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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
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Aug 14, 2011

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bookshelves: for-kids

p.36-37 Chapter 3 The Possum Wars

The Possum Wars had started up and were, once again, raging around the back porch. That is, as much as a war of passiveness and inaction could be said to rage. This presented me with an excellent field of study, since every night the battle always played out exactly like this: A portly, dusty possum emerged from under the house to forage for his nocturnal breakfast of kitchen scraps and whatnot. He was inevitably surprised by one of the Outside Cats that patrolled the back porch as part of her domain. The cat and the possum stared at each other with big, round eyes of mutual shock, and then the possum groaned and slumped to the ground. He lay there on his side, motionless and stiff, his grimacing mouth exhibiting tiny needle teeth. His eyes were fixed, his whiskers frozen. He presented the very picture of Possum Death.
The cat, always freshly amazed by this display, looked on in wonder. She approached the corpse with caution and tentatively sniffed the ground around him. She then folded herself up into that loaf shape peculiar to cats and regarded her vanquished foe with enormous feline satisfaction, her duty done. After a while, she got bored and wandered off to the kitchen door, hoping to cadge a handout from Viola. The corpse lay in state for another five minutes and then, without warning or ceremony, lurched to his feet and casually strolled off in search of his own meal.

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