The Cat Show
written by Tabby

"Tabby, you have to take my place at the show!" Tamara pleaded, and then sneezed.

"I don't know in the least how to judge show-cats," Tabby said impatiently. "I never much liked the idea of showing cats anyway."

Tamara, Tabby's nearly-identical cousin, had recently moved to Dream Valley and was staying at Tabby's house until she found a home of her own. She was a show-cat breeder, and had set up a cat-show at the Royal Paradise for the next morning, of which she would be the judge. Unfortunately, she'd come down with a cold that evening.

"I can't just call it off!" Tamara wailed. "And I simply can't go in this condition!"

"Find someone else to be the judge," Tabby said, waving her hoof through the air in dismissal.

"But, Tabby," Tamara continued in a wheedling voice, "it would look bad if I wasn't there for the first show. You have to pretend you're me."

"And what about our eye color?" Tabby demanded. "Someone might see the difference." Tamara had yellow eyes, whereas Tabby's were lavender.

"Color contacts," Tamara said promptly. "I bought some just last week in case of an emergency like this."

Tabby looked horrified. "Those... things you put in yours eyes? I am not going to wear contacts! And I'd have no idea how to pick the best cat, anyway."

"If you want to take the chance of being recognized..." Tamara said breezily. "And judging... yes, I'll be right back!" Tamara got up from her seat at the kitchen table, and went on to trot up the stairs. A few minutes later, she returned, holding a thick book in her hooves.

"Here," she said, tossing the book to Tabby. "Read through that, and you should be able to do good judging."

" ‘Cat Show Judging'," Tabby read off the cover. "And I'm supposed to read this whole thing?!?!" The book looked to be two inches thick.

"Just the highlights of each chapter," Tamara said nonchalantly. "Plus, you'll have a few hours tomorrow morning to read before the show starts."

"I didn't say I was going to do it yet," Tabby said stubbornly.

"I know you, Tabby!" Tamara assured her . "You'll agree to it in the end. Now, I'll tell you a bit more about how the show's going to run--"

"Hey!" Tabby protested.

"I only found seven contestants for this first one, and they're all princesses," Tamara explained. "They're the only ones with purebreds good enough to show."

"Hmph! Barn cats are just as good as purebreds!" Tabby retorted.

"But since admission is free for everyone," Tamara went on, "more ponies will be interested in buying a purebred cat, so future shows will be larger." Tamara paused to blow her nose.

Tabby's mind began to wander, remembering how she'd begun to ignore Callie, her pet cat. after getting her Meowth Pokèmon. All Tabby ever saw of Callie anymore was when she was curled up on the living room couch. At least Tabby remembered to keep Callie's food and water dishes filled.

"...each of the princesses showing a cat will have a numbered table for their cat," Tamara was saying, though Tabby was only dimly aware of it. "You're to walk around to inspect them and-- oh! Here, this'll be much easier to understand than me explaining it all." Tamara paused and pulled a piece of paper off the fridge.

"It's a write-up of all you were going to do?" Tabby questioned, glancing at the paper.

"Yep." Tamara nodded. "I compiled it myself."

"Hmm, hmm, hmm," Tabby mumbled as she skimmed through the information.

"I knew I could count on you!" Tamara beamed. "I'd better be going to bed now-- be sure to study that book! Tah-tah! See you tomorrow!" With that, Tamara breezed out of the doorway, leaving Tabby alone in the kitchen. She listened to Tamara's sneezes fade into the distance.

Tabby sighed. Tamara had beaten her, she knew. Might as well start reading. She flipped to the first chapter of the book-- "Good Points to Look For".

Their ears are pointed, and so are their tails, Tabby pondered aimlessly to herself. She winced at the recollection of her first meeting with Tarquin, her Meowth. Claws, too.

Shrugging, she jumped into her lesson.

* * *

Tabby woke to the buzzing of her alarm clock. She groggily opened an eye and looked up at her clock, which read six-thirty. "It's Saturday..." she mumbled to no one in particular.

"Tabby!" Tamara's voice exclaimed brightly. "I set your alarm clock earlier for you-- otherwise you'd be late for the show."

