It had been a good show despite everything that could have gone wrong. Farmer Bob and the rest of the Golden Sun Farm cast had taught a valuable lesson about sharing and Penelope the Dun Cow had managed to learn Peep’s song in time without dropping too many notes. He doubted that their young demographic noticed the nervous cow puppet fall out of tune. But there was no way they hadn’t missed Peep. The precocious chicken had been his partner on Golden Sun Farm ever since the beginning. Her absence was missed by every member of the cast, from the foam and felt puppets of the farm animals, to the wooden, hinged-jaw Mailman Pete. The stick-puppet mice and chicks in the barn missed her most of all, sometimes breaking down in tears during rehearsals.
They said in the corridors of the galaxy, if the galaxy had corridors, that no one could throw a birthday party as fine as Hermon Feyst.
Certainly no one did it as often. A thousand guests, magnificent food, outrageous ornaments, and the orchestra - such heavenly talent, especially that trumpet player who jumped on his chair in a magnifique solo at the end of ‘Happy Birthday’. One could of course argue that they got quite a lot of practice playing ‘Happy Birthday’. But then again, one could be accused of sour grapes. If you were the richest man in the universe, wouldn’t you want to celebrate your birthday every day?
“I don’t think you love me enough.”
Sure, it sounded innocent enough. But if Tag had known how much trouble that little phrase would start, how it would eventually twist not only his life, but his mind, into something unrecognizably mutilated, he would have laughed and shown the girl, cute as she might have been, to the door the second the words had left her mouth.
If he’d had just a little more backbone, things might have turned out differently. But then, before long it was Caira who was in charge of the stoutness of his backbone, anyway--along with almost everything else about him. It began with that one night together.