VEL: The diary of a cat who thinks he’s a human who thinks he’s a cat, and who also happens to be a foodie
An un-relatable (but related) event: Part II
The room was wide and ornately furnished, and the rust-gold brocade curtain at the window had been pulled down to create a dark shadowy atmosphere. There were three people in it. John Willingson, Therese, and the purple-haired woman. Therese’s hair was piled up like two pom-poms and despite the badly lit enclave one could not fail to note the blue rosette pinned in the middle of it. Again, she was standing very close to John Willingson.
Purple-haired was dressed in a pale frilly dress. Her hair was also piled high up on her head, and she was heavily made up, even though the soft slippers she had on suggested she hadn’t just come in from outside. Six out of her ten fingers were bedecked with antique looking rings. The stones in the rings winked and twinkled each time the she moved her hands, which was often.
The three were peering at one corner of the room. It must have been daytime outside, or at least early evening, because spots of light pushed through sections of the heavy curtain, bathing parts of the darkened room in splashes of eerie yellow.
‘Did it work?’ John Willingson asked, pushing on a pair of thin-framed glasses perched on his nose.
‘Did it work?’ the purple-haired woman laughed and waved a silver metal rod she was holding at something just outside the streaks of light coming through the curtains.
The other two jumped back, their eyes switching from the corner of the room they’d been staring at, to the metal rod in her hand. The woman cackled at the expression on their faces.
‘Afraid of this?’ she waved the metal stick playfully in their direction. Again the other two jumped back. And again she cackled with delight. ‘Did it work?’ she addressed the question directly at the man. By now the other two knew that the question was rhetorical because their eyes were opening wider and wider as they followed the direction at which she was pointing.
There, sitting on a high backed chair that matched the curtains, was a cat. A glossy black cat with white fur down both sides of its face, like sideburns. As all three continued to observe the animal brought up one paw, licked it and began to rub at its face in a circular motion.
‘My god, it really worked! Therese’s voice was awed.
‘By golly!’ John Willingson echoed her astonishment. ‘But it’s so small, a kitten, really. Why so small? And what’re we going to do with it…him?’ he added.
‘What we are going to do with it, him,’ the be-ringed woman laughed, ‘is take it, him to Melbourne Road.
‘Yes, the animal clinic there, they take in strays.’
‘But he is not a stray, not really,’ John Willingson said.
‘Oh, he isn’t? Then what exactly is he, pray tell, and what would you have us do with it? You wouldn’t like to take him in yourself now, would you?’
‘Oh, no, John, we couldn’t possibly do that!’ Therese clutched at John Willingson’s arm, and looked up imploringly at him.
‘Calm down Therese, I never said I was going to take it in.’ He disengaged himself from the alarmed woman and moved a few meters away.
‘What if he turns? Just think if he turns,’ Theresa shivered and moved to close the space he had created between them.
‘You two, calm down. I will take him to Melbourne Road. In a country as animal-loving as ours there will be more than enough people willing to take in a cat. Especially a cat like that.’ she waved at the preening animal.
‘Such a small cat…a kitten really, considering…’ John Willingson mumbled to himself.
‘Seriously, John,’ his sister exploded, ‘you really think the most important thing to focus on right now is the damn size of the bleeding cat?’
‘How will we keep track of him if someone takes him…from Melbourne Road, that is?’ John asked, ignoring the sarcasm in his sister’s voice.
‘I have this. We will know.’ So saying, she produced a homemade leash on which hung a small silver pendant with the inscription ‘VEL.’ Her eyes twinkled as she waved the object back and forth. It took her brother a few seconds to get it. Then his eyes began to twinkle too.
‘Vel?’ What is Vel? I don’t get it?’ Therese said.
‘Vel, Therese, think…we called him the full version of that name a few times, remember? Vel, Machiavelli. Vel.’
Therese blinked once, twice and then she began to giggle. Her voice high pitched, and strained.
And all the while, the black cat continued to perform his ablution, an expression of complete nonchalance on his furry face. And why would he have been concerned with the discussions of three humans in the room? He was just a cat after all, a simple, ordinary cat.