This May, I’m committing myself to writing student-assigned topics. Some of them might be cut-and-dried, some of them might be bears. And some of them will reveal themselves in the writing.
Today’s assignment: Write a fiction dialogue about cats.
Okay, I’m wondering. Is this a full fiction story about cats INCLUDING dialogue, or a story TOLD through dialogue? Guess I’ll trust myself as a writer! I know I need to work on narration, so I’m going with the first one.
“Hey! Lydia! Quit hogging the climbing post,” snapped Goldie.
“Nah, I’m not feelin’ it,” replied Lydia from inside the carpeted hideaway. “I’ve finally got this spot warm, and I’m not in a mood to move anytime soon.” She yawned, licked her paw and gave her ear a quick smooth-down.
“You KNOW this is my favorite spot, now get off!” Goldie’s hackles began to raise as her ears went back.
“Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” retorted Lydia.
“What on earth does that MEAN?”
“I don’t know. I hear The Weird-Os say it all the time when they fight over stuff. I thought it might work.”
“UGH!” said Goldie, stalking off to her less-than-ideal alternative spot behind the couch. Goldie could have chosen the reclining chair, the spot in the sunshine by the window, or even the nubby blanket on the ottoman.
All of those places are perfectly wonderful for a cat, thought Goldie. But not a smart cat. Not in this household.
Smart cats in certain households know the only way to true happiness is to stay out of the way of certain humans. Smart cats in certain households know it’s better to stay hidden as a rule, and only come out for exceptions: catnip, canned food, feather toys, and humans who actually know how to pet a cat.
Whenever she thought about the Weird-Os, Goldie had to stop herself from growling. Those two humans have no business being in a cat household, she told herself.
Granted, Goldie was more than happy to be IN a home. She and her sister Lydia shared a kennel at the pet store until the Weird-Os’ parents came to an adoption fair, fell head over heels in love, and brought the two of them home.
Home to comfy blankets.
Home to food that tastes like food.
Home to windows with ample sunshine.
Home to a litter box in a WHOLE OTHER ROOM.
It was bliss.
Lydia and Goldie shared their home with two grown-up humans who had nothing to do but buy cat toys and treats, offer a warm lap for sitting, and keep the catnip coming.
Until the Weird-Os blew home one May day in a minivan packed to the gills with all kinds of junk. Before they knew it, the house was littered with dirty socks, backpacks, college wear and the undeniably ripe smell of humans in their late teen years.
“You know, the one with the earring and longer hair isn’t so bad, Goldie. He knows the best way to become friends is to stay away until we decide we want something to do with him.”
“Unfortunately,” mused Goldie, “he stinks so badly that nobody in their right mind would want anything to do with him. And the short-haired one with the blue jeans?”
“Don’t get me started!” said Lydia. “She’s a problem. I think she missed that memo about waiting for us to decide when to be friends.”
“I know, right? She’s always dragging us from under the couch or the bed. Like, if I wanted you to pet me, don’t you think I’d be purring in your lap by now?”
“And who’d want her to pet them?” said Lydia. “There’s a reason why our fur goes in a given direction on our bodies.”
“It’s like she’s trying to squeeze a purr out of us.”
“Well she can keep squeezing. I ain’t purring. Not for her.”
“Amen to that,” agreed Goldie.
So Goldie and Lydia kept themselves hidden in the cracks and crevices of their home, only coming out when their older humans had a treat or a lap to offer. They snuck their meals only after determining the coast was clear. When the Weird-Os entered the kitchen, Lydia and Goldie would streak back to the nearest hiding place.
One August morning, there was an uncommon amount of hubbub in the house. The Weird-Os circled the house searching for their stuff. Socks and shoes on the floor gave way to boxes, to suitcases, to backpacks stuffed full to bursting. And just when it seemed every square inch of the floor was taken by STUFF, the human family took it all out and packed their minivan to the gills once again.
They heard the car rumble to a start and move down the street.
The house was quiet once again.
After a time, the older humans came back.
“Hey! Lydia! The Weird-Os are gone. Do you think they’re really gone, or is it a trick?”
“I don’t know,” replied Lydia. “The minivan came back without their stuff.”
“Well, I think we should just keep hiding for a little while until we know for sure,” said Goldie.
Sure enough, the house remained quiet and calm. The only humans were the older ones – the ones who knew how to talk to and treat a cat. Lydia and Goldie slowly made their way from the shadows to return to their laps, their recliner chair, their sunny spots by the windows.
Until the next May…