The Royal Hunt


photo by Clarabelle Fields

Summer is the height of his highness’s annual hunting season, during which he goes on many thrilling and exciting expeditions around the house. Valiant and brave, every year Emperor Julius adds more insects and creepy-crawlies to his victory count. And usually it is a good year, giving him many stories that he can brag about by the fireplace come winter. 

His highness has honed his hunting skills over the years, learning when exactly to leap at the glass windows. He knows how to tear down blinds at just the right moment, how to swat at dust bunnies with elegance, and how to stare into space at night in just the right way to scare the humans when they’re home alone. 

His tastes have also evolved with time and experience. He now knows not to bother with most bugs, saving his energy for the juiciest and best. Dog can take care of the boring, plebeian daily fare…pill bugs, june bugs, house flies, the average spider just trying to mind its own business in a quiet corner. Ticks and mosquitoes are the humans’ department. The truly dangerous ones — wasps, though they buzz so delightfully — the humans can deal with too. 

His highness saves his razor-sharp claws for just the right catch: the challenge, the speed, the temptation of none other than the fruit fly. 

Stealthy and quiet, this adversary poses a delightful challenge. He has to stay on his toes, all four paws at the ready. Sight and precision is essential here, all the more so in dim evening light. He must leap, track, and wait, eyes dilated to their full murderous potential. Humans and Dog watch him in awe, amazed by his predatory dance. How he leaps! How he bounds! The fruit fly is just within his royal reach! 

Sometimes the blinds come with him. Sometimes the curtain. Sometimes mementos on the mantle. But thankfully his Highness always walks away unscathed, ready to hunt another day. 

As he curls up in his window-bed, he sharpens his claws and dreams of the next time. One day, the fruit fly will be his. Until then, he naps. 

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