Tabby groaned, remembering what Tamara had talked her into doing. She could fuzzily make out her cousin's outline in the doorway.

"Did you finish that book last night?" Tamara continued.

"Mmm... yeah." Tabby's senses were beginning to wake-up. As a matter of fact, she'd read two pages of the first chapter; by then, she had been so bored that she'd dragged herself up to her room.

"Great!" Tamara said. "Then you'll know all about judging cats. Now, take your shower, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and have breakfast; then I'll attend to putting make-up on you." Tamara breezed downstairs.

She's certainly energetic for being so sick, Tabby thought to herself as a million questions ran through her mind. The show certainly didn't start this early, so why did she have to get-up at six-thirty?

Sighing, she pulled herself out of bed to prepare herself for Tamara's make-up onslaught.

* * *

"There! You look great!" Tamara gushed, wiping a stray bit of powder off of Tabby's face.

Tabby grimaced as she saw her reflection in the mirror. For the past half-hour, Tamara had been fixing up Tabby's face, and kept changing her mind on colors.

"Unless I should have put magenta lipstick on you instead of pink," Tamara frowned.

"For Pete's sake, Tamara!" Tabby said impatiently. "What time is it by now?"

"Seven-thirty," Tamara said distractedly. "I hope you're not late."

"What time does this show start?" Tabby demanded.

"It opens officially at ten, but you'll have to be there by eight-fifteen to make sure everything is set up properly and that all the princesses and cats are there," Tamara explained, talking a mile-a-minute. "And I still have to braid your tail and mane, maybe even add some jewelry-- you have to look as much like me as possible. Sure you don't want the contacts in?"

"You're not getting me to put those things in!" Tabby snarled.

"All right, all right." Tamara backed off. "Now, for the braiding..."

* * *

Another half-hour later, Tamara was inspecting Tabby for the last time. "You'll pull it off great," she said energetically.

"What happened to your cold?" Tabby asked bluntly.

Tamara coughed. "I still feel awful inside."

Tabby raised her eyebrows. "Whatever you say," she muttered.

"Of course, we'll have to switch pets today, too," Tamara went on.

"What?!" Tabby shrieked.

"You'll have to take Persian along with you," Tamara explained. "She'll walk along with you during the judging. The on-lookers should like that."

"Persian?" Tabby echoed. Tamara's Pokèmon was rather snobby, and she and Tabby didn't get along well.

"I'll explain everything to her," Tamara said. "And I suppose I'll have to watch that Meowth of yours."

"Tarquin doesn't need watching," Tabby sniffed. "Just be sure he gets cherry pie filling for lunch. And he sleeps until nine in his windowseat, so don't wake him up until then."

"Here's Persian now," Tamara cooed, and scooped the sleek white cat into her hooves. "Now, Persian dear, Tabby's pretending to be me at the cat-show. You have to go with her and play along."

Persian twitched her nose snobbishly, but stayed at Tabby's side when Tamara set her down there.

"Remember the list I gave you last night," Tamara said quickly as she opened the door for Tabby and Persian. "And, Tabby, don't forget you can't act like yourself-- act like me. Tah-tah!" With that, she closed the door, leaving Tabby and Persian standing alone on the porch.

"She wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise," Tabby complained as they walked down the steps.

"Persian," the Pokèmon said nonchalantly.

"The show is at the Royal Paradise, right?"

Persian stayed silent, and concentrated on walking daintily.

"Snob," Tabby muttered to herself.

"Tamara! Tamara!" a voice suddenly called out. "I'll walk with you to the cat-show!"

Tabby's blood ran cold at the sound of that voice. It was Tex, her arch-enemy-- but Tamara rather liked him.

"Shut up, you--" Tabby snapped before she could stop herself, and remembered she couldn't give the act away. "Why, Tex, how nice to see you," Tabby said in perfect imitation of Tamara, her voice dripping with sugar.

"You certainly look pretty today, Tamara, like you always do," Tex complimented her, finally catching up. "Your Persian, too."

Tabby batted her eyelashes furiously as she so often saw Tamara and Tiffany do-- personally, she thought it was a waste of time. "Thank you," she cooed, making a mental note to herself to really let Tamara have it once this cat-show business was over. "Persian is such a sno-- I mean, such a well-behaved Pokèmon."

