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‘A kitten!’ I screeched as I kicked the front door closed behind me. ‘I’ve got us a kitten!’

Allie leaped up from the couch, Danni dropped her phone, and they converged on me and the tiny, squirming body in my arms.

‘Oh! Adorable!’

‘Oh, sweetie!’

The kitten freed itself with one last struggle, propelled itself in an arc from my arms to the back of the couch, from the couch to the curtain, and up to the curtain track, in three bounces that took three seconds.

From there it took a squirrel leap to the top of the bookcase, where it sat like a very small and very angry dragon and looked down at us. Its tiny mouth opened in a hiss, sharp baby teeth warning, ‘Keep away!’

‘Ohhh,’ wailed Allie.

‘Oh, no,’ wailed Danni.

‘How can we get it down?’

‘Why did you let it go, Emma?’

‘Our kitten!

‘Kitty, kitty! We won’t hurt you.’

Danni did the only sensible thing and took a selfie with the kitten.

‘We could get it down with some food,’ Allie said, her face suddenly hopeful.

‘What have we got that’s suitable for a kitten?’

‘Tuna. We’ve got little tins of tuna Mum keeps for emergencies.’

‘Let’s open one, then, and hold it up and the kitten will smell it and jump down.’

‘I’ll do it. You just have to pull the ring.’ Danni is the sensible one, always.

‘Do it in the kitchen, in case it spills.’

‘No, I won’t spill it. See? Arrrghh! Ow! Emma! The lid cut me! I’m bleeding! Quick! Do something!’

‘Allie! Get the kitchen towel! Oh, Danni! There’s blood and fish and olive oil and tomato and basil on the carpet!’

‘Mewww! MEWWWW! Mewww,’ wailed the kitten, looking down from its height.

‘You don’t have to say all the ingredients, Emma! This isn’t a school assignment!’

‘You said you wouldn’t spill it, so I can say what you spilled.’

‘I’m bleeding, and you don’t care!’

‘I do care. I’m stopping the blood, aren’t I? And putting on a Band Aid.’

‘Mewww! MEWWWW! Mewww!’

‘The Band Aid’s too tight! My blood will stop!’

‘That’s what a Band Aid is for.’

‘Not that tight!’

‘Mewww! MEWWWW! Mewww!’

‘Quick, Allie, wipe up the tuna.’

‘You’re not the boss of me! You told me to get the towel and now you’re telling me to wipe up the tuna, too.’

‘Here, I’ll do it. When Mum comes home she mustn’t know.’ I was shocked at how quickly things had got out of control.

‘Why mustn’t she? I didn’t do anything. You brought home the kitten, and Danni took the tuna from the cupboard without asking and spilled it. I didn’t do anything.’

‘You got blood on the towel!’

‘You told me to!’

‘Mewww! MEWWWW! Mewww!’

‘Come on, help me scrape the fish into the bin and we can wash the towel and hang it on the line.’

‘Mum will smell the fish in the bin.’

‘She’ll smell it on the carpet.’

‘She’ll see the oil stain on the carpet.’

‘She’ll see the bloodstain on the towel.’

‘She’ll see the kitten on the bookcase!’

‘Why did you bring the stupid kitten home anyway, Emma?’

‘Yes, why did you?’

‘We all wanted a kitten, that’s why! For a long time, we all asked Mum for a kitten.’

‘And Mum said, “no”.’

‘You know she said, “no kitten”.’

‘She said “no kitten”, but we really wanted one, and I thought if we already had it, she would let it stay.’

‘Well, now it’s staying on top of the bookcase.’

‘Mewww! MEWWWW! Mewww!’

Knock! Knock! Knock! Sharp and impatient on the front door.


‘Mum doesn’t knock!’

‘If she’s lost her key she would.’

‘Don’t open it. We don’t know who it is.’

‘It could be an escaped prisoner.’

‘Or a phone company salesman.’

‘Or the Mormons.’

Knock! Knock! Knock! ‘Anyone home?’ A woman’s voice called out.

Danni said, ‘Open it but keep the chain on.’ Danni is the sensible one, always.

So I opened it with the chain on, and there was an old lady standing there, with papers in her hand.

‘Hullo?’ I said

‘Hullo. I’m doorknocking the neighbourhood to find my stolen kitten. Look! I’ve printed her photo on the flyer.’

‘Stolen?’ Allie said, behind me.

‘No, it must have run away,’ I said.

‘Stolen,’ said the lady, like a judge on a TV show, sending the criminal to jail for years and years.

‘Mewww! MEWWWW! Mewww!’

‘Hibiscus! My darling! Where are you? Come to Mummy!’

‘It was Emma who brought it home!’ Danni said. She’s the sensible one, always.

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