The neighbour has a two year old sports car.
It's a very beautiful midnight blue and sleek as a shark.
The neighbour polishes and waxes the car
so that it almost gleams in the dark.
The decal on the bonnet winks
like a tooth in a toothpaste advert.
I've got an old car. A Citroen.
from trying to cuddle a concrete pillar
in a multi-storey car park.
The driver's side wing mirror
is held together, barely,
with bailer twine.
All of the driver's side is scratched to hellfrom where my wife doesn't leave me enough room to park
so that I have to scrape the sides along the hedge.
It's an old car. I'm not precious about such things.
It's been a couple of decades since my car
gleamed in the daytime, never mind the night.
The man next door is one of those upright typesthat leave very early in the morning as if dressed for a funeral.
If he happens to see me, maybe when he's rubbing some
ointment into the metal skin of his sports car,
he'll do his best to pretend he hasn't seen me.
If this isn't an option, I'll get a curt nod and a hello
that's loaded with as much sincerity as a footballer's
statement when he's just transferred to another team
for 170 million pounds a week:
'oh it is a great honour to play for Manchester...
which one did you say it was? Oh yes, United!'
So where does the fat cat without the tail come into all of this?Well, he's getting on a bit and we're beginning to suspect
he's losing his once razor-like mental faculties.
For sometime now, he's been taking to sleeping on my old Citroen.
Maybe the bonnet, sometimes the roof.
His claws create wonderful abstracts in the paintwork.
Sometimes he scratches himself and bits of ginger fur cling to the car.
The fur's tenacious stuff. It stays embedded in the scratch
depressions even after high speed rain journeys down the motorway.
Lately, the situation has got so ridiculous that the cat forgets to wake up.
He doesn't hear the passenger door bang when I get in –
the driver's door doesn't open any more.
He might look up as the car goes into reverse.
But it's taking him longer and longer to realise
that he needs to jump off.
This morning he was still lying on the sunroof
as I pulled out into the main road.
Tomorrow he might be riding the rainy motorway
adding his body to the fur.
But it's right now that I'm having the real agony.From my vantage point of the upstairs window,
I can look down on the neighbour's funeral shark car.
The big fat cat with no tail sitting contentedly on the roof,
scratching his ear and sending ginger fur flying.