Bijou lay in the middle of the living room, exercising the principle of center control as a chess player would. Her humans sat on the couch in front of her. They exchanged occasional words, but the cat did not recognize any of them, nor were they in tones that attracted her attention. She stretched her legs out a bit more for comfort and to take up more space.
“Okay, let’s just see what happens,” the male human, Seamus, said. The female human, Ruri, sighed.
Seamus made a brief motion with his forearm and a paper airplane took flight. It flew unnoticed over Bijou, landing quietly enough not to disturb her.
“Too hard,” Seamus observed. He took another piece of paper and folded it. With no fanfare, he launched his second plane. This one did a loop and landed directly in front of Bijou’s outstretched paws. Her eyes opened just enough to see what had happened, and then she went back to sleep.
Seamus retrieved the plane, which woke Bijou again, but only briefly. Seamus tossed the plane, and it came down alongside Bijou. She grudgingly lifted her head and regarded the intruder. It offered her neither interest nor insult, so she resumed her nap.
“Zero for three,” Ruri said.
Seamus made another airplane and managed to land it on Bijou’s back. The cat opened her eyes wide and glared at Seamus.
“Get it, Bijou,” he urged.
Bijou turned her head to look at the offending aircraft. It intruded baldly on her personal space but offered no further affront. She decided to ignore it and, after another baleful look at Seamus, went back to sleep.
Seamus manufactured another plane and landed it deftly on Bijou’s long legs, right in front of her face.
This time, the cat lashed out. Bijou leaped up, spilling the previous airplane from her back, and tore into the new interloper with claw and fang. When she decided that it had had enough, she glared at Seamus again and curled into a ball with her back to him.
Seamus fashioned yet another paper airplane and sailed it to rest just off Bijou’s starboard bow. She stood up and took herself and her dignity into Seamus and Ruri’s bedroom. Seamus followed at a distance, calling for Bijou to return. In a moment, he returned to the living room.
“I think she’s done,” he said.
Ruri took count. “Five paper airplanes, six attempts, only one halfway ripped up, and Bijou is, I presume, under our bed. If you keep it up, you might just encourage her to try to run away.”
Seamus nodded slightly, acknowledging his failure. “I really thought she’d go for it.”
“Even if Bijou had cooperated, you’ve got twenty-five years of your parents’ financial forms to deal with.” She regarded him with a dollop of pity. “Maybe you can just file this one under ‘stupid ideas.’”
“Yeah.” He sighed. “I’ll get a real paper shredder after work tomorrow.”