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Hey everyone, Alasdair here – hope you’re doing okay. The summer months are upon us, which means two things – hat weather for yours truly, and the part of our year when costs are high and support tends to dip. We know things are tight everywhere at the moment, and that includes us. For those of you who support us already, thank you so much. We hope you’re enjoying the great new CatsCast episodes. If you’d like to join them, we’ve got tons of options for you at Patreon and PayPal. Even a one-off at Ko-fi makes a big difference, or check out our great new swag store – maybe like me you need a hat! It all adds up, and helps us bring you the best in free audio fiction every week. Thanks, and enjoy this week’s episode.
A Beautiful Memory
by Shannon Peavey
On Thursday, a windsor-knotted businessman paid Anna three times her normal asking price for a quartet of thought-birds. She normally sold two at a time, because their growth was so slow. But he insisted. A bird of each flavor: contentment, melancholy, joy, fury.
“A few of the guys at work have taken up competitive birdsong,” he told her as he wrote the check. He had sharp breath, with the whisper of a three-martini lunch. “But they’re just using finches or sparrows. This one guy’s got a bunch of pigeons. Seriously.”
“I see,” Anna said, and stroked the melancholy bird’s head with one finger. It let out a sad little trill.
“So what do these things eat, anyway?”
“Seeds,” she said. “They’re just birds.”
She gave him the same form she gave all new customers — with a list of proper birdfoods and signs of good health: the dos and do-nots of birdkeeping. She didn’t tell him that holding the melancholy bird would make him feel like his heart would break, or that listening to the joyous bird could induce midlife crises. If he’d come to her, he should already know.