Fun With Imagination

Taps and puffs come through the microphone as a feline nose sniffs against it. Cheetah, an anthropomorphic feline, blinks curiously at it before testing the sound again with his paw. “It’s on.” He grins and his pointed teeth flash in the faint studio light. Cheetah slides himself up on the stool and glances over his shoulder to make sure no one was lingering outside the studio door. He turns back to the microphone.

“My name’s Cheetah!” His voice has a cheery chirp to it. “I’m so glad to finally meet you all! I’ve been bugging Nikki about it for AGES! Okay, well, not ages since the website only started last year, but it has been a long–“

“Cheetah!!!”

A yelp skips from Cheetah’s throat. In his start, his stool tilts and he falls to the floor. Cheetah pins his ears back, but his sheepish smile returns when he sees who’s coming into the studio. “Oh, hey Candra! What’s up?”

A frown lines Candra’s white face. He has long, silvery hair and eyes as pale as the moon, but it makes sense given who he is. He isn’t as skinny as Cheetah, but he’s lean and just a little bit shorter. Cheetah considers Candra a great friend especially since they’d known each other for years, but Candra can be quite the stick in the mud. “What’s up?” Candra repeats disapprovingly. “What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be in here yet.”

Cheetah lightly rolls his eyes. “I’m bored! I wanna get this interview thingy started!”

Candra crosses his arms. “Not until Nikki’s ready. Come on, we should wait outside for her.”

“She’s not gonna be ready!” Cheetah tosses his hands up and sits cross-legged on the floor. “You know how nervous she was posting that “What’s Your One App” post. She’s afraid people won’t like us too much–which she shouldn’t be, I’m adorable!” Cheetah purrs, his tail tip flicking happily. He then tilts his head in thoughtfulness. “Maybe she’s worried about you, people probably won’t like you as much.”

“Wha–?” Candra gasps, but he shakes it away with a shake of his head. “That’s not true, people have liked me in the past before, so I’m not worried about it. Besides, as long as we’re having fun, what does it matter?” He motioned back toward the studio door. “Come on, we can find Nikki and probably talk her into getting these interviews done.”

“Hmph.” Cheetah rests his head in his hand. “I know the type of interviews she does. They’re so boring! What is this? The Tonight Show?! BORING!”

“Cheetah, you’ve never seen The Tonight Show.”

“I’m just saying we should do something more exciting!” Cheetah jumps to his feet. “Maybe start with one of the exciting adventures we’ve been on? Maybe the time we went to Hyrule? Or raced on Rainbow Road? Or Skyrim? OH!” He grins from ear to ear and points at Candra. “We can start with a backstory! Me! The poor, orphaned, little cheetah cub who’s constantly on the run from evil hyenas! Struggling everyday to find food and hardened by the elements of Africa. No friends! No future! And yet, a survivor who will save Africa from total inhalation!”

Candra rolls his eyes. “Yes. Because that sounds exactly like you.”

“Then there’s you, the big, glowing orb in the night sky.”

Candra frowns. “Riiiiight….I think Nikki wants everyone to know the real us and not some story you think sounds cool. You make it sound like you’re ashamed of your background.”

“I am not!” Cheetah flattens his ears. “I just want to find ways to jazz things up! Readers are very picky these days. Just ask any of Nikki’s novel characters!”

“I know that. I also know that Nikki will come with something to ‘jazz’ things up.” Candra motions to the studio door once again. “Let’s get out of here before she shows up. You know you’re only going to make her worry more.”

“And I also know that Nikki will make us do the interviews over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over–”

Candra frowns. “Stop it.”

“–And over again until she thinks it’s perfect!” Cheetah places his hands on his hips. “I say we should just do the interview to each other. You know all her questions right? You could ask them and I’ll make things funny! Then we can post it after just one take! Nikki won’t have to worry about a thing!”

Candra starts laughing. “Right! That’s a great way to give her a heart-attack. Let’s just steal her website from her and make our own post! She’s worked too hard for this, Cheetah! We can mess it up!” His fists tighten when Cheetah slowly leans toward the microphone. “Cheetah, you stay away from that! Don’t touch it! I’m warning you!”

Cheetah keeps an innocent pout on his face as he whispers into the mic. “Candra’s a killjoy who doesn’t know how to have fun.”

“That’s not true!”

“He also eats bugs.”

“That is definitely not true!”

“He still wears a di–”

“STOP IT!” Candra claps his hand over the microphone and frowns heavily at Cheetah. “If I do the interview with you now, you will shut up?” When Cheetah excitedly bobs his head, Candra sighs. “We at least let Nikki review it afterward. You’re not exactly the best at editing.”

