I don’t know whose bright idea it was but for some reason our mindfulness meeting this week was being held at Squeak’s house. We normally have it under the deck at mine and to be honest I was never that comfortable about this last-minute change of plan. Not only did it mean that Serafina would be late because it was further for her to go, but it also meant that I was going to have to cross The Road.
I had just finished my dinner when Ron called round and we set off for Squeak’s together. Without giving it a second thought Ron confidently loped across the road and waited while I dithered on the curb trying to remember to look right, then left then right again. Or was it left then right then left again? Of course, by the time I’d completed my drill a car had pulled out from On the Spot and I had to go through the whole rigmarole all over again.
“What’s wrong with your neck?” shouted Ron from the opposite side of the road.
“Nothing. I’m doing my curb drill.”
“Can you speed it up a bit? It looks like you’re watching a tennis match!”
Remembering something Whittaker had said about not allowing fear to dictate our lives when he had been a keynote speaker at one of our group meetings, I took a deep breath, did another quick check and walked smartly across the road. It wasn’t until I got to the other side that I remembered with sadness that Whitaker had recently been hit by a car and I began to feel anxious about making the journey back home in the dark.
It turned out that the reason the meeting was at Squeak’s house was because he wanted to show off the new cat bed that his owner had recently bought him, but Ron as usual, was more interested in Squeak’s food.
Ron scanned the kitchen, counting out loud. “Why have you got … three, four, five bowls?” he said inspecting the contents enviously. “Is any of this for us or do you get a smorgasbord laid on every evening?”
Without waiting for Squeak’s response Ron glanced into the lounge and gave a low whistle. “Is this it?”
Squeak proudly ushered us both into the lounge where in pride of place near the fire sat one of the most cosy-looking cat beds I have ever seen.
“It’s a super soft Sherpa fleece,” explained Squeak. “I find I can go from wide awake to a deep sleep in under sixty seconds. R.E.M takes less than an hour and the quality of – “
“What’s R.E.M?” asked Ron.
“Rapid Eye Movement. The stage of sleep where you have dreams” said Squeak and I could see Ron yawning as Squeak, warming to his topic, gave a comprehensive talk on the sleep benefits of his new bed.
“Here you go,” he said handing us both a glossy brochure. “The bed came with these. Take one home and perhaps leave it in a conspicuous place.”
But Ron had lost interest in the bed and wanted to make further enquiries about the buffet action going on in the kitchen. Squeak hurried after him and I couldn’t blame him. I knew from first-hand experience that Ron was a notorious food thief.
I was too mesmerized by the bed to be interested in Squeak’s food. I walked around it several times before delicately placing my paw on the soft fleece to check the suspension. It was divine, and I found to my embarrassment that I had spontaneously started to purr rather loudly. I stretched out my paw on the fabric which felt remarkably like Mummy’s dressing gown. Surely Squeak wouldn’t mind if I just kneaded the fleece for a short while – just to test it? I glanced furtively over my shoulder.
I could hear Squeak’s voice in the kitchen. “This one’s for the dry biscuits and the fresh meat is – “
I half expected him to run through a list the evening’s specials. Deciding that the coast was clear, I crept inside the thick depths of soft warm pile. This was indeed true luxury.
“I see Weasley’s made himself at home,” said Ron licking his lips after returning from the kitchen. “I bet you’re having trouble fighting off all those hot kitties wanting to “take it for a test drive”. Ron winked at Squeak who looked a little sheepish.
Hot kitties? This wasn’t normally a topic of discussion at our mindfulness meetings! But of course, Serafina was yet to arrive.
“Actually I’m glad you mentioned that before Serafina gets here,” said Squeak looking even more sheepish if that were possible. “I was thinking of going on one of those internet dating sites.”
“Really?” I gasped. I genuinely would not have been more surprised if Squeak had said he was going to take up figure skating.
“Brilliant!” said Ron slapping him on the back. “Of course, I don’t need to advertise myself online. I’m already an “influencer” if you know what I mean.”
I knew exactly what he meant. I don’t know how he did it, but Ron always seemed to attract a steady stream of girlfriends and they would follow him around hanging off his every word. With the exception of Serafina who rolled her eyes skyward after nearly every word Ron uttered.
“Well let’s see your profile then,” continued Ron. “What’s the site called?”
