Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cleo, jungle cat

There is a piece of string on the floor, a thick brown braided string that was once the handle from a bag of rice. Cleo leaps on it from the middle of the room, all four feet somehow land on the length of it and she rides it across the floor.

She slides to a stop, grabs one end of the string between her front paws, lifting it from the ground to make the string slither through the air and then she spins on the spot to capture the tail of it with drawn claws splayed out in one wide-open paw.

The string slaps against the ground, landing in a curving line as Cleo flips onto her back with a whump and a billow of fine white hairs, dragging the brown snake across her belly and then twisting again to her feet as though a spring is released somewhere deep inside.

She drops the string and turns her back, casually, un-interestedly, as though it is no longer a concern of hers, but her head tilts to the side ever so slightly, her eyes do not focus straight ahead but seem to be gazing far away and at the same time turned within as though calculating something in the perfect round depth of her obsidian pupils.

A step to the side, a pause and then she has pounced, somehow flipped around to face the other direction, front paws pressed down on the end of the brown string once again sliding across the floor, pushing off with her back feet. A toss of her head and the string, suddenly clasped in her teeth, whips up and over her back, she twirls and pirouettes, claws clacking and scratching against the wood of the floor, wrestling the string from one end of the kitchen to the other. Spinning, sliding, somersaulting, she is on her tiptoes, hopping in circles, dragging the string behind her.

Finally she flops on her side, pulls the string to her mouth with her two front paws and pulls at the braided fibres with her teeth, the pick, pick of her determination fills the room, her eyes half shut in concentration.

And then she is done. She stands, letting the string fall to the floor, throws a few flicks of her tongue across her white chest, down one leg as though straightening her fur, and then she walks away, calmly, rationally, leaving the string behind to be found again later to finish the battle, whenever that might be, whenever the mood takes her.

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