Chapter 28 Wednesday, 1820 hours (6:20 PM)
Jack took me to Mr. Cave's private office. Mr. Cave opened the door and invited us in. He sounded very friendly. The room was bright and warm, and there were dishes of meats and cheeses and cookies, and there were cans of soda.
"Come in. Come in." Mr. Cave slapped Jack on the shoulder in a friendly way, and looked down at me. "And you must be Kit."
"Yes sir, but everybody calls me Cat."
"Cat it is then. Come. Let's get to know each other."
The three of us sat down on the couch. Mr. Cave wore a white shirt and white pants. White looks funny on an adult, unless they're playing tennis or something.
"Why don't you get something to eat young man." Mr. Cave didn't have to ask me twice. Even though Jack had brought us food, this food was better and I got hungry just looking at it. I made a humungous sandwich with lots of meat and a little cheese, and I didn't waste any space on yucky vegetables, and I grabbed a soda. I took the stuff back to the couch and sat down between Jack and Mr. Cave.
Mr. Cave told me lots of stuff about why they'd taken over the zoo: how important it was to make a statement, how the world would have to remember, fate, destiny--that kind of junk. I didn't understand most of it.
"I'm not going to be able to remember all this," I said.
Mr. Cave looked puzzled.
"You know, so I can tell everybody outside the zoo.
Mr. Cave smiled--a quick, 'I'm an adult and you're just a little kid' kind of smile. "Don't worry. There are other ways we can make the point."
Then he asked me about my school, my hobbies, and where I lived. Then he asked me about the zoo.
"Well. How do you like our zoo?"
He said it like he owned the place.
"I like it a lot, sir. It's really great."
"You can call me Joshua."
"What did you like best here at the zoo?"
"The SkySafari tramway. That was neat."
"You liked that did you?"
"Yeah. It was like flying. I wanted to go around, but they made me get off at the other end."
"You like flying then?"
"Yeah. My dad's a private pilot. Gee. I wish I could go on the tramway again."
"I think we can arrange that, before we, ah, release you."
Then Mr. Cave talked to Jack. "Thank you for bringing Cat." He got up off the couch. "Now Jack, I think you can return to your duties."
"I thought I'd stay until you finish and then I could drive Kit to the exit."
"That's not necessary. I'll take Kit out of the zoo. I appreciate your offer, but I'm sure you have other things to do."
"Thanks Joshua, but I think I'd rather stay here with you guys."
Jack sounded nervous.
"No. I think it's best you return to your duties." Mr. Cave's voice was very firm.
"Okay." Jack got up and walked to the door. "I'll see you guys later."
While Mr. Cave was letting Jack out, I looked around the room. I saw a coil of rope in the corner. I wondered if he'd let me play with it. Scouts use rope a lot.
Mr. Cave had just returned to the couch when there was a knock at the door.
"Damn, What now," he said.
I giggled. It was funny hearing him swear because until now, he talked so nicely.
I didn't see the guy at the door, but just saw his hand and heard his voice.
"Here's the duct tape you asked for."
Mr. Cave took the roll of tape, put it in his briefcase and sat down near me again.
"Now we can finish our little talk."
"I think I understand everything you've told me." I didn't, really, but I wanted to go home.
"When are we going out of the zoo?"
"Soon," said Mr. Cave leaning back in on the couch. "Now Cat Tell me about your Cub Scout troop."
"It's called a pack. What do you want to know?"
"Do you go on campouts?"
"No. We have to wait until we go in to Boy Scouts before we're allowed to do that. We camp out with our parents, but that's different."
"Well then," he said, softly, "Do you learn to tie knots?"
"Sure, I know lots of knots, I could show you. I like tying knots. It's fun.
"I'd like that." He got up and brought over the coil of rope. "Show me a--let's see--a square knot." He handed me the rope.
I tied a square knot and showed it to him.
"That looked pretty easy."
"It might look easy," I said, "but if you tie this loop the other way, you get a granny knot. That's not a good knot. It's hard to untie. Give me another,"
"OK. Can you tie a bowline."
"Sure." I untied the square knot and did a bowline. I was surprised he'd even heard of a bowline. Maybe he was in the Navy. "Here it is, the simple bowline. There's also the Portuguese bowline, the bowline on a bight, and lots of others. I can tie them too. Do you want to see?"
"No. But can you tie a hangman's knot?"
"That's not a Scout knot."
"Then you don't know how to tie it?"
"I can tie it. But it's complicated. It's not fast to tie."
"Go ahead. We have time."
I tied a very neat hangman's noose and handed it to him.
"Very good." He played with the noose and made sure it worked. "You did that very well indeed, much better than I could possibly have tied it."
I was proud of myself.
Mr. Cave stood up. He re-coiled the rope, leaving the hangman's noose at the end and put it by the door. He looked at his watch and came back to me.
"How about another sandwich?"
"No, thank you. I'm full."
"Then a cookie. We should eat something together. A ceremony. Why don't you hop up and get us a few brownies."
I got two from the table and handed one to Mr. Cave. He ate his brownie slowly, but his eyes were hungry.
Then he talked more about life and immortality and all sorts of crazy things. I thought it would go on forever.
Finally, he looked at his watch and stopped. "It's time to go Now."