“MURPHY!” said the Girl. “Some dog around here is not doing his job properly!”
Oh-oh. Didn’t sound good.
“Umm… what dog would that be, now?” I inquired, trying to sound as innocent and thoughtful as I could.
“Well, how many dogs are there around here, Murphy?”
“Umm… just one?”
“Yes, Murphy, just one. You. And how many cats are there around here, Murphy? How many?”
“None, of course,” I replied confidently.
“Incorrect!” she cried. “Because you, Murphy, are slacking!”
Slacking? Me? And it’s something to do with cats? Whatever could she mean?
“I’ll tell you what I mean, Murphy. I went down regulate the temperature of the hot water for the central heating. And do you know what was in the burner room, Murphy?”
“Lots of dust and cobwebs, and the little blue ladder, and an old rusty scissors, and a broken mop handle, and…”
“A CAT, Murphy! That’s what was down there, a cat! It must have been snoozing in the heat, and I startled it when I came it.”
“A cat?” I said. “Down where the central heating burner is? What cat? How did it get in? What was it doing? Is it still there? Let me at it! I’ll chase it away! A cat! On my territory! Grrrrr!”
“Yes, Murphy, a cat. A young black-and-white one that I think belongs to a woman in one of the apartments down the street. I told it to “Go home!” – and the cat stood on top of the burner unit and swayed its tail and almost hissed at me! As if I was the intruder onto its territory! I had to clap my hands at it to get it to scamper away. It squeezed out an opening by side of the big water pipe.”
I was astounded.
That black and white cat from down the street was in our central heating room? And acting as if it owned the place? And I didn’t know it? Oh no, this is definitely not good.
“I can’t think how that happened!” I said. “The cheek of it, coming in here!”
“Didn’t you see it, Murphy? Didn’t you smell it? Were you asleep?”
“Not asleep, for sure,” I said. “Perhaps it came around while I was gone out for a walk?”
“Perhaps it did,” she agreed reluctantly. “But Murphy, from the way it acted, it seems to me that it wasn’t the cat’s first time to curl up beside our heating burner. It seems to know its way around quite well.”
Oh, the shame of it! I couldn’t think of anything to say.
“I suggest, Murphy,” the Girl went on, “that your New Year’s Resolution should be ‘to be more vigilant’.”
“But I already have a New Year’s Resolution,” I explained. “I’m going to be more helpful to the Cook, and help her to clean up any spills really quickly.”
“Never mind helping the cook,” she said. ”Just stay awake and keep that cat out. However, I’ve boarded up the opening where it got into the burner room anyway, just in case you nod off again, you silly dog.”
“Well, it might not be any harm to have the smell of a cat around,” I said, trying to find something positive in this situation. “It helps to keep mice away.”
“Oh yes,” she said drily, “just as the smell of a dog is supposed to keep cats away. But it doesn’t seem to work like that, does it?”
If anyone sees that cat, tell it not to DARE to come back around here. I, Murphy, am on duty! Cats, keep out! Grrr!!