Oct. 9th, 2011

Myra pulled her suit out of the closet and scowled. The bottom of the skirt was covered with hundreds of honey-colored hairs. She brushed at them with her free hand – a pointless gesture, as she well knew. The strands weren't going anywhere.

"Paul!" she shouted. "Lulu got into my closet again!"

"I know, I caught her in there this morning," Paul called from the bathroom. "I think you left the door ajar."

"I never leave the door ajar," muttered Myra to herself, frustrated. She lay the suit on the bed and pulled a lint roller out of her dresser drawer. They bought them in bulk at CostCo. Myra attacked the suit with the roller. It removed most of the fur, but not all of it. Myra picked up the skirt and looked at it critically.

Lulu, a golden retriever, chose that moment to stroll in, tongue lolling appealingly. "Bad dog!" said Myra, pointing accusingly at Lulu with the roller. Lulu's tail wagged. She didn't seem sorry.

"Sweetheart," said Paul, walking out of the bathroom in his underwear, "I love our pets, really I do. But someday, when they're dead and gone, I'd like to go a few years without having fur all over the house."

"Yes, I know, but… SASHA!" The black Maine coon cat had walked on Myra's jacket, which was still lying on the bed. Myra scooped it, dumping Sasha off unceremoniously, and tried to scuff loose the black hairs that clung to the lapels. It worked, somewhat.

Myra hopped into her skirt. "I'm getting out of here before these guys do any more damage," she said, stepping into her shoes. She hustled out the front door, with Lulu brushing up against her happily, and batted at the ever-present fur that coated everything as she walked to her car.

She drove the winding foggy road towards Portland. The Observers monitored her from their invisible craft, hovering only a few tens of yards above the road.

"Conditions are ideal for a sampling," intoned Gorryx, its rear palps massaging the imaging controls. "Low visibility, no traffic. Is she protected?"

Urybho's tendrils played over the bioscience display. Sensitive scans played over Myra's convertible, sniffing chemicals, tasting her. Something crawled across the monitor and blinked.

"Yes, unfortunately," Urybho proclaimed, as a zoomed-in image of a Lulu hair swam in the display. "She is well screened."

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