Right, now one of Fred's more charming antics is that he likes to wait until I'm leaving for work, all loaded down with gear and delicately balancing a computer backpack, camera bag, video bag and purse as I head down from the third floor walkup Joel and I call home. The purse usually has a banana and a Diet Coke haphazardly tossed on top. If I bend over, say to shoo an incorrigible Demon Critter back up the stairs, it all goes to hell. Bananas falling, Diet Coke bouncing down stairs, breaking open *just enough* to spray everywhere. It's a nightmare.
Now, Fred really likes to do this on days when I'm running late. If Joel's around when I leave for work, he'll often be what we call the "Cat Goalie" to block Fred from dashing down the stairs. Ollie likes to follow Fred, but if you use a time-honored Animal Whisper technique he scampers right back up the stairs. The time-honored technique? I shout,"OLLIE, GODDAMMIT!" and he turns tail and runs right back into the apartment.
Fred? Not so much. He hides behind the banister, rubs his head on his Lovaaah (Neighbor's Bike) and generally makes himself uncatchable for a woman weighed down with what amounts to being a mobile news unit of devices that beep, boop, click, whirl, flash, transmit and break when you drop them. You have to put it all down, get a bag of Whiska Lickins and bribe him back upstairs. I keep a small bag of cat treats at the top of the stairs for exactly this purpose.
Once Fred is back inside, I actually have to give feed him the treats. At that point, Bella is nosing around, and Ollie is all "Oh HAI Pleez to has treats for meee too?" Fred likes to take his sweet time with his- first sniffing what it's in my hands, then tentatively licking each Whiska Lickin to make sure I haven't secretly switched his sodium-laden fishy shapes with Folgers Crystals or some shit, I don't know.
But remember: all of this is happening on days when I'm already running late. Sometimes I lure Fed back inside with the seductive crinkle of the bag, grab a fistful of Whiska Lickins, toss them into the living room and let all three get what they can. Not long ago, Fred pulled this stunt when Joel and I were leaving at the same time. As I tossed the treats, I called out, "Candy Scramble!" and closed the door.
Joel: What's a candy scramble?
Me: What you mean?
Joel: Why did you say "candy scramble" when you closed the door?
Me: You never did a candy scramble?
Me: It's a like a birthday party game. The community pool always had one during 4th of July festivities.
Me: You know, all the kids line up, and an adult has a big bag of candy. They throw it and all the kids run and get the candy.
Joel: Like a pinata.
Me: Right, but they just throw it. There's no pinata or blindfolds or hitting stuff with a stick.
Joel: So a candy scramble is a pinata without a pinata.
Me: Yeah. The candy is usually just in a brown paper bag until the adult throws it.
Joel: So it's like a HILLBILLY pinata.
Me: Look, I told you I grew up in East Bumblefuck.