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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Work in Progress, or Mr Smacky Paw (Slight Return)

Whereas it might be urged that our progress, findings and pronouncements followed neither sequence nor method, the truth is arguably, given the right combination of arguer and arguments, of arguer and arguments and audience – is arguably quite other. Travel fatiguing us (there being few things we found less to our taste than travel), we debated, my associate and I, with our feline advisors (then lying between us), whether our purposes might not be as easily accomplished by going, not here, there or there, but nowhere; with due allowance made for rolling now this way, now that, as our cramps, bed sores, or our feline advisors’ whims dictated. As we debated, a shadow continued on its way from the far edge of a wardrobe to the near edge of the door. I remember being struck by this, to the point of wishing to make a note, and remembering my pencil had unfortunately rolled from the bed and onto the floor, onto the floor and under the bed, where it lodged just out of reach. Arising from my recumbent position to retrieve it I placed one foot before the other – so – prior to kneeling down, only to find my progress checked by the actions of Mr Smacky Paw, otherwise Percy the cat. I passed the bed-corner, very slowly fleeing, and smack! went his paw against my trouser leg. I took a step backwards, out of shock and the better to register what had just happened, and smack! it went again: smack! Now forwards again I went, attention divided between the rewards of the window and the experiment on which I found myself embarked, and smack! went the paw a third time. Fart!, went Sam, another of our feline advisors, looking on from the other end of the bed, fart! though not in a manner of suggestive of any causal connection between my advancing and retreating, Mr Smacky Paw’s reaction to this, and the release of a small quantity of gas into the bedroom air. Then just as the fart, this modest fart, by no means pungent or exceptionable, just as this fart had supplanted the smack in my mind, roll! went Jessica the cat in her median position on the bed between the two other cats, from this side to that, and back again from that side to this. But such was my state of rapt attention to Jessica’s roll, coming on top of Sam’s fart, coming on top of Percy’s smack, that standing there as I was, like a great big gawm, I found myself smacked all over again, for no crime at all, neither of forward nor or rearward motion: smack!, went Mr Smacky Paw, with perhaps enough force to concuss an infant dung beetle or ladybird, but causing me, to speak of me, the recipient after all of this blow, something closer to bemusement than annoyance, but interruption and inconvenience too, since but for the smack I would long since have retrieved my pencil, enjoying a momentary view from the window preparatory to my kneeling down, that too, a view of the field, its line of woods in the distance with sometimes a buzzard or two overhead, sometimes not, but still, a view, a genuine view, not this hell of trouser-tugging molestation with attendant farting and rolling and, can you believe it, while I was thinking all this, pfft!, went another Sam fart, and left-right, right-left!, went another Jessica roll. I retrieved my pencil and returned to bed, confirmed in my earlier suspicion of the madness, madness I say, of venturing abroad under these or indeed any conditions.

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