Dinner was almost lost.
Showing great bodily strength (which does not match his diminutive size), and a large measure of stealth, my scrawny Squeak, Basil managed to silently haul a fair-sized, frozen chicken out of its dish and across the width of the kitchen counter, onto the floor. I call him “the Squeak”, because that is what he says, leaving the tricky and cumbersome meowing to his noisier sister, Sybil.
There is no way of knowing what his long-term plans were for this slowly defrosting bird. Perhaps hoping that it would land on one of those annoying cat-chasing, barking dogs’ heads? Would he have shared it with his sister, or hidden it beneath the house among the cobwebs and shrews? Set it free, maybe? The latter is unlikely, as Basil, little though he is, has the stomach capacity of a circus tent. Crowds can enter. With popcorn. There would still be room for the clowns to dance.
None of the following was seen by human eyes, therefore one can only piece the evidence together to form the chain of events.
All items on the kitchen counters are placed out of Wanda’s reach. Wanda is a labrador, and skilled counter surfer. She has won olympic medals for this, in an alternate universe. After losing blocks of butter and a litre of milk, we have learnt.
I had set the chicken down for a minute, planning greater things, such as popping it into the microwave to hide it. I turned my back on it while preparing the rosemary for the marinade. Big mistake! When I looked again, the chicken had left.
Basil had quietly set to work as the household cat burglar, pulling the chicken towards the end of the counter. This must have involved some silent panting, and mopping of cat brows, as this was a very large bird.
At some point, and I am assuming mid air, Wanda grabbed the chicken, just as Basil was coming in for the home stretch. Victory was about to be Basil’s. He could almost smell it, he was so close. And it was all stolen from him by Wanda.
I turned around and picked up the dish that the chicken had been resting on. I turned it around, in case the chicken had crawled underneath, you never know with these free range fowls. While doing so, I realised that the dish was at the edge of the kitchen counter, and that Basil was sitting on the floor, his face expressing remorse, anger and sheepishness, in equal measures. And then I ran, not an easy task I must say, when one’s brain has caught on faster than one’s feet.
There was Wanda on the grass, leisurely chewing a frozen drum stick. Very relaxed, as if sunbathing on a yacht with a tasty popsicle. Eyes half closed and enjoying the moment. Until she spotted her half crazed looking “mom” rushing towards her. She instantly distanced herself from the slightly damaged chicken, and tried in vain to make her little brown eyes look round and surprised, as if to say “I rescued your dinner from the cat, aren’t I a good girl who deserves a treat?”
The chicken, although now missing a leg, was still in its packet, the rest unharmed. After a good wash and a huge slice cut off of it, it was seasoned and roasted with vegetables.
You are all invited for dinner. Bring wine.