By the time the two had reached the Royal Paradise, Tabby felt like fading away into oblivion rather than have Tex following her all day long-- and having to make-up sugary-sweet Tamara lines.

"Which room is the show supposed to be in?" Tex inquired.

"I think it's through that door to the left, there," Tabby said, adding a few eyelash bats. "The princesses should be all set up in there."

"Per-r-rsian," Persian agreed.

Upon entering the room, though, Tabby's mouth gaped open. The numbered tables were set up... but only one princess was there.

"I hope I'm not late, Miss Tamara," Princess Twinkle Star said apologetically, fluttering her dainty, glittery wings. "I got here a few minutes ago with Cataline, but there wasn't anyone else around."

Tabby-- a.k.a. Tamara for the day-- walked over to the table Twinkle Star was standing behind. "That's perfectly all right," Tabby assured her. "You're the first one here; that's all."

Twinkle Star smiled. "Would you like to see Cataline now? I haven't gotten her out of her carrier yet."

"Certainly!" Tabby exclaimed. "What breed is she?"

"A white long hair," Twinkle Star explained, lifting the pastel pink cat-carrier up onto the table she was assigned to. "Not exactly like a Persian cat; she doesn't have a flat face."

"A fine example of a show-cat," Tabby commented, peering through the carrier door. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to check on some other details." She turned away and smiled winningly at Tex. "Why don't you go-- err-- check to see if the refreshments are ready?"

Tex bowed slightly and rushed off to do her bidding.

Tabby shrugged. No bother that she hadn't told him where the refreshments would be; he just wouldn't be around to bug her for awhile. Clever thinking on her part, she thought. Now, where had Persian gone off to? Oh, there she was, napping in a windowsill already. "Figures," Tabby muttered.

Tabby glanced up at the clock on the wall and whipped out her list of responsibilities. It was now eight-thirty; the first item on the list was "Make sure the princesses are all in the show room by eight-forty-five."

Where in the world are they? Tabby thought in annoyance to herself. They probably forgot, she figured reasonably.

"Crystal should be arriving from Friendship Gardens soon," Twinkle Star supplied, who seemed to be reading Tabby's thoughts. "I flew, so I got here somewhat quicker."

Princess Starburst sleepily trotted into the room at that moment. "Hello, Tamara. Twinkle Star, what are you doing in Dream Valley?" she yawned.

Twinkle Star giggled. "I brought Cataline for the cat-show," she explained.

"Oh, is it the day of that show?" Pristina questioned in surprise.

I was right! Tabby thought triumphantly to herself. "Yes, Pristina," she said cheerfully. "It starts at ten."

"All right," Pristina yawned again. "I'll be back with my cat then." She turned and walked into the next room.

This is going to be fun, Tabby sighed to herself.

"I wonder what happened to Crystal," Twinkle Star said in alarm. "I hope she's making the trip okay."

Tabby decided to forget wondering when the princesses would show up, and went to the second paragraph on the sheet. "Set up the refreshments on the long table in the middle of the room," she mumbled to herself. Tabby could see the table. "Well, if Tex can find the food, he can set it up," she said craftily.

"What was that?" Twinkle Star called from across the room.

"I was just deciding whether or not Tex would like to set up the refreshments," Tabby explained sweetly.

Princess Sparkle entered the room a few minutes later. "Is the cat show still on for today, Tamara?" she questioned.

"As a matter of fact, yes. Is your cat all ready? I can't wait to see her," Tabby gushed.

"That's right!" Sparkle giggled. "I forgot to bring Lucia down with me. I'll go back and get her." She trotted back out.

Tabby went back to the list. "Make sure the microphone works for opening speech." She glanced around in alarm. She had to make up a speech? Tamara hadn't mentioned that. She hadn't mentioned a lot of things, like having Tex follow you around.

Princess Crystal, from Friendship Gardens, breezed through the main door, being followed by a stocky Russian Blue. "I ran into Clever Clover on the way over," she sighed dreamily. "He's so cute, and he told me all about the dig-site he's working at now. What's that field of work he's into? Arcopology?"

"Archeology," Tabby supplied. "Have you got your cat there?"

