‘a drop of wisdom’ [this is satire] by Rocky the Diabolical Cat™ I was manning the espresso machine at The Abbey when Hector dropped in.

“I’ll have one of your famous super-concentrated ristrettos, my dear Rocky,” Hector said jauntily.

I loaded the machine’s portafilter, hit the brew switch and allowed a single glistening drop of espresso to fall into the demitasse.

“Here you are, dear fellow — one Nano-Ristretto,” I said as I handed Hector the little cup. “What are you working on these days beside the Mayor Peterson Meaning-Vacuum machine?”

“Well,” he replied, “when gas prices first got so high I was working on a car that ran on milk. But now that milk prices have exploded, I’m working on a breakfast cereal that tastes good with gasoline poured over it! However, I must say, my dear friend, I have been so disturbed by the photographs of the Iraqis tortured by the American military and its hired henchmen that I haven’t been able to work much lately. This junta botches everything it touches — illegitimately conceived, it spreads its poison upon the country and the world. These are dark days, my friend.”

He raised the tiny cup to his lips, tipped it and let the drop of espresso roll onto his tongue.

“I guess George Bush won’t be winning the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing ‘democracy’ to the Middle East very soon, huh?” I laughed.

“No, just as John Ashcroft won’t be winning a prize from the American Bar Association!” Hector chuckled. “Speaking of prizes,” he continued, “I noticed that you didn’t win a Society of Professional Journalists award or a NUVO Cultural Vision award this year.”

"My dear Hector," I said as I adjusted my beret, "in my case I refer you to the old adage: Perfection is its own reward."

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