I feed the birds and Thomas kills them. I have some guilt about this.
A therapist would diagnose our relationship as unhealthy. Pathological, even. There are control issues and periods of violence.
We have a game he plays. When he's bored, he twangs the screen with a blood-stained claw. I drop everything and rush open it in a pathetic attempt to spare the screen. He waits for me to open the door, and then gives me a disdainful look indicating I took too long and now he doesn't want to come in after all. He turns his back and saunters away. We both know he'll wait until my hands are wet or otherwise engaged to do it again. We both know that's a dead screen standing.
He's a bastard and he has been since the day I brought him home. I said I "found" him. And I did - in a litter of kittens that was advertised in Uncle Henry's weekly periodical classified section of Free for the Taking. Thomas delights in lording this dark secret over my head.
I'd envisioned taking home a sweet little kitten to cuddle but that was not meant to be. His own mother was frightened of him. He's that mean. Even as a baby he had little use for those that serve him.
I'm looking at him even as I write this. He's asleep on the back of a chair. I long to go over and squeeeeeze him but know better. I take a photograph instead, and the flash disturbs his postprandial slumber (some poor creature, identifiable only by its gallbladder, has recently suffered a torturous death). He opens one eye, sees me, and then closes it, dismissing me.
No one likes to be dismissed. I get his cat carrier from the garage and set it on the kitchen floor with purposeful clamor. I open the wire door slowly, working the creaky hinges much like a musician caresses her instrument. It achieves the desired effect. He opens both eyes, gets to his feet in spritely fashion and makes a hasty retreat upstairs -all the while maintaining eye contact in manufactured bravado.
Victory is mine. Paige 1 Thomas 0
Two can play at this game, old man.