Crystal looked behind her in surprise. "Oh! Gwendolyn! I forgot all about her!" she laughed. "I'm supposed to set her up at one of these tables? Which one is mine?"

Tabby looked all over the list Tamara had provided. It didn't list which table each princess should be at. "Just pick whichever one you want," she said distractedly.

Crystal looked around the room as she picked Gwendolyn, her Russian Blue, up. "That one looks nice," she murmured to herself, and trotted over to the large table meant for the refreshments.

Tabby cringed slightly as Tex re-entered the room. "Tamara, I found a bunch of stuff in the fridge. Should I bring it out?"

"That would be so kind of you." Tabby batted her eyelashes some more and breathed a sigh of relief as he trotted off to the kitchen again.

Now it was nine o' clock; the princesses should have been set-up at their tables fifteen minutes ago. There wasn't a sign of any of them. Tabby hadn't even noticed the table Crystal had chosen. Instead, she walked over to the stairs which led to the second level of the Royal Paradise. "Hey, princesses!" she shrieked in her most high-pitched voice. "Get down here! It's the cat-show today!" Then she trotted back over to Twinkle Star's table.

"Was it you making that terrible racket?" Crystal asked, brushing Gwendolyn.

Tabby looked over at the princess and gasped slightly when she saw where Crystal was. "Crystal! That table--"

Tex entered the room, carrying several trays of cheese and crackers. "Which table is for refreshments?" he questioned.

"Well, the long one, but--" Tabby started.

"You said I could have whichever table I wanted," Crystal whined.

"Just set them on that table there-- the one with the "3" written on it," Tabby said sweetly to Tex.

Tex looked at the small table. "It's not that large," he commented.

"You can make it fit, can't you?" Tabby said, lowering her eyes to the ground and looking pitiful.

Tex's heart melted. "Of course I'll make them fit," he said quickly.

Next, Tabby turned her attention to the group of princesses that had just entered the room. "The show's not until eleven," Starburst complained. "We shouldn't have to get ready for another two hours, at least."

"You only have one hour left," Tabby snapped, losing her Tamara voice.

"You're picking of Tabby's voice, Tamara," Tiffany said in disapproval. "But at least your fashion sense is still intact."

Dawn had her nose stuck in a novel. "Oh! Tamara!" she exclaimed. "I've actually been up since six, reading. Do you need my Felicia for the show?"

"That'd be helpful; yes," Tabby said, trying to sound like Tamara.

"You'll be sure to pick Theodora, though, as first prize winner," Tiffany inferred.

Tabby smiled at Tiffany. "We'll see what the other cats look like."

Tiffany pouted. "Theodora is better than all of them."

Tabby sighed again. She couldn't wait for this show to get over.

* * *

Meanwhile, Tamara was sitting on the couch in Tabby's living room, flipping through a magazine, with a box of Kleenexes at her side.

"Where's Tabby?" Tabby's Meowth Pokèmon, Tarquin, suddenly appeared in the doorway.

Tamara looked up. "Oh, you didn't hear yet? She's taking my place as judge at the cat-show since I'm sick."

Tarquin frowned. "That means I have to spend the day with just you and Persian in the house? I'm going over to the cat-show!"

"Don't!" Tamara said in a warning tone. "You'd give everything away if you went to the Royal Paradise. I had Persian go with her, anyway."

Tarquin growled. "You're always ruining everything."

Tamara giggled. "What have I done to you, Tarquin? You're just an un-evolved Pokèmon."

"You stole my room, for one," Tarquin said menacingly.

"Tabby would've given it to me in the end, anyway," Tamara said breezily.

"Now I just have a windowseat to call my own," Tarquin went on.

"I love windowseats," Tamara sighed dreamily.

"I'll trade you," Tarquin suggested hopefully.

Tamara laughed. "Oh, no! What I'd really like is a windowseat in my room. What's yours like?"

"It doesn't have much in it," Tarquin muttered. "Except for a picture of Tess." He smiled and stared out the living room window.

"Who's Tess?" Tamara asked curiously.

Tarquin pawed his way out of the room and returned a little while later, holding a picture frame in his paws. "That's what she looks like," he explained to Tamara, holding it up to her.

