Chapter Six: I Go Home
Spork and I walked together down darkened paths. It never had rained, but it was certainly cold. A lot of the traffic from earlier was gone now. The Humans were probably with their Earthian Human families in the small little living quarters they called their homes.
The cold was making me ache. I had clearly given it my all earlier when I had been running for my ever luxurious life. I mewed softly as I looked to my right, fog had settled into the city for the evening.
We didn’t hear any of the dogs on the way back. Spork had chosen highly unoccupied streets for our venture. It was especially quiet the entire trip and I didn’t dare speak myself. It was rare that Spork was ever calm and even rarer when it had no snide remarks.
Questions did swirl through the ever intelligent depths of my mind though. Was Spork escorting me back so it could take over the house by force? Was it going to throw Cedric out? Bypass all chain of command and simply do what it felt best?
No. Spork stopped at the front gate, gave a half wave with a flick of its tail and turned.
“Don’t let that cut or bite get infected.” It reminded a final time. “We don’t know where our medic is.”
I nodded, although Spork wasn’t facing my direction so I wasn’t sure if it noticed or not. After it had walked away I hopped the gate—it was a lot easier than the first time I had been there—and headed for the door. Hopefully Cedric would let me back in. I didn’t want to spend the night outside when it was all cold, and I certainly wasn’t going to find my way back to Spork.
The grass was releasing low powered rays of cold vapors from either side of my pathway. Cedric called this event “the night chill setting it.” Their futile attempts of preventing me from reaching my destination failed. I had already arrived at the stairs. They took me a little longer than normal to climb thanks to some stiffness setting in, but I managed.
I stepped up to the door and knocked then heard footsteps from somewhere further back in the house and eventually Cedric made his way to where I was. The door opened. I stared up at him with a slight frown; I couldn’t read his expression.
“You’re back,” he said softly.
I looked around myself; yes no one else seemed to be around so he must’ve been talking to me.
“I was worried about you.” He crossed his arms as I walked past him. He didn’t stop me so I guessed we were on good terms again. “I was worried you’d be caught or get yourself hurt or something.”
“You were right about that.” I mumbled.
I noticed he looked confused, but I didn’t elaborate. Not now.
“You don’t seem happy.” Cedric stated. “Something wrong? I mean, aside from the fact you left earlier and all that.”
“Not exactly,” I mewed, “I’m tired. Where’s my cardboard box?”
“Back in the guestroom.” Cedric frowned.
“We can talk tomorrow.” I added and with a flick of my tail, headed to my cardboard box.
I half mused staying in my scout uniform. No one would have cared, and it was actually pretty comfy, however, there was just something one couldn’t beat about pajamas. They just spoke of warmth and comfort. So I got myself changed into my Earth pajamas and crawled into bed with a flop.
Earth was a difficult place to be and function, especially without the rest of my crew. Spork wanted to live here now, Cedric would be upset, just all kinds of drama. I had had a long day though, so I wasn’t going to worry about it for the time being. I could handle it in the morning. Come to think of, I hadn’t gotten an exact date as to when Spork intended to move. That would complicate things a tad, primarily because it meant I had no means of knowing for sure just how much time I had to warm Cedric up to the idea.
I yawned and nuzzled my rather stubby muzzle against the pillows and blankets within my bed, tucking my tail tightly around my side so that it rested beside my muzzle.
* * *
When I woke up in the morning…afternoon, Cedric was already gone again. He worked the oddest assortment of hours. I never knew when he’d be home or gone or something else. People needed to be more courteous of his time. They needed to make their computers break down routinely or in a timely fashion that way Cedric could make a schedule for himself. It only made sense, right? I mean that’s what other companies did.
The house was oddly quiet with everyone being gone. And of course by everyone I meant Cedric. He was really the only one who was at his house other than me so that wasn’t the best word headquarters had ever issued us. Regardless we’ll let it pass for now.
Carrying on the report, after I changed back into my scout uniform I had taken a walk down the hall and out to the back deck. Cactus was there. Cedric had decided to keep it for reasons unknown. Sometimes I didn’t understand his logic. I mean, I had worked this all out for him. For those of you who skipped out on my last report, don’t worry. I won’t tell. Previously, I had a dual to the death with Cactus. Neither of us had died, oddly enough. I had sustained moderate injuries from my foe, but I had knocked Cactus out of its planter. I declared myself to be the winner although Cedric had not been particularly appreciative, typical Human.
