They sat on the broad backyard wall. A beam of warm sunlight embraced them. Theodolite sat in stately splendour on his velour cushion while Tiddles crouched on a worn woollen jumper. The two cats licked themselves, Theo's tail flicking occasionally.
"I've got Peaches wrapped around my little pinky" Theodolite said smoothly.
Tiddles shook his large stripey head in wonder.
Theodolite nodded, enjoying his superiority, his thin nose in the air. His pink tongue delicately licked a perfectly manicured paw.
"Of course, I have Bathsheba crying out for it too", he purred slyly. He reached out and exercised his claws on a long suffering piece of bark that was just within scratching distance. Tiddles rocked back on his ample haunches. "...and Petit Trianon"
Tiddles made a strangled noise in his throat. He looked admiringly at his friend.
He sat up and looked enquiringly at Theo. "Any more?"
Theo looked at Tiddles in an appraising way. "Are you sure you want to know?"
Tiddles' expression changed from interest to apprehension. "You don't mean...you couldn't mean...Puck."
Theo tilted his chin down and glanced up at Tiddles through his long eyelashes. His blue eyes shut, once, in a leisurely way.
Tiddles' mouth dropped open. His tongue licked his chops nervously. "But what will Rex say? He's our friend."
Theo murmered "Rex isn't up to the job me old darling. He's been done. Been fixed you know."
Tiddles shook his headdisapprovingly. He stood up, his body tense. He pummelled the jumper in a distracted way and finally crouched down.
Theo looked on in amusement. The shrinking patch of sun had moved along the wall. Theo shivered delicately. "Let me move along a bit would you? Move up you duffer - you always make me ask"
Tiddles crouched resolutely on his woollen rag.
Theo started to back along the wall, his cushion seized between thin jaws, but his back legs met with a substantial furry obstruction.
He thought he heard a growl.
Theo dropped his cushion and turned, his back arched. His sharp pointed ears stood at attention, their blue tips twitching. He nudged Tiddles with his nose. Tiddles growled again, louder this time, deep in his chest.
Staring straight ahead, he didn't move. Theo stood looking at his friend in disbelief his eyebrows high. He pushed Tiddles again - harder. Tiddles leapt to his feet and turned to face his new enemy. His back arched, his hackles rose, his lips slid back over his yellow teeth. Years of alley cat genes pushed their way forward as he towered over the diminutive Theo. "You slut!"
Theo crouched down, looking up in fear at the saliva dripping, contorted face. He turned tail and ran, leaving his cushion behind him.
Tiddles watched him go, shook his head again, dragged the cushion into the patch of warmth, layed his woollen jumper over the velour softness and settled down in the remaining sunlight.
Updated by Neroli Wesley 14 June 1999