It's such a pretty evening. I’ll put Masterchef on, shall I? Our favourite. You're so fluffy and peaceful after you've just eaten. So calm and benign. We get along. Actually, I might open a window before we sit down. There we go.
No, no, Princess. Come and sit with me. Look. It’s starting. No, there’s nothing out there. What are you looking at? What are you – don’t jump out! Oh, my God, she’s gone! Princess! Don’t move, I’ll come round out the front door.
Where are you? Oh, thank God. What are you doing out here? It’s sofa time, right? The best time of the day. Just you and me. Hey, I know it’s your favourite, too – I hear you purring every evening. So don’t pretend it’s just me. Come on. Hop back in through the window, or – look – the front door’s open. Go on, baby. Go on.
No, not that way! What are you doing? Under a car, really? That’s where you want to sit? What about on my nice warm lap? Chin tickles, yeah? Can I interest you in some tummy rubs?
Oh, God, she’s off again. Wait, wait, I’m going to lose you. Jesus, it’s like trying to chase water down the sink. OK, we’re racing past everyone’s front rooms. Sorry, neighbours. Look, the Khans are watching Masterchef. Down an alleyway, excellent. This looks hugely suspicious. How do you even know your way? Or are you trying to get us lost?
No – where have you gone? Oh, OK, OK. Under a bush, that’s OK. Why are you looking at me like that? Baby girl, come on. It’s me, look. She who shares her home with you and cleans up after you. Ear-scratcher. Kibble provider. Absolute sucker. Yeah. Good luck finding someone who treats you as well as I do.
Oh, no, no. Sorry. I didn’t mean to raise my voice. Come on. I love you. You’re my best friend. You’re my princess. Come on, let’s go home. Come here. That’s it. Come here. Come hereeee.
Oh, Jesus – not over a fence. Wait, wait, wait. No. Crap. Where are you? Give me a second. Yeah, well, it’s easy for you. You’re springy. I’m – oh, good lord – not so much. Here we go. Ow. Where are you? Baby? Baby! Where are you?
Oh, thank God. Under there. Darling girl, don’t be scared. Hey. It’s me. Let’s go home, shall we? I’ll give you cuddles. I’ll give you food. Treats? Is that what you want? Ooh, some chicken, yum yum. Some salmon? Salmon. Salmon? Nothing. Great. No offence, but I think some pigs understand human language better than you do.
Here’s somebody. Hi, hi. Yes, I’m fine. I’m just trying to help out my friend here, actually. Yes, under this bush. That’s her. Yes, she’s a cat. Oh, right, OK. Goodbye to you, too.
Come on, baby. It’s really getting dark and we’d much rather be at home, right? No, no, no. Not that way. Wait, wait. Wait for me. OK, we’re heading right into the undergrowth here. Actually, my love, I’m not sure this is a public right of way. Princess? Do you want to just come … no? OK, Here we go. Well, yes, this is definitely someone’s garden. OK. I’m sure they’ll understand.
Oh, crap, a dog. Oh, my God. No, baby, come back!
Oh, good lord, you’re yappy, aren’t you? Shhh. You’ll disturb your parents. You’re a very good guard dog but you see I’m not actually … Stay. Staaaay. Oh, nice. Good dog. I’m just going to –
Oh, hi there. I’m so sorry. Trespassing? Wow. That’s quite a strong word, isn’t it, ha ha. Well, it’s not the middle of the night. No, I’m sorry. I’m just – I’m actually chasing my cat. Your dog, well, he didn’t really help. If I could just – could I actually borrow that torch for one second, to look into the bushes here? Oh, right, OK, I understand. Yes, right you are. No, absolutely within your rights, I agree. It’s just – what if you had lost your dog? Oh, goodness, no. I’m absolutely not threatening you. Or your dog. OK, I’m gone, I’m gone. A good evening to you.
