Neighbours from Purgatory - if not exactly from Hell

By Whisky, the Black & White Cat

I was woken abruptly from my afternoon sleep by crashing and banging noises coming from the communal hallway as various heavy objects were carried downstairs and sometimes dropped. One of our neighbours is leaving home, and I have to say the knowledge makes my whiskers curl with pleasure.

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Not entirely on account of her keeping a dog in that top-floor flat – in violation of her rental agreement. This, if it’s anything like ours, clearly states “no pets”. I suppose she imagined that her piddling little animal, like Ian’s ghostly cat, didn’t count for much, therefore it didn’t count. Period.

No, I’m thinking of the other people who live in my home, Ian especially. About an hour later, as he was going out for a walk, he found the front door propped open to the wind and the rain. This typified the attitude of our ex-neighbour. Although she knew there were other tenants in the property, she chose to act as if she was the sole occupant.

As did a succession of boys who slithered through the door flap after her. They too acted as if they owned the joint – until she threw them out. Even then they’d come round in the wee small hours yowling plaintively, which left me wondering how I could arrange for cold water to be poured over them.

I tell a lie. Actually our ex-neighbour made it quite clear she was aware of other people living here, and was immensely grateful for it. As when she knocked on our window at three in the morning pleading to be let in because she lost her key. Once she actually broke her key in the lock, which had to be removed, leaving the hallway open to the wind and the rain for a whole fortnight because the landlord was away.

How, I ask you, can you contrive to break your key in the front door lock? That is, without falling over hanging onto it because you’ve had a skinful?

The succession of men her dander attracted to the house when she was in heat used to behave in similar fashion. When they weren’t pleading to be let in long after midnight, they’d rattle the door (front or back) hoping to attract her attention, or tap on my window to attract Ian’s. He used to protest to them that he was not the concierge, but clearly he was. His problem lay with himself in not recognising the fact.

This leads me to ponder the maturation process of the human species. Ian tells me our soon-to-be ex-neighbour is what’s called a “young adult” – and he ought to know, because he writes books for such people. But I do wonder whether he ever quite got her range.

This particular young adult is around 20 years of age. If she’d been a cat she’d be well into her dribbling dotage. The same goes for humanity’s nearest living relatives, bonobos, who mature at about four years of age, after which life becomes one long round of sex, sex, food and sex. After 20 years or so on that regime, one of the four kills them.

Somehow the human species has evolved a grossly extended lifespan: a century or more, if they don’t smoke themselves to death. But what it is they gain from it as individuals I’m not sure, because they never seem to become any smarter. I look at Ian sometimes – who’s six times my age – and I shake my head.

Be that as it may, immature individuals – cats or human beings – are the responsibility of their mothers. It is clear to me that someone capable of releasing their juvenile daughter into the wild at all, let alone without having her properly spayed, does not count as a responsible member of the community.

updated: 03:10 18/11/2015