At his day job, Jason Whitaker was actually known as a pretty social guy. But he had a side hustle that meant he really didn’t like it when anyone watched him for too long. Or, as he was quickly realizing, anything.
He and his buddy were in the alleyway at the back of his house, unloading a TV and speakers they’d swiped from a some place across town, when he first noticed it – just a prickling on the back of his neck that made him pause and glance ‘round. The only light came from the chinks in the blinds, but it was enough to reflect off something a little ways down the fence.
“Hold up,” he said, motioning to his buddy. He jumped down from the truck, pulled out his phone and swiped the flashlight on. Its faint beam illuminated a large tabby cat sitting there on the fence, just staring in his direction.
“Dude, it’s a cat?” his buddy questioned.
Jason put his phone back in his jeans, slightly ashamed of himself. “Yeah, my bad, sorry, thought it was something else.”
He thought nothing of it, until the next week, when he was unloading another TV from another house, with another buddy. This time, his headlights illuminated the animal as he backed up to the garage.
“I swear that stupid cat was there last week,” he murmured.
“I mean, it probably lives around here,” his buddy replied. This guy was a cat person, so he walked up to the fence rubbing his hand and making a “tnt, tnt, tnt,” noise with his tongue. No dice; the cat didn’t budge, but only stared incredulously down.
That was a cat for you. Jason honestly didn’t really think anything of it until the fourth or fifth time he was unloading more stolen goods, and that stupid cat was still there. As soon as Jason got out of the car, he picked up a piece of gravel and flung it at the animal. He missed of course, and since his buddy was that same cat person, all Jason got for his trouble was an admonishment to just chill out. The cat nonchalantly picked itself up and set up shop again a few yards down the fence.
The stupid cat was back to his usual spot the next time. And the next time. And the time after that. It was always there, through every unloading. It got to the point where if Jason could have shot the animal, he would have. But he lived in too nice a neighborhood to get away with that without someone calling the cops, which was a much worse scenario than some random cat watching him.
He was still managing to think of the cat as random, or at least to refer to it as such in his head.
Instead, Jason was just starting to look into whether cat traps were a thing, when he came home from work one day, walked into his living room, and saw that very same, stupid cat sitting in his girlfriend’s lap. He used some very choice words to demand why she had a cat that wasn’t his in own house.
“Yeesh, calm down!” she said, in a voice that was the opposite of calm. “I think it’s just stray, but it was acting like it was hungry, so I was just feeding it and petting it, no big deal.” Her voice and her defensiveness rose with each statement.
Some part of Jason recognized that it was slightly irrational to yell at his girlfriend because a cat he was just sure was following his every move was in the house. So instead, he took a different approach and decided to go off about how she may have a key to his house, but that didn’t mean she could act like she lived there, she was always getting into stuff she didn’t think through…
The fight got bad, like most of their fights did these days, and Jason could have sworn the the cat looked like it was enjoying it.
When his girlfriend ran out crying, the stupid cat darted out as well.
But it was back again a couple days later. It was sitting right there in his driveway when the police came knocking, asking about a string of thefts across town, and with a warrant to search the house. And the cat was still there when the police car drove away, with Jason in the back in handcuffs.
What Jason didn’t see was this: when the car was out of sight, and the police were still tearing up the house, the cat got up and meandered up the street to a car that was parked a little ways away. It leapt onto the hood, darted up the windshield, and jumped through the open moonroof.
“I suppose there’s absolutely no use telling you ‘Good job,’” said the man inside the car.
The cat sat in the passenger seat and began to unceremoniously lick its haunches. “Oh, I know I did an excellent job, Stupid Human. I always do. This may have been one of my masterpieces, of course, seducing the girlfriend. I actually got them to fight over me, have I told you that, Stupid Human?”
“Several times,” the man assured the cat. “But, of course, you’re worth fighting over,” he added, in a completely deadpan voice.
“Yes, indeed, and lucky I am,” replied the cat, without a hint of irony. “Because that’s how I told you the girlfriend might be willing to tattle on her criminal mate. But enough chit-chat. Where’s my reward, Stupid Human?”
The man reached across to the glovebox, and pulled out a tiny, cloth bag. “Two ounces of catnip, as we agreed. You know, if I were a cop, I suppose this would be the same as bribing a source with drugs?”
The cat’s ears had already begun to perk, and its whiskers twitched. “You know you might be the stupidest human of all the Stupid Humans. It’s my understanding that you could go quite far with the stupid human police with such tips as someone like me brings you.”
The man smiled. “Yes, yes, we’ve discussed how stupid I am many times. My mother would say much the same thing – although she wouldn’t tell me I’m stupid so much as impatient. I never did like paperwork. And the private eye gig often pays just as well, although looking into this string of thefts was a personal favor for a friend.”
“Ah, the magnanimous nature of humans,” the cat replied, without a hint of sarcasm. “I often wonder at it. But I am doing you no favors. Stop jawing, Stupid Human, and hand me the bag!”
The cat took the bag in his mouth, then bounded up and out the moonroof.
“Until next time!” the man called.
“Shhhoopid Hwoomun,” he heard the cat mumble, as it disappeared into the night.
Well, the cat might think humans were magnanimous beings, but after his years of experience, the man was quite sure that cats were absolute jerks.