Le piège à souris

Another day, another darned mouse, this time delivered to our bedroom, undead and twitching. But, fortunately for me, by the time I had gone to fetch a plastic bag and come back again, Le Bon Dieu had had the grace to take its poor soul to mouse heaven.

Because we had to dash straight out to the eye hospital for Cat Daddy’s painfully early appointment, I didn’t have a chance to dispose of La Pauvre Souris in the park bin across the road. I certainly wasn’t putting it in any of our household bins in case Catorze broke in and caused further havoc, so, on our way out, I just dumped it temporarily on the Roi-inaccessible doorstep at The Front, with the intention of getting rid of it as soon as we returned. We would only be gone for a couple of hours and nobody was due to visit us, so nothing could possibly go wrong. Or so we thought.

As we headed off to the hospital in the car, we caught sight of the postman walking into our street. Merde.

There was no time to return home and dispose of the plastic bag before the postman saw it, although Cat Daddy said it was highly unlikely that any postman would untie a plastic bag that was sitting on a doorstep and peer inside.

That was when I realised that I hadn’t tied it up.

We were at the hospital for quite a lot longer than expected and, whilst I should have been worrying about Cat Daddy, all I could think about was whether the postman would tell all our neighbours that we keep a dead mouse in a John Lewis bag sitting on our front doorstep. (Postmen are PERFECTLY placed to spread gossip, aren’t they, given that they go to every house in the neighbourhood and probably know everyone?)

Our only hope was that maybe we wouldn’t have any letters today, so perhaps the postman would have had no need to come to our door. When we got home, however, we found not only that we had had more post than ever before in our lives, but also that the wind had somehow blown the bag open and its grim contents could be seen from the street.

Then one of the neighbours, who was passing by, stopped for a chat on the doorstep, and Cat Daddy was forced to maintain cheerful conversation whilst, at the same time, striking a bizarre pose to obscure La Pauvre Souris with his foot. (He later reported that it was VERY difficult to get that fine balance of hiding the body without stepping on it and having it burst underfoot.)

Now … would you forgive this contrite face?

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La rampe sanglante est levée

A few days ago Cat Daddy went to put some old boxes in the greenhouse and, when he came back, he pulled a face and said, “Cats CAN jump, you know. Louis Catorze and Luther used to scale 2-metre fences in our previous house.”

“Ok. Erm, so …?”

“So, you didn’t need to build a ramp for Louis Catorze. He’s a cat. He can jump.”

“Pardon? I haven’t built a ramp for Louis Catorze.”

“Well, someone has. If it wasn’t you or me, he must have done it himself.”

I didn’t do it, Cat Daddy claims he didn’t do it, and nobody else has been in our garden, yet someone has, indeed, built a ramp for Louis Catorze. An old, wooden fence post, which we’d never noticed until now but which we’re pretty sure must have been lying flat on the ground before, is now leaning against the fence (and you can see the gross, gravelly bucket at its base in this picture).

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And we’ve since observed that Catorze uses la rampe both as a thoroughfare to gain access into Oscar the dog’s garden, and as a “sommet suffisant” to sit safely and goad poor Oscar into a tumultuous barking frenzy. You know in “The Silence of the Lambs”, when Hannibal Lecter makes his next-door inmate choke to death through psychological torment alone, without laying a finger on him? That’s EXACTLY what goes on here.

Bien sûr we haven’t actually been able to photograph the little sod at it. The minute I hear Oscar snarling and snapping like Stephen King’s Cujo, I dash to the patio doors and, nine times out of ten, there’s Louis Catorze atop la rampe eyeballing poor Oscar, tail pointing arrogantly skywards. Sometimes he’s there for a few seconds, sometimes longer … but, the minute I reach for my phone to take a picture, he climbs down and trots towards me, chirping sweetly.

He may look cute, but it seems that behind his soft kitten face lies a twisted, steely assassin. Would you mess with a creature who can apparently build his own ramp and use it to taunt his foe so chillingly, all the while ensuring that you don’t have a scrap of evidence against him?