Thursday, January 19, 2012

a cat called keith

Sheila and Deidre became friends sometime in the Cretaceous period. They’ve been friends so long they fit together seamlessly, every nod and smile, every laugh and cough, hair-net pat and handbag hug all slickly co-ordinated, their conversation scooting along like a canoe with two paddles.
‘We didn’t take him in so much as he adopted us.’
‘Barbara up the road’s got five cats and couldn’t handle another.’
‘He just turned up one day and stayed on.’
‘They know the easy life when they see it.’
‘Not like dogs.’
‘Dogs – eurch – crashing about, wanting attention’
‘His name’s Keith.’
‘It was actually Chief but we misheard.’
‘He’s twenty something.’
‘Pick him up, there’s nothing to him.’
‘Just rag and bones.’
‘But he does all right.’
‘He’s got some bad habits.’
‘He likes to sit any old where.’
‘He was on the bread board this morning.’
‘Not very hygienic.’
‘But what can you do?’
‘And vomiting.’
‘From high up.’
‘Apart from that he’s all right.’
‘Yowling. Padding around the place, yowling.’
‘Especially when he wants something.’
‘You put down some biscuits and say “Here you are Keith.”’
‘So he takes a sniff then turns his nose up and walks off.’
‘So we have to give him chicken.’
‘Not a bad life.’
‘He can’t go on much longer.’
‘Bit like me.’
‘Don’t say that, Sheila.’
‘Well, look at me.’

Sheila rests back on the trolley and closes her eyes. After a moment or two Deidre leans forward and reaches out her hand.
‘Sheila?’
‘What?’
‘Just making sure you’re still with us.’
‘We’ve got another cat, of course.’
‘Dexter.’
‘He was already called that when we got him.’
‘Don’t ask.’
‘He must be getting on for eighteen or so.’
‘But you’d never think it.’
‘All his own teeth.’
‘Mostly.’
‘They work in cahoots.’
‘There’s nothing they won’t do for a bit of attention.’
‘He came from Barbara as well.’
‘Can you blame him?’
‘Are we there yet?’
‘Five minutes,’ I say.

Deidre hugs her bag and smiles at me.
‘Do you have any pets?’ she says.
‘Two dogs and a cat. Our cat’s getting on a bit. Same age as Dexter, by the sound of it.’
‘Where did you get her from?’
‘She came free with a sofa. The sales assistant just said it as an afterthought. She was handing us the receipt and she said “I don’t suppose you’d like a kitten as well, would you?” So here we are, eighteen years later. Outlasted the sofa, that’s for sure.’
‘What’s her name?’
‘Kasha. Which apparently is a kind of Eastern European porridge’
‘Kasha. Hmm.’
Deidre closes her eyes on the trolley again.
‘Keith’ she says. ‘Whoever heard of a cat called Keith?’

4 comments:

Sabine said...

This story made me laugh for a change. Thanks. Hope the two are alright?
I know of a cat - not a tom, mind you - who is called Brian.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening! said...

Lovely Spence!

jacksofbuxton said...

I'm not a lover of cats.Mrs jack is,so as a consequence of that of course we've always had cats.

Of the 2 we have at the moment Jess,I'm sure you know what she looks like,likes to sleep on our bed.She always tries to sleep on my pillow.Once she bit me on the toe at 3 am.She soon discovered cats CAN fly.

Besides which,I'm taking the cat out for a walk doesn't get you down The Talbot does it?

Spence said...

Sabine - She needed to go in, but I think she's good for a few more years yet! Love the cat named Brian. Reminds me of Brian the snail in Magic Roundabout (but had to wiki that to check... and it turns out his name was Ambroise in the Fr original..)

Cheers Alan!

Jacks - Biting your toe (or anyone's toe) at 3 in the morning is a capital offence - amazed she made it to breakfast after a stunt like that.

...But looking for the cat might (then releasing it from the cat box in the shed after closing time) Just an idea.