The living room light did not break with a bang - one moment it worked, the next it didn’t.
“I think the bauble needs replacing.” Alexsandr frowned, as he balanced on the ladder. “I just can't reach-”
The ladder gave an almighty wobble, and Alexsandr hastily climbed down it.
“Well, that did not work.” Alexsandr brushed himself down. “Sergei, would you try climbing the ladder to fix the light?”
Sergei’s horrified face told Alexsandr all he needed to know.
“Alright, no climbing.” Alexsandr sighed, and pinched the bridge of his snout. “Let us wait until morning - perhaps it will work then…”
The lights still did not work by the next morning.
“Should we call Tradekat?” Sergei asked, peering up at the light.
Alexsandr shook his head. “No - Tradekat is on her holidays. In the Cari-beans, I think.”
“We will have to do this ourselves, I think.”
Sergei frowned. “But we cannot reach the light.”
“Then we will have to find someone who can!”
Sergei did not look convinced. Alexsandr patted him on the shoulder.
“Do not be so glum, Sergei! It will be fine! Now, go find the spare light baubles. I will consult the Big Yellow Book of Meekats…”
Sergei later found Alexsander in the study, scowling deeply at the big yellow book sat open on the desk. Alexsandr suddenly all but slammed the book shut, and Sergei nearly dropped the bulb he found.
“This is useless, Sergei!” Alexsandr scowled some more at the book. “We need to know which meerkat is tall, not where or how they live.”
Sergei made a noncommittal noise, and placed the bulb on the desk.
“Last one,” he said. Alexsandr frowned at it.
“Bah.” he replied, reopening the yellow book. “We’ll buy more later. For now… Sergei, who is taller - Knightkat or Operakat?”
Operakat was not taller - in fact, he was rather a lot shorter.
“I don’t know,” Operakat told them, scratching his furred chin as he examined the broken light on the ceiling. “Perhaps I can sing it down.”
“Sing it down?” Alexsandr asked dubiously. “I did not think light baubles appreciated Tchaikovskat.”
“They do! If I sing at right note, I think the broken bauble will fall down. Then you only need to find another meerkat to put another one back in.”
“Ah, simples!” Alexsandr turned to Sergei with a pleased grin. “Isn’t it so, Sergei? Let us try it, Operakat!”
Sergei was still sweeping up the glass an hour later.
“This is not working, Sergei.” Alexsandr grumbled, scratching the back of his head. “Now we must find new light baubles. For all the lights.”
Sergei made a noise of agreement, and continued sweeping glass into an upturned bin.
“We need to find deals on light baubles,” Alexsandr mused. “Someone with good business sense. Do you know amyone, Sergei?”
Sergei paused in his sweeping, and thought for a moment. “Maybe Yakov?” he suggested.
“Hmm. Yakov is busy making toys for Christingles, he might not have any spare. Anyone else?”
“Yeah.” Mafiakat said. “I can find you your baubles.”
Alexsandr put his cup of tea back on the table without shaking - impressive, considering the two henchkats in the corner.
“Good.” he said. “When?”
“This afternoon. This hour.” Mafiakat waved a paw. “Time is relative with these things.”
“This hour?” Alexsander frowned at him. “Mafiakat, are these light baubles stolen?”
Mafiakat shifted a little. “I… cannot confirm they won’t be.”
“No.” Alexsandr rose from the sofa.” No thank you, we are not buying stolen light baubles! Sergei, call Yakov - he will have to put down his Christingle toys for a moment…”
“... and here you go, light baubles for your house.”
“Thank you, Yakov.” Alexsandr sighed, settling the box of light bulbs on his hip. “You would not believe the morning we is having…”
Yakov made a sympathetic noise. “Will you be putting these in yourself?”
“No - I cannot reach, even with the ladder. And Sergei is afraid of the ladder.” He sighed again. “Do you know of anyone tall enough, Yakov?”
“Hmm… Slamkat is tall enough. Maybe Balletkat? Or Mafialat.”
“We’ve had enough dealings with Mafiakat for today, I think.” Alexsandr said hurriedly. ”But Slamkat and Balletkat? Where are they today?”
It was with some trepidation that Alexsandr stepped out into what Yakov had described as a “live snowballing course”. And Alexsandr could see what he meant - snow was piled into walls, and someone’s red underpants served as a flag on an igloo. But there were no meerkats. Perhaps they had-
“Oh, yuck- ” Alexsandr wiped the cold remnants of a snowball off his fur. “Slamkat, Balletkat? Was that you?”
A shushed giggle came from the red underpants igloo.
“Come out of there, you two - I need you help. Perhaps I will not tell your mothers what happened if you agree…”
Both Balletkat and Slamkat insisted on having music on as they worked. Which was fine in some respects - Balletkat was very musical, and had fine tastes. However, Slamkat’s musical tastes consisted of being very loud and very bad.
"I wish there was a way to compare these things." Alexsandr grumbled, at the conclusion of yet another loud, bad song. "I wanted someone with tallness of Slamkat and musicality of Operakat."
Sergei thought of the glass when Operakat visited, and decided to stay quiet. Alexsandr didn't worry of Sergei's silence - soon, another bad song blared from upstairs, and Alexsandr stormed off.
However loudy Balletkat and Slamkat replaced the light bulbs, it did not hide the one thing they overlooked - Yakov’s light bulbs were multicoloured, not white. Flipping the lightswitch turned the living room into a fashionable disco.
“I think maybe next time we should just wait for Tradekat.” Sergei murmured, staring at the kaleidoscopic room.
“Nonsense, Sergei!” Alexsandr said brightly. “Next time we should make it easier to find right meerkat for the job!”
“Easier?” Sergei looked at him as if he had two heads. “How?”
“Simples!” Alexsandr grinned widely. “A website dedicated to comparing meerkats in every way that matters…”