From the cappuccino machine to the wheezy copier to the big warm window sill, this office is my range. After second nap, I thought this would be a typical five nap day but then I caught the sour whiff of anxiety. Stretching from the sunny patch on the conference table, I leapt to investigate. I headed out of the conference room for an unscheduled patrol. I was born on the streets until I decided to be “rescued” and live off the cream. Despite the treats, I remembered those streets. At 20 pounds I was too big to be quick so I had to be smart. I learned to read for danger.
I am Ripper, son of Clever Girl, grandsire of Slash Slash Bite from the Blue Basket parking lot clowder and this is my range. My people call me Red, Ginger Kitty, Rummy Yummy Tum Tums, and oddly enough Psst Psst Psst. People are weird but so cute. Nonchalant, I headed for Julianne. If you want to get the lay of the land you go to the highest place or the smartest person. I rubbed my round flame head on Julianne, she is the office manager and the heart of my community. Julianne liked me immediately showing she is intelligent and an excellent judge of character. She petted me absentmindedly. I could feel her tension arcing across her fingertips. Not good. I walked a few paces away and watched her eyes. I licked my forehead until she glanced twice towards the kitchen area.
This office, the site of an old tannery and was once a warehouse, a dye works, and an underground fight club, is my range. Now it was a big noisy office where people played foosball and talked to other people on their screens and wished it was quiet. When my human brought me here some people looked up from their phones and complained. I caught a giant rat and held it high during the HR Zoom meeting. Now I am an appreciated member of the team. With quick steps, I walked over to the kitchen. A small gaggle of IT guys were huddled by the protein bars. I weaved between their legs. I could tell something was off. Glenn, my person’s favorite person, had sweat drops of worry. They were concerned about a virus or an intrusion of some kind. Someone was in trouble for downloading malware. Suddenly, the door of big glass office on the second floor opened.
Open floor plan with exposed bricks and 1378 unique scents, theis office at the very first moment I arrived became my range. This office is mine to protect because my human loves it here and I love her. I’m not one to be sentimental but with Cuddles it was love at first sniff. My code is to protect what I love. I saw my person, Cuddles, run from the corner office. Her scent had been dampened by the heavy door. Now it flooded me. I could smell her tears as she hurried to the ladies room. Julianne followed. It took all my strength not to follow too mewing my support. But I noticed a smirk on Neal’s face from his big glass office doorway. I read human. His face held a secret. I hustled to the second floor loft. I watched Neal. I had smelt him, all burnt cologne and cigarette fur, on Cuddles’ computer before. Now I understood. I crouched between a fiddlehead fig tree until Neal went for coffee. In a flick of a fluff tail, I was inside his office. I searched quickly and then tripped Neal when he returned with a vanilla mocha. Fiery drops painted my back but to save my human I ran on.
“Hey Big Red how’s our Amanda doing? What you got there, buddy? Is that Neal’s lucky rabbit’s foot? Did you steal that you silly Rum Tum—wait this is a flash drive. Wait no one is allowed to….” Glenn trailed off.
People are weird and kind of dumb but cute. I waited as Glenn put the dots together and ran the flash drive to the other IT guys. I headed to Cuddles’ cubicle. She was pink and snotty but her head was held high. I leapt into her lap and explained in deep rumbling purrs that everything would be all right and no job was worth tears and most importantly she had me and I would always provide juicy rats. Cuddles understood in her way and hugged me. I took the squish because this office is my range and that was my job.
I enjoyed this short story – at first I thought the narrator was human but I smiled when I figured out it was feline!