Crap. Crap. Black cat, black streets. This doesn’t bode well. I can’t go home without my baby. Ugh, just the thought of it. What do people do all day without a little friend to follow around the house and bother? Lie in in the morning without being screamed at? Perform daily tasks without a constant, silent, judgemental audience? Watch Masterchef alone? It doesn’t bear thinking about. No, I can’t give up. Where would a cat go from here?
Right, I’ve got an excellent idea. Nothing summons a cat like the call of a nice, fat, vulnerable bird. Coo. Coo coo. Come on, how can you resist this? Coo coo. Ah ha! There you are. Ugh, you look so cute behind that bin. Don’t look at me like that. You didn’t really think there was a pigeon - have you ever seen a pigeon blundering around at this time of night? No, we’re the only two chumps playing this game. OK, look, I’m sorry I’m not a bird you can kill. Oh, come on, you know I can’t fit in there. That’s not fair, there’s a brick wall in the way. We’re on the same side here! You wouldn’t like it if I just let you out here, would you? You wouldn’t last a day.
Oh, I’m sorry, Princess, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. Look just – just come a bit closer. Three steps. Or I’ll sit here and you come to me, OK? We’re friends, aren’t we? I mean, sure, we don’t always get along but that’s what friends are like, right? It’s normal to have ups and downs, ha ha. I know I can be annoying. You actually put up with a lot. Sometimes I act like I own the place, don’t I? Like when I want to sit in a chair you’re already in, right? Or when I think that I get to decide when nap hour is over. I’m sorry. I’ll be better. I won’t try to cuddle you when you’re sleeping. Even when you look so cute I might die. I’ll share more, OK? From now on, my chicken is your chicken. Do you want to … come a bit closer? No?
What is this now, then? A staring contest? Don’t look at me like that. Aren’t you getting cold? Jesus, I am. I’m getting a numb bum. Yes, well, it’s alright for you, isn’t it? You’re all fluffy, if you hadn’t noticed. Ugh, and you’re so beautiful. Look how you shine under that streetlamp in this grotty little bin yard. I’ve seen the care you take of yourself. What’s your routine? Legs, ears, paws? I’m in awe. You know dogs? They have to be forced into the bath. Dirty animals, right? You’re the best.
Nothing. Hello? Anyone there? Please don’t look at me like that. You want us to sit here all night? Are you punishing me or something?
Oh, God. I know what this is about. It’s because of this morning, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to step on your tail. I feel horrible about it. I wasn’t looking. I’d got a toast crumb in my eye and I had just burnt my tongue on my tea. I was flailing around like a fool. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry again. The little squeak you made - ! OK, you’re right. I do deserve this. We’ll sit here as long as you want. I’ll think about what I’ve done.
Are you actually asleep with your eyes open, though? How can you just stare at me like that without moving? You’re starting to freak me out. Are you expecting something? Do you want me to – coo coo. Coo? No, that’s definitely not it. Is it about the salmon? It’s at home, hun. Shall we just …? Look, we’ll go slowly. Really slowly. Standing up. Slowly. Wow, I’ve seized up. OK. Stepping away from the bin. Stepping away from the bin. Nothing. Really? Christ, you’re stubborn.
Where are you going? Where are you going? Wow, I’m going to have to climb over these bins. Oh, good lord. OK. It’s happening, it’s happening. Ugh. I am not as light as I thought I was. What must the neighbours think? This sounds like some kind of bin avalanche. Sorry, residents.
Here we are. What are you doing? Wait – that’s someone else’s house. You can’t - ! Oh, wow. The nerve! To walk straight in through someone else’s cat-flap as if it’s your own. She must be confused, poor angel. She just wants to go home. Me and you both, Princess. I’ve got a bin-juice leg. Only one thing for it.
Knock on the door. And again.
Hello, yes, ever so sorry. I see I have woken you up. Just a quick request. My cat has actually come into your house through the cat-flap. My cat, yes. In through the cat-flap. Just now, I saw her. She was lost. If I could just come in and get her – or, yes, of course. I can wait here. Little black cat. Unbelievably cute. Answers to Princess Lavender. Or Ratty little pest, depending on the day.
