It’s a relief that most cats don’t speak English.
Alex has a pet cat – it’s male, four years old, black and white, a bit overweight and is called Jim. As Alex has had Jim since kittenhood, the cat is at ease with the boy's rough-and-tumble treat-cat-like-a-piece-of-furniture manner.
Jim is restful, curled up on a chair in the living room. Looking tired, Alex aimlessly wanders into the room. He approaches Jim, drops to his knees and lays his head on the cat. Jim is unfazed by this. They remain like this for about 30 seconds, then Alex lifts his head, looks at Jim, then turns to me.
Alex: Shane, you know when Jim dies?
Alex: Well, what we could do is cut him down the middle and take out all of his guts and stuff, then, put all soft stuff – like cushions – inside of him, and then put a zip up the middle, and he can be my pillow.
Shane: (frozen by this image)
Alex: What do you think?
Shane: Well, I think it’ll be a long time before he dies, cos he’s quite young isn’t he?
Alex: Mm, but he might get hit by a car or something.
Shane: Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Alex: Mm (laughs), a pillow with a Jim-face – cute!
Last night, I did not relax until the pillows had been removed from the bed.