Saturday, July 12, 2014

Short Story Hour: Pickles and the Cabinet of Doom, Part II

Read Part I of this Pickles adventure.

A few days later

Pickles watched her human get ready for work. Over the last several days, Pickles noticed that her human had stopped leaving things out on tables and counters. There was less stuff for her to knock over as she continued her battle with the bathroom cabinet. Since the first day, Pickles had continued to knock things over when she wasn’t able to get the door open. Yesterday she added unrolling a roll of toilet paper. Her human had been so angry that she wouldn’t let Pickles into the bathroom when she was taking a shower this morning. The nerve.

Her human left with a curt goodbye, a reminder to behave (which sounded like weird meows to Pickles), and a slam of the front door. Pickles was left on her own. Since setting the goal of getting into the cabinet, she had adjusted her daily schedule. There was less napping and sun patch time and more staring at the cabinet door time. She had made no progress in opening the door; every time she got her paw under the door it wouldn’t budge. Something was keeping her from getting the edge she needed.

As Pickles entered the bathroom, she was prepared for another day of staring and no progress towards her goal. She was surprised when she saw that the left side cabinet door was slightly open. Open enough for Pickles to get in. Her human must have left the door open! Pickles didn’t know what to do with herself. She had been dreaming of this moment for weeks and it was finally coming true. Pickles took a moment to savor this small victory. She wasn’t sure what was on the other side of the door but she was finally going to find out.

With tentative steps, Pickles walked towards the open cabinet door. She could see that it was dark behind the door but had no fear; she had excellent eyesight in the dark. She approached the door slowly and with cautious excitement. She didn’t want to accidentally hit the door and close it. It might never open again.

Pickles pawed at the door and got it opened enough to slide into the cabinet. She had always been a lean cat and her petite size helped with squeezing into tight places. The door closed behind her with a soft click. Pickles was in the cabinet! She had made it!

And now she was in total darkness.

Cats have better nocturnal vision than humans but can’t see perfectly in total darkness. Pickles sat very still for a few minutes to let her eyes adjust to the abrupt change in light. She hadn’t anticipated the darkness. She wasn’t really sure what she had anticipated. Her eyes adjusted somewhat and she started to sniff around. There was also a funny smell; it reminded Pickles of those times when her human would tell her to get off the off the bathroom counter and then she’d wipe something on it. The counter was always slippery and smelled weird. Pickles assumed it was clean but all it really meant was that she had to roll around on it some more to mark it as hers. Being a cat was so much work. 

That was the smell in the cabinet. Pickles didn’t like it. The smell was ruining her under the cabinet adventure. No, she was not going to let that stupid smell ruin this. Pickles turned around and started sniffing the bottles and boxes. She found a plastic box and rubbed her face on the edge. She knocked some bottles over. That was all there was. Pickles had expected more and somewhere soft to nap. Pickles was disappointed. All that planning had led to this - a horrible smell and nothing to do. She couldn't believer her bad luck.

She walked back to the door and tried to get out. Whatever had kept her out for so long was now keeping her in. The door wouldn’t open; it would just pretend like it was going to open and then close again. She pushed on the door a few more times. She tried to get her paw underneath to keep the door open. None of it worked. She didn’t know what to do.

Pickles resigned herself to her fate. She would have to stay in here forever. She would never see her human again or cuddle on the couch. The birds would take over the ledge due to the lack of patrol. Her sun patch would fade into a mere shadow of itself. Her penguin toy, her most favorite toy, would be all alone. Pickles was trapped in the darkness with the smell of doom.

That evening

The first thing Amelia noticed when she came into the apartment was that Pickles didn’t run out to meet her. Amelia wasn’t entirely surprised; Pickles seemed to know that she was mad about the messes. The cat had been hiding a bit more since Amelia had last scolded her. The second thing Amelia noticed was that there were no messes today. Nothing had been pushed off a table. There were no bottles on the floor in the bathroom. One less thing she would have to clean up this evening.

Amelia went into the kitchen to fix dinner for Pickles and start on her own. Normally, the cat ran into kitchen the second a can of cat food was opened. But no Pickles. Amelia called out to the cat. No meows or anything. She grabbed the treat box from the top of the refrigerator; shaking the box was Amelia’s go-to way to get the cat out of her hiding place. She shook the box a few times. Still no Pickles.

“Pickles, where are you?” Amelia started looking in all of Pickles’s regular hiding places. She wasn’t under the bed or on top of the cable box. She wasn’t on top of the refrigerator or the cabinets in the kitchen. She couldn’t get into the cabinets under the kitchen sink and the door to the hallway closet wasn’t open. Amelia checked her bedroom closet next; no Pickles. There was no way the cat could have gotten out of the apartment. She had been perched on the window sill when Amelia left for work. No one had come into the apartment. There was no where else for her to go.

