About a cat

About a cat

Anticipating the sunshine after a long, cold, dreary, windy, snowy, misty, rainy, dank British suburban Winter, Shanks the Black Panther embarked on his daily Ginger Phat through his backyard kingdom … uh … not so much a kingdom, more like a catdom.

To dispense with intricate politics, there exist several long-held oaths between the cats, devised by Ginger the Phat, that is yowled every blue new moon, the Ginger Phat code goes, “whomsoever treadz and sitz upon the wee half-shedz, will run all the yards, until the wind changes or cat biscuitz – whichever first. So say we all! Rowr.”

Cat biscuitz is a verb in catlish.

Considering the Greenhouse, Shanks ruminates on the shadow of fearfulness. There was a past incident there. Detail is sketchy, the time scale ragged, but cat memories are durable. Loud shouting, falling shelves, flying pots skittering, and he hesitates. But not so that anyone’d notice.

Always casual, never flustered, suave Shanks narrowing his eyes, hopes he looks more brave than he feels. Tens of pairs of eyes hidden behind curtains, lazing on ledges and window posing, he feels surrounded.

That gap between the shabby shed and the decrepit fence is far too inviting to ignore, it leads to a veritable Narnia of insects, snails, slugs and cocoons… But there’s hint of scent that’s not his own and in a snapshot too, he senses a not-long-gone mouse victim of another Cat. There’s also a Ginger the Phat oath about this – but he never remembers if it says eat it, or leave it … and who can stop long enough to ask for clarification when the air’s electric and pulsating with ardent vibrancy?

Perhaps, he convinces himself after a little while, it was left there by Toby the Terror as a gift. They are unofficially friends that have their share of upz and downz. Then he remembers the last time he thought the same thing. Glancing over at his perennial mate’s house, he’s wildly taken aback, everyone sees him jump, as claw-flexed Toby slowly licks his razor-honed claws, daring him to make his day.

Opening window, attention diverted, head turns, relief, home, biscuit chief. Could it be that time… already? Torn between adrenaline and the needs of his dangling belly Shanks waits, a picture of Iron resolve cloaked by velvet composure, inwardly speeding up his daily revue of the yards.

Fresh pine greenery, shrubbery, topiary, adventuring hidden nooks. Head shifting tapping bare branches, pegs waving, birds trembling, watching waiting, wind whispering. Creaky fences, hedge propped, jasmine anticipating sunlight. Trellis fading, silver moss on birch. Sauntering home.

“Right, that’s me done. Time for cat biscuitz.”

Look out your back window or door — describe what you see, as if you were trying to convey the scene to someone from another country or planet.

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