NOT SO QUIET QUEENSBURY
I just ’ad to run as fast as me paws could take me. I didn’t want to meet whoever it was, ’cause I just knew it were going to be coming from a dog. Some things never change, you know-cats and dogs hate each other just as they did back in the days when we were just pets of humans and couldn’t understand what them big apes were talking about when they weren’t talking to or shouting at us.
That damned dog was pawing itself closer as I were going near that park in Queensbury, the one in Bradford that is. Not into it, mind, since just about any dog would catch and scratch and bite the livin’ fuck out of me, no sweat. There were a lot of them humans walking around at the time, no doubt off to whatever they call “sports”.
That definitely weren’t me that time. That dog must have been distracted by another cat, which gave me just enough time to get to that bush somewhere, out of sight of the dog.
Looking the other way when I could without being bitten, he weren’t even a big dog, mind you, just a terrier. A terrier with a big attitude, though.
“Fuck off, will you!”
“Bite me. Go on, I dare yeh.”
“Fuck you, yeh dirty furry prick. All you do is make a mess and scare us all away.”
I should have known better, because the terrier, as expected, started a fight with me. I wasn’t going to let him scare me this time, even though he was bigger than me.
GROWL! SCRATCH! SCRATCH! HISS!
That hurt a fair bit, and I knew this wasn’t a fight I could win. I ran and the dog chased after me. I thought he was going to catch me and bite my tail off but….
YAP YAP YAP!
Another cat must have got the dog right in the eye. I purred contentedly in the distance, knowing that that bastard dog wouldn’t be comin’ for me now. Seeing it leap into the distance, I thought it would be safe to come out of that bush, especially since I’d just pissed in it out of nerves.
I leapt out as soon as the dog were out of sight, no doubt wounded in both eye and pride. I was worried that the cat were someone I knew, as he would no doubt have been badly scratched by that fuckin’ dirty dog. I got a glimpse of the cat who at a glance reminded me of Tabby, although I could tell right away he were a tomcat. Upon getting a better look, I could tell he’d been nastily scratched by that dog, although he was still crawling on all fours as we usually do. He were bleeding a fair bit, but I couldn’t do nowt about it. I just had to go on my way and forget about it, relieved that it weren’t Tabby.
Where was she? Purr, purr.
I’d only travelled a few miles or so at this point, and I needed to find somewhere-anywhere to stay briefly. Cheshire’s miles and miles away from Queensbury way, and where was the right way?
That’s Queensbury in Yorkshire, just to remind you, and not Queensbury down in London!
I found along the way a pigeon that had somehow got caught on some wire-or maybe it was a piece of cable, perhaps while pecking at food left on the ground by those humans. It gets on my nerves when they just leave good food everywhere, although it’s in the end a real bonus for us. Oblivious to those walking around the spot, I just snatched the pigeon in my mouth, shook it in my mouth to loosen all the feathers, and hidden underneath a bench, just ate it as if it were a mouse or rat hiding in someone’s kitchen. This all happened before it even got a chance to coo to other pigeons, which had flown away by then anyway, possibly scared by all those overgrown pale monkeys.
It felt grrreat, it did. Yeah.
I scampered quick as I could, naturally. I had to avoid as many people as I could-what if someone had noticed me? As far as I know they hadn’t otherwise I’d have heard someone trying to step on me tail or summat. On all paws I couldn’t see how many there were, only how many pairs of legs there were. I thought there were ’round 300, 400 legs at first sight but some of them might’ve been dog legs not human legs. I couldn’t tell at all. All I knew was I had to get up anyroad and find somewhere I could sleep. Fast I were, graceful I were, aye, but a long walker I weren’t, no!
Luckily Queensbury’s a lot quieter than Bradford, so I didn’t hear as many of them cars as I did when I began me journey. There was a rather big one, though, that came a little close to swerving into my path, and I could hear a loud whirring noise up in the sky from some other sort of contraption. It really bugged me, that flying bugger. Why was it, he or she flying so close to me?
