memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Cool Cats

Ferdy and Zack are swaggering down the little alley between the farmhouse and the barn  looking for trouble. They are the kings of the bins, the farm-yard police; they hustle the hens and diddle the ducks, they pick on the pigs and tease the geese and even Shep, the mangy mutt, gives them a wide berth. They are the despair of Mrs. Woodhouse the farmer’s wife who has given up feeding them and won’t have them in the house.

–              Hey Bro what’s the action today? I hear there’s gonna be a rumble in the hen house – lets go check it out.

–              Yeah Bro, then we’ll score some milk off the farmer who’s pumping those stupid cows this morning …

–              Yeah dude that’s heavy shit that tit-fresh milk specially if the silly moos have been grazing on that grass.

 The cats stalk across the farmyard, picking their way fastidiously round the piles of mud and cow-pat, towards the hen-house, where a furious spat, with squawking and flying feathers, is taking place. Ferdy and Zack stand menacingly in the doorway and the squawking dies away to the odd cluck – the signs of the confusion are strewn all the floor of the hut, smashed eggs, their yellow yokes already merging with the straw and chicken shit, (yum yum, thinks Zack, tasty tasty, instant breakfast). What seems to be the problem, dudes? Demands Ferdy angrily; this racket is disturbing our thoughts … yeah, how can we get some serious thinking done with this row going on? adds Zack aggressively, just keep it down, will you dudes!

The two cats re-emerge from the hen-house – who are you looking at! snarls Ferdy at a hissing goose – and make their way to the milking-shed. This is the big moment of their morning. Farmer Woodhouse has a real bizarre sense of humour – he’s milking Daisy, the third cow in the row of stalls, and both he and the cats know the routine: as the cats approach they get up on their hind legs, and he, using Daisy’s teat like it was a hose-pipe, aims it sideways and gives first Ferdy and then Zack, a good squirt of milk – it’s a moment they all enjoy (except for Daisy, of course).

Later outside again the cats yawn and purr with satisfaction – jeez, that’s good stuff, they murmur to one another, think I’ll lie down in the sun and sleep away the rest of morning …

Postcard from another Age

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