Act I scene i

Setting- An alleyway. There should be a few helter-skelter pieces of mild trash to emphasize this, and two or three trash cans upstage. Perhaps the sound of distant traffic may also be of help in this portrayal. Our first main character, the CAT, comes prowling out from the left, obviously on all fours, as though he's hunting. He looks, with extreme caution, at the farthest right trash can. Slowly stalking nearer it, when he finally gets close enough to perform whatever action he deems necessary, he quickly snatches something up from behind the trash can, a mouse, and flings it over to center stage. As if to stop it from escaping, he makes one pouncing movement and lands both his front paws on it, pinning it down. When he speaks, his voice ought to be normal, sort of intellectual, with no mewing sound whatsoever. CAT wears all black. He needs not look like a cat to overemphasize character; he needs only act convincingly like one.

CAT

Got you! You're a tricky one, you know that?

(he starts playing with his food, as all cats do.)

It would be easier to survive if we fed off of something a little… less evasive, and perhaps a little larger, but it's the thrill of the chase that makes us hunt.

(He picks up the mouse by its tail, and holds it up to his face, as if he is about to engage in an intimate conversation, a rather carefully contemplated speech before an execution.)

You know, we cats didn't always prey on you. No, we didn't have to, you see. There was a time when we were on top of the food chain, and if we wanted food, we did not have to resort to such drastic means to get it. There was a time when even dogs respected us, and we were at the height of our prosperity, and then, it all… changed.

(no longer looks it in the eye)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in another life, perhaps you and I would have been good friends. Who knows? At least, that's what my mother always used to tell me. Oh, well.

(shrugs and opens his mouth to put the mouse in.)

Down the hatch!

(turns his back to the stage. Perhaps the best way to do this would be to stuff the mouse down the character's suit.)

Satisfying as that was, I still can't seem to satiate this gnawing hunger.

(sound of a soda can clanking off-stage. The can should roll on stage)

Now what?

(hides behind a trash can as PSYCHIATRIST enters hurriedly, carrying a briefcase and not looking where he is going. He stops to look at his watch.)

PSYCHIATRIST

Great, just great! Why is it that I can never get a parking spot on my block, let alone in

front of my home? I am going to be late again because of this.

(As soon as he starts walking again, he trips on the can, which sends him crashing into one of the trash cans and forcing CAT out, who moves away then makes himself look as threatening as possible, hissing and spitting.)

CAT

Great, just what I need. Another human…

(CAT still watches as the PSYCHIATRIST gets up and starts dusting himself off. He looks at the CAT, who emphasizes his warning.)

PSYCHIATRIST

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I ruin your home?

(CAT is taken aback and drops his phase. For the time being, anything he says is in his normal tone and cannot be heard or understood by the PSYCHIATRIST.)

CAT

Home? Of all the nerve…

PSYCHIATRIST

I've really made a mess here, haven't I? I guess I should clean this up.

(Sets the trash can upright and starts putting some of the scattered trash back in it.)

CAT

What is the deal with this guy? He seems a little eccentric to me.

PSYCHIATRIST

Gee… I really don't know how to make up for my mistake except to feed you.

(picks up his briefcase.)

CAT

Didn't he just say he was running late?

PSYCHIATRIST

Oh, damn it all! I guess it can't be helped. (opening his briefcase. Pulls out a canister.)  Here, kitty, have some cream, if you will.

(Taking the cap off the canister, he fills it with cream, to the brim, sets it down peacefully, then steps away. CAT sniffs the air.)

CAT

Cream? (gags) Why do humans insist on feeding us that? Simple milk will do just fine. But… I am still hungry, and it would be against my better judgment to turn away free, prepared food.

(he approaches it and starts lapping it up, without making a mess at that.)

PSYCHIATRIST

So you like it, do you?—

CAT (making a mock coughing noise)

Not really!

PSYCHIATRIST

I'm glad you do, actually. That's my special blend—

CAT

So that's why it tastes worse than usual.

PSYCHIATRIST

You see, I find that I need to have my coffee prepared a certain way. Mary, her coffee is just, the best, you see—oh, by the way, that's my secretary and I'm a psychiatrist—

CAT

A psychiatrist talking to a cat? Are you sure you're sitting in the right seat?—

PSYCHIATRIST

But she only does half the job.

(holds up canister)

This is what I need to take me home.

CAT

Either that, or the loony bin—

PSYCHIATRIST

Oh, my goodness! Mary! That's right! I'm late, and she is almost certainly going to kill me for this. I hope I'll see you later!

(PSYCHIATRIST drinks out of the canister cap and puts it on the canister and back in the briefcase.)

Maybe—if it's okay with you, of course—you could stay with me, you know… as my pet?

( exits off the other side of the stage, and the CAT looks off after him for a few seconds. Afterwards, he faces the audience in a well-postured sitting position. He puts his paw to his chin thoughtfully.)

CAT

That was weird… but highly satisfying.

(hears a squeak, and basically stalks to another trash can, swiping out another mouse and pouncing upon it. Once again he goes through his playful motions, smacking it up and down, bouncing it into the air repeatedly, and not catching it every now and then, only to smack it around a little more.)

Well, what have we here? I guess there always is another one of you nearby, eh? Hmm… strangely enough, I don't really feel the need to eat you. That cream—while disgustingly rich for my taste—was rather filling, to be honest. That man… he seemed to have a flowing aura of sadness around him… I guess that's why he found me to be a useful companion for conversation, though I'm sure he must realize he'd be better off talking to himself, for all I care. Hmm… he also seems to be a cat lover…

(grimaces)

I've heard a thing or two about those kinds of people. But still… he did offer me a place to stay for the time being, and a little time to land on my feet—as we cats always must—is all I need. Well, I don't feel like eating you, so today's your lucky day, I guess.

(tosses the mouse back to the trash can.)

Go, go, squeak and be merry! Now to figure out how to get there… I suppose he expects me to wait here all day, no less. Bah! Humans never were too smart… he seemed to have an overwhelming amount of cologne on today. Hmm…

(starts sniffing the ground as he wanders absentmindedly off-stage. End scene.)