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Paper Tiger, Revisited

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At the time of our story, Angela Heatherfield had been working for Paper Tiger, Inc., for nearly a year, and enjoyed most of it. Paper Tiger's business was publishing comic books, architectural designs, and social commentary in the form of essays; and Angela, herself, was a young mind brimming with ideas, which suited the company quite well. Lately, she had been working directly under the founder and editor-in-chief, Mr. Calvin Frazier, whose own brilliant imagination, and dozen-odd years of experience, made him something of a hero to his impulsive, youthful assistant.

With a lively and well-paid occupation at work, a kind and reliable husband at home, and a cheerful family around the country, Angela was more fortunate than the majority of mortals. But like any human being, she was curious, and this led her to ask a fellow-artist at work, one day: 'Hey, Will: who was Mr. Hobbes?'.

Said Will: 'What do you mean, Who was Mr. Hobbes?'.

Angela answered: 'Mr. Frazier's business partner! When he founded the company. The letterhead and the manifesto and all the paperwork say, Calvin & Hobbes, Founders, but I've never seen any Hobbes, or talked with anyone who did, or anyone who knew what he was like. So, I'm asking you'.

Said Will: 'Hobbes is a mystery. Most of us think, Frazier invented him, just to give the company some background. Others swear he was the man behind the company's name, and that nutty logo of lance-toting tigers around a decorated shield. I've no idea'.

After that, Angela continued work as usual, until some days later when she went to present Calvin her latest portfolio, and found no Calvin, and no-one in the office at all, except a stuffed tiger, seated on his desk. Said she: 'Mr. Frazier? Calvin? Hello!', but received no answer. As she turned to the exit, a voice said: 'Hello, Angela. It's nice to meet you properly at last'.

Angela turned back, and found herself confronted by the tiger: still made of cloth, but unmistakably alive.

Said she: 'Hello?', and he answered: 'Hello again. Is that your latest? I'll take care of it, if you like'.

Angela asked: 'Who are you?'.

The tiger answered: 'Silly of me. I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Calvin's partner, Hobbes'.

Said Angela: 'You're Hobbes? But how?'.

He answered: 'How? That's not really important. I just am. Calvin and I started the company, after he finished school. Took him forever, but Susie and I got him through it'.

Angela asked: 'Who's Susie?'.

Hobbes answered: 'Calvin's childhood sweetheart;–– or would have been, if I'd had anything to say about it. Actually, they hated each other until high school, became friends in first-year undergrad, and stayed in touch all through university. I always hoped they'd get together, but it wasn't meant to be. Still, Sophy's not bad for him, and they've got lovable kids. Pretty soon, he'll be a grandfather! Weird, isn't it?'.

Said Angela: 'Not really. Most people do'.

Hobbes answered: 'That's the weirdest part of all. Anyway, he's at home, helping his daughter Cathy move in with her groom, and I'm here to take care of the paperwork'.

Said Angela: 'Why haven't I seen you before?'.

Hobbes answered: 'Of course you have. I'm the company's mascot. I designed the letterhead and manifesto, too. I'm the Paper Tiger! Though not really made of it. I don't make myself obvious. Maybe I should. But here I am, anyway'.

Said Angela: 'Can I leave these papers with you, then? I've got to head home'.

Hobbes answered: 'Of course you can. I'll look over them while you're gone. I'm sure they're fascinating'.

Said Angela: 'Thank you, Mr. Hobbes'.

He answered: 'Make it plain Hobbes, please. I'm sure this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship'.