Setting the Opening Scene
It is 5:06 am in a darkened bedroom filled with two dressers, an enormous, framed print on the wall, a gray-striped feline (hereafter referred to as Queenie) in a wicker basket, and a female human curled up under the green-striped flannel sheets of a queen-sized bed. The beginning light of dawn filters through the thin cracks of the tan blinds and the bottom open portion of the window, where a gray feline male (referred to as Sir Graygibbs) sits pondering life in the unknown universe on the other side of the glass. There is movement outside and a faint warble comes from the bellows of the gray cat. The digital clock face changes its lines to 5:07 and a resounding alarm invades the quiet of the bedroom. The brown-haired female stirs and long, slender fingers slap the button marked “snooze”. She moans. Sir Graygibbs and Queenie leave their temporary resting places to join human on the bed, where they prance around the human’s head and sing joyfully of their expectations.
Felines (in unison): “Mum, mum, mummy! Whenever shall you get up? It’s time to eat! Time to eat! C’mon mum! We expect you to feed us! Now! Expectations!
Human Female: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m getting up. Give me a moment, my aging body doesn’t move too fast.”
Sir Graygibbs: “Madam…whatever have I told you? We go through this every morning…Queenie and I are hungry and you continue to make us sing for our breakfast while you take your bloody good time. You force utter starvation upon our souls!” *Sir Graygibbs sighs and turns sad, green eyes upward toward the human’s gaze*
Human Female: “I expect you to let me pee first…then wash my face, put on my glasses, turn on the TV and finally saunter out to the kitchen.
Queenie: “Fair old maiden, you are not quick enough. Blast!”
Human Female: “Well, little ones, if you would quit the stalling figure eight dance in front of me, I might make it to your food dish a bit faster. I think, at times, you are trying to trip me and put me in my grave.”
Queenie: “Oh pish posh. We would never do anything of the sort!”
*Sir Graygibbs has a fleeting wish (or perhaps expectation) to grow opposable thumbs and get the damn food himself*
Human Female: “Whatever…”
The tall, slender, pajama-clad female opens the cupboard doors (one in which Sir Graygibbs cannot reach) and removes a five-gallon ice cream pail. The pail rattles with the sound of moving cat kibble as she places it on the counter and removes the plastic lid. Sir Graygibbs and Queenie continue to sing expectations while the human female meters out a half cup of small dark pellets.
Sir Graygibbs: “Finally!”
Queenie: “Thank good…Mmmmm..ness…mmmm.” *Queenie garbles something unrecognizable due to the concurrent eating, purring, and meowing symphony.*
At this point, the human readies herself for something called a job, while Sir Graygibbs and Queenie spend several minutes finishing their breakfast, licking their delicate chops, and deciding where they shall sleep the remainder of the day. Sir Graygibbs finally sits by the bathroom door, wondering why the human female did not invite him in, and waits for her to reappear.
The action picks up as the human female is dressed and coiffed. She grabs her car keys and begins to head out the door of the apartment.
Sir Graygibbs: “Leaving us again to forage the carpeting for crumbs? Do you expect us to find anything since you sucked everything up with that monstrous machine last evening? For heaven’s sake, human, you leave us nothing while you galavant about all day.”
Human Female: “I leave you toys. Lots and lots of playthings. Catnip mice, catnip fish, catnip eight balls, and dangling things…”
Sir Graygibbs: “Yes, yes, yes, but that is NOT food. We shall want more food. We shall need more food. You expect us to play all bloody day and then not be hungry? How can one imagine a life such as this?”
Sir Graygibbs: “You are starving us!”
Human Female: “Oh for pity’s sake, go off to the bedroom window and cackle at the birds.”
Queenie: “Mum?” *She speaks from her perch on the couch*
Human Female: “Yes Queenie?”
Queenie: “I do have an expectation before you leave.”
Human Female: *sigh* “What now?”
Queenie: “Do be a dear and come hither. *Queenie rolls over and displays her soft belly fur of mottled gray.* Pet my stomach, mum. Pet it before you go.”
Human Female: “Oh, okay, I suppose I must…if that is your expectation. *Human rubs the belly of Queenie until her lady snarls…*
Queenie: “Enough! Any more and I shall cut off your head.”
Human Female: “Stop being so dramatic, you little pip.”
Queenie: “Well…I never!” *Queenie continues to lay on the couch, but turns her head away from human in disgust.*
*Sir Graygibbs started to head to the bedroom, but stopped and turned toward female human.*
Sir Graygibbs: “When, if I’m allowed to ask, may I expect you to be home? Will it be your normal time or shall Queenie and I have to wait an extraordinary amount of time for dindin because you’re galavanting off to who-knows where?”
Human Female: “Young man, you know I have a job. It pays the bills and buys your kibble. I wouldn’t complain if I were you.”
Sir Graygibbs: “I was not referring to your job. It’s the additional time you are away. I expect you home at 3:50 pm sharp, lately it has been 4:30 or 5:30, even 6:00. Last night, it was a dreadfully late 8:00 pm. Why are you not at home on time, serving us?
Human Female: Well, Sir Graygibbs, I do like to go to the gym on occasion…right after work. And, then…well, you know I am looking for a different home for all of us…
Sir Graygibbs: “A different home? When was this decided? I know nothing about this. Queenie, do you know anything about this?”
Queenie: *No response. She is sleeping.*
Sir Graygibbs: “Hmpppffff, you never tell me anything.”
Human Female: “Well, anyways, I have responsibilities and others’ expectations that I will fulfill those responsibilities. I must go to the job, visit my mom, look for a home, and practice lines for the theater. And take care of you two as well.
Sir Graygibbs: “Oh, I am so sick of that theater nonsense, I could barf out a hairball. You and that other silly human…talking in silly accents, saying words that don’t make sense, constantly screaming and yelling, ‘There he is! The blackguard! Quick, someone stop him!’ The neighbor humans must think you’ve gone mad…simply mad!”
Human Female: *rolls eyes*
Sir Graygibbs: *turns away and heaves a heavy feline sigh*
Human Female: “Well, if you are done having a fit, I must leave. Time is short and I will be late to the job if I do not go. Sir Graygibbs, I expect you to behave while I’m gone. No jumping on the kitchen counters, no chewing on human’s belongings, no chasing Queenie around until she’s ready to scratch your eyes out. Go watch the birds, take a nap, eat what’s left of your kibble and play nicely.
Sir Graygibbs: “You expect way too much out of me.” *He says this while walking away, down the hall, into the bedroom.*
Human Female: “Why yes, Sir Graygibbs, I fear that I do. You ARE domesticated, remember?”
*Human Female slings her lead purse over a shoulder and turns to say one last goodbye to the now absent Sir Graygibbs and the snoring Queenie.*
Human Female: “Goodbye kids. I expect you will have a purrrfect day and we shall do this again later…when you expect immediate serving of supper.”
*Human female walks out the door, puts the key in the lock and heads down the stairs. Sir Graygibbs peeks around the corner of the bedroom, ensuring that the human female has left. Slowly, he saunters over to Queenie on the couch, who is suddenly awake. They give each other a knowing glance.*
Queenie: “How are the plans coming along to rid ourselves of the human and take over the kibble?”
Sir Graygibbs: “Most excellent. Tomorrow morning, I SHALL trip her…”
This tale ends with a link to further expectations brought on by a rather splendid writing challenge.