the cat quietly ran across the fence and jumped down into the narrow street. it was in its mouth. i couldn't believe it. it wasn't shiny, it wasn't edible, it wasn't like anything i had ever seen one of the damn things play with--why did it want it? i followed its white blur with my eyes as it snaked down the alley behind my flat and disappeared into god-knows-where. what was i going to tell her when she knocked on the door (exactly seven times; never more, never less) now? i lit a cigarette and slumped onto the loveseat where she and i hadn't sat for a very long time. knocking. one-two-three-four-five-six-seven.