The Curious Incident of the Cat on the Duvet

A short tale
by

Gillibran Brown
circa 2017




It was a normal day in our neck of the woods; well, as normal as it gets in a house shared by three blokes in an intimate and some might say kinky relationship. I got up at the usual time and trudged downstairs to prep brekkie for my lords and masters. Juice is a breakfast essential in our house, but not your carton juice made from concentrate or even non-concentrate. Juice in our house means juice straight from the fruit. We are so posh.  With that in mind I brutally strangled a selection of citrus fruits until they yielded enough juice to fill two glasses, reminding myself never to experiment with juicing raw swede again. It had fucked up the electric juicer and rendered it obsolete thus leaving me to torture juice from fruits by hand power alone, as if I didn’t have enough to do. My plans for the day ahead were simple - go into town and purchase a new juicer. I hid the fruit husks at the bottom of the bin lest Sherlock Shane saw them and deduced the juicer was dead thus requiring me to own up to killing it. Shane has no patience with my daring experimental side, deeming it irresponsible. So, zip those lips. What Shane didn’t know wouldn’t harm me, if you get my drift.

The men folk got up and I did what I do, setting food before them like the well-trained serf I am. I then followed tradition by annoying Shane (by having the radio on too loud) and thwarting Dick (by rejecting his sexual overtures. He had a big job on at work, but I was a man with a mission and I had no time for stress induced hanky panky.) They both had a whinge about the ‘fibrous texture’ of their breakfast juice. Dick then made a mega fuss because he came across a pip. Anyone would think it was the size of a boulder from the way he carried on. I mean he hardly choked at all. A quick slap on the back and it was out. I cunningly made use of the situation by suggesting the juicer was wearing out and we needed to think about investing in a new one. Shane gave me one of his chilling ‘hmm’ looks, but skipped interrogating me as he had an early meeting to get to.

I made myself handsome and walked into town. I had a nice poke around the shops and treated myself to a delicious fruit smoothie from a juice bar. Inspired by the cool, texture perfect concoction I bought an expensive new juicer from Argos. There’s no point being a cheapskate with these things. If you want the best you have to splash the cash. I decided to take the bus home as the juicer box was heavy and bulky and I didn’t fancy lugging it home via shanks pony. On my way to the bus stop I came across a bloke doing a promo for a moggy meat company. He was giving away small bags of biscuit treats, which cats allegedly go nuts for. He asked if I had a cat and I said no, but I knew someone who did, so he palmed me a free bag along with a coupon for money off a full size bag.

I got home and unpacked the swanky new juicer, indulging in a pleasant half hour of juicing just about everything I could lay hands on, barring the rock hard swede in the veggie rack - never let it be said this houseboy doesn’t learn from his mistakes. I coffined the old juicer in the new juicer’s box and popped it in the garage ready to be taken to the tip to be disposed of in due course. I put the new juicer on the worktop; confident the men folk wouldn’t even notice it was a new model, not until the bill came in anyway. I then headed over to Eileen’s place for a cuppa and a natter. I took the treats I’d got from the promo man. I’m always trying to butter up Horace, in the hope he’ll accept me with open paws and allow me to get my mitts on his lush furry form.

To say he liked the treats would be an understatement. As soon as I opened the bag he was there at my feet. I tried to get him to take one from the palm of my hand, but he was having none of it. I nearly cacked a brick as he savagely shot out a paw full of razor sharp claws and swiped the treat from my hand. It was a miracle he didn’t draw blood. He scoffed the treat off the floor and then glared at me with steely menace, tail swishing from side to side, until I dropped another one for him to gobble up. He’s a horrible beast. I don’t know why I want to be pals with him. Eileen tried to console me by saying what she always says - she reckons he sees me as a rival for her affection, just as if I was another cat, and gets jealous. He likes to make it plain he’s the top cat in her house - top twat more like. He demolished the small bag of treats in no time, making rusty purring noises as he gulped them down his gullet. There seemed to be some truth in the manufacturers claim that cats went wild for them. He certainly wasn’t pleased when the supply ran out. Plonking a thuggish paw on one of my trainers he sat staring at me with terrifying intensity until Eileen shooed him out of the kitchen.

I returned to the quasi mansion and did what a houseboy has to do, and with magnificent skill even if I do say so myself. The evening played out much as any other. Shane announced he was off to bed first. He’d had a long day lording it over everyone and was tired. His dictator battery needed charging. Dick and I cuddled up on the couch and were just getting amorous when Shane stormed back into the lounge.

