Le couvre-feu (Partie 2)

Louis Catorze remains relentlessly and unnervingly punctual when it comes to his Front Curfew (10pm on weekdays and 10:30pm on weekends). He has never been late, not once, not even by a minute. It’s actually getting creepy now.

On Tuesday night, when we were a little later than usual after watching Brentford play Fulham in the EFL Championship play-offs (don’t even ask how that went), Cat Daddy decided to grant his boy a late pass until 11pm.

Me, as Cat Daddy opened the window: “Would you remind him that he has to be back by 11pm?”

Cat Daddy: “What, you actually want me to say it?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

[Silence, tumbleweed, crickets]

Cat Daddy, to Catorze: “11pm, please.”

Catorze, as he bounded out: “Mwah!”

Cat Daddy, muttering under his breath: “[Unrepeatable expletives]”

Unusually, instead of hanging around on the window sill, this time Catorze took off down the street, and I was convinced that that was the last we would see of him that night.

When Cat Daddy put out the recycling, he could just about make out Catorze’s silly shape rolling undignifiedly all over the pavement outside the gate of number 35 (or thereabouts). But he knew the futility of trying to herd him back in, because the little sod would only dart under a parked car and there would be no retrieving him from there.

We had no choice but to make some tea and sit with the window open, steeling ourselves for the fact that this could be a long night.

Then, before we knew it, the little sod was back. I checked the clock and it was 10:57pm.

We haven’t the faintest idea what to make of this. Yes, we are pleased that he is sticking rigidly to the rules and doing as he’s told. But we’re also bewildered. And terrified.

Ask him if he knows what time it is. Go on, I dare you.

Le couvre-feu (Partie 1)

Before we open the living room window in the evening, we always go through the following ritual with Catorze:

Me: “You know you have to be back by 10pm, don’t you?”

Catorze: “Mwah!”

Me: “10pm. Is that clear? Meow once for yes, twice for no.”

Catorze: “Mwah!”

Cat Daddy, without looking up from the television: “He can’t understand you. He’s French.”

Unbelievably, the little sod has made it indoors almost every night at 9:57pm.

The only exceptions were yesterday, when he rolled in at 10pm on the dot, and last weekend, when Cat Daddy allowed him a half hour weekend extension and he came in at 10:24pm on Saturday and 10:28pm on Sunday.

(And, yes, I know that a weekend extension is nonsensical since Catorze doesn’t have a working week from which he needs to wind down, nor does he even know what a weekend is.)

Other than being creeped out by the fact that notre cher ami can apparently tell the time with some precision, we are trying not to read too much into this. Anyone who was ever grounded by their parents as a teenager knows that a run of good behaviour is highly suspicious. At best, it’s a trick to get the curfewer(s) off their case and to convince them to bring forward the lifting of the curfew. And, at worst, it’s a cover for a stunt even more outrageous than the one that caused the curfew to be imposed in the first place.

And it’s a full moon next week. Merde.

Dare we wonder what horrors lurk ahead?

He’s not always there when we call. But he’s always on time.