"She's a very beautiful Meowth," Tamara agreed. "Where does she live?"

"She belongs to Merry Treat, but I usually see her at the Pokèmon Center when MT volunteers." Tarquin looked downcast. "She hasn't been there for the past couple of days, though."

"Why don't you call over to Merry Treat's house?" Tamara suggested.

"Hey!" Tarquin exclaimed brightly. "Look up her number for me, would you?"

Tamara pulled the phone book out. Maybe Meowths aren't so hard to get along with, after all, she mused to herself.

Tarquin was pondering similar thoughts.

* * *

As ten o' clock rolled around, Tabby had somehow managed to assemble all the princesses who had entered the show and their cats each at a table. Tex had crammed as many food and drink trays onto table number 3 as he could.

Ponies started filing up the walk and coming inside. "I wonder what a cat-show will be like," Flowerbelle giggled to Skyflier.

"Look at all the cats," Skyflier cooed. "I love that Siamese."

In no time at all, it was ten minutes after ten; that's when the sheet said Tabby had to give her speech. Walking up to the microphone displayed at the head of the room, Tabby started talking. "Err... right! Well, this is the first ever cat-show in Dream Valley," she said brightly. "And seven of the princesses are kindly showing off their cats."

"Mine is the best, though," Tiffany declared snobbishly.

"Ha!" Starburst shot back from across the room. "Jewel has a more expensive collar than your Theodora."

"More expensive?!" Tiffany shrieked. "How dare you insult me like that?!"

"Uhh... anyway..." Tabby stuttered after the arguing had died down between the two princesses. "I am going to go around to all the cats and pick which one is the best. All of you on-lookers, you may wander around this room and look at all the beautiful cats as well. If you're interested in purchasing a show-cat of your own, look my number up in the phone-book-- that is, Tabby's number," Tabby finished. "Is that understood?"

The crowd was about to start spreading through the room when Munchy called out, "Why's the refreshment table so small?"

"That's a good point!" Princess Sparkle agreed. "How come Crystal got that huge, long table and all the rest of us just get these puny ones?"

Tabby sighed in exasperation. "Don't ask questions; just look at the cats," she snapped. She was sick of acting like Tamara.

The rest of the ponies took that as a valid answer, and began to mingle. Tex walked up to Tamara. "The food's almost gone already," he said in concern. "The table really doesn't hold much."

"Just put some more out," Tabby said frostily and stomped off.

"You're not mad, are you, Tamara?" Tex pleaded.

Tabby ignored him and walked on into the crowd, silently fuming.

"Tamara!" Sugarberry flagged Tabby down, with Chocolate Chip at her side. "Is Tabby here?"

Chocolate Chip laughed. "We saw you and hoped it was Tabby, but when we saw all that make-up, we knew it had to be Tamara."

Oh, great. Some of my friends, Tabby thought sarcastically. "Oh, Tabby?" she said sweetly. "She's stuck at home with a cold."

"Oh, that's sad," Sugarberry said sympathetically. "I know Thomas was planning on taking her out tonight, too."

Chocolate Chip shook her head. "I had a cold a few weeks ago; I felt really awful."

"We'll have to stop in and see her after we've looked at all the cats here," Sugarberry went on. "Well, see you, Tamara!"

Tabby seethed as she watched them disappear into the crowd. It would serve Tamara right to put up with two of her friends while pretending to be Tabby. On top of that, she'd have to think up of some more punishments to inflict on her cousin. This was not turning out to be a good day.

"Tamara," Tex said breathlessly, running up to her. "I've restocked the refreshment table."

Tabby couldn't look him in the face, for fear of really giving herself away. "That's great," she cooed, using up the last of the energy she had for imitating Tamara. Then she fled into the crowd to start judging the cats.

It didn't take long to glance over seven cats. At this point, Tabby just wanted to get done as quickly as possible. There were Starburst's Siamese, Jewel; Twinkle Star's white Long-Hair, Cataline; Pristina's lilac Burmese, Diamond; Dawn's seal-point Balinese, Felicia; Sparkle's shaded Cameo, Lucia; Crystal's Russian Blue, Gwendolyn; and last, Tiffany's Bombay, Theodora.