That contraption came into view, just about. It had a few strange propellers or something and it looked rather sharp. I couldn’t make out who was steering it. I could only hear him saying slowly,”Wassgoingondownere?” It was weaving about a fair bit, but I couldn’t tell why. Just at that moment when I thought I had escaped that road, whoever it was that was steering it just projected sick, and I just had to jump so quickly…
No, that weren’t me. That was the sick. But when I dodged it, I hit me paws on some tall railings, what they called them. It hurt-a fucking lot. As I were nursing and licking me paws, even though they weren’t bleeding, the bloke steering the contraption had tumbled out of it and it hit the road, scraping it. He seemed all right, but he couldn’t half get up.
A woman, a rather big and tall woman in a blue dress, came out of some house nearby.
“What the fuck?”
“George? George, you haven’t been drinking, have you? You can’t drink and fly that thing; I’ve told you before!”
“George, just get up. Now! You’re in a right state!”
The door was still open, but it was some distance away and I had to seize my chance. The folks what lived here were just a few steps away and I could tell they were mad. I hobbled to the house on my paws, it were painful but I needed to get in. Lay-lay, or whatever it was short for, suddenly noticed me as George tried to get to his feet.
“We don’t need you here.”
“Come on, run along.”
I ignored Lay-lay and ran inside just before she and George managed to get back in their house. It was huge-much bigger than anywhere I’d stayed in Bradford or Leeds. George hobbled around, but even in that state said “cat got in here. Where’s he?” Lay-lay remarked, “don’t know. Stay here, will you? I’ll catch him.”
I jumped behind some big sofa before she could see me. It felt great hiding behind the sofa what were in the big house; I felt secure even though I also felt a little hungry and thirsty. She could hear me, though, and I could hear her.
“Hello? Miaowww!” I could tell that was her, not a real cat. Who did she think she was kidding?
“You’re not a real cat.” I whispered to myself, conscious not to scratch my whiskers against her sofa. My whiskers are precious, they are, and they’re longer than those of most cats ’round my block. I was getting rather impatient even though I’d only been here a short while. I glanced up after clambering over the sofa and noticed something strange in the middle of the living room. It read: “17:38” for some reason I couldn’t fathom for a whisker. But I could see outside from that window that it was getting dark, so it must’ve meant something useful.
“George, I’m just going to make dinner now.”
“No, you’re just totally pissed, again. You never help me cook, you never help me with maintaining all those machines we keep to make our lives easier, you spend too much time tinkering with those old aircraft we don’t really need, and you’re really pissing me off!”
She then shouted after a few seconds, “For fuck’s sake!”
She sighed with boredom, “I’m Lacey, not Lay.” So that’s what her real name was. “Has that cat been listening?”
“Look behind you, George. Now just let me make dinner. Let’s hope for Christ’s sake you’re well enough to eat it once I’ve got it on our plates.”
Goodness me, was he out of it. But suddenly, he had seen me right behind the sofa! Even in that slurring state he had found me hiding place!
“Who are you?” he said very slowly.
“Puss”, I replied crossly.
“Isn’t that a sound cats make?”
“Well, yeah, George.” Just as a playful reminder, “I could hear all you were saying so I know you’re George and she’s Lacey.”
“Thasright. How…did…you…get…in…?” His speech was still slurred.
“That’d be telling now, wouldn’t it?” I sniggered and licked my lips here.
“You’re such a clever cat aren’t you?” George, rather amused, tried to stroke my fur but he wasn’t in any state to reach it, although I’d have rather liked it now. I usually don’t, mind you. It pisses me off when humans try to mess up my fur and the last time one of them to stroke my fur ended up with a nasty big scratch on his hands.
“Have you got any food here? I’m tired and looking to stay for the night, George. Anything.”
“Let me think….”
“Well, there’s an apple…”
I scoffed at him. “Cats can’t eat those. Don’t be daft!”
“I don’t know...Lacey?”
“Dinner’s nearly ready, George. Are you still talking to that cat?”
“He wants…to know…if you’ve got anything for him.”
I couldn’t see Lacey but I could hear how annoyed she was. “No I don’t. Why would I keep anything here for cats, George? We’ve never owned one and we never talk to them.”
