The Keys The Fat Cat.

Lucy L. Woodward

© Copyright 2000 by Lucy L. Woodward
Cat Story Logo.

There is a wing-backed pale green chair by the sideboard in our living room that catches the afternoon sunlight. I'm tired and I lie on the couch. Our gray cat drapes over the arm like a carelessly dropped fur stole, rubbing her chin around its curving end until she peers at me upside down, ears pointing toward the rug and sunlight soaking her white underbelly.

Our dog finds her curious, stimulating, full of the devil. A small, blonde American Husky, he jumps onto the chair and sits on her. They look at each other. The cat slithers out from under him and climbs up the winged back to walk its edge with pristine grace.

The dog watches her fixedly.

That's impossible, I hear him think. No one can walk such a narrow edge. He looks at me. Can they?

I smile, but I don't say anything. It's obvious someone can.

She tenses, poised; he observes her from the chair seat. What will she do? He knows and so do I. What else but leap? As primitive as an atavism. As certain as gravity. If a cat crouches, ready, nothing short of distraction can stop her.

Or a sudden thought. Lots of times I've been ready to have fun, then stopped by a cautious thought. But she doesn't think, they say.

I say she does.

She eyes the sideboard. She knows shiny keys are in the slightly opened drawer. She leaps, and the dog's ears flick in satisfaction. He pulls forward with his front paws, hoisting himself farther over the chair arm to watch her. The cat reaches a paw into the drawer, and with the barest flick of feline fingernails, pulls out my Chevy keys and lets them drop to a sunspot on the rug. She drops to light over them, pinning them with yellow black vertical slitted eye.

She picks them up, tosses, worries them like a mouse, and neither sees nor thinks of anything else.

But the dog does. He knows they're keys. He looks at me. He jumps from his chair and walks over to me like a worried older brother.

She's got the keys. She might lose them. Make her put them back again.

She can't put them back, I think. She's only a cat.

I would have to put them back myself because I'm a grown-up human person. I have to get some work done. Stop dreaming about a sunspot on the living room floor and two beautiful creatures bathed in innocence. I have to be responsible. But maybe once in a while it would be all right if I just played in a spot of sun on the floor. God wouldn't mind.

I have been writing since I was four years old. I was born in Cincinnati, OH and moved to Wyoming when I married, Tom, a geologist. I am co-author of an inspirational book for seniors entitled GIFT OF YEARS. I have written and locally produced Christian plays for fifteen years. My poetry has been published in the local college literary magazine and won prizes in the statewide Wyoming Writers contests. I write poetry, creative non-fiction, and fiction. I have three grown children and twelve grandchildren. Tom and I enjoy downhill skiing and scuba diving.

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