The story of an ordinary house cat and her struggle to get something to eat.
BLINDS BLU-RAY SKYLA
Skyla poked her small, furry head through the hole in the thin, metal blinds she'd made through repeated attempts over the weeks prior to crawl through them. Outside the closed, glass window, there was a bluebird, sitting casually on a thin branch of a fully blossomed springtime time, with the sun lit on its shoulders.
Skyla stepped through the hole with three individual slats of the blinds making a thin, metallic, scraping sound on her fur as she passed through the hole. Her eyes were trained on the bird, locked on it like a cruise missile's guidance system. She sat on the windowsill, her small tan and gray body relaxed, because she was blocked from her prey by an invisible barrier. But her jaw quivered, despite that knowledge. She couldn't help it. She wanted that bird. She had to have it. But she'd been made a fool of so many times by that barrier. She knew it was pointless to try again.
Her eyes followed the bird as it flew from branch to branch, then away altogether. Skyla sat, frustrated. But, for only a moment, because her eye caught a squirrel jerking its head up, down, up again, and to the right.
But Skyla's attention turned like the flipping of a channel, to the search of food she could acquire much more easily.
She, with dark gray face and ears, poked her head into the living room and stepped down onto the grayish-blue futon sitting just below the window. She walked to the upper corner of the back of the couch. She landed just a few steps shy of her food and water. She took a few licks of her water and then focused her attention on her dry food. She always ate it even though its flavor was boring and flat because she never had enough of what she really wanted. Wet food!
Every time the man went to the room where the food was, she begged loudly, insistently, repeatedly. She knew there was fish for her there. She knew where he stored it, in one of the small openings near the floor. Often, she'd tried to pull back its cover, but something always stopped her, giving her just enough room to insert a paw, but not enough room to pull anything out.
But occasionally, besides giving her the fish, the man gave her something more. He would pull a container from a small opening high up in the room where the food was kept. He would open it and pour out a handful of nuggets. And then, he would sit down and recline, placing the deep brown nuggets on his chest. He would say, "Come on, Skyla! Come here!" She preferred not to let the man hold her, though he often did anyway. Sometimes she preferred that he not even scratch her, though she would allow him to stroke her fur. The only way she would climb on his lap is when he offered her the nuggets. But now, the container sat in the opening, the light coming from the top of the room and reflecting off its smooth surface. Now she knew where it was, and she would have it all for herself. Someday. The man closed the opening, then offered her the nuggets as he bent over.
She carefully approached his open hand. He was a tricky one. He might use the snacks as a distraction and try to grab her and hold her against his chest. She didn't like being held--at all.
She leapt into the air, reaching for the dark, furry tail which flew above her. She reached forward and her body began to turn. Her hind legs flew as high as two and a half feet as her front legs descended. The long tail was attached to a stick with which the man used to cause the tail to fly. He would swing the tail so that the end of it landed inches in front of her. Her eyes fixed on it. She crouched. She wiggled on her hind legs. Then she waited for the right moment. She pounced! But the man would jerk the tail out of the way too fast for Skyla to catch. Sometimes she would jump several times her length to catch it. If she jumped, that always meant she was too late.
But Skyla was a determined cat. And she would try again. And again. And again. She got frustrated, but she never let her frustrations stop her. She would occasionally get a glimpse of the nuggets, high up in their container. She would feel this gnawing inside her.
And then there was the point of light, which could never be caught, but which she could never look away from for long. The Red Light. Which could disappear from one point on the floor and reappear at another. She wondered if there was a connection between the Light and the red light in the man's hand, which seemed to move in time with the Red Light on the ground. And unlike the furry tail, even when she thought she caught it, she hadn't! She would put both of her front paws on the Light. Then, she would find it sitting there on top of her paws, that it sat there as if it were a fly. Then, like a fly it would zip away!