“He’s talking…to me, right now.”
“Maybe, but why should I give him anything? We’re never able to keep our pantry full as it is and we never saw him before today. I don’t see why I could or should help him.”
“Cause he’s tired.”
“So am I, George, with you and that damn cat. Just toss him something so he’ll get on his way.”
George was still in some sort of stupor. He couldn’t see anything I could eat, and neither could I with him blocking the way to the next room. Trying to remember what they call it…oh, it will come to me later.
He stumbled somewhat to the next room, trying to hold his arms to the walls just so he could walk. It was pathetic-I could walk better than he was doing with my hind legs even though I’ll always be better on all paws, I mean all fours. I followed him, slowly but surely, and as usual he couldn’t hear me. What had he been drinking to get himself in that state? It wasn’t water and it certainly wasn’t milk.
And I wanted some fucking food now.
He seemed to open some sort of door, definitely in that room. In the room beyond that, Lacey was getting rather annoyed.
“George, it’s ready now. Will you get on with it and find some food for the cat?”
“I’ve found the right door…ohhhh!”
Either he’d tripped on something or he had just collapsed under the weight of his own stupidity, don’t know which. He fell to floor with a small bang, and just to add to it all, the door smacked him right on the left side of his face.
“George! Are you OK?”
“Let me take a look. I need to get dinner ready anyway.”
I knew at that moment I had to hide; that room wasn’t very large and there was no way I could hide from Lacey in that room and nor were there any hiding spot to be found anyhow. It would take a while and I was really getting hungry-damn that idiot!
I dashed, or rather crawled given how tired and hungry I were, to the next room but knew I couldn’t go too far, since I needed to get that food when the moment were just right.
I overheard Lacey there saying, “George, are you feeling better now? Our dinner’s getting cold, you know. We’ve got to eat it now.”
“Yeah, maybe….” George replied, rather dazed and confused. “Owwwww……”
Humans take so long to eat dinner. We finish it around 20 times faster than they. But for all I knew Lacey had eyes in the back of her head, just like I’ve got ears in the back of my head. She was watching me, staring at me, when she was supposed to be eating. I had to crawl carefully, especially since I had fuck all energy left after hours and hours of crawling and dodging cars and people. I heard some interesting glimpses of Lacey and George’s dinner talk:
“You’re fucking going to get banned from flying, you are. For YEARS! And you’ve ruined that ultralight we’d been saving up for years to get.”
“I’m sorry, love….”
“Don’t be sorry for me. Be sorry for us, for yourself even, for once.”
“I thought I…”
“I thought I, I thought I, I thought I, yeah, yeah, yeah. You should have been well aware of what was going to happen before you started quaffing down all that fancy lager we were supposed to be saving for parties. These craft are difficult to control even when you haven’t been drinking, you know that.”
More than glimpses, really, so long did it take for me to find the food George was trying to get out of that place. I scratched the paper bag with my claws, bit it, and pulled it along like a ball of wool to get it open. Open it did, but it ended up spilling whatever meat was inside all over the floor, scattered like scrambled eggs or pigeon feathers. The meat looked strange, as if it had already been cooked and had dried-not great. I prefer my meat raw and squeaking. Nevertheless, I clawed the first piece up knowing that it would probably be my only proper meal of the day, the pigeon not being a proper meal. It was rather chewy, and it felt rather rough in my mouth. I had to rip apart the rest of the meat with my claws, making an even bigger mess than usual, although this often happens when I eat since feathers get everywhere when I eat birds. I also end up having to sick up the fur and bones of rats and mice rather than shit it out like an owl would, since it just tastes so awful. I don’t particularly like that-let them owls make all the mess with their mounds of bones and fur. They haven’t got teeth and I have.
After such a long time clawing through that dry and chewy meat, I finally felt ready to rest. It was a long day and I just needed a long, good sleep, even if it was on the floor of some house I’d never been before. I hid behind the sofa again-somewhere George and Lacey wouldn’t wake me up from-or so I thought….