"Theodora is simply the perfect cat, isn't she, Tamara?" Tiffany beamed. "You have to pick her! I am the one that invited you to that dinner party, you know," she added quickly.

"I'll pick the one I like best," Tabby mumbled. She had tried to refrain from talking to the other six princesses.

Tiffany looked at Tabby closely, and something dawned on the princess. "You're not Tamara at all!" she exclaimed. "You're--"

Tabby swiftly clamped a hoof over Tiffany's mouth. "Don't say a word to anyone," she hissed, "or I'll tell everyone that you're the pony who took down all the posters advertising the perfume Royal Blue patented."

"It didn't smell good in the first place," Tiffany said reluctantly after Tabby took her hoof away. "But if you're Tabby-- you have to be, because you have Tabby's eye color-- what happened to Tamara?"

"She has a cold and couldn't come," Tabby said in a low tone. "So she made me take her place and doesn't want anyone to know about the switch."

"Just don't tell anyone about the posters!" Tiffany pleaded.

"I won't as long as word doesn't leak out!" Tabby winked and walked back down the row of tables.

On her way back, she stopped and looked at Twinkle Star's cat, Cataline, again. Something about the cat's face was so familiar... that was it! Cataline looked like Callie, both in the face and the long fluffy fur. Of course, Cataline looked rather sweet, and Callie was... well, disagreeable.

Strange, Tabby thought to herself.

* * *

Several minutes later, Tabby was back up at the microphone. "Yes! I've selected the first-place winner, along with the second- and third-place ones."

The crowd gathered around. The seven princesses held their breath.

Tabby quickly want to place the third-place ribbon on Jewel the Siamese and second-place on Felicia the seal-point Balinese.

"Jewel-- in third place?" Starburst seethed.

"My Felicia deserves first-place, not second!" Dawn declared

"First place," Tabby announced, ignoring Starburst and Dawn's outbursts, "goes to Cataline, belonging to Princess Twinkle Star." Tabby placed the blue ribbon on Cataline's carrier.

"Tamara, I can't believe you picked Cataline out of all of them!" Twinkle Star said excitedly, fluttering her wings and making glitter fall to the ground.

"She's an exceptional cat," Tabby commented, and headed towards the door. "I hope you've all enjoyed this cat show!" she called. "And now... tah-tah!" Tabby scooped-up Persian-- who had stayed in the window the whole time, not walking along with Tabby as Tamara had instructed-- and dashed out the door before Tex could catch-up to her.

"Persian," Tabby said in exasperation, "run faster. We have to get home quick, lest Tex find us."

Persian obligingly hurried-up. "Per-r-rsian," she said agreeably.

Tabby was taken by surprise. Persian had actually sounded friendly in that last statement.

"Persian." Persian shook her head in distaste.

Tabby got the feeling that Persian wasn't directing the head-shaking at Tabby herself, like she did all the other times. "You don't like Tex, either?" Tabby said in disbelief."

"Per-r-r. Persian," Persian said, growling at the mention of Tex.

"Persian, maybe you're not as bad as I thought you were," Tabby said happily.

"Persian." Persian seemed to say fairly much the same thing.

And when we get home, Tabby thought, Tamara is really going to get it...

Of course, Tabby had forgotten one thing...

* * *

"Tabby!" Sugarberry exclaimed as Tamara opened the door. "We heard from Tamara at the cat-show that you were home with a cold, so Chocolate Chip and I came to see how you were doing."

Tamara's mind raced. She hadn't counted on having visitors for Tabby. What would Tabby say...?

"And we brought chocolate chip cookies for you!" Chocolate Chip said brightly.

"How thoughtful of you!" Tamara said sweetly, and recoiled in terror inside. No, that wasn't what Tabby'd say at all...

Sugarberry and Chocolate Chip exchanged glances. "How have you been passing your time?" Sugarberry asked.

"Oh... watching... the My Little People shows!" Tamara exclaimed.

"You watch those a lot, don't you, Tabby?" Chocolate Chip giggled. "May we come in? I actually haven't tasted any of these cookies we baked yet."

