It was yet another balmy, sunny Sunday evening. Ernie and Theo were lying exhausted under their favourite lamp post.
It had been an extremely busy day. The humans had been selling their hand made pet accessories for the first time at the Great Northern Makers’ Market at the Great Northern Warehouse in central Manchester. Ernie and Theo went along to supervise things. You can’t be too careful when your names are over the door.
It was the first time they’d both been in such a big city together
“What did you think of Manchester then Ernie?” Theo asked.
“Well Theo, it was so hot and busy wasn’t it?” Ernie replied. “I am glad we were with our humans or we might have got lost.”
“Hmph,” replied Theo. “After what happened to me last week, I think it’s the other way around!”
“What happened last week Theo and what’s the other way around?” Ernie asked looking puzzled.
Fortunately, Theo was used to Ernie not always grasping what he’d said and asking lots of questions.
“Well Ernie it’s like this you see,” Theo explained. “I went out for a walk with my human the other day and I spotted a cat who is a very good friend of mine,” he went on. “So, I started to trot over for a quick chat. Well, he must have mistaken me for someone else because he started running away that fast I thought he was going to fly.”
Ernie listened wide-eyed with barely concealed envy. He so loved chasing flying things it would probably get a mention in his “Who’s Who” entry (if he ever got one).
“So, what did you do when you caught up with him,” Ernie enquired.
“Well, you won’t believe it Ernie,” Theo replied, “but I didn’t catch him.”
Theo was right. Ernie didn’t believe him. As far as Ernie was concerned, Theo was so clever nothing was beyond him – and certainly not a runaway cat.
“You didn’t catch him?” Ernie asked sceptically.
“I’ve just told you I didn’t!” Theo replied impatiently.
“Why not?” Ernie said.
“Well, it was all my human’s fault wasn’t it?” Theo said. “I quickly realised my friend was a much faster runner than me. I am not as fast on my feet as I used to be,” he explained. “So, I stopped to think of how else to reach my friend. I knew the two or three places he’d run to and just needed a few seconds to decide which one to go to first to find him.”
“So, what did you do next?” Ernie asked, his curiosity increasing by the minute.
“Well, as I quietly sat thinking up my strategy, I heard my human shouting my name,” Theo explained. “I quickly decided to get back to my human as quickly as possible. I mean can you just imagine her and your human being without me for a few hours? Ernie and Theo would be in the hands of the administrators before you could take a treat out of someone’s hand.”
“So how did you find your human?” Ernie asked open-mouthed (obviously he had to open his mouth to ask the question but you know what I mean).
“Oh, simple,” Theo answered, “I just sat there and they came running!! They were a bit panicked but I knew they would find me so I just sat there and waited for them.”
“Wow,” Ernie gasped, “Theo, I knew you were clever but you’re even cleverer than I thought.”
Theo felt flattered by his little friend’s words, but he knew that Ernie describing you as clever didn’t put you next in line to be a Nobel Laureate. He decided to change the subject.
“So, Ernie, what did you think of today’s market?” he asked.
“Well I loved it, I met lots of lovely people and they all stopped to say hello,” Ernie replied. “Did you like those cakes we got off the treat stall next to ours?” he asked.
“Oh, that was just wonderful Ernie,” Theo said, laughing and licking his lips at the thought, “Mind you, I didn’t think you were ever going to eat yours!”
“Well, the thing is Theo, whenever I’d tried to eat a cake like that before it belonged to a human and I got shouted at!!” Ernie answered. “It was only when I saw you eating yours that I thought it must be okay to eat mine. What did you think of it Theo?”
“Well as you know, Ernie it was a working visit,” Theo replied. “Business has been quite brisk recently. Consequently, I’ve been concerned about our inventory management so I wanted to get along to do a spot stock check, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found though,” he went on.
Ernie didn’t have a clue what Theo was talking about. He wasn’t sure he’d be any the wiser if he asked Theo to explain it to him either. He started to yawn.
“Well Theo,” he said, “I think I’ll turn in. The pet-humans and I are off to Northumbria tomorrow for a little holiday. You know the place. We’ve been up there together, it’s got lots of beaches. I am going to see my brother Erik. He’s up there with his pet-humans on holiday too.”
“I love it up there Ernie,” Theo replied, “have a run on the sand for me, won’t you?”
Ernie looked puzzled. He was trying to understand how he could have a run for Theo. But he was too tired to ask his wise old friend any more questions. Instead, he just said he would.
Ernie started trotting homewards. “Yeo Theo, I’ll see you when you get back,” he shouted back.
“I look forward to it Ernie, don’t go chasing after any cats up there, I don’t want to lose you!” Theo barked back.
Ernie didn’t hear Theo’s plea. He’d seen a flock of pigeons in the distance and become distracted.