?
Martin put the phone back into his pocket. “If you don’t need anything else, I have to leave, Agent Parker. Miss Sunman will give you what you need.” He shook hands with the policeman, then with the dog. “Sergeant Ralph.” Then he walked to his car. He opened the door, and turned to his assistant. “Miss Sunman, please immediately contact PR. The media will be drooling after this story, and I do not want the image of the new shelter to be polluted by this monstrosity, if possible. Tell them to give their best or that they better find another customer.” He went in and shut the door. Now a certain someone really needed him...
“Hello, neighbors,” said a beautiful white cat with golden eyes. The immaculate feline went to meet the most famous mixed couple in Babylon Gardens: Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich, dog and cat, walking hand in hand. At the greeting of the cat, Peanut’s attempt to answer turned into a remarkable yawn. His jaw creaked. Grape, however, responded with a sparkling, “Hello, Alcor.”
“He still must get used to the wee hours, eh?” Said the white cat, winking. Grape found him a creature of an almost unearthly beauty, and she was still ashamed at the thought that she would have fallen in love with him instantly, had she known him before falling in love with Peanut...
“At least, he tries,” she said. “But we’re making progress: he no longer needs to be dragged back home while sleeping.” Peanut stuck his tongue out. “Say, I saw that Mr. Martin seemed in a bit of a hurry. He’s up pretty early, does he have to work now?”
“In a way.” Alcor frowned. “Dad told me that they found... things, at the shelter.”
“Bones,” said a German shepherd. Mizar was her name, a female who, like the cat was completely white save for a black diamond on her forehead. Her eyes were tourmaline-blue, intense, and at that moment full of anger. “A kind of mass grave, below the crematorium. Dad was definitely on the war path.”
Peanut was also now fully awake. Grape shuddered: She was had been there, at the old shelter, before being taken by the Sandwiches.
Mizar said, “Come on in. I want to talk over a cup of white chocolate. And I’m in dire need of something to relax me, or I swear I’m going to bite the first human I see!” Her voice was almost a snarl. His eyes shone fiercely. She was scary.

“I always hated that place,” said Alcor, serving steaming cups for all, then keeping the last in his hands as he sat down. “But I guess that is not a very original remark.”
Grape nodded. Whatever little time she had spent in there was more than enough.
“I got to the old shelter a year ago. I didn’t know, then, but Dad was shuttling between the U.S. and Ukraine to adopt those two monsters.” He was talking about Antares and Aldebaran, who were now busy with helping Tiger burn off all the pizzas the dog had eaten the day before. “I wasn’t exactly in the best shape...” His eyes and his were lost in memories. The quiet kitchen was gone, replaced by a more claustrophobic, smelly room, on a gray, rainy day...
“Do you have a name, poor star?” Asked the woman in a long dress with a floral motif.
The shelter’s ‘veterinary studio’ was a messy, squalid place. There was a smell of urine and cheap disinfectant. Sitting on the cold Veterinary bed hunched from years and years of patients of various breeds and sizes, the cat associated those smells with the mess halls of the most dismal poor people’s homes, where a pitiful chef sometimes would give him some leftovers.
“Ghost,” said the cat, while the doctor auscultated him. Ghost, the ghost of the road, the boldest of strays. And stupid enough to eat a drugged sausage. Nice job, boyo!
“Well, Ghost. My name’s Evelyn and I will take care of you.”
“Best, then. Why don’t you just kick me back out? I’ll die without bothering you, and above all this furless maniac will stop touching me where he should not.”
Evelyn took a bottle of pills from a cabinet that contained a rather meager assortment. She filled a plastic cup with water, then took a couple of pills. He handed the pills to the cat along with the water. “Otherwise they’ll get you and bring you back here. Unlike this place, Animal Control works well. Swallow them.”
Ghost looked suspiciously at the offering.
“Antibiotics,” said Evelyn. “It is useless trying to act tough, we’ve heard you cough, before. If you want to go back to the street, at least be fit for it.”
Ghost gave her a dirty look, but took the pills and swallowed them. After drinking all the water, he discovered that he was still thirsty. He said nothing, but she also filled a second glass. He accepted the offer without a speaking a word.
“Well,” said Dr Stanwick, taking off his stethoscope, “You are fit, really.” He tried to give him a pat on the neck, but was very quick to retract his hand as soon as Ghost’s claws cleaved the air.
“I’ve stood what I must, human! Do not touch me again!”
“Whoa, okay tiger.” The shelter’s vet didn’t insist: Patients with a temper, there, were the norm.
“And stop saying stupid things like that! Of course I’m fit, I was born on the street, I’ve lived there all my life, do you think I would get so far if I was a weakling!?” And to prove his point, he gave himself a fierce punch to the chest... followed by a series of sharp coughs.
“Poor thing!” Evelyn helped him get off the couch. “Tonight you will sleep here, okay?” She led him to a series of cages at the end of the study.
Looking at them, Ghost thought that it might be better to live in a pile of boxes near a dumpster...

Author:  yoyodude [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

WOO! Keep 'em coming, I can't read enough!

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

yoyodude Wrote:
WOO! Keep 'em coming, I can't read enough!

You don't know how good that makes me (and Val) feel. :mrgreen:
I'll translate some more, but I have my own fanfic to work on, so I might only be able to squeeze in a few this week. But I'll try not to fall behind again, I'm sorry for that. :oops:

Author:  yoyodude [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Hey now don't be sorry. Translate as often as you please. I'll just learn Italian so I don't lose "the subtleties", as Lester puts it :P

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I'm going to ATTEMPT to translate one chapter per day, except on whatever days I update MftG and possibly the day before if I'm working too hard on MftG. I'll get us up to speed within a year, you'll see. ;)

Author:  ChristopherJackal [ Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Awesome updates! Dude, I so love this fanfic! Valerio and Housedog to me ya'll are now made of win with a nice helping of awesomesauce, a side order of Epic, and a large Pepsi!

Author:  valerio [ Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

ChristopherJackal Wrote:
Awesome updates! Dude, I so love this fanfic! Valerio and Housedog to me ya'll are now made of win with a nice helping of awesomesauce, a side order of Epic, and a large Pepsi!

We aim to please, kind Sir! :D

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

ChristopherJackal Wrote:
Awesome updates! Dude, I so love this fanfic! Valerio and Housedog to me ya'll are now made of win with a nice helping of awesomesauce, a side order of Epic, and a large Pepsi!

Much appreciated! :mrgreen:
Expect an update later if Val logs on.
Edit: sorry, my computer logged me out when I sent the translation to Val, so it didn't send. I'll translate it again tomorrow.

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Boy, I fell behind, didn't I?
Translation is in the process. :mrgreen:

Author:  yoyodude [ Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

*squirms in his seat from excitement*

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Finished. Now all you have to do is wait for Val to log on. Update to MftG eventually, too.

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