I am working from home today, in an attempt to get more work done on a somewhat complicated story without the distractions of my office. You can see how well it is working.

I am in our home office, the small room where we keep our computer and everything else we don’t have a place for — I suppose it like a combo closet-office-garage. It is in the back of the house, and the window looks out over our “yard” and straight into the four apartments behind our house.  Our small grass-less “yard” stretches about 15 feet behind our house. A tall wooden fence separates our postage-stamp yard from those of our neighbors. Just behind the fence is a duplex that is on the street behind us.

The duplex behind ours is set up like a double two-flat — each side of the duplex has an apartment on the second floor and one on the bottom. I can see all four apartments quite clearly from this back window.

The four residents of these apartments are as follows: 1. the rappers, named thusly because I see them singing along to rap music, 2. the white guy, because he is, 3. the cat lady, a friendly and slightly loopy woman who works the night shift, feeds the rats and cats of the neighborhood and has a pillow in the transom above her window where a huge ginger cat often perches — how he gets up there, I have no idea, 4. I don’t know — does someone even live in this apartment?

Anyway, here I am “working” and I start to hear a terrible noise, like a cross between a cat and a small child wailing. It is two ginger cats, facing off on the back porch behind us. I think one belongs to cat lady cat and the other is a stray. They are on the porch adjacent to the cat lady’s porch, and I think the stray cat wants to get over to her porch and eat some of the food there. Resident cat is none too pleased. The cats are frozen mid-stride about six inches apart, facing each other. I can’t see their little kitty mouths moving, but the most horrible sounds are emanating from them and echoing between the houses. It was loud enough to rouse the white guy — who I actually thought had moved because I haven’t seen him in so long — he is there looking out his back door too. The cats then stop their wailing, and are sitting, staring at each other. Chicken — who will make the first move. They are very calm about it. So calm, in fact, that the intruder cat lies down. The resident cat starts wailing again — apparently, lying down was altogether too cavalier a position.

So, intruder cat decides to make a go for it. He gets up and tries to climb over to the other porch without passing by resident cat. Rather than taking the direct route of leaping between the two porches, he precariously hangs off the front of the porch rails, in the hopes of inching around the outside. This is not working.

He gives up and makes a dash for it between the two porches. He is on the other porch. I assume he ate something, but moments later, both cats are gone. I can hear them wailing again, but more distantly. It sounds like they are in the alley between the houses now. They are wailing. And then, all is quiet again. White guy is back in his apartment. I should get back to work.