“You!”

He meant me.

“Up, boy, get up now. With me.”

It was not a request. There was no choice involved. In the twinkling of Alpha Daddy’s eye I was plucked from Dick’s arms. Thank goodness we’d only gotten to the snogging stage and not the hiding the bishop stage, otherwise it could have been very messy. Shane flew up the stairs towing me in his wake. As far as I was concerned the flight was not first class. The turbulence was terrible and there was no offer of a meal or even a teeny-weeny bag of stale nuts. We landed in the Master bedroom.

“WHAT is that?” He stabbed a finger towards the bed.

I literally stepped back in amazement, my mouth dropped open, my heart turned over and I might even have exuded a small parp of wind, as I surveyed the dark presence from which malice and aggression flowed in palpable waves, but enough about Shane. Beelzebub lay sprawled on the very centre of our bed, raised from the depths of hell by some vile incantation. Actually, it was Eileen’s moggy, Horace, but he was every bit as frightening as Satan. He glared at us, his tail flicking a warning, his eyes clearly stating: I am comfy here so do not fuck with me.

I managed to stammer. "It's Eileen's cat."

“Why did you bring that creature into this house?”

I was gobsmacked. I had no idea how Horace got into the house let alone up the stairs and onto the bed. It was a mystery.

Shane’s hand landed dead centre of my bottom with an almighty thwack, as he barked again. “Why did you bring that creature into this house? Answer me.” His hand contacted my bottom for a second and then a third time - the triple slap trick and executed at eye watering speed. “Is it your idea of another silly joke?”

I issued a tearful denial. “No, Daddy. I promise. I had no idea he was here. He must have followed me over from Eileen’s and slipped in without me noticing.”

Horace isn’t my biggest fan so the idea of him following me seemed ludicrous, unless he’d devised and was carrying out a plan to murder me in my sleep, but had gotten sidetracked and seduced by the cosiness of the duvet he was reclining on. Then I remembered the treats and Horace’s eagerness to have them. He’d probably thought I was withholding some and that’s why he had stalked me home. I still couldn’t understand how he had followed without me seeing him and then slipped past me into the house. The big old boy obviously had hidden ninja skills. I had paused for a few moments with the front door open when I bent to pick up a pile of mail, swiftly going through it as I always do to see if any of it was for me. He could have snuck in then, or come in through an open window. It didn’t matter how. It only mattered that he was in and Sir was not chuffed.

Something in my demeanour convinced Shane I was telling the truth. He gave an exasperated snort followed by an allergic sneeze. “Just get rid of him, Gilli. Put him outside.”

I advanced towards the bed and reached out a cautious hand, wheedling, “come on, lad, come on, puss, time to go home. FUCK!” I drew back my hand with a squeal of terror, as Horace lashed a vicious paw at me. Clutching my hands to my chest I backed away from the bed.  “He won’t let me touch him. He hates me.”

Dick came on scene and inadvertently hyped up the tension by asking. “Is it real?”

A mushroom cloud just about appeared over Shane’s head, as he exploded. “Of course it’s fucking real, what do you think it is, a mirage?”

Dick’s reply was a huffy, “All right, keep your hair on. I was only asking. I thought it might be one of Gilli’s leg-pulls. Some toy animals are very realistic. Look at that snake and rat he tricked us with.”

“Well it isn’t a toy,” snapped Shane. “It’s real and I want it out of here.”

“It’s Eileen’s cat,” I said helpfully. “Horace.”

Eager to make amends, Dick boldly declared he would remove the squatter moggy.

His new career as a cat whisperer was short-lived. He approached the bed making soothing ‘here kitty-kitty’ noises, which quickly changed to ‘oh shit’ noises as Horace began emitting a menacing growl, which rolled around the room like thunder. Dick backed away from the bed even faster than I did. “I see what you mean, Gilli. He is rather fierce.”

Shane’s patience, a rare flower, expired.  “For the love of Mike. You just have to be firm with it. It’s only a bloody cat. You two are fannying about as if it’s a raptor from Jurassic Park.”

Giving us no time to be impressed by his cult movie knowledge he strode to the bed, pointed a finger at Horace and snapped. “You! Cat! Down!” He stabbed the finger at the floor. “Down, now. Get down!”