“It’s called The Pink Pussycat Club,” said Squeak as Ron and I gathered round the computer to take a look.
“Are you sure that’s, um … what you think it is?” I asked tentatively. “It sounds a bit like a seedy strip joint if you ask me.”
“Come on then pussycat, let’s see what you’ve got,” jeered Ron, waving my misgivings aside.
“I haven’t put my profile up online yet,” said Squeak. “I thought I’d see what you guys think first. Here it is …”
I’m a professional, fun-loving country cat but don’t let that fool you. I look good in a tuxedo and know how to turn on the charm. I love spending time outside exploring, catching up with friends and harassing dogs. My favourite movie of all time is The Shawshank Redemption. I’m not much of dancer but I love music and play the drums. I am the choral director of our local choir. I’m a fairly active kind of guy who loves to be lazy on Sunday mornings. I’m always interested in learning new things whether it’s history, politics, or sampling new foods.
“Why are you calling yourself TBC?” I said wracking my brain for possible acronyms.
“It’s To Be Confirmed,” said Squeak. “What do you think?”
“I think saying professional is a bit pretentious,” I said, trying to give constructive feedback. “It’s not as though there’s such a thing as an amateur cat is there?”
“And you need to do something about the picture,” said Ron.
Squeak had posted a picture of himself that he had rather obviously altered in an effort to make himself look thinner.
“You look like one of those draught excluders that you stick under the door,” said Ron derisively. “You may as well just say “let me seal your gap”. What are you going to call yourself? Sausage?”
“Why can’t you just call yourself Squeak?” I said.
“That’s almost as bad as Sausage. No, you need a more manly-sounding name.”
“That’s why I put The Shawshank Redemption as my favourite movie.”
“Is it your favourite movie?” I asked, unsure as to why this might have solved the manliness issue.
“Of course not. But statistically, it is the most-liked and least-controversial movie amongst women and shows that I have sophisticated but accessible taste.”
“My favourite movie is Puss in Boots,” I said truthfully although I was doubtful that this would boost my chance of dating success. “Not sure if I’d put that on my profile though. And I definitely wouldn’t call myself Weasley because it gets shortened to Weasel or Wees so it sounds like I’m either a pest or I’m not fully house-trained.”
“Are you going to join The Pink Pussycat Club then?” asked Ron.
“I might,” I mused. “Although is there really much point? I mean, Squeak and I have both been neutered. Should we mention that on our profiles? Or maybe say we’re gender fluid or something?”
“Christ no!” said Ron, rejecting this suggestion out of turn. “Just don’t say anything.”
“Surely at some point in the relationship, it might come out … as it were.”
“Just say you’ve got performance anxiety or something,” suggested Ron. “C’mon let’s check out the talent. Have a look at the female profiles.” And he clicked on the first one he found with enthusiasm.
I’m a fun-loving, affectionate “low maintenance” gal with a GSOH …
“What’s a GSOH?” I asked.
“Good sense of humour.”
… I have a very spiritual nature and am interested in crystals. I’m a romantic at heart and I love walks on the beach …
“Said no cat ever!” scoffed Ron.
… particularly with a kind and sensitive male who is honest, keeps his promises and sees his partner as an equal …
“Pffft – good luck with that!” Ron seemed to be building up a head of steam.
… I like to keep in shape, stay abreast of current affairs and I am particularly interested in environmental issues. I am also a vegan …
“Cats can’t be vegan, can they?” I said. “We’d all die without certain proteins. This cat’s a nutter. Scroll down, what does she look like?”
And there was a picture of none other than my very own little sister, Serafina Pekkala (aka Fluffy). But no, it was the real Serafina standing over me giving me her most disapproving look while I was curled up in Squeak’s soft comfy bed.
I must have dropped off to sleep! I let out a small startled sound, leapt out of the bed and bolted out the cat door. I didn’t stop running until I’d reached home. I hadn’t even stopped to do my curb drill! Dear God, this is exactly how accidents happen! For the rest of the evening I berated myself for my careless road sense and my embarrassment at falling asleep in Squeak’s bed and that lurid dream I’d had about the Pink Pussycat Club. What would Whittaker say if he were still alive and had found out what I’d done?
But I had to congratulate myself for one thing. I hadn’t forgotten the cat bed brochure which I strategically placed right beside Mummy’s computer. She should get the hint.