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 Andrew last night to tell him that our recalcitrant cat Sebastian had returned home.
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 (his long-suffering sister, named erroneously and with a creative take on the spelling, after a famous male cricketer from India) are in the kitchen where the cat-flat opens to the outside world.
Sebastian slips out in the dead of night to visit the cat nightclubs; he gets high on catnip. On the way back, he fancies a takeaway, grabs one from the colony at the corner of the street, and brings 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 and tosses it aside. The takeaway blinks then scoots across the kitchen floor.
This wakes the dogs who want to join the kerfuffle (cattuffle perhaps) but frustrated by the closed kitchen door they decide to split on him instead. They scratch and bark at the bedroom door. I play dead to the world.
Andrew gets up, opens the door to see Sebastian, snatch his supper from Sascha declaring – “claws off – go out and get your own takeaway you good-for-nothing, lazy wee scumbag”. Andrew grabs the now cold, and half chewed takeaway, and flushes it down the toilet. Still high, Seb protests sheepishly, Sascha smirks, the dogs giggle behind their paws (Muttley style), and I snore.
Morning comes and I get up wondering what the dogs were telling me – sniffing around the kitchen – pointing their noses accusingly at Sebastian, now sober and sulking, and Sascha who is nonchalantly liking her paws. Andrew is awake and grumpy and I found – the remains of a dead mouse floating on the water. “Andrrroooo” I shrieked – “can you never remember to put the toilet lid down!”