Our mothers arrived to collect us as school was to close early. I don’t know how the message was transmitted, as there was no mobile technology then, but there was my mother at the door with the others, their headscarves tied tightly around their ears against the wind. The storm was building on the tail of some hurricane from the Mexican gulf and lashed stinging rain against our faces.
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The dogs woke us last night to tell us that our recalcitrant cat Sebastian was back.
Picture this – we are in the bedroom – door closed. The dogs are in the hall outside the bedroom – door to the kitchen closed. Sebastian and Sascha, our cats, are in the kitchen where the cat-flap opens to the outside world.
Seb, in the dead of night sneaks off to the night club at the corner. Some stray tom shares a few snorts of catnip. Rolling home, Seb fancies a takeaway, grabs one from the colony at the corner of the street, carries it home.
Sascha catches him sneaking through the cat-flap and gives him what-for for being out so late, hanging out with his good-for-nothing mates and bringing home a stinking, greasy takeaway. She snatches it from him but drops it. The takeaway blinks and scoots away across the kitchen floor.
This wakes the dogs who want to join the kerfuffle, but frustrated by the closed kitchen door they scratch and howl outside our bedroom. I play dead to the world. Andrew gets up.
He opens the door to see Sebastian tearing his supper away from Sascha while muttering – “claws off – go out and get your own takeaway you good-for-nothing, lazy wee scumbag of a sister.” Andrew grabs the now cold, and half eaten takeaway, and drops it into the toilet. Still high, Seb protests sheepishly, Sascha smirks, the dogs giggle behind their paws, and convincingly, I snore.
Morning comes and I get up to find the dogs sniffing around the kitchen – pointing their noses accusingly at Sebastian, now sober and sulking, and Sascha nonchalantly liking her paws. Andrew is awake and grumpy and I find to my disgust – the remains of a dead mouse floating in the toilet. “Andrrroooo” I shriek – “can you never remember to put the lid down!”