Late the next night, as the man was sleeping, she wandered into his bedroom, then into his walk-in closet. She saw a spot in this room that was high up, near the ceiling, on the top shelf. She saw a way to get there, but she had to get over a few obstacles to get to it. The first was the biggest one. A large metallic cylinder in one corner of the room that was several times her size. The water heater. She pushed hard from her hind legs, and gracefully sailed up the five-foot height of the heater and placed her front paws on top, then pulled in her back paws to a standing position. She noticed that there was a large space where the cylinder did not meet the wall. There was new stuff to explore up here, so with her nose, she went poking around the several pipes leading out of the heater and into the walls. Her nose lead her to a hole in the wall high up, a pipe leading into it. She stood up on her hind legs to sniff at the pipe. She extended her neck, putting her off balance. She started to fall toward the hole. She reached out with her front legs, nails scraping against the wall, trying to find anything to grab on to, but gravity inexorably pulled her downward. As she sunk, the surfaces of the two walls and the water heater pressed tighter and tighter on her furry body, until she landed on the floor on her back.
Panicked, she thrust her front legs upward, trying to grab onto the wall. But she couldn't pull herself up. She thrust them up again, uselessly. And she thrust them again, to no avail. Every few seconds, she let out a loud, long call for help. But the man didn't hear.
She lay there for hours, her occasional calls beginning to sound more like slow moans.
Then, she felt the water heater begin to move away from her. Her body shifted. She could move! She began to call out louder and more frequently. As the water heater moved away from the wall, she turned herself over onto her feet. Where previously the wall and the heater came together, she could now see a widening gap. She wasn't going to wait for it get wider. She pressed herself into the gap. The gap widened more. She moved forward again, this time her moving tightly through the space and out into the wider room. The man was there, making some exclamation, but she didn't care. She trotted out of the closet, stopped for a moment to collect herself, and then walked away out of the bedroom, through the living room, to the dining area and her food and water, as if nothing had ever happened.
This was the day. She wanted to eat food and not the dry, boring stuff. The man never gave her wet food when she wanted it, which was pretty much all the time, and though she'd seen the man feed her wet food many times, and knew where it was, she didn't understand how to do it herself. But she did know where the treats were. They were in one of the covered openings above the stove. And she understood that there was a hole in the treat containers and out of that hole came treats. On the outside of each treat was more dry, boring stuff. But in the center--pure gold. Fish . . . Fish . . . Fish! . . . Fish!
The man was in the bedroom preparing for bed. The bedroom light was on, the living room light was off, but the kitchen light was on. Skyla sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, her eyes locked on the area above the stove. She took four steps forward then jumped onto the white metal stove. She looked above her. Now there was her biggest concern. A yellow, metal hood over the range that had a steep slope on it. She jumped again and all four paws landed on the hood. She had to work fast. Skyla knew how to open the cupboard because she'd seen the man do it. She took her left front paw and put her claws under the opening edge of the door. She felt the pads on her rear paws begin to slightly lose their grip. She drew her front, left elbow back, but her claws slipped from under the edge of the cupboard door. She reinserted them and pulled her elbow back again, this time successfully opening the door a few inches. As she put her front paws inside the cupboard, her rear paws again slipped slightly, but she pushed off of them and generated enough friction to put her rear paws, one after the other, onto bottom of the cupboard.
She saw two tall, clear containers in front her, filled with brown nuggets. Again, she'd seen the man open them, so she thought she could do it. But she heard a noise and turned around. The man was standing in the kitchen, looking at her with eyes wide open and his mouth slack jawed. He exclaimed, "How the hell did you do that!?"
She knew she had to work fast while the man stood dumbfounded. There was no time to pry the lids on the containers open before he could grab her. She stepped behind the containers, put her head against them, and pushed them out of the cupboard. They fell out and bounced off the white stove and landed on the floor, the lids flying off, and brown nuggets spilling all over the floor.
Skyla couldn't wait. She jumped out of the cupboard far enough to miss the stove completely and landed hard with her feet on the floor. She immediately turned to a pile of snacks spilling out of one of the containers, stuck her mouth her in, and started eating as if she were starving.
The man stood above her, hands on his hips, looking down at her, smirking and chuckling, closed-mouthed, slowly shaking his head. Then he said, "Well, alright Skyla, I'll give you this one." He turned on his heel, and walked out of the kitchen, leaving Skyla to eat contentedly.
Finally, she got what she wanted.