The minutes dragged on as the dusk deepened to dark. The automatic porch light flipped on, illuminating the small back porch with a long, angular exercise machine standing unappreciated and forlorn. Beyond it, the grass far below was lit almost up to the treeline.
Moments earlier, Piglet had purposefully knocked over a stack of papers from the end-table. He scooted the pile with his nose and open palm until they cascaded off like a waterfall of loose leafs. Looking about with a depressed and pathetic demeanor on his expressive face, he saw with disdain that his actions had not produced any food like he had hoped. Persistent, he tried the remaining pile of notebooks, shoving them onto the carpet but yielding no more success.
Stinky, in the meantime, had quickly identified those papers as objects belonging to, and used by, people. Thus, since she was always trying to behave more like a human, she strode over to use those papers just like any big person would.
She sat on them.
When Jack, always curious, asked why she did this, she did not answer, but remained silent as she always does. Instead she held her head high and regal like a dark and exotic queen, sitting prim and proper and quite proud of herself for acting like a human would.
And it was there, sitting on those papers on the floor, that she noticed the activity outside. She edged closer, without leaving her seat of human-handled papers, and stared through the screen to the outside below. One of the neighbors, a middle-aged woman with sweatpants and frizzled hair, was out walking her small dog for the evening.
Her pointed interest in the outside world quickly drew the interest of the other three.
“Who is that?” Jack asked as he weaved his head from one side to the other, trying to get a better view from between the wooden porch railings. “Is that mom? Is mom here?”
“No, that's not mom. Get away from the window,” Missy warned sternly. She edged away slowly, keeping her head low and out of sight. She looked suddenly apprehensive, with wide and worried eyes. “They may see us!”
“I want them to see us,” Jack replied excitedly. He nudged forward, pawing at the screen. “Maybe they'll pet us!”
“Maybe they'll feed us,” Piglet analyzed, looking down upon the woman and her dog as curiously as Jack. “They must have food.”
“Don't you think about anything else?” snapped Missy, who had crawled around behind the couch, away from the open doorway. She peeked out from behind her shelter with an anxious look.
“Yea, sure I do!” Piglet whined. “I think about where to nap. Or which chair would be warmest for me to lay down in. And have a nap.”
“Idiot,” snapped Missy, but halfheartedly. She was still uneasy about being seen by the neighbors below.
But the woman and her dog had moved on, turning the corner and out of sight. With the show over, the others slowly turned to leave, with the exception of Stinky who remained seated proudly upon her throne of human objects.
Now that the excitement had ended, the four looked about for something else to occupy their time while they waited. But they didn't have long to wait, for just at that moment they heard two sets of familiar footfalls coming down the corridor just beyond the front door. Instantly excited once more, the four crowded around the entryway as the lock was worked and the handle turned. The door was pushed open, and myself and my ladyfriend once again saw four adult cats that had been seemingly awaiting our return. Our arms are loaded with bagged groceries.
My ladyfriend called to them, “hello, kitties!” as I pushed past, setting down my load upon the floor. Jack went right to my lady, nuzzling her leg with all affection. Missy approached, sitting before me and staring up at my face. With a snap and an outstretched finger, Missy knew to nuzzle my hand without showing too much affection. Wouldn't want to look bad in front of the boys.
Piglet inspected the groceries, sampling each foreign scent he could detect before licking and chomping down on the plastic handles of the bag. Stinky, being herself, merely returned to her bed of papers, which I couldn't help but notice contained my college work for the next day. I wondered briefly which one had decided to relocate it to the floor, but I had my suspicions.
When, during the course of walking to the kitchen, we accidentally took a step nearer the food bowls, Piglet went crazy. He quickly ran over, mewing and crying loudly. Jack was quick to follow suit, and Missy, too, but more quietly. Falling sucker to their endless whining, my ladyfriend opened the tin and gave them all ample helpings of grub, letting them mow down loudly and contentedly at the end of their adventurous day.