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Black & White Minstrel Show

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


Ted and Ollie are redecorating the kitchen. It's been a mutual admiration society. Ollie manages to get homself trapped under the paint covers and yells for help. Ted lets him out. Then Ollie realises that his food is under the plastic covers and yells again. Ted extracts the food with many apologies. Ollie sits on the top of Ted's ladder and Ted manages to fit a foot on either side of the cat. This is all accomplished with a lot of meowing from Ollie and 'yes, yes, yes, Ollie Baby' from Ted. The crunch comes when Ted brings in the sander to sand down the ceiling. Any self-respecting cat would have taken off with a hiss and howl of terror at the sound of the rumpus Ollie gets as close to the sander as he can and positively drools with bliss.

Ted was deeply impressed. "That is a marvellous cat you've got there," he said for the umpteenth time "most cats hate the noise of the sander". I nodded sagely and left them to it. They didn't need me in their relationship. I got in the car and departed for the afternoon. Wise John had already gone.

When I arrived home I saw some new neighbours were moving into the flat nearby. There was a white cat sitting on our lawn. I smiled at the intruder pityingly. If it belonged to the new people in the flat it was in for a hard time. Ollie took a hard line with intruders on his patch.

Ted was down the the end of the section washing paint brushes. When he turned I couldn't help laughing. He was completely white with dust from the sander. Pale eyelashes and brows, dark rings around his eyes and dark wisps of hair around his face. Before I could utter a word the white cat from the front of the house appeared and Ted hoisted it on his shoulder. Then there were two faces to laugh at - the white cat was Ollie. He had matching dark rings around his eyes and dark bits around his ears and mouth They were perfect candidates for the Black and White Minstrel Show. I expected them to burst into a song and dance routine any minute.

I took Ollie away and cleaned him up. Later I heard Ted talking to someone in the bathroom. I wandered up to the open door and saw that Ted was conversing with Ollie who was sitting beside the basin. Ted was running his fingers thoughtfully over some peeling paint on the window sill. "You know, Ollie, this bathroom needs a coat of paint, the toilet too."

Ollie was in full agreement. "Meooooow." he said.

I sighed as I crept away. It was going to be a long and expensive winter.


Editor's note:

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