Two Cats


    There was a cat sitting on the fence post as the sun went down over the neighboring hill. Slitted eyes watched birds passing too high over head, while long claws massaged themselves in splintering wood; a warning to the grounded mice and voles that dodged through tall brown grass.
    Then came the sound of four padding paws coming down the dirt road from the north in a dusty trot behind a young gold cat who seemed to have no care in the world for the way he flicked his tail and tossed his head. The cat on the post watched the cat on the road as it trotted past, seeming to be in too much of a hurry to just walk, but not enough of a hurry to all out run.
    How funny, this cat, thought the cat on the post, and she jumped down from her perch behind the fence line and trotted along beside him, finding his gait hard to keep up with, when they reached the far corner of her fence, she jumped onto the corner post there and watched him stop and look at her.
    “Hello.” said the cat on the road.
    “Hello.” greeted the cat on the post.
    “Might I join you on your fence?” he asked.
    “No.”
    “Then join me on the road?” he offered.
    “No.” she replied again and he turned and sat there, properly aligned, on the dirt, staring upwards.The cat on the post stared back, studying this oafish furrball below her.
    “I have no name, do you have a name?” asked the Oaf.
    “My masters call me by the name Scampi.”
    “Scampi?” said the Oaf and the cat on the post lowered its head slightly.
    “Why do you keep watch on your fence?” asked the Oaf and Scampi began massaging her claws once again in the wood.
    “It is a high place.”
    “Not high enough to catch a bird.”
    “When one flies too low, I can catch them.”
    “And the mice see you there and scurry behind your back.”
    “I see them, but am not hungry for them.”
    “They know this,” said the Oaf, “and that is why they stay to your back on your land. They have found a cat to protect them and ignore them. You stand guard on your post to guard against cat’s like me, to protect cat’s like me from coming on your land.” Scampi listened to the Oaf and showed little sign of interest in what he was saying, choosing to clean splinters of wood from her paw.
    “So if I were to jump up on your fence to hunt the mice behind your back, would you be angry?” asked the Oaf and Scampi looked down on him.
    “And if I were to jump down upon your road to trot as you do, aimless and annoying, would you be amused?” she asked. The Oaf made no answer save to jump up and land on the rail of the fence beside Scampi who, without a moment of hesitation, raked her claws across his front leg and sent him falling back to the road.
    “It is my fence and my land, and they are my mice for the eating and my birds for the catching. Go find your own fence and turn your back on your own land and lure your dinners in with that false security. Do not come upon mine.” Scampi told him as the Oaf resumed his sitting and licked his leg.
    “So it was all a plan?” The Oaf asked and Scampi turned and stretched her limbs in the gathering dark.
    “All things are planned, whether you notice they are or not. Your trot down the road was planned, you have been staring at my field for some time, watching my fence. You are a thief who was plotting to steal from me, but now your a wounded oaf on the side of a road.” she told him and the Oaf turned his head as though to look innocent.
    “What if I only wanted the pleasure of talking to you?”
    “Then you received your pleasure and when you overstepped our conversations bounds, your pain. But I speak no revelations, this you all ready knew.” said the cat on the post.
    The oaf stared at Scampi  as Scampi began to clean her claws again.
    “When did you learn to be this cat? Were you once like me?” asked the Oaf and Scampi  pulled a splinter frm her claw and spat it out.
    “Never did I trot down the road, there are things on the road that will kill a cat who dares to venture on such open ground. But I was once on the ground and then I learned why the birds hide in the trees.”
    “And since you learned from the birds, does that make you less of a cat?” the Oaf asked and Scampi jumped down from her perch, landing to snag a mouse that had gotten too close to her back. She flicked it over the fence to the Oaf who caught it with his uninjured paw.
    “It is I who have the food, and I who have the weapons. Does that not make me more of a cat?” Scampi asked as the Oaf took his prey in his mouth and stood, looking up the road.
    “When I have my own land with my own fence and post and own food and weapons, might I return to sit on your fence with you?” asked the Oaf. Scampi didn’t look back at the cat beyond her fence with the mouse, she didn’t answer.
    She heard the rumble of an engine and the grinding of rubber tires to the sound of tubthumping drums in a stereo set and considered if she should’ve given the oaf a better mouse for his last meal.


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