He had always liked them, he liked big dogs and big cats too, but humans were something special. Especially Angie and Betty. He was the cat.
Angie looked after him – a place to live and food and drink – she could communicate with him, sort of. Betty was something else. Betty could really communicate with him, Betty could do all sorts of things, she could dance, she was very strong, she could be very violent, she had connections with TV people.
It was the days of the big thunks, he had to think, the cat thought about humans, he needed to know more about them. Idea: find some humans and pull them apart to find out what made them tick.
The cat sat in an alleyway down to the canal basin. It was very narrow, people had to squeeze past. He looked in the minds of the passing people and after some time a young man approached – screwed-up mind – could be interesting.
The cat sprawled itself over the alleyway and waited. The young man proceeded to kick the cat out of the way. No chance. The cat sprang up and thumped the young man flat and waited.
After some time the cat planted a message in the young man’s head: fine thing you wanted to do, you wanted to kick me out of the way, not very polite. The cat waited.
The young man did not understand or did not want to understand. He tried to stand up, the cat thumped the young man flat. The cat had a good rummage in the young man’s mind, his name was Rob, he had left school with no qualifications, he could not get a job, he had drifted into drugs, he was a drug dealer, he had just taken some “stuff” from one of his stashes and was going to sell it at the canal basin.
Big change: a big change is coming up for you Rob, I have decided to change your life, don’t think that you have any say in the matter. First things first, no more drugs, so we are going down to the canal basin and you will empty the contents of your left pocket into the canal.
The cat stood up and kicked the young man.
A warning: don’t run away, do do what I want you to do. Otherwise I will thump you into the middle of next week and you won’t be able to walk until next year.
The young man stood up and the cat thumped him in the right direction.
The command: take the bag out of your left pocket and throw it in the middle of the canal. OK, OK, that’s right. It’s surprising how a sharp pain or three can change what you do. We’re now going along Canal Street to Aunty Jenny’s Flower Shop.
Everybody called her Aunty Jenny, she probably wasn’t related to anybody. However she immediately recognised him. “Hello Rob, come to buy a nice bunch of flowers for your loving mother?” It wasn’t a question. “Nice cat you got there.” She quickly bundled some roses together and Rob paid. “Thank you, Aunty!”
“Oh, it’s you. You have come back after all this time.” It was his mother and she had a sharp tongue in her head. Rob gave his mother the flowers. “I have to change my ways.” The cat gave him a playful thump on his back. “Yer better come in. Is that your cat?”
The cat told him what to tell his mother: suddenly it hit me, it hurt, I’ve got to give up my bad ways, I’ve got to get an education, I’ve got to get a good job, I’ve got to think a lot about this and the cat likes cooked fish.
Rob’s mother made up the bed that Rob had always slept in as a child, Rob’s mother had forgiven him, the cat slept on the end of the bed, Rob was not going anywhere without him, the cat.
Next day Rob went to the local technical college to sign on for the general school leaving exam – he wouldn’t get anywhere without that. He had always wanted to be a sound engineer, perhaps he could study that after he passed the leaving exam. He thought that he had worked it all out. The cat just smiled.
The afternoon was spent emptying all his drug stashes and destroying the stuff. The word got around that drugs were in short supply and that Rob had gone funny; the next day would not be so easy.
The two of them strode across the station concourse, they were big and ugly, they had just arrived from Big City, they looked like twins, they were not brothers but cousins, the big boss in Smalltown wanted them, they were brutal, they were the Wrench Boys.
The cat knew that they were there, evil and nasty and hateful, he knew why they were there – the big drugs boss wanted to teach Rob a lesson. The cat knew that they were professionals and that he the cat was outnumbered.
Angie rang the Black Corner Group in Big City, the Wrench Boys were worse than you could possibly think. Angie rang the Black Corner Group in Bigtown, yes, Betty would be on the next train. Angie arranged that Rob would keep his head down in a safe house.
The Wrench Boys toured the town, they visited most of the pubs, they demanded drinks, they didn’t pay, they put the frighteners on everybody, they were looking for Rob.
There was a rumour going round that Rob was hiding at the railway station, the Wrench Boys soon discovered this, thumping people made this easier.
Betty and the cat were waiting for them on platform 4. Crowds had gathered on the concourse above the platforms to watch the fight. The Wrench Boys walked down the steps to platform 4, the termination starts now.
Betty and the cat started with the tactic “punch ‘em in the knees or thighs” to cause them to stop moving and possibly to floor them. The punches landed, but the two thugs ignored the pain as if nothing had happened.
One of them picked up Betty and threw her up into the air, it looked like the end of Betty, but she caught hold of some scaffolding surrounding an advertisement display. She quickly climbed down the scaffolding, unfortunately it collapsed and brought Betty down to the ground very fast. She landed on the cat, who was nice and soft, the cat was now out of action. Just Betty against the two monsters.
Betty grabbed a loose, steel scaffolding pole and ran forwards into the two men. I will not describe what happened next, it was not pretty, it was not nice, it was terminal. The crowds above roared with applause.
Betty picked up the blooded cat and ran along the platform, under the concourse and out from the station.