“How can anyone not love beautiful baby kittens? Well, if they’re about to cost people money, greed will make a person hate anything!”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Sadje’s What do you see — Image credit; Iqbal Nuril @ Pixabay
Word of the Day — Click
Your Daily Word — Tenant
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Choice – Cinema – Curse
Ray Burnside had been the manager of the Caraway Cinema for two weeks. The job made him tenant of the flat upstairs. His boss Diego Lopez, the owner of the cinema was already on his back about making money. When the shout came, Ray was sure what the problem with be. He couldn’t be more wrong.
“Ray! Get your butt into the projection room, now!”
Diego’s shout made him jump. Ray leapt to his feet, spilling his coffee. Muttering a few choice curse words, he left the office as fast as he could. “Coming!”
“Good, hurry up!”
“What is it?” he asked as he entered the room containing the big projection camera. When the movie rolled, it would beam through a little window onto the great white screen in front of the audience below.
“Look! How can we possibly show films with them blocking the projection?” Diego pointed to the window.
At first, Ray only saw the cardboard box, he left there a couple of days ago. Once containing show flyers and now empty it had gotten abandoned on the sill. “My fault, I’ll get rid of the —” Ray had reached out to grab the box. Something moved it against his fingers.
The tiniest mew came from within the cardboard.
Peering inside, Ray’s heart melted at the sight of six grey-and-white striped kittens. “Aww, look. Aren’t they sweethearts?” he said with an affectionate smile.
“Get rid of them! We have three hundred people expecting to watch the Termination of Connor in two hours,” Lopez rammed a cigarette between his teeth. “We cannot do that with these fleabags making shadow figures from the projection box!”
Ray glanced about the room. “Do you see the mother? She’s not in the box.”
“What difference does it make where she is?”
“These kittens are too young to be weaned from their mother. If we take them without her. They will probably die,” Ray explained as he tickled one of the cute kittens. He loved the way it tumbled about his fingers.
“Well, at least they’d be out of our way so we can make money.” Lopez gave the kittens a look of disgust.
“You’re despicable, you know that!” Ray began searching between the boxes of projection reels for the mother.
“We can’t have them costing money that’s all.”
“Sod the money. The people will come back another day if necessary. We have to look after these little guys first.” Ray stepped into the projection library. It was cold and dry in there to protect all the films.
“No, we have to get them gone by any means necessary and —”
“With all due respect, Diego. If we tell the moviegoers that their show is on hold while we help these kittens. I’m sure they’ll all understand. Now, help me find their mother.”
“No, I’m calling an exterminator to come and deal with them,” Lopez turned to leave. He found his way blocked.
Ray had stormed back out of the projection library. “You have these kittens killed, I quit!”
“Please, give me a break!” Lopez groaned Why would you quit over some horrible kittens, huh?”
“Because I have a heart. Your heart is obviously frozen over with cold, vindictive greed.” Ray felt his teeth gritting together. “Now, get out my sight and let me find their mother!”
“Fine, but if you haven’t dealt with them before the projection operator arrives — I’m dealing with them my way!” Lopez drew his thumb across his throat and stormed out of the door.
Ray slapped his thighs with frustration. From the corner of his eye, he saw a grey fluff ball teetering on the edge of the sill.
Leaping past a large projection camera, he caught the kitten as it tumbled. “Easy, little guy.”
“Don’t worry. That big mean old man is not going to hurt you,” Ray smiled as he put the kitten back with its littermates. Taking hold of the box, he casually lifted it onto the carpet. At least the show could start on time and the kittens couldn’t fall from there.
“Now, stay put. I’ll be back soon.” Ray left the room being sure to click the door shut keeping the kittens contained. He scoured the theatre but could find no mother cat. He checked all the auditoriums, the facilities, the concession stands and the ticket booth. There was no sign of any other animal within the building. Even the other employees hadn’t noticed any cats wandering around.
Soon it was close to showtime.
Ray worked his way back towards the projection room, still scouring the building for the mother cat. He was just in time to see the door swing open.
“Ah, Ray. Why are there cats all over the place in my projection booth?” asked a tall man with a blonde ponytail and glasses.
“Hello, Ezio. That is a good question. Somehow, their mother gave birth in there and then vanished.”
Ezio waved his hands in front of his manager’s eyes. “Maybe, you need to borrow my glasses, huh?”
“Come see, amigo.” Ezio led the way into the projection room and pointed.
There beside the kitten’s box was a big black-grey-and-white striped mother cat. She was in the process of cleaning one of the kittens with long strokes of her rough tongue.
“There you are, mummy. We’ve been looking everywhere for you!” Ray smiled as he caught and returned a kitten to her.
“What happens next? I mean they can’t stay —”
The door swung open; banging against the wall. “An exterminator will be here in twenty minutes.” Lopez began. “It’s all —”
“Like hell, he will!” Ezio yelled.
Ray hid a grin, he’d been about to bellow himself. “We have the mother cat with her kittens now. They’re not going to stop the film and we’re going to take care of them.”
“Gah, whatever!” Lopez flapped an arm in disgust and stalked out.
“Thanks, Ezio.” Ray raised a hand and high-fived him.
“Sure thing. These kittens and their mother are far too cute to face an exterminator.” Ezio scooped up the kitten and fondled its tiny ears before returning it to his mother. “However, this really isn’t a good place for them to live.”
“Agreed. I know just the place.” Ray remarked with a smile.
An hour later, four kittens were scurrying and sliding around the tiled floor of a kitchen. Their mother lay in another box turned into a bed by having a side removed and old hoodies used as bedding. Two of her offspring was feeding from her.
Ray sipped a fresh cup of coffee smiled down upon them. This was his kitchen. Welcome home my, friends. You can stay here until you’re strong enough to go and find new homes of your own. That’s if I can bear to let you go anyway!”
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!