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I and Braunbeck were at my parents' house watching movies. Our three cats were there with us. My mom was sitting across the room, and in addition to being alive, she was being uncharacteristically unpleasant and critical.

I flipped over to the public access channel; I'd written the script for a horror movie retrospective but hadn't anything to do with the video production. The show sucked. The voice-over was bad, and in some places the film had been spliced in backward.

I cringed and changed the channel to some anonymous, black-and-white Western. The camera was doing a slow dolly pan across a marketplace inside a big barn. The market stalls were all separated by high wooden walls.

A striped cat was sitting on a bundle of wool in one of the stalls, and it noticed the camera. It jumped up on top of the wall and followed the camera as the pan continued.

"Oops," I said to Braunbeck. "That's a bit worse than having a boom mike in the scene. I guess they didn't have enough money for a re-take."

The wall was coming to an end, and the cat leaped up onto the camera platform and stuck his face right in the lens --

-- and then he came right through the TV screen, like the phantom in The Ring.

He plopped out on the living room floor, still in monochrome, shook himself, and mewed as if to say "I'm here! Pet me!"

"Hey guys, we got another cat!" I exclaimed.

My mom -- who could never turn down a cat during her life -- humphed. "We've got three cats; we don't need another cat from some goddamned bad made-for-cable movie. If we get another cat it should be from a Scorsese film or French cinema."

I ignored her. I supposed that, having been raised from the dead, she was jaded to most forms of miracle and magic.

"I shall name him Ringu!" I said.

Ringu hopped up on the couch where our two cats Monte and Peanut were sleeping. They awoke, chirped at the new arrival, and started to play with him.

I was wondering if monochrome cats from Westerns needed rabies shots or not when the alarm rang and I woke up.

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