There had to be somewhere she hadn’t considered. The cabinets all had safety latches on them so they were secure. Pickles couldn’t have moved the board covering the hole between the kitchen cabinet walls. Just to be sure, Amelia climbed up on the counter to check. No Pickles. Panic was setting in. She sat quietly for a few minutes. Where else could Pickles be? Amelia ran through her mental list of all the places that Pickles could be.

The reality was that Pickles was here somewhere. She had to be. Amelia figured that if she gave the cat some time she would come out on her own especially if she got hungry. Amelia calmed herself down and went back to the kitchen to start making dinner. The cat was here she was just being a cat.

Under the cabinet
Pickles heard her human come home. She had spent the entire day laying in the corner of the dark, smelly cabinet. Occasionally, she would try to get out. Every time she failed. She heard her human calling her. She mustered her loudest meow but it sounded like a whisper. She tried a few times but her human clearly didn’t hear her.

She was starting to panic again. What if her human never found her? What if she really had to stay here forever?

No, she was going to get out of this. She was an industrious cat and was going figure a way out.

A little later
Normally when she cooked or baked, Amelia listened to music. Since she still hadn’t figured out where Pickles was, she kept the music off in case her little cat made noise and then she would be able to find where the cat was hiding. She was in the middle of chopping vegetables when she heard a whispered meow.

She put down her knife and dried her hands. Where was the meow coming from? She started in the living room listening, checking places as she went. She checked the cabinet in the entertainment center. She looked under the couch. She looked under the bed. She even opened the dresser drawers thinking the cat could have somehow wiggled in. She looked in her closet again. No Pickles. That brought her to the bathroom. As she got closer to the bathroom, the meows grew louder. The only place Pickles could be was under the cabinets. How could she have gotten under the cabinets?

Amelia opened the cabinet door and out ran Pickles. The cat weaved around her legs and meowed loudly. Amelia picked up the cat, “How did you get into the cabinet? Those latches were supposed to keep you out of the cabinets.” Had she left the door open this morning? She had been distracted this morning so it was possible she didn’t notice the latch didn’t catch. So it was her fault Pickles was missing. She would have to do a better job ensuring they were safely closed.

Pickles wiggled out of her human’s arms and made her way to her food. She was starving and ate everything in her bowl (a first for Pickles as she was of the “I ate five pieces now I have no food” school of eating). Her human returned to making her own dinner. Pickles stayed close by and avoided making eye contact with the bathroom cabinet. She felt that it was staring at her and laughing. The great adventure she had envisioned had been nothing but darkness and boredom. And fear. She had really believed that she would have to stay there forever with the smells and no soft things to lay on. It had been torture.

Amelia finished dinner and decided to start re-watching season five of Gilmore Girls. Pickles settled on her lap for a little while. The cat wanted lots of attention tonight. Amelia had a hard time being mad at Pickles; she was so freaking cute. The cat had avoided the bathroom since being let out, only darting in once to use her litter box. Amelia realized that today’s mishap had taught Pickles a lesson. Or she hoped it had taught Pickles a lesson. She was a cat and Amelia realized a long time ago that cats did whatever they pleased even if it was something that was dangerous. So maybe Pickles would try again; Amelia was hopeful that she would avoid the cabinets forever.

As episode two began, Pickles moved from her human’s lap to her favorite pillow on the couch. She was exhausted; she hadn’t really gotten a full 18 hours of sleep today. It had been too stressful to really nap under the sink. She flumped onto the pillow and fell into a deep sleep.

She couldn’t help herself when it came to taking pictures of Pickles. The cat was contorted into a weird sleeping position and looked adorable so Amelia snapped a picture and posted it on several of her social media accounts. The caption read: “A well deserved nap after facing the cabinet of doom. #adventuresofpicklesthecat”

The next morning
Pickles was on patrol. There were three birds outside and they kept landing on her window sill like they owned the place. Pickles couldn’t do much to them from inside but she kept an eye on them and occasionally batted at the window to make them fly away. They knew who was boss of this window. She planned to patrol for a little while longer and then it was sun patch time. Pickles loved a regimented schedule.

Her human was home today. Earlier she had brought out that horrible monster that made loud noises as it rolled across the carpets. Pickles stayed under the bed until it was done. She hated that thing. She ended her patrol and settled into her sun patch and reflected on the events of the previous day. By chance she had gotten into the one place she was not allowed to go and it had been a major disappointment. Now Pickles understood why her human shooed her away and kept those cabinets locked tight. Nothing good happened in the cabinets under the sink. She had to concede that maybe her human was right about this. She would try to be a good cat and stay out of trouble for awhile.

The thought quickly left her mind when she glanced up and realized something. She had never been on top of the very high bookcase in the living room. What would the world look like from such heights? How would she get to the top? There were many possibilities for climbing and jumping from other places in the room. She didn’t even consider how she would get back down; that was unimportant. Pickles began plotting her ascent to the top and her next adventure.

Cats never learn.

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