Friday, July 11, 2008

Bad company

LT was prowling the woods, looking for small furry things to chase. It was oddly quiet. There were no birds singing in the distance and he couldn’t hear any little feet moving in the leaf litter. He was wondering if he and the others had overhunted this particular area when he was surprised by a voice from off to his left.

“Well, what do we have here?” The voice didn’t sound friendly, and LT levitated and turned to face it. “Awww, did I scare the little kitty?” The speaker was a rough looking character – a brownish tabby who looked as though he’d been in his share of fights. With him were three other cats, all of whom looked tough.

“I wasn’t expecting to find anyone here,” said LT calmly, although he didn’t feel all that calm. They didn’t look friendly. “I thought I knew all the cats in the neighborhood. I guess you must be new around here.”

“Yeah, we’re new here. We just moved in down the street, and we’re exploring our new territory. What are you doing here?” The cat stood up and eyed LT speculatively. LT was heavier and looked to be in good shape, but he didn’t look like much of a fighter to the new cat.

“I live in the house just outside of these trees. I’m just doing my daily hunting. I like to keep my paw in, even though my people feed me more than well enough. My name is LT, by the way. May I know your names?” LT decided politeness was the way to go. Just because they looked rough didn’t mean they were. They could be rescue cats just getting used to a new home.

“My name is Scratch, and my buddies here are Claw, Gouger and Shred.” He pointed to each of the cats in turn, and the cat named acknowledged with bared teeth. “It’s good to meet our new neighbors. Are there more cats around here? We only met one little furrball named Fuzzy, of all things. What a stupid name for a cat.”

“Two other cats live with me, a small black cat and a black and white long-hair.” LT decided not to offer their names. If Scratch thought Fuzzy was a stupid name, what would he think of Peep or Miss Rudy? “There’s also a ginger who lives around here, but her people are moving within the next few weeks or so.”

“Well, since you know all the cats around here, you can give them a message from me, Scratch. We’re the new bosses around here, and this is our territory. No one hunts it but us. Anyone wanting to join our gang can petition for an initiation, but I want to let you know, many cats don’t survive it.” Scratch smiled as he said this.

“You should know that this is my owner’s property. I don’t know where your house is, but this isn’t your land.” LT felt he had to stand up for his rights. Bullies were even worse if you didn’t at least try to stand up for yourself.

“Cats don’t recognize property lines, dodo. If we say that this is our territory then it is. You can keep your lawn, but anything under the trees is ours, unless you want to fight us for it. What will it be?” Scratch stood up and the others joined him, standing to either side of him.

“I’ll take it under advisement, and speak with my comrades.” LT turned and walked carefully out of the trees and into his yard. He felt their eyes following him until he went around the side of the garage. LT sat down and breathed a sigh of relief. He felt lucky to have been allowed to leave without a beating. Cats like that often beat you up just to prove that they can do it. He walked towards the house trying to figure out how to give the bad news to Miss Rudy and Peep.

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