Josh is 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 it 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 hates.
Just before closing time, Josh’s thinking about supper, he smells meatballs, his favorite. That Jill can cook! He rubs his belly, evidence of her culinary skills and smooths his mustache down. The doorbell goes and he turns to greet the customers, stopping dead. It’s the two boys, they are back. The taller one is pointing a gun at Josh. He freezes. This is a quiet, safe town, they must be passing through.
‘Money! Now! Empty the till!’ Josh remains frozen. His entire life he’s managed to avoid life-changing danger and apart from a little bullying at school, has been very successful.
‘Now old man, move!’ the younger boy punches him in the face, Josh turns to look at him astounded. He feels something wet running from his nose and smells the blood. He steps forward with his hands extended, just as the taller one raises the gun to cold cock him. He can’t believe this is happening.
All at once a few things happen. He sees a black flash out of the corner of his eye and the taller boy starts screaming. Josh stares. Moses has jumped off the windowsill and latched himself to the boy’s face, hissing and spitting. He drops the gun, backing away screaming and tries to pull the cat off. But Moses had a good grip. His nails are clenched, his body arched and he quickly leans forward and bites the end of the boy’s nose.
Both boys scream and rung for the door, the gun all but forgotten. The boy with the cat for a face is still screaming, blood running from all the puncture wounds and the patch on his nose where Moses bit it. He falls backwards out of the door, knocking his friend over. His hands flail at Moses but he hangs on.
‘Moses come here boy’ Josh whistles. The cat turns, pulled back his claws, hisses once more at the bloody boy who’s scrambling backwards and lets go. He saunters up to Josh who’s staring in amazement, rubs himself on Josh’s leg and hops back onto the windowsill. Josh watches the boys until they run out of sight and goes in to call the police.
Things have changed at Josh and Jill’s. Moses now had a pillow on the windowsill, eats fish most nights and gets endless rubs and cuddles from Josh.