“Goodbye Pickles. Have a nice day.” The door closed and Pickles could hear the key turn in the lock. Her human was gone. She finally had the apartment to herself.
Pickles knew that she should probably be sad that her human made the choice to leave her alone for periods of eight to nine hours a day. She didn’t know where her human went; she assumed it was someplace un-fun and without cats. Her human probably didn’t get to nap or lay in the sun or any of the other fun things that Pickles got to do all day.
But Pickles didn’t really feel sad. When her human left Pickles was left to do all the things she wasn't normally allowed. She was able to jump on counters that always got her in trouble. She could go into the closet in the hallway and knock towels and pillows down and then lay on them (sliding doors were super easy to open). Or if she was really up for adventure, she could scale the refrigerator and the cabinets above the refrigerator. Sometimes Pickles liked to do that late in the day when she suspected her human would soon return. When she did, Pickles would jump down and her human would scream a little bit. Pickles liked a good scare.
There was one place in the apartment that Pickles wanted to go beyond all others - the cabinet in the bathroom. Every time she tried to get into this particular cabinet, her human shooed her away or stopped her before she could get the door open. Even when her human left, Pickles was never able to get the door open enough to get in. She could make a lot of noise trying it but never seemed to get the door to open; it was just too heavy. In recent days, she hadn’t been able to even open the door a little bit. Something had changed and she couldn’t figure it out. She couldn’t make the door bang late at night or early in the morning. She had to resort to pawing her human in the face to get any attention. Pickles was determined to figure out this mystery and pursue her dream of sleeping under the sink.
Pickles began her morning routine: basking in the sun, patrolling, napping, a snack, and more patrolling and napping. She was, like her human, a stickler for a plan and a schedule. She began with basking in the sun in the living room by the chair. She swished her tail a bit, rolled around, and decided she was bored. The curtains were open so she jumped on the window sill to patrol for a bit. Her human didn’t know just how much time Pickles spent patrolling their home. She couldn’t let the birds think they could just land on the ledge and stay there. This was her window. It was like that time with the mice; they didn’t belong in her house. She had to teach them a lesson. It was her job.
There were no birds today. Pickles was disappointed that her patrol was so short but there was no sense wasting time staring (although she considered herself an exceptional starer - it creeped out the other humans that visited). She had other tasks to complete today.
The bathroom cabinet was calling. Pickles had to figure out how to get in.
Later that afternoon
The key jangled in the lock. Amelia was finally home after a long day at work. Two last minute student interviews had thrown off her day so she was late coming home. She was looking forward to relaxing on the couch with a book and a glass of wine. She should go to the gym but that could wait until tomorrow.
She finally got the door open. Pickles sauntered towards her. Amelia liked to think that it was because the cat missed her during the day but knew that her affection was more than likely related to food. She could never quite figure out where Pickles came from when she ran to the door. Amelia picked up her cat and gave her a hug. For once, Pickles didn’t try to squirm and get away.
“How was your day? Did you do anything fun?” Amelia had long ago stopped feeling silly about talking to Pickles. Everyone talked to their pets; everyone should admit it. Pickles meowed at her and purred loudly. She was happy to see her human. She liked this lady except for the whole "not allowed in the cabinet" rule, Pickles had a nice human who took excellent care of her. Amelia walked into the kitchen and got Pickles her dinner. The cat weaved around her legs and meowed some more.
“Well aren’t you chatty today?” Amelia often wondered if Pickles needed a friend. Maybe she was lonely. She never made the move to get another cat; she didn’t want to be perceived as a cat lady. More importantly, she wasn’t convinced that Pickles would actually like another animal in the house. She seemed like a loner cat and Amelia respected that.
Amelia moved through the apartment, going through her mail, kicking off her shoes. She needed to straighten the apartment but decided to wait until the weekend. She walked into her bedroom to change (just because she wasn’t going to the gym didn’t mean she couldn’t change into super comfy yoga pants) and stopped abruptly. Amelia was a bit of neat freak. She always made her bed and rarely left things out so she was a bit surprised at the disarray she now faced. Books had been pushed off the nightstand, her jewelry box was spilled on the floor, and as she looked through her walk through closet into the bathroom, she could see a trail of cotton balls and several bottles of moisturizer and soap on the floor.
“Pickles!? What did you do?” She was used to the cat pushing things off tables and getting into plastic bags but rarely did Pickles make such a mess. Amelia began straightening up the rooms. She didn’t see Pickles and figured the cat was hiding from her and would only come out only when Amelia went to bed. At least she hadn’t gotten under the sink. The safety latches she put on the cabinets seemed to be working. Pickles was so curious about that cabinet but Amelia didn’t want her to get into any of the cleaning products.
Pickles peeked around the bedroom door. She knew she was in trouble but didn’t care. Her human was keeping her out of the bathroom cabinet. That was totally unfair and Pickles was making her feelings known. She would continue to do this until she was allowed in.
Part II of "Pickles and the Cabinet of Doom" will appear next week. Enjoy the first Short Story Hour before next week.