After doing my best for 15 minutes I managed to find the best route to the top of the vine. There were a few false starts and some routes upward led me away from the window, but by a combination of athleticism, luck, and perseverance I reached the window ledge. My paws were sore as the wire from the staircase in my own garden had bitten into the pads and almost penetrated the skin. As I rested on the ledge, I wondered how the rose climbed so successfully without hurting its paws, or whatever rose feet were called. The vine was luckier. It had a whole wall to use and its suckers were attached in many places, allowing the load-bearing to be undertaken at a large number of points.
When I had regained my breath and stopped panting, I cast a nervous look through the gap in the open window. I saw a blue-haired person typing on a keyboard. The room was lined with items that weren’t books, but instead looked like black files with white labels containing pieces of paper. These files all had red writing on their labels, usually from the first to the last of a month, going way back to over 5 years before I was born. This must be the Ancient History section.
There were some books on the lady’s desk, including a dictionary. I could look up some of the words Gemma had used earlier in the day, so I could obtain their precise meaning, although Sid had seemed to understand what I meant, so perhaps I was doing myself a disservice. There were some other books too: Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, and MacBeth. I would just look at the dictionary on my first visit to this library, as it looked large and I would have to find the best way to open it before I could read it.
In the corner of the room stood a large machine. The blue-haired lady, whom I guessed must be called Angela, from Sid’s description of her, stood up and walked over to the machine, adjusting her brown jumper and smoothing down her skirt, as she proceeded. She opened the lid of the machine and placed a piece of paper on top. She pressed a red button and there was a whoosshing sound as the machine worked. It must have all been internal as presently the machine gave birth to another piece of paper. Angela seemed pleased with the baby. She looked at it closely and then pressed mother and baby together. She put them into a smaller contraption and went ‘Yihaahahaha yah’ and hit the top of the contraption with the side of her hand in what I believe is referred to as a karate chop. There was a sharp click and mother and baby were stapled together. Angela went back to her desk and opened a pink pen. She touched certain areas of the mother paper with the pen and then placed both items into a plastic tray, which had the name ‘Out’.
All of a sudden an alarm sounded from her phone – it sounded like the Saint Saens Organ Symphony to my untrained ears. “Feeding time and walkies for Miss Poppy” said Angela, presumably to herself as I felt sure she was unaware of me lurking outside. I had no idea what she was talking about, other than that perhaps Miss Poppy was the name of a dog in her home that had to be exercised in that dependent way dogs have. Remembering what Sid had said, I knew I had 30 minutes perhaps longer. Angela left the door open as she left to feed and walk her dog.
I clambered into the room and dropped gently onto the blue felt tiles, most of which seemed to have been stained by leaks from the roof. Unless that was the reason she wasn’t allowed to bring Miss Poppy into work? I was intrigued by the machine in the corner. I sat on the warm top and looked at the buttons – where was the red one? I pressed the red one with my paw and the machine convulsed before birthing a representation of my rear end. It looked horrible. I had never seen my rear end before not even in a mirror. It looked squashed up, so lifted up my hips and pressed the red button again. This representation was more of an abstract and less identifiable as the hind quarters of a cat somewhere between the ages of 1 and 3. I decided to press my backside into the top quite hard and pressed the red button. This one was a work of art and would have made me some money if I’d been able to sign it and flog it as an original artwork. La derriere de Freddie le chat would have made me a star in Paris I think. Anyway, the time for play was over and now it was time to learn.
I jumped onto the desk and approached the dictionary. It was open at the letter A where I could find out all about archery, architecture, archetypes and more. I pawed through until D for Diarrhoea, yuk how horrible, F for Fascist, that sounds like Gemma, J for Jackboot – but Jackboot wasn’t there, but Jackfruit was, a type of large, Oriental fruit. Perhaps I’d misheard her. Finally, T for Thuggery, acts committed by a violent person or group of people. Right, well, what does this mean? Gemma was warning me that the humans would commit violence using large fruit and shouting Nazi propaganda. Well, what kind of house have I become a part of? I think the key indicator for me would be the large fruit, because there didn’t appear to be any room in the fridge for the fruit, so I deduced the violence would only start once the humans had consumed some food from the fridge and replaced it with large fruit. I should be keeping an eye on the fridge. That would be my task for the coming days, though not when they were out at work writing technical and analysing business. My job title for the next few days would be large fruit analyst.