Someone or something, I thought, and you are very astute, Angela.
“Ok, Ang, I tell you what, I’ll ask the repairman to come tomorrow, it’ll be too late for today, and see whether he can find anything wrong with the door and the photocopier. OK?”
“Yes, thank you Kirstie, I’ll keep these to show him. But that one there, is definitely a cat’s arse, so I am not sure what kind of book we have that would contain a picture of a cat’s arse. Can you think of any? Or even a magazine?”
“No, I can’t think of any, but there might be a special restricted section where they might keep books on cat anatomy or something similar. Would any of the cat magazines contain such pictures?”
“I doubt it, there’s no caption underneath, and why did they go and use my photocopier? I know, I bet it was that bastard Roger up to his tricks again, he’s probably behind this, wait until I see him.”
“But he wouldn’t bring his cat in with him would he, Ang?” replied Kirstie, “we’d notice if there was a cat in the library. It wouldn’t keep quiet would it, they’re always yowling and miaowing.”
Well, actually, you haven’t noticed there’s a quiet cat in the library have you? I thought.
“I’m going to have it out with Roger, you can’t leave representations of a cat’s backside on library property when the image will discomfort a colleague.” With that Angela turned around and headed back to her office. I made a quick decision to follow her no matter what, because I believed that the Roger she was going ‘to have it out with’ worked down the corridor and that she would have left her door open as she was grasping my oeuvre in her hand when she came to talk to Kirstie. I could then make my escape via the window.
My paws scampered towards the closing door. Cats can run faster than human beings if they’re motivated, it’s just that the motivation is lacking most of the time. I squeezed through the gap and then I ran to the door of Angela’s office. She was not there. Then I heard her haranguing someone on the other side of the wall. I leapt on to a box, clambered up to the window and made my escape to the outside. However, I was intrigued as to what might happen next. I decided to lurk. And observe with my ears. Cats exhibit both these behaviours a lot and it’s one of the ways we learn about humankind and life in general. I also needed to calm down a bit as I’d felt nervous in the main section of the library. I could have been trapped in there all night and my new owners might have thought I’d left for good and found a replacement who would eat all my food. My thoughts and self-doubts were interrupted by a conversation in the office:
“I never use your photocopier, I have a photocopier of my own, why would I use yours, when I have mine?” said a small man wearing glasses, who was presumably the Roger spoken about earlier.
“You have a cat at home and I am willing to bet that this is your cat’s arse,” said Angela pointing at my masterpiece of light and shadow, of fur and skin, of texture and baldness..
“My cat is black all over, her head’s black, her body’s black, her legs are black, her tail’s black, and amazingly enough, given all the information I have provided you with, her backside is black too.” Roger folded his arms and looked annoyed, “this is not Pixie Frou’s bum.”
Pixie Frou sounded a lot nicer than Gemma although most animals sounded nicer than Gemma including spiders, rats, T-Rexs and the toads my mum had told me never to lick because they tasted obnoxious. The leaves of the vine started to become impatient with my lurking. The sky looked grey as though it was going to wet everything with its tears.
“Well, where did these come from?” asked Angela, “who put these images here, if not you?”
“Angela, it was nothing to do with me. Perhaps it was some schoolboys in the library. They found a cat magazine and decided to play a prank on you.”
“These images are not from a magazine, there are no page numbers, we do not keep magazines of cat bums in the library, in fact there’s no magazine called Cat Bum Weekly or Playcat, the equivalent of Penthouse or Playboy, but meant for people who like felines. It wouldn’t sell very well and the only people who would buy it would be perverts. This is an image from a real cat, either that or the photocopier has thrown a wobbler and printed off the results of its own nightmares.”
“We don’t have a cat in the library, someone would spot the animal, and why would it head up here? There are photocopiers on the main floor and one on this floor for the public to use.”
“The only other possibility is that there’s a phantom cat in the library which we’re only able to see when it takes a photocopy of itself.” Angela looked rather earnest when she said this and I couldn’t help thinking that with her imagination she should write books for a living.
“Yes, well I will leave you alone with that thought,” said Roger, “I think we’re not going to resolve this conundrum. Perhaps the repairman might have a better idea?” With that he walked backwards out of the office and then made a dash down the corridor to his own office and locked the door.
Angela placed the images on her desk and after examining them again, she placed them in her inbox, a two-storey construction made from blue plastic, situated on a filing cabinet by the door. She then sat at her desk and started to weep into her hankie. I felt sorry for her, it was all my fault because I had become overzealous in my desire to produce a masterpiece of cat anatomy to rival those that Rubens had done for humans. Actually, not just Rubens, but Velazquez too. Those were the only two painters I knew because my old lady owner only had two books of paintings, so my learning was limited. I decided to make a tactical withdrawal as the sky had seen Angela crying and had decided to do the same. I slithered down the vine and trotted around to my house, where I knew a seething Gemma would have been practising Sneer Level 6 all day in preparation for my return from the outside world. I followed Sid’s advice and scampered over the roof, before balancing on the still open window and sliding onto the kitchen countertop in an ungainly heap, though my paws were still at 10 to 2.