Today the door jambs in our section of the apartment building were scheduled to be painted, which meant opening all the doors (the paint was wet the last time someone opened our kitchen door exit, apparently, because it came crackling off when we opened it). Gone for the morning, our neighbor locked her cat in the bathroom. Somehow it escaped to guard all entrances to her apartment. Occasionally the superintendent and the painter would rattle the doorknob, and the cat would hiss at them from the other side.
A few months ago I came out in the hall to find a woman sitting on the floor, cell phone in hand. She was calling for backup—or a replacement. Our neighbor had asked her to feed the cat while she was gone on vacation, but this woman was afraid even to go into the apartment.
Tonight, someone set off the fire alarm again. Soon a fire truck pulled up out front, sirens blaring. I couldn’t see what happened, but about a minute later the truck left, the alarm still chirping away (it continued at least for another twenty minutes). Seems like an unusual thing for the fire department to do, but it’s understandable. “Bob, that’s the apartment with the cat.” “That cat? Let’s get out of here while we can!”