05 October 2010

Darkness

THEY DIDN'T FEED ME BREAKFAST THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED
by The Cat

She didn't cook anything last night. That was the first clue there was a problem. Well, the real first clue was that I had to lie on the cool wood floor to get cool. Hot cat was very HOT. So I stretched out full length on the cool cool floor. Always problematic because She comes over and plays with my belly. Then I have to bite Her.

And She didn't cook! I gauge mealtimes by the sounds They make. The coffee pot makes noise and the sun comes up. Little He goes into the shower. He comes out and puts food into my bowl while I dance around and give Him instructions. Then Little He eats, but it's never anything good. She might have a waffle, and I like those, but the best days are when Little She gets eggs and I steal some. That's breakfast.

She gets off the exercise bike or drives into the garage or walks in the door or says "How about lunch?" That's lunch. Sometimes I fib a little and tell Her that I haven't eaten yet. Sometimes I can talk Her into a second lunch. Sometimes I can talk Her into giving me some of Her lunch.

I stand on Her feet and walk casually in front of Her when She's making dinner. She rattles pots and pans and chops things. Delicious smells everywhere. Sometimes, I can reach up and pull goodies off the counter (She yells at me, but so what? Food!). Sometimes, She falls over me when I stop in front of Her in the kitchen and then She puts me in the laundry room.

Then, after they've eaten and some time passes, I get my dinner. I have to remind Her. She talks back to me in the most appalling Cat I've ever heard. I have to give Her instructions as She gets the can out of the pantry. She seems to forget every night how my dinner is done.

But last night, I knew it was bad. There was no delicious smell of cooking. I know when things are in the oven and I stand guard (well, sleep) in the chair nearest it. That way, She can't sneak anything past me. I also guard the door when She's cooking outside in case She drops something coming back inside (once, a whole plate of meat! Meat! I managed to get some before She scooped it back up on the plate. I wasn't so lucky when She dropped a casserole full of pork chops on the kitchen floor. I was put in the laundry room, but just as well. It took at least 2 solid hours of bathing to unruffle my fur after that noise).

So They all ate cold things last night. Lettuce (no self-respecting cat would eat that), olives (fun to chase, chew up and spit out), turkey and ham and cheese (hey, where's mine?). I asked nicely for some ice cream and only clawed Her leg a little trying to get some--She doesn't eat it, so why shouldn't I have Hers?--and then everything went dark.

For a moment They were all silent. Everything got very, very quiet. I didn't like it. Everything sounded wrong. Everything looked wrong. It wasn't The Way Things Usually Are.

Then I heard Her speaking in a commanding voice, which made me feel better, and She held a little light in Her hand. She and Little She went back to Little She's room and came back with another little light, and then I smelled fire as She made more little lights. I followed Her as She put little lights everywhere, but She didn't see that I was worrying. Finally, She looked down at me and I worried, and She came down where I was and rubbed my shoulders and spoke softly.

My time is not the same as human time. Humans sleep for a week at a time. There is no sun for a week at a time. I have to wait forever for them to wake up. Humans are slow and ponderous; their time is long. And they need lots of reminding about things that are important to cats.

Like food.

So I was confused. The dark was wrong. The silence was wrong. The no-dinner smell was wrong. The little fires and little lights were wrong. They all talked and She was busy, but I followed Her, and She sometimes scratched between my ears.

And I still hadn't gotten my dinner.

Then it got light again. But it was all wrong. The little dark was gone, but they were still awake. They hadn't gone to bed. I hadn't had dinner. Had an entire day gone by and I missed it, missed three full meals and various snacks?

She was busy again, pushing buttons and walking fast in the house. I followed Her, and worried, but She didn't see me.

Finally, She remembered me again. And I got my dinner without much fuss, strange in itself. Everyone went to bed, and life was normal quiet, not scary silent.

I looked out the window for a while. Things were moving around in the bushes; the world seemed restless with all the weirdness and heat, and I worried, a little.

Then I heard the coffee pot. So soon? Where had the night gone? Was something else wrong?

So, I waited in the kitchen. Soon, Little He would go into the shower, and He would come out and feed me.

And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I checked the hallway. No morning sounds. No stirring. Were they all dead?

I looked out the doors. No light, just dark.

I knew then that the world was over.

And I was going to be expected to face the end of the world WITHOUT BREAKFAST.

I paced. A little mew of distress escaped while I tried not to hyperventilate.

I could SMELL the coffee. And there were no people. And no BREAKFAST.

And no sound. And no light.

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. This was serious, terrible business. So I marched back to Their bedroom and jumped up on the bed. I stood on Her feet.

No movement. No sound. No light. No people getting coffee. No one in the shower.

NO BREAKFAST.

I jumped off the bed. I walked out into the kitchen. Nothing.

I went back to the bedroom and I made a small sound. Nothing.

Then I wailed out loud. Why are you dead? I cried. Why aren't you moving? Why is there no breakfast? Why is the world over?

I jumped on the bed and then jumped up and down on Her feet with all the power in my furry person.

DON'T BE DEAD! I yelled at the top of my lungs, my 10-lb. body atwitch with the horror of it all. I NEED BREAKFAST!

It was then the pillow knocked me off the bed.

I jumped around and sang a song of victory. They weren't dead! He'd just thrown a pillow at me! I ran to kitchen, tail high, in hopes that breakfast would soon be served.

The blessed noises began: Little He stumped off to the shower, He got up and put food in my bowl, and I gulped it down quickly in case something else went terribly wrong.

She came out and made faces at her coffee cup. I like to rub my face on the warm cup in the morning. It's a way to say hello, to welcome Her back into the world. But this morning, the cup was cold and She made small sounds of dislike.

I jumped off the desk and walked slowly to the dining room, allowing a smug little saunter into my step. I had saved the world, somehow, and now, belly comfortably full, I planned a well-earned nap.

Go listen to some music: "Darkness" from the album Ghost in the Machine by The Police. This was actually written a week ago, when it was 43 degrees hotter than it was today. The coffee maker didn't get reset after the power outage and we thought we'd never hear the end of it from Milton, who did not approve.

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