We'd forgotten about the 5th of November but the man on the telly reminded us.
"It's a bad night for pets," intoned the announcer. "On Guy Fawkes night you should get all pets inside and make sure they have a dark place to hide when they hear the crackers. There are a lot of terrified animals around and many go missing." The announcer managed a small smile. "Try soothing music for your pet," he said.
John and I looked at each other in alarm. We could hear crackers going off all around us. "Ollie's outside" we exclaimed together.
We dashed out on to the front lawn. The night sky was lighting up with periodic flashing stars. Cracking noises sounded like guns going off. I saw the marmalade from the corner flats running for its life.
We tore around to the back of the house. Ollie was there, sitting calmly on the lawn. His head was tipped back and and moving from side to side as he watched the show. He was gazing with wonder at the sporadic showers of stars above him. When one star seemed to land nearby the cat threw himself in the air trying to catch it.
"I should have known," I sighed. "Ollie loves fireworks. Perhaps we should leave him out to enjoy himself."
Just then the kids next door let off a bunch of crackers on the other side of the fence. Ollie couldn't stand it - he had to be a part of everything. "He's going to help them light the crackers," I yelled at John, "quick, grab him."
John was just in time. He grabbed the cat by the hindquarters just as he was about to leap from the top of the fence into crackerland.
We locked Ollie in the house for the evening and lived to regret it. The cat was furious. He wanted out and yowled the house down. He was a cracker cat and wanted the whole world to know about it. We tried soothing music and showing him dark places to hide. Forget it. "Perhaps we should let him out," mused John.
"And have some kid tie a bunch of crackers to his tail," I countered, "no thanks!"
Finally the cat settled himself down in the new bay window to watch the display. I heard John consoling him. "Next year we'll take you in the car to watch the bonfire on the beach, Ollie baby," he said. "You'll love it. They burn the guy in the bonfire and let off a million crackers."
"Meeeeow," said Ollie.
Cats - I love 'em.