Sunday, 31 October 2010

Nicotine Deprivation And The Ninja Cat.

Well, as if it isn't bad enough that Dad is acting even more suspiciously than usual, now Max is at it, too. And he's in a bloody horrible mood, and seems to be getting through an entire packet of extra-strong mints every five seconds.

"What's the matter with you?" I say, after he's spent the last five minutes swearing. (He nearly bit through his tongue at the same time as a mint.) "And why do you keep eating those?"

"I'm giving up smoking," he says.

"What? Why?" Isn't that a bit of a coincidence after I had to endure an Ellen lecture on the subject only yesterday?

"Don't be silly, Mol. Everyone knows it's not good for you. And it's like having social leprosy these days."

"Well, not when both of us smoke," I say. "Unless you're thinking of getting up close and personal with anyone else?"

"Oh, for God's sake. I want to give up before I enter my next bloody decade. That's all. Just like you said you were going to. I'm a bit more determined that you, though."

Talk about unfairness. Has Max forgotten the provocation I was subjected to on my birthday?

"Well, that wasn't my fault," I say. "What with Ellen and her very public search for a big you-know-what at my party, and The Boss going on and on about Gordon Brown, it's no wonder I forgot I was supposed to be giving up, is it?"

"Excuses, excuses." says Max. There is nothing as annoying as a reformed smoker. Except for Ellen.

It seems nicotine withdrawal is very bad for your judgement, though. Max agrees to give Josh a lift to Holly's after lunch, and they both leave the house together. Two minutes later, Josh comes pelting back in through the door.

"Mum, have you seen Charlie?" he says.

"No. He's probably still out shagging," I say. "There seem to be about ten cats on heat around here at the moment." (Not to mention humans.)

"No, he isn't. He was asleep on the wheel of the car when Dad and I got into it just now."

"Well, then - you know where he is already. Why are you asking me?"

"Well, I told Dad Charlie was on the wheel -"

"And?" I say. I don't like the sound of this.

"And Dad said not to worry - that Charlie'd get off as soon as the engine started. Only he didn't."

Marvellous. So now Max is a cat murderer. I'm just waiting for the Facebook hate page to be created, when Josh explains that, although there was a big bump, Charlie has run off somewhere.

"So he's not dead," he says. "We've just got to find him and take him to the vet as fast as we can."

Honestly, I'm sure some people have restful weekends. We search for hours but there's no sign of Charlie anywhere.

Josh is distraught and keeps telling us that cats always take themselves off to somewhere off the beaten track to die. This is not particularly helpful in the circumstances. When it gets dark, we have no choice but to admit defeat and go indoors.

By the time Charlie finally swaggers through the cat flap and into the house, Max is a wreck. I bet he's dying for a cigarette too, but not half as much as he is once we get the vet's bill. How can it cost £65:00 just to be told that your cat has no internal or external injuries and has therefore had a miraculous escape?

"You may have been right about pet insurance," says Max on the way home. "Especially as I feel like killing the bloody cat myself now. Sixty-five quid and there's nothing wrong with him!"

"He's obviously better than Josh is at ninja rolls," I say.

Max doesn't laugh. Honestly, giving up smoking plays hell with your sense of humour. I'm sure Charlie's smiling from the depths of his basket, though.

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