Josh’s unhappy. He scowls at his customers and grouches at everything, totally out of character. It’s “that damm cat!” His wife calls him Moses but he thinks of it as the devil. Ever since it arrived at their door, soaking wet and mewling pitifully, she’s ignored him and cuddled the cat. 30 years of marriage he never had to share her and didn’t want to now. Not only did it never leave them alone, but it now decided that it liked to sit in the sun on the windowsill in his shop. They live upstairs and the cat has the run of their home and business.
Every time he glances at it, its staring at him. Its unnerving. He tells it to scat, waving his hands. It stays and stares. Josh picks up his stapler but doesn’t throw it, it may end up through the window. Not to mention that he will have to explain to Jill how the window got broken. Moses blinks slowly and turns away, looking bored which frustrates Josh even more. A customer comes into the store and Josh tries to ignore the cat, as much as it ignores him. It makes no difference it stays, just to irritate him he thinks.
Jill has made fish for supper, his favorite. They chat and Josh enjoys the chance to spend some quality time with his wife. Moses jumps up onto the chair next to his wife. ‘Shoo!’ he says. The cat stays put.
‘Leave him’ Jill says ‘he’s not begging for food, he just wants some company. Don’t you?’ she leans down to stroke his head and the cat turns, pointing his butt towards Josh. His purring irritates Josh and he shuts up, ignoring Jill’s attempts at conversation. The cat turns again, licks its paw, all the while staring at him. Mocking him. Josh glares back, smoothing his mustache absently, but doesn’t dare say anything.
Moses takes up permanent residence in the sunny windowsill of the shop. Most customers love him and he gets loads of attention, irritating Josh immensely. He constantly “shoo’s” it out of the shop but when he looks again its back!
‘I hate this cat’ Josh thinks to himself. He’s a little scared of the cat which stops him from throwing it out. He tries his best to ignore the arrogant stares and interact with his customers.
Josh knows most of his customers by name. Its seldom that a stranger appears in his shop, breaking the mundane. Today wasn’t one of those days. Two teenage boys come in. Josh’s mustache smiles when he sees their underpants sticking out the top of their jeans. He shakes his head thinking their mommies should have dressed them.
The two leave and Josh forgets about the boys, thinking instead how he can get rid of Moses. It takes up most of his quiet time now. Various plots emerge but he will never act on them. Despite his hating this cat, he loves animals in general and couldn’t hurt one, even one he hated.
Just before closing time, Josh was thinking about supper, he thought he smelled meatballs, his favorite. That Jill could cook! He rubbed his belly, evidence of her culinary skills and smoothed his mustache down. The doorbell went and he turned to greet the customers and stopped dead. It was the two boys and the taller boy was pointing a gun at Josh. He froze. This was a quiet, safe town, they must be passing through.
‘Money! Now! Empty the till!’ Josh was frozen. His entire life he had managed to avoid life-changing danger and apart from a little bullying at school, had been very successful.
‘Now old man, move!’ the younger boy punched him in the face, surprised Josh turned to look at him astounded that he had done that. He felt something wet running from his nose and smelt the blood. He stepped forward with his hands extended, just as the taller one raised the gun to cold cock him. He couldn’t believe this was happening to him.
All at once a few things happened. He saw a black flash out of the corner of his eye and the taller boy started screaming. Josh stared astounded. Moses had jumped off the windowsill and latched himself to the boy’s face, hissing and spitting. He dropped the gun, backed away screaming and tried to pull the cat off. But Moses had a good grip. His nails were clenched, his body arched and he quickly leaned forward and bit the end of the boy’s nose.
Both boys were screaming and running for the door, the gun all but forgotten. The boy with the cat for a face was still screaming, blood running from all the puncture wounds and the patch on his nose where Moses had bitten it. He fell backwards out of the door, knocking his friend over. His hands flailed at Moses but he hung on.
‘Moses come here boy’ Josh whistled. The cat turned, pulled back his claws, hissed once more at the bloody boy who was scrambling backwards and let go. He sauntered up to Josh who was staring in amazement, rubbed himself on Josh’s leg and hopped back onto the windowsill. Josh watched the boys until they ran out of sight and went in to call the police.
Things changed at Josh and Jill’s. Moses now had a pillow on the window sill, ate fish most nights and got endless rubs and cuddles from Josh.