Cheetah purrs. “Fair.” He sets his stool back up and perches atop it while Candra moves to the other stool and microphone. Cheetah runs his mouth before Candra can even take a breath. “So, what’s the first question? The actual backstory? Well, I’m the fastest cat around! Known Nikki since she was real, real little. All those trips to Grandma’s house, I was running right alongside the car! I can run on fences, telephone lines, jump over billboards, cars, buildings!” Cheetah chuckles. “Nothing stops this cat!”

“Hm. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to having a running man outside the car when they take long trips.” Candra smiles fondly. “Except, I guess you were a running cheetah.”

“Yeah and whenever I felt like it, I’d sleep in the back of the truck bed,” Cheetah flicks his tail in excitement. “I even ran around her schools a couple times! Imagine all the chaos I could cause if I were actually real.” He chuckles to himself before he sighs. “I don’t fit in with other cheetahs, though. They’re all tough, independent, and fight everyday to survive on the savannah. I just like to run around and have fun!”

Candra nods thoughtfully. “Well, Nikki was a child when you first showed up, so it makes sense that you would have a childish personality.”

“Hey!”

“I, on the other hand, have always been around.” Candra holds his head up. “She didn’t know what cheetahs were in the early states of life, but she knew me! And because I’m the tranquil light in the dark of the night and as old as the Earth, I got more maturity than you did. She could look up and see calmness in my full light or a smile waxing or waning.”

“Or nothing if you decide to be something new.” Cheetah snickers. “Yeah, yeah. We get it. You’re the Moon. Nikki’s ‘Moon spirit’ or ‘man in the moon’ who not only watches over all the Earth, but helps her clear her thoughts when it comes to her stories and characters. We get it.” Cheetah shifts on his stool and sits taller. “But back to me: I like to wear knitted hats, and run, and play tricks on people, and run, and watch movies, and run, and I hate wearing fancy clothes, and I run, and–”

Candra sighs. “And you like to talk about yourself.”

“Well, it’s not like you’re going to do much talking. You don’t like to talk about yourself!”

“But I don’t mind telling people who I am so they can–” Candra sighs and rests his head in his hand. “You know what? Forget it. They’ll likely be more stories with the two of us. People can get to know me then. Please continue, Cheetah, so we can get out of here before we get into trouble.”

Cheetah grins. “Did I mention I like to run?”

Candra slaps his forehead with his palm. “No. I don’t think you did. I had absolutely no idea that you like to run.”

Cheetah tilts his ears back. “Ok. I don’t need your sass, Candra.”

“My sass is inevitable, Cheetah.”

“What are you, Thanos now?”

Candra groans. “Can we just move this along?”

“I can be sassy right back, you know!”

“Oh, trust me, I know. You’re as sassy as your spots!”

“At least I have spots. You’re just as pale as snow! And that silver hair? What are you, an old man?”

Candra fumbles a frown. “Well…technically yes and technically no…It depends on how you look at it. If you look at me as the Moon then…” Candra pouts. “Yes. I’m an old man. BUT! If you consider my age from the point Nikki created me then I’m only about in my twenties.” Candra smirks. “Cheetahs; however, only have a lifespan between ten to twelve years and considering you’re likely in your twenties too, then you’re the one who’s old, Cheetah! Ancient even!”

Cheetah flattens his ears. “Take that back!”

“Consider that payback for the eating bugs comment!”

“I said take it back!”

Candra gives a light-hearted laugh. “What’s wrong, Cheetah? Can’t take what you dish out?”

“Alright, boys! That’s enough! I don’t need you fighting in the studio.”

Both Cheetah and Candra pause when a new voice comes over the studio speakers. The light in the booth comes on and they both wince seeing me sitting in it. “You two can’t have a pleasant conversation without getting into an argument, can you?”

Candra sheepishly chuckles and rubs the back of his head. “Heh…Hey Nikki.”

Cheetah points at Candra. “It’s his fault!”

“I think this is enough material to introduce you two.” I smile as I type up the last few lines. “All I gotta do now is schedule it to post for this week and add some clever tag.”

“So…” Candra shakes his head and his pale cheeks flush with embarrassment. “You were recording the whole time?”

“Yeah.” I chuckle. “It felt more natural that way. You guys get one more line each. What are you going to say?”

Cheetah quickly leans into the microphone. “My name is Cheetah! Don’t forget me!”

Candra and I wince at the sheer loudness of his shout. Then, Candra chuckles. “Don’t worry, Cheetah, you’re hard to forget.”

Published by Nikki

I am an aspiring author with one novel written and ready for representation and many in the works.

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