IT’S 2AM – DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CAT IS?
Who’s a good boy?
Mr. Tibbles slips out of the bathroom window every night at 11. It’s always at that time. For someone who’s never had a watch, he’s a fastidious timekeeper. He slinks into the night with his fluffy white coat illuminated under the streetlights and his bushy tail curling up behind him.
I don’t know where he goes or what he gets up to. I sometimes hear the bell from his collar tinkling in the distance and a stray ‘meow’ but it’s hard to recognise his call. He comes and goes through the night. I’m usually in bed by 12.30 and I can hear him chasing invisible creatures through the house. There are thumps and bumps and scratches. Toys are pushed around and soon abandoned. In the morning I wake up and he’s standing outside my bedroom door. He purrs and circles my legs. I bend down to scratch behind his ears and his purrs become louder. I get too close and he scratches me.
I often ask him what he was up to during the night but of course he never answers. He’s a cat. He was hunting for prey. Exploring. Being a cat. I continue to ask him anyway. One day I hope we’ll be able to communicate through our eyes. I tested this once before but he scratched me.
He sometimes leaves gifts outside my door. I think they’re gifts but on second thought, they might be warnings. The last one consisted of a razor, the brass ring of Mordor, a chunk of plaster and an acorn.
“What are you trying to tell me”, I wondered as I tried to find a connection between the gifts. “Is this how we communicate now?” I hoped in excitement.
It turned out he had found a way to open the door to the hot press in the bathroom and destroyed the contents within. The plaster and brass ring were from the boiler. The acorn was from a box of Christmas decorations that had been hidden there and the razor was mine.
My housemate has since found a way to block Mr. Tibbles from accessing the hot press so he must search for gifts outside. One day I’m afraid he might come back with a mouse.
It’s now 11 and he’s preparing for his nightcrawl. He sits perched on the cistern ready to jump out the window. His movements are always graceful and fluid. As he turns back to me, I ask him where he’ll go this time. He looks at me, says nothing and disappears into the night.
There are three of them. Three. The brown female and the brown male are the ones who brought me here. I care little for them. There’s also a ginger male. He never wanted me. It would appear he doesn’t like animals. They say that serial killers don’t like animals too but the ginger’s not that interesting. He doesn’t have it in him.
He never wanted me but now he has me and I quite think he likes me. He’s grown accustomed to my face. He doesn’t feed me like the other two idiots but there’s affection there. In order to piss the browns off, I lavish all my attention on the ginger. Not that I care for him. It just pleases me to see how it devastates the brown ones. He has a tongue piercing and wears t-shirts with quirky logos. Not my kind of chap.
The brown female is always asking me questions. She thinks I don’t understand her. I wish I didn’t so I pretend not to. It’s better this way. She invades my personal space all the time. I scratch her but she keeps coming back like a bad penny.
The brown male has notions. He thinks that he and I were created equals. The very idea disgusts me. At least the ginger male knows his place and the brown female is too busy napping and pretending to be busy to ever consider our pecking order.
On weekend mornings the brown male sits in the back garden with his Italian coffee and his robe and tries to chew the fat with me. Jazz music playing. I hear the devastatingly sweet husky tones of Billie Holiday floating from his room and I want to kill myself. Or kill him. How dare that little sewer rat like the same music as me? How dare he sit there in a robe as fluffy as my coat and try to be on my level? I will kill him.
I want to escape. I find an opening in the bathroom and try to shave my way through the plaster in the wall. Halfway through the light reflects off the blade and blinds me. In that moment I have a thought: use the blade to kill them. If I escape I’m never coming back and this could be my only chance. I grab all weapons and make my way to the female’s room. However, on my journey I happen across my catnip-soaked playfish and all my murderous ambitions are forgotten. There’s always tomorrow . . .
The brown one seals off my escape route and confiscates my weapons. I will destroy him.
I’m aware that I can easily head off on my night walks and never return. This is too easy. They’ll think that I got lost or was kidnapped. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I want them to know that I hate them so much that I’m using all my energy to dig an escape route through the house. This will hurt them more and they will understand just how smart I am.
I’m getting ready for my Tuesday night stroll and the brown female comes in to ask me stupid questions. ”Where will you go” she asks? I look at her in disgust. I’m off to smoke some jazz cigarettes and collect pins from Fluffy next door to stick in your eyeballs I want to tell her but I don’t.
I look her up and down and then disappear in to the night. My white coat illuminating under the streetlights and my bushy tail curling up behind me.
Words: Sasha Brady
Images: Robin Hoshino