Julian Fiennes woke up next to a tiger, a Siberian tiger to be exact. Mr. Fiennes was known to be very fond of tigers. Ever since he had first stumbled upon a breathtaking watercolor illustration in one of his father’s great leather-bound books, he had devoted his life to learning all there was to know about tigers. His interest had not, however, heretofore extended into the realm of bestiality, nor was it likely to. When Mr. Fiennes had gone to bed the night before, it had not been with a tiger of any species, but rather with his wife, Doris. Now it could, perhaps, be said that Doris possessed some tiger-like qualities, especially when upset or angry, but that was more in the way of a metaphor, and there was nothing even remotely metaphorical about the tiger in bed with Mr. Fiennes. He turned quite pale and held himself very still, hoping beyond hope that this was still a dream, or failing that, that the nice tiger wouldn’t notice him. But it did. The tiger turned to him and gave, what was for a tiger, an impressively appraising gaze.
“Darling,” said the tiger, “are you alright? You look a little peaky.”