And bugger me, he did. Recognising he’d met his match, bullyboy Horace jumped down from the bed and then, THEN, listen to this, he started purring and winding around Shane’s ankles. I’d coaxed and cajoled that bastard cat, brought him treats, and he wouldn’t give me the time of day, but there he was, shamelessly prostituting himself before Shane. Leo’s mog, Gen, does the same. I was wounded to the soul, and dead jealous. Turning to Dick, I said sourly, “They say a familiar always recognises the scent of a warlock.”

He replied, equally sourly, “Yes, he is something of a pussy magnet.”

Keeping a safe distance, Dick and I followed Shane as he walked downstairs closely followed by his new best buddy. In a strange and faintly disturbing way they made an adorable couple, a bit like Lord Asriel with his daemon.

Shane made to open the door, ready to give Horace his marching orders. I had a sudden horrible flashback to the day kitten Clarice was killed by a dog right in front of my eyes. I doubt any dog was brave enough to take on Horace, but there was still the possibility he could be struck by a car. I had never known him to cross to our side of the road before. He tended to stick close to home. He’d gotten across the road okay, but what if he wasn’t so lucky on the return journey. Some people are cruel bastards when it comes to cats. What if someone deliberately ran him over? He’s a mean old pussycat to me, but I couldn’t bear the thought of him getting injured or killed. Eileen adores him. I didn’t want her to blame me for his demise, seeing as I was the one who had ignited the rash greed resulting in his wanderlust.

“No!” I launched myself between Shane and the door. “You can’t let him go, not on his own. What if he gets run over? You’ll have to take him home, to the door.”

As if in slow motion I saw a look of incredulity wash across Shane’s face. I didn’t give him time to transfer the look into waspish words. Clinging to his arm, I pleaded Horace’s case. “Please, Daddy. What if a car hits him, what if a dog gets him, what if some rogues grab him so they can use him as bait for dogfights? I couldn’t bear it if something happened to him. Eileen would be devastated. You have to take him home. You have to. You’re the only one who can do it. Please, Daddy, please.”

Damn I was good. Not only was I almost in tears, but Dick also had a suspicious shine in his eyes. He joined the ‘Get Horace Home Safe' campaign’ without even being asked.

“Come on, Shane. It won’t hurt you to take the animal home. He seems to trust you. Gilli will only fret himself silly if you don’t.”

“Gilli,” said Shane crisply, “is already silly, and you’re not far behind.”

He looked down at Horace with marked distaste. Horace gazed back from adoring green eyes. Who knew that some cats are secret subs at heart, eh?

“Let’s get this done, or none of us will sleep tonight.” Steeling himself, Shane opened the front door. Bending down he scooped up Horace, tucked him under his arm and launched out into the night like Dick Whittington on his way to London.

I was deeply put out. If I’d tried to pick Horace up, I’d have been shredded.

Dick and I followed in Shane’s footsteps like minions. We crowded behind him as he knocked on Eileen’s’ door. She opened it. He thrust Horace at her and wheezed, “Yours I believe.”

Eileen took the cat with a cry of happy relief. “Shane, thank you so much. I was beginning to worry about him. He’s not usually out so late. Where did you find him?”

Alas, Shane couldn’t reply on account of his body being rocked with a volley of sneezes. Actual physical contact with Horace had sent his immune system into overdrive.

“Gilli will explain.” Dick smiled at Eileen and then took Shane by the arm, saying cheerfully. “Come on, old bean. Let’s get you home and dosed up on antihistamines. You’ll be sound as a rock in no time.”

Even in the subdued light it was possible to see the look of ire in Shane’s bloodshot eyes. If Dick weren’t careful, the old bean would have his head off.

I gave Eileen a hasty account of Horace’s adventure. “He was at our house. I’ll explain more tomorrow, Eileen, okay?”

She nodded and I hurried after the men folk, following the sound of explosive sneezes.

As soon as he was indoors, Shane began tearing off his clothes, hoarsely snarling. “Get them in the wash and then get upstairs and get the bed changed, Gilli. Leave so much as a cat hair in that room and I’ll paddle your bare backside red raw.”

Stretching up, I kissed my wrathful, naked, red-eyed Daddy on the lips and then gathered up his clothes, thrusting them in the laundry before dashing off to whisk away all evidence of our clandestine furry visitor. By the time I’d done, Shane had showered, been plied with antihistamines backed up with a whisky and was in a much mellower mood, despite having eyes the same shade as an albino rabbit. He was still beautiful to me. He had put my desire for Horace’s safe passage above his own comfort. My hero.

And there ends the curious incident of the cat on the duvet.


Ciao for now, Peeps!





 
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