Any other day I wouldn’t have cared. Cactus had started the war between our species by not telling me its alliance. I had no reason to speak with it. But you know what? I had nothing to do and no one to talk to, so better Cactus than a rock. Rocks aren’t alive you see. They’re just a big hunk of well, rock. I suppose rocks are made of rock otherwise why would they be called rocks?
Regardless to what the rock was or wasn’t made of, I plopped down beside Cactus and tried to follow its gaze into the backyard. That was a little harder than it may sound because Cactus didn’t have any eyes. It also didn’t really have a front or back or side. It just looked the same all around.
Using my superior intellect I had decided Cactus was in fact looking into the yard though because that was more interesting to look at.
“Nice day, isn’t it?”
Cactus didn’t reply.
“You’re pretty hard to read, and quiet. Are ya from the stealth division?”
A slight breeze rustled my fur. Cactus still didn’t reply.
“I think we could be good friends you know.”
I had a strong suspicion that Cactus knew exactly how I felt and wanted the same exact thing. I let my paw rest upon its planter. It was good to be amongst friends again. We had set our differences and previous disagreements aside. We had overcome a species barrier.
I’m not sure what was on Cactus’ mind at the time. It was probably shedding cactus tears for finally having a friend to confide in. I was already past the tears of friendship stage. I had actually skipped that stage, but don’t tell Cactus.
Anyway I had moved on to new topics, namely life. Life was about to change. They say change can be good, but change can also be bad. When it involves Spork it is usually bad. Everything is bad when it involves Spork.
I’d known the gray aquatic a good portion of my life. I had just been a tumbling little kitten when we first crossed paths. It had never particularly liked me from what I recall. I used to pounce on its tail all the time. It was great fun, but Spork never really appreciated it. It never did know how to have fun. Spork was like the equivalent of an older brother to me. It was bossy and bigger and although it may have usually tolerated me, it was still a big meanie.
Talking to Cactus was getting boring fast, so I decided to head back inside. There I made my way towards the kitchen with the intent to capture some prey for lunch, also known as getting some sandwich makings from the fridge. However, a rogue tinfoil ball happened to be taking cover near a big wooden thing called a cabinet that was in the hall. Not wanting to allow the tinfoil to think it ruled the house, I made a detour to pounce on it. I rolled and batted at it with one paw; eventually it got stuck under the wooden cabinet—chased back to its home. That would teach it for messing with perimeter security.
Head held high, I pranced onward into the kitchen, victorious, a hero of war. Okay maybe it hadn’t been a war, but I had certainly given that tinfoil a good scare.
The phone rang a couple times, playing the tune of one of Cedric’s favorite Classicals before the answering machine picked up.
It was a girly voice. Definitely Human female (I was getting good at this.) The message went something along the lines of this:
“Hi Cedric, this is London. Give me a call sometime.”
Huh. Humans. I had heard of London before on TV and although I didn’t know where it was located, I did know it was in fact not a Human, but a place where Humans lived. I had half a mind to call this supposed ‘London’ back and let her know that my pet, Cedric, was not that dumb, but Cedric arrived home about that time as well.
This sidetracked me notably because I had things to discuss with him that were very important.
“Cedric, Cedric, Cedric!!!” I was running at a full sprint and met him in the hall. He suddenly lost his grip on everything he was holding. Cases of all sizes and remnant scraps of fast food fluttered through the air in graceful disarray. Actually it was more like a high speed splatter of stuff that instantly redecorated the hall.
“Whaaat? What’s wrong?”
“Ceeeedric!” I clung to his leg and angled a sad gaze up at him. “Some lady called claiming to be London!!”
“London called?” He took off his glasses briefly and blinked.
“Well, a person claiming to be London did,” I mewed. “But I know you’re not—”
“What’d she say?”
“…that dumb.” I finished.
My ears flopped down.
“I didn’t think you were dumb enough to believe the lady person was London.”
Cedric only stared, looking confused.
“You know, the place, London.”
“Those are two different things.” Cedric declared as he set about gathering up his belongings. “Her name is London.”
“Well that’s confusing.”
“Nevermind.” Cedric sighed. “Is that all of your emergency?”
“Yeah, basically.” I shrugged.
“Well then.” He had rearranged everything by now. “I’ll go handle that.”
I watched him walk away into the kitchen. My tail swished back and forth a time or two and then all at once I remembered there had been something more important than London. Something related more to my invasion efforts, Spork and Cedric’s house.
