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Catching the Shroud Mouse

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


Ted is painting the hall ceiling at the end of the patio and has placed a giant shroud over all the carpet, little tables and chairs. The cat is furious. The patio extention of the hall is exclusively his property and even Ted isn't allowed to interfere with his sleeping arrangements. Most days Ollie can be found stretched out on the patio floor, slowing sizzling in the sun which streams down through the patio roof.

I was sitting in a patio swinging basket chair and sudddenly noticed the cat glaring at one spot of the shroud. Before you could say knife Ollie had plunged under the shroud and completed a couple of rollicking circuits of the room, almost upending Ted from his perch on the ladder in the process. It was all such fun. Ollie grabbed his prey, and rolled over and over with it, tangling large chunks of shroud around him and uncovering stretches of carpet.

"Jez," screamed Ted, "What's wrong with that bloody cat?"

"He's chasing the Shroud Mouse," I soothed.

"I'll give him Shroud Mouse," yelled Ted, "you nearly had a tin of paint upended on the shroud and through onto the carpet."

I blanched. I didn't think the insurance company would be thrilled at me trying to claim another carpet, courtesy of the cat. "I'll get him," I said. I lifted an edge of the shroud and called "puss, puss, nice puss."

Nice puss had no intention of coming out. He untangled himself, did another circuit of the room under the shroud and knocked over a pot plant.

Ted looked purposeful. "We can't have this, I'll never get anything done. He'll have to go out." Ted spotted a wriggling lump under the shroud and headed for it.

"Better not," I warned, but it was too late. When Ted grabbed the lump Ollie decided he was under attack from the Shroud Tiger. He sunk his teeth into Ted's hand and did a back feet pound.

Ted let out a terrible shriek and shook his bleeding hand. Relationships between the two had reached an all time low.

We rolled up the shroud and uncovered the cat, smirking at us from under a chair. I picked him up. "OK," I said to him, "you've nabbed the Shroud Mouse now it's time to go outside and have a nice sleep in the bushes." I put him outside and closed the door then I helped Ted spread out the shroud again.

Half an hour later John wandered into the patio. "Why didn't you let the cat in," he said, "he was making a frightful noise when I saw him in the driveway when I came back from my walk."

Ted groaned out loud and so did I. I made a lunge but was too late. Ollie had plunged under the shroud and was back in business. He was chasing the Shroud Rat.


Editor's note:

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