Yes, yes, that’s her. Thanks ever so much and sorry again. We’ll be – what, sorry? No, this is my cat, Princess Lavender. I’m absolutely sure. I’ve chased her all the way here and, well, it’s my cat, ha ha. I don’t see – what? No, I’m afraid you must be mistaken. This is my best friend, this is my cat. We’ve just had – well, I don’t like to bring it up, but we’ve had some differences today. You know, no relationship is plain sailing but I’ve admitted my mistakes and we’re both prepared to move forward. I’m sorry, there’s no way – there’s no way. Well, yes, she’s usually out for most of the day. She’s a very independent cat, but she’s always back in time for meals, and Masterchef. Oh, please don’t be ridiculous. Twinkles? As if she looks like a Twinkles. This cat is called Princess Lavender and if you don’t mind, I’ll …
There are a lot of black cats around here. Maybe you Twinkles is lost. You should put up posters. I assure you that this is not she.
Fine, good idea. My baby knows who she belongs to. Make sure you put her right in the centre between us.
Come on, Princess. It’s me. Ear-scratcher. Kibble-provider. Think of Greg Wallace, yeah? Think of salmon, yum yum.
Oh, God, that glazed look. Believe me, she can sit this way for hours. We had a similar stand-off behind a bin earlier. Yes, that does explain the smell. I don’t know if you know it, it’s a big red bin on Greenacre Lane. Oh, right, OK. Well, if you’re waiting it out, I’m waiting it out. Cold bum or no.
Wait, Princess, don’t go to sleep. This is important. How on Earth is that comfortable to you? That’s a stone step, if you didn’t notice. You can have my entire bed if you come home now. I’ll sleep on the floor, if that’s what you want.
No, I’m absolutely fine, thanks. Might I remind you that if you give up and close the door now, she’s my side.
Don’t look at me like that, Princess. I’m more than aware that the outcome here is up to you.
God, it’s freezing. Yes, she does look settled, doesn’t she? She’s even shut her eyes. Oh, look at her paws twitching. She’s dreaming. How precious.
Call it a draw? I’m sorry, I couldn’t possibly. This is my cat, I don’t think you understand. Oh – she’s not dreaming any more. That’s a one-eyed glare. OK, sorry, sorry, Princess. You don’t belong to me. I just mean that you live with me. You’re my baby, my friend. No? Housemate, then? OK, housemate.
But, Jesus, it’s cold. I might die. I can’t go home without her – I don’t know what I would do. Who would I sing to? Don’t look at me like that, Princess, I know you love it.
Oh, my goodness, she’s getting up. Baby, come here, here. I promise I won’t sing. Never again. I promise.
Ha, that was a step towards me! No, no, no, no, no. Oh, I don’t believe it. She’s asleep again. She’s got to be faking. Well, I suppose we should score from the final position and that’s … yes, I believe that’s in my favour. So, I say let’s call it a night and I’ll be taking my cat with me and – ow!
The betrayal! Treachery like none I’ve ever known. You’re going to sit here on that step, yeah? You’re going to let me walk away? I’m going home alone, after everything we’ve been through? It was one mistake, Princess, and I’m sorry. I would take it back if I could. I would do anything.
Nothing. Well, I suppose she’s decided. There’s nothing for it. Off I go, empty handed and broken-hearted. Goodnight to you both.
Kibble-cruncher, toe-pouncer, lap-curler, engine-purrer, winner of staring contests, judger of all amateur singing and dancing. It will be a quiet night and a desolate morning without you. I will watch Masterchef with a cold, empty lap. How does one walk around one’s flat when there is no risk of being tripped up at any moment? How does one live with oneself when one’s best friend has chosen another? How does one even survive such betrayal?
What’s that behind? Whip around.
Oh, you ratty little pest. What do you think you’re playing at? Was this all one big joke to you? Are you in cahoots with that bloody Twinkles? You love the chase, don’t you? Well, maybe I won’t take you back. You broke my heart. I hate you (I love you).
Oh, that face. Those galaxy eyes.
Come on, then. I think I recorded Masterchef.