"I suppose," Tamara sighed, getting into Tabby's lines. "Just don't disturb Tarquin. He's on the phone."

The three ponies filed into the living room, where Tarquin was still chatting away with Tess via the telephone. "I didn't know he was into using the phone," Chocolate Chip whispered.

"Just calling Tess," Tamara explained. "But these cookies are actually pretty good."

"Been reading fashion magazines, too?" Sugarberry raised an eyebrow as she looked at all the slick magazines spread out over the couch.

"Oh, those are just some of Tamara's things," Tamara said quickly. "I couldn't find anything else to read, and I was deathly bored."

"You must have been, to touch fashion magazines!" Chocolate Chip giggled.

And then all three perked up their ears when they heard a slamming door and hoof-steps stomping around.

"Is that Tamara getting home from the cat-show?" Sugarberry questioned.

Tamara giggled. "Well, I don't know... umm... err..." She glanced around nervously.

"TAMARA!" Tabby's voice could be heard plainly now. "YOU ARE NEVER GETTING ME TO IMPOSTER FOR YOU AGAIN!! DO YOU HEAR THAT?!?!?!" She appeared in the living room doorway, and was a very intimidating sight.

Tamara laughed nervously. "Err... Tab-- Tamara, you have our names mixed up..."

"Have you any idea how infuriating it is to put up with Tex all day long?!" Tabby demanded, oblivious of Sugarberry and Chocolate Chip. "Or getting all the princesses assembled by ten o' clock?!?!"

"Hmm, did you two switch places?" Chocolate Chip questioned.

"Yes!" Tabby hissed. "And it's all her fault!" She pointed at Tamara.

Tamara finally found her voice again. "I guess we can't make a secret of it anymore," she sighed dejectedly.

"So Tamara's actually the sick one and made Tabby go in her place," Sugarberry pondered. "Why didn't you just come out and explain it in the first place, Tamara?"

"It would've looked bad if I wasn't the judge for my first cat-show," Tamara explained.

"You'll never believe what I endured doing that thing!!" Tabby said menacingly.

"Your reasoning makes sense, somewhat," Chocolate Chip admitted to Tamara. "Tabby, what in the world did happen?"

"And where's Persian?" Tamara demanded.

"Where's Tarquin?" Tabby retorted.

"He's right here on the phone, Tabby." Tamara rolled her eyes.

"...sorry about the noise, Tess; Tabby got home..." Tarquin was saying into the receiver.

Persian entered the room after Tabby. "Persian!" she exclaimed gleefully and leaped into Tamara's lap.

"Such a sweet cat," Tamara murmured as she stroked Persian.

Tarquin hung up the phone and jumped off the couch to Tabby. "That was Tess," he explained. "And it's after noon. Let's have cherry pie filling for lunch."

Tabby's heart was softened at seeing Tarquin. "Of course," she said as her Meowth jumped on her back. "Come into the kitchen, everybody, and I'll see if I can find anything for those of you who don't have a taste for that delightful cherry pie filling!" She sniffed.

After Tabby finished telling her story to everyone at the kitchen table, everyone was laughing... even Tabby. Persian seemed to be smiling.

"Oh!" Tamara giggled. "What a terribly arranged cat-show!"

"It was a positive failure," Tabby tittered. "And I had to put up with Tex on top of it all!"

"I think," Sugarberry stated over the laughter, "that we should all just forget about this show and never mention it again."

"What a great idea!" Tamara beamed. "And you won't even give away that we switched places?"

"Of course not!" Chocolate Chip exclaimed. "It wouldn't be nearly as funny if everyone knew about it!" She cracked up.

"But of this moment," Tabby declared, "I have made a miraculous recovery, but Tamara has come down with the same virus that I was so stricken with." She posed with the most sorrowful face she could muster. "How long it will linger on in my dear cousin, we don't kno--" And then she couldn't keep a straight face any longer, and burst out laughing.

"And I won't be able to see Tex at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe this evening," Tamara sighed.

"He'll think you're pretty strange after hanging around with Tabby as Tamara all morning!" Sugarberry giggled.

And as the ponies' merry-making went on, Tarquin and Persian got into discussing Pokèmon battle tactics. Maybe they'd just learned to get along, too.

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