“Fluffy monster, where are you?” I call, tramping up and down the road for the tenth time. It’s 5.15pm – nearly dark. Been trying to get him in for nearly two hours now. Both the parentals are out. Mum will be so cross if he’s not in when she gets home.
A flash of orange: there he is. He’s having a stand-off with his enemy, an equally fluffy black cat. The two fluff balls stare at each other. My cat chases the black one through a fence into a garden surrounded by high spiked fences. The black cat scampers away but my orange monster stays.
I press the entry phone on the gate but although the family seem to be in, no-one answers. Ah well, I think, as I find a gap between the fence and the wall and squeeze through. The orange monster hides under their huge car. Lying on the ground, I attempt to prise him out. He hisses at me, eyes wide, tail fluffed up.
“Your grandma is going to be so cross if you don’t come in,” I say, trying to grab him. He’s too quick – pulling away from me and then bombing around the garden and into a hawthorn hedge. Reaching an arm in, ouch: the spines lacerate my skin.
The orange monster bounces out of the hedge and slinks through the fence, weaving in and out of the poles. He darts back under the car. This charade continues for ages until finally he starts to tire and I grab him. Holding my precious orange bundle, I squeeze through the gap and carry him home.
The key turns in the lock.
“Mum,” I call.
“Hello sweetie,” Mum says, walking towards me, giving me a hug.
“The fluffy monster was so naughty, I’ve only just got him in,” I say. “Had to chase him for ages, into hawthorn hedges, through fences…”
Mum looks at him, stretched out on the sofa.
“You should’ve just left him. He always comes in eventually,” she says. Not even a thank you.
Today’s date was cancelled. The chap forgot that he had to see his sister, apparently. Don’t believe him…