By E.D. Wivens, April 2007
"On the plus side", said the kit, the branch sagging as he neared the end, "the view from here is terrific."
I did not reply but gripped the trunk as I struggled to regain my breath.
"On the minus side it does seem an awfully long way down."
I summoned up sufficient air to reply "yes".
The kit pondered for a moment and then squinted towards the scene below us. A small crowd had gathered and I could make out the usual suspects from our offices. To one side a dog was being dragged away at the end of a taut lead, fighting it every inch of the way.
"What sort of dog is that?"
I peered at the receding object.
"A Jack Russell."
"I'd imagined something a bit bigger when you shouted 'Run'", added the kit looking somewhat pointedly in my direction.
I reviewed the recent events. The kit and I had been relaxing, ready to pounce, under one of the bushes beside the pond in the nature reserve below us. We had been watching a human baiting the trap with the remains of her sandwiches. The mother duck in the centre of the pond was just beginning to allow her offspring to approach the bank when pandemonium broke out.
From the extreme left of my vision appeared a black and white ball of fury, barking and baring its teeth. Pausing merely to suggest to the kit we make a rapid exit, I leapt to my feet and agilely scampered up a convenient large tree.
Down on the ground the Boss, having been dragged from his office by Jane, was taking charge. He turned to Ms Savage beside him. "We need to get them down", he said
Ms Savage ignored his amazing insight and instead placed the paper bag containing her lunch on a bench and opened it.
The kit noticed a bird's nest on an adjoining branch and moved over to investigate. I dug my claws in to the trunk in case of whiplash from a breaking bough. At this moment an apple appeared travelling upwards and crashed through the leaves exactly where the kit had been seconds earlier. "That's odd", he said as the apple slowed in its upward trajectory and then began to fall.
"Much better", he observed, "I thought that Newton was having a day off."
The apple continued downwards and exploded on the bonnet of a passing taxi. The car screeched to a halt, mounted the kerb and demolished our Safety Starts Here sign. The Boss snatched a second apple from Ms Savage, just in time to receive a punch in the face from the irate driver. One of the girls from accounts gently led him back into the offices while the apple rolled neatly beside the litter bin.
"She's got a good throwing arm hasn't she", said the kit peering down to where Ms Savage now sat quietly eating the rest of her lunch.
Before I could comment the Health and Safely guy and an engineer arrived carrying an extending ladder. He opened the three parts of the ladder to its full length and then placed it against the trunk of the tree. Ms Savage calculated the likely consequences and moved a few feet to her left.
As he started climbing the ladder the kit turned to me looking puzzled. "What does he intend doing for the three metres of trunk between the top of the ladder and this branch?"
As if he had heard the question the Health and Safety guy slipped a coil of rope from his shoulder dislodging his hard hat in the process. The hat narrowly missed the engineer who was holding the base of the ladder, provoking a few comments. Undaunted Health and Safety threw the rope over our branch and tied both ends to the top of the ladder. Giving the knot one final pull he raised the top section of the ladder just enough to disconnect it from the rest. He gripped the top part as it swayed on the rope, while the remainder of the ladder fell sideways into the pond, taking the engineer with it. He trudged damply back to the works muttering and dragging the broken ladder behind him. The mother duck quacked furiously from her island in the middle of the pond.
The Boss returned clutching a bit of raw steak to his left eye and asked what he'd missed. Jane explained while Ms Savage, having finished her sandwiches selected a piece of celery.
"Help!" said Health and Safety clinging to the remains of the ladder.
The kit glanced at the sky. "Looks like rain", he said.
"Hmm" I replied investigating a hole in the trunk As I stuck a paw into it and a squirrel leapt out, scattering acorns on the way past. Health and Safety opened his mouth to shout again but unexpectedly received an acorn instead. He choked, turned blue and slipped several rungs down the ladder before managing to dislodge it.
Meanwhile, surprised by the squirrel, I had let go of the branch and dropped onto the one below. Feeling the leaves sag, I shouted back to the kit "Come on, let's get down before it rains." He followed me as I continued my rapid descent through the foliage. About three metres from the ground the tree ran out of branches and I twisted in the air for a perfect four-paw landing. I strolled nonchalantly to the shade where I started to clean the debris from my fur. The kit landed a few feet from me.
"I'm impressed", he said.
"It's just a knack", I replied.
Jane came over with the Boss to make sure we were all right and we then followed them back to the offices.
"Help!" called the Health and Safety guy. "Somebody get me down."
Ms Savage had now finished her lunch and dumped the bag in the litter bin. Spotting the apple beside it she stooped down, picked it up and took aim...The author and owner of this work is E.D. Wivens. See http://www.katzphur.co.uk/ for more details.