I was standing idly at the bus stop across the road from my house. I noticed something moving out of the corner of my eye. I glanced up and saw Harpo, my fluffy black cat, wander casually across the roof of the house. Then he sat down and looked smug. After a few moments, he got bored with this and he stood up and strode purposefully down to the gutter. Since the guttering is only thin plastic, it bowed under his not inconsiderable weight. That didn't seem to bother him though. He scratched underneath the roof - there was obviously something very fascinating down there. He kept stretching hard in an attempt to reach whatever it was. The guttering shook. Then he crawled back up on to the roof, trotted a little bit further along and resumed his investigations.
I started to get a bit worried. He was right at the place where the electric power lines entered the house. The wires were very close to his head, and it wasn't long before he glanced around and noticed them. Oh dear...
I left the bus stop and went back to the house. I opened up the shed and got a ladder out. I anchored it firmly, well away from the power lines, and I clambered up it.
"Harpo, come over here you little ratbag."
"Oh hello," said Harpo. "Have you ever noticed these long thin things attached to the roof? I bet they go twang really nicely. Shall I give it a go?"
"I'd rather you didn't," I said. "How about coming over here so we can get down off the roof?"
"I don't think so," said Harpo. "That doesn't sound like much of an idea to me. I think there might be a dead bird just under here. I really ought to investigate more closely."
A big green bus sailed by. Everybody in it stared at me.
I got down from the ladder and went in to the house. I picked up a handful of cat treats and then went back up the ladder. Harpo was still playing by the power lines. I threw a cat treat towards him, hoping to entice him away from the power lines and closer to me.
Harpo looked up at the noise.
"Oooh! A cat treat! I like cat treats." He trotted up to it and inhaled it. "Yummy!"
I threw another one.
He trotted up again and delicately licked the treat from the roof. "Oh gosh, that's good," he said. "Got any more?"
He came closer, and I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck.
"Oy! Gerroff! Bastard!"
He disapproved, but all his kittenish instincts kicked in and he simply couldn't stop himself from relaxing and going limp. Unfortunately he's far too heavy to pick up solely by the scruff. I needed another hand underneath him in order to lift him up and hold him steady. Supporting myself firmly on the ladder with my third hand, I hauled him up off the roof with my other two. He struggled and kicked a bit but I held on tight. I knew that if I let him go, I'd never get another chance. He'd be too wary.
Another bus went past. All the people in it were laughing their socks off.
I started down the ladder. Harpo wriggled and writhed and slashed at me with his claws. About half way down the ladder I lost my grip on him and he dropped with a thud into the garden. He picked himself up and had a brief wash.
"Don't think that's going to stop me," he sneered. Then he stalked off into the undergrowth and waited for me to leave so that he could go back to playing with the power cables.
I put the ladder away and locked the shed. There was a bus due. I left him to his own devices.