I frolicked after Cedric. He was listening to the message and tapping his fingers on the counter.
“Cedric, I forgot I have another thing we have to talk about.”
“Not right now, Smiley. I have to think.”
I crinkled my muzzle and scowled. “About what? The message just says to call. How hard is that?”
“It’s more than that.” Cedric replied somewhat hastily. “It’s just…well, you probably wouldn’t understand.”
“Would too.” I grumbled.
Cedric tapped his fingers more and carried on with his scowling.
“Okay fine.” He turned back to me. “Promise not to tell anyone?”
“I don’t know anyone.”
“Good point. I like how you think.”
“So do I.”
“Okay, well the deal is…I haven’t had a lot of…friends…and…”
“Is London a friend?”
“Well…yeah, sort of.” Cedric sighed.
“Ohhh…good for you Cedric! You’re learning how to get along with other Humans.”
I frolicked by to investigate the contents of the fridge briefly while Cedric resumed his consideration. I figured I should give him a bit of time before telling him about Spork. He seemed stressed enough.
Spork hadn’t told me when this scheduled move was anyway. So I probably, er hopefully, had some time. I found something that looked decently delicious and nibbled it as I watched Cedric. Having friends must have been very difficult for Humans because Cedric was making a whole assortment of faces.
After I had eaten about half of the sandwich I decided Cedric had had long enough.
“Cedric, Spork says it’s moving into your house whether you like it or not.” I took another bite.
“I tried to tell it you wouldn’t like the idea, but,” I shrugged. “Spork’s hard to reason with. So if you don’t wanna get thrown out, you should probably let it have its way.”
“I can’t. You can’t—we can’t—this isn’t my house! Your friend will ruin it! I can’t keep two cats in here.”
“Two cats, a kitten and a squid.” I corrected. “You have lots of room.”
“You guys are destructive.”
“Hey, no fair! That was Spork, not me!”
The phone rang. Cedric’s hands flailed, knocking his glasses off. He stumbled over one foot and knocked the phone from its base. Said phone spun through the air. I made a quick dash to avoid the impending doom, tail fur fluffed out. What had gotten into that crazy Human?
Skidding around the corner, I nearly lost my footing as I slid a ways down the hall. By that time, whatever chaos was befalling Cedric had already come crashing down and he was now answering the phone.
Assuming it to be moderately safe, I slinked back towards the kitchen and poked my head around the corner. A Human afraid of phones! Who would have thought it?
“Cedric speaking.” He looked thoughtfully at the wall, which had nothing to be thoughtful looking about on it. “Huh? Whu? Uh, oh. How do—what? Okay, okay.” He covered part of the phone with one hand and looked in my general direction. “It’s for you.”
“It’s for me?” I never got phone calls. This was odd.
Cedric nudged the phone in my direction. It was out of reach, but I hurried to intercept it, flipped my hood down and held it to an ear.
“What? I mean this is Smiley. Or hi. Yes. Hi!”
The individual on the other end was a disappointment. It was Spork. I hadn’t won the grand prize, I hadn’t been nominated for any major award; I’d just been called by a meanie.
“Have you made the necessary arrangements yet?”
“I told Cedric if that’s what you mean.”
“Good. See you at Zero-Hundred.”
I was not familiar with this Zero Hundred. We had very much not discussed this prior to now. I hoped Spork realized this.
A faint growl, followed by, “Midnight, Smiley. Midnight.”
“Oh. That’s a little soon, don’t you think?”
The phone began making a buzzing noise in my ear so I handed it back to Cedric. “How do you like that? Hung up on a superior.” I flicked my tail, irritated.
“Anything I should know about?” Cedric inquired.
“No, we were just talking about—wait yes!” I gazed sharply at my Human friend. “Spork intends to move in tomorrow night.”
“What? But I haven’t even agreed to it yet!”
I gazed into his Human soul at that point, awaiting an answer, awaiting our future. He didn’t say anything.
“Have you decided to agree with it yet?”
More waiting. I looked at a clock. At the toaster. At the floor. At Cedric’s glasses.
“How about now?”
My tail twitched. I crossed my arms, and angled my ears down in slight irritation.
“I don’t really have much of a choice in all this.”
“You know, you really are a rotten little alien cat.”
“Kehkekekeke!” My tail lashed about as I let my giant, toothy grin spread wide across my face, eye disguise and yellow glow activating.
Cedric only sipped his coffee. “You need to back off the sugar.”