As the younger, white cat spent some time shoving my legs and reaching up to push me, I thought it was fair to ask, ``What are you trying to do, shove me over?''
She answered, ``No; shove you down.''
``Well, that's all right,'' since I didn't have a strong desire to be anywhere particular, over or down, ``But why do you want to do that?''
She leapt up onto my shoulder and answered, ``Where else are you going to get down?''
I said, ``From a duck,'' before wondering whether the answer would provoke her to bit me on the ear. I probably would have said it even if I had considered it, which is probably why my ear is often battered. It still seemed the best answer to give.
``You would think that, but fortunately this is my conversation and we'll follow the words I mean.'' Meanwhile, the other, grey, cat, lay sprawled out in front of the fireplace.
``It's my conversation. I started it.''
She rolled over my shoulder and tumbled toward my arms, but dug her claws in my shirt rather than fall down that far. ``You started talking, but that's only talking to yourself until someone answers back. Until I got involved you didn't have a conversation, and so it's mine.''
``You can have a conversation with yourself.''
``And if I did have one with myself it would still be mine.''
``You can have it,'' I said, since I suspected wherever this conversation did end up I didn't want to be. ``But the question remains, why do you want me to be down?''
``You're not making any progress getting down by yourself.''
``I could if I wanted. Or if I tripped on something.'' The grey cat rolled over, exposing her back to the fireplace, and gave that a try for a couple of seconds before going back to her belly facing the fireplace.
The white cat leapt down, pushed against my legs again, and then rubbed her head on my sock-clad feet. ``That can happen, if someone had the right thing to trip on.''
I lifted my foot, and she swatted at the sock, and tried to bite it. ``There; you're down, and what's it got you?''
``I'm as down as I can get without going into the basement.''
I saw that one coming. ``We don't have a basement.''
``Exactly!'' she cried, which seemed to prove the point.
``So I can't very well go down in the basement. I'd have to use the neighbor's, and they don't have one either.''
``Worse,'' said the cat; ``They're on vacation. That pretty well wraps up any plan for going in the basement.''
``So you're left with no choice but to shove me over?''
She nodded. ``It's very good of you to be so agreeable.'' I didn't think I had agreed to anything, exactly, but that's the sort of day this is. I did feel like starting the fire, though, for the grey cat.
Trivia: North American's Donald Babbitt, James D Gleaves, Jerry W Hawkins, Steven B Clemmons, and L D Reese, and NASA's Henry H Rodgers Jr, were the pad crew during the Apollo 1 Fire. source: Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations, Charles D Benson, William Barnaby Faherty, NASA SP-4204.
Currently Reading: 1776, David McCullough.