My cat sits tight on small, arthritic haunches, her eyes bunched closed. There is a little blood in the mucus of her eyes and under her nostrils. A scabbed chin sits in the crook of my arm, and I trace fingers slowly between the flesh of her shoulder blades and through the spiky hairs, feeling her careful breathing. Two sweating men operate the lawn across the street, grilling stickily through the bulks of uneven turf. I watch distractedly at their labors, picking idly at the pages of a novel, until the cat calls my attention swiftly back - pouncing unpreparedly at the cemented ground and then thumping onto the grass. She does not achieve even a bat at the flighty squirrel she has spotted and slouches disappointedly back, spends two minutes fearful to jump onto my lawn chair, and eventually succeeds in grunting unsatisfactorily until I hoist the heavy belly and head onto the cushion. I spend a minute or two more pretending to be interested in reading before I give up. I set the opened book on my thigh and experience such a wave of melancholic boredom that I cease to stroke the cat, who lets me know immediately in louder, harsher grunts. Passing my gaze from the tiresome beast, I watch one of the men across the street lay his brow somberly on the handlebar of his lawnmower. I sense, vaguely, that the world has gone to sleep.