Duck knew exactly what was required, as soon as he saw that Michael had left the kitchen window open. He must have opened it after that thing on the ceiling made that dreadful noise like five hundred kittens being tortured, which had been directly after Michael had thrown the black squares in the kitchen bin.
The squares were the ones Michael puts in the silver machine some mornings, which fly into the air and make Duck jump while he's eating the the bits of cardboard in his bowl. These squares go into the machine white, and come out black. Except sometimes, when they come out brownish, and then Michael doesn't put them in the bin. He puts them in his mouth instead, after he's put yellow stuff on them, which smells better than Duck's kibble. He'd like a chance to try it sometime, but it disappears too quickly. Sometimes Michael goes out the door with one of the squares in his mouth. This is rare though. Michael usually puts it in the bin, and then gets the cereal bowl. Duck wonders why Michael makes black squares to put in the bin. It must be important. They make the kitchen smell bad, and this morning they made the kitten-torturing noise happen too, which must be why Michael opened the window: to make the noise go away. And it worked. But Michael didn't close the window once the noise had gone.
Duck jumps up onto the sink, then slides through the gap and onto the outside window ledge. Duck looks down. There is a flat roof just outside, and a wall to the side. A leap, a step and one more leap and he's on the wall, and a few dainty steps later, he's able to jump onto a lower wall, and then he's on concrete.
Duck looks up and down, and walks along, sniffing the air. He likes this. He likes the smells. He doesn't often go out, except when Michael locks him in a box and takes him to see a man who speaks nicely to him then sticks a sharp thing through the fur at the back of his neck. That's no way to treat a cat as noble as Duck. Not if you want to stay on his staff.
Duck comes to an open door, and then he hears a voice. It's a lady. She has the same sort of voice as the lady who visits Michael sometimes. The one whose name seems to be ''Grammar''.
''Hello, Fluffy.'' she says. Duck wouldn't mind, but this name, although an improvement on his own, isn't really appropriate either. He's not a particularly fluffy cat. But he's interested to see whats beyond the door, so he walks inside, and finds himself in another kitchen. This one doesn't smell bad. It smells of flowers and something good to eat.
''Oh, have you come to visit Norah?'' the lady says. ''I expect you'd like some milk, wouldn't you?
The lady opens a cupboard and takes out a bowl. Then she opens the big white cold cupboard and fusses around inside it. Duck has already spotted the thing that smells good to eat, on a plate on the table. He leaps up and starts licking the yellow stuff off the squares on the plate, looking at the lady while he's licking. She's now pouring milk into the bowl on the floor, and he jumps down and starts to lap it up, while she strokes his head. Duck wonders if he should engage this lady as his new staff. He finishes the milk, then rubs against her legs while she eats the squares. He's not surprised that she seems to be enjoying them. That yellow stuff tasted really good.
Yes, Duck thinks. Maybe he'll stay here.
Then he hears a noise from inside the house. He knows that noise. He's seen the things that make that noise when he's been to the place with the sharp stick man. He knows that noisy thing is a dog. Duck and dogs do not see eye to eye. So he runs outside.
The lady comes to the door, and tells him to come back again sometime, but Duck continues on his way. The day is young, and Duck has places to go.