Brennan stood alone in the kitchen, staring into the cupboard. Once again, though the kitchen was well-stocked, nothing appealed, and everything required extensive preparation that he just didn't have the energy for.

Finally he closed the cupboard and turned to the refrigerator, only to encounter the same situation. But just as he was about to give up, he spied, far to the back, an unobtrusive Styrofoam container.


Gingerly, he extracted it and dumped its contents (pasta) onto a clean plate, and microwaved it steaming hot. He lifted a forkful to his mouth-

And jumped at Shalimar's command: "HANDS OFF!"