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Guardian of the Roof

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


The noise was similar to a thunder storm and I jerked bolt upright in bed, heart pounding. The bedside clock said 2.00. a.m. Burglars, Mr. Big!! Then I heard the yowls - Ollie. It was freezing cold but after the screaming and skittering and thumping had gone on for half an hour I knew something had to be done.

I staggered outside and gazed up at the roof which was illuminated by moonlight - frost was already forming on the lawn. Ollie had trapped Deo, the large black-and-white cat who lived next door, on the roof. The trellis by the side of the house is the only way Deo could have climbed onto the roof and Ollie was making certain that he would guard that exit to the death.

I have never seen a cat so frightened, even though he is twice Ollie's size. Deo howled at me pitifully, 'helllllp,' in cat talk. 'Ollie' I shouted, 'come on down'.

Lights flicked on in the kitchen next door. Oh, oh, we were waking up the neighbours. Ollie didn't even give me a glance 'eoooowwwweeeeeee' he screamed at Deo. Ollie was puffed up to twice his size and pranced sideways towards Deo. They rolled around the roof in a bundle of spitting fury. Deo had the trellis exit in sight and made a dash for it but Ollie hit him mid stomach. In a second Ollie was back guarding the exit and Deo was lying on the iron, a wailing mess of grey misery.

It was time for action. I padded into the kitchen and pressed the garage door opener. Why did I forget about the burglar alarm in the garage? If the neighbours were not awake before they sure were now. That alarm makes an ear-splitting noise. I managed to turn the whole thing off but not before DH had emerged from the bedroom. "Jez, is someone burglarizing the place?" On being reassured he vanished back to bed. I would get no help from him!!!

I managed to get the long aluminium ladder out of the garage but scraped some paint off the car by bumping the end of the ladder against it. As I placed the end of the ladder against the roof guttering I wondered what the neighbours were thinking. After all, not many people climb around the roof on a cold, frosty night.

Deo greeted the appearance of my head over the guttering with a desperate howl - the cat was definitely the worse for wear with blood all over his ear. Ollie ignored me, he had better things to do. He remained firmly entrenched by the trellis exit. He let out a yell of pure triumph.

'Puss puss.' I called beguilingly to Deo, 'come on darling, I've come to rescue you.'

But Deo, normally friendly, wasn't having a bar of me. Suddenly I was the enemy as well as Ollie. Deo flattened his battered ears and crept to the middle of the roof. I clenched my teeth, I was frozen solid. But I wasn't going to leave the safety of the ladder, it was bad enough teetering there without climbing onto the slippery iron.

Ollie was having a marvellous time - after all, he now had an audience. He did his best sideways prance and thundered across the roof after Deo. This was the fight to end all fights. Over the roof they rolled and down the other side. It had to happen. They rolled into the guttering. Deo, with a final desperate scream, toppled over the side and disappeared into a large shrub beneath. Ollie, the consummate ballet dancer, danced along the guttering and surveyed the shrub below with pleasure. The enemy had been despatched.

I clambered down the ladder and found to my relief that Deo was emerging shakily from the bush. All his limbs seemed intact. "You poor darling," I soothed, "has Ollie been mean to you, then."

'Yeeeeeooow,' I turned to see a grey blur speeding down the ladder. Deo leapt in the air with a frantic shriek and raced away down the street with Ollie in pursuit. I think Ollie must have caught Deo some three houses away because the howls resounded down the street.

I'd had enough. I folded up the ladder with frozen hands and dumped it near the back door. There were lights on in all the houses around us. I slunk inside and closed the door. Tomorrow the trellis was coming down!


Editor's note:

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