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Prole2: Excuse me please, do you got any cat flaps?

Pet shop lady: Hello! You are a polite young man. Where did you spring from?

Prole2: Over there. That’s my Dad. Have you got any cat flaps?

Pet shop lady: Yes we have lots.

She looks at me for some reassurance.

Pet shop lady: Cat flaps?

Me: Cat flaps.

Prole1: He broke the other one.

Pet shop lady: Really? You broke it?

Prole2: Yes. Uh huh. I broke it.

Pet shop lady: How did you break it? Did you climb through it?

Prole2: NOOoo. I locked it.

Pet shop lady: Did it get stuck?

Prole2: No. I forgot about it and it was raining and Pavement smashed it down to get back in.

Pet shop lady: Pavement?

Prole1: Cat.

Pet shop lady: I see. Why did you lock the cat out in the rain?

Prole2: I did it because…I did it…why did I do it again Dad? What did you say I was?

Now what? Report the truth of the conversation we had just been having in the car park?
Or lie and face the endless questions about morality from Prole1 later?

Prole2: What was it?

Me: Umm…Evil?

Prole2: Oh yes. Because I am evil.

Pet shop lady:  Evil.

Prole2: Not really. That’s just what Dad says.

Prole1: Dad says that sort of thing a lot. He was probably joking.

Me: Probably.

I sort of said it with a slight laugh and a roll of the eyes.
I was trying to be ironic but I felt much more moronic.
I WAS joking when I said he was evi but somehow it was not funny any more.

Prole2 has always had a slight fear of social intercourse so his punishment for locking the cats outside was to go and order a cat flap from the shop and help me fit it.
It is not much of a punishment I know but when I asked him why the cat flap was broken and he talked me through the sequence of events he went incredibly remorseful.
He started the story quite chipper about it all and with a big smile on his face but as he described the rain and the violent actions of Pavement the cat his lip began to tremble and he got redder and redder and even before he had finished the story he was in floods of tears.

In order to guarantee getting a cat flap that fitted on a cold windy February evening we had to head over to Truro, a City in Cornwall that has a mini maelstrom of traffic between the hours of four and six each evening.
The road in to Truro from Redruth is usually slow, scary and frustrating.
It is not so much a rush hour as modern dual carriage ways venting modern cars into Victorian and Edwardian streets. Add two supermarkets, one College and a hospital to the road and it is like the perfect storm of feeder lanes, bus lane, irate drivers and mildly suicidal teenagers attempting road crossing on the way to Macdonalds.
It also meant that our regular Monday night shopping had to be in Sainsbury’s, which means posh.
Well it does round here.
Prole1 was really relieved because he started needing the toilet on our slow approach to the pet shop which had no facilities for him at all. We went out into the carpark where he ran about in the rain for a few half hearted moments while he looked for somewhere ‘to go’ and then got back into the car cold and wet and with renewed urgency.
I nosed the car out into the traffic and sat for several minutes giving him a pep talk about holding it in and being strong.
We arrived at the super market. Prole1 is not exactly athletic but he tore across the carpark in the rain and was a blur across the cafe to the toilets.
We waited outside for ages.
Ages.
In the end I went in to find him trying to turn the taps on.
They were the ones you have to press down and were a little too stiff for him.
Added to that he could only reach them with his fingertips.

Prole1: Hello Dad. I’ll be right with you.

The soap dispenser was even further away and he was making that work by brushing the button so a whisper of soap would come out and them sort of lunge forward to try to catch it.
Some times he did.
Sometimes he did not.

Me; Do you want a hand?

Prole1: No…uh…I can….I can do it….uh…

I watched for a minute as he stood on tiptoe, reached across the bowl and pressed a dribble at a time out onto each hand and tried to work up a lather.

I am not one for stifling the growing independence of young people so in the end I just lifted him up and left him sitting next to the sink.
Prole2 was still outside holding his cat flap.
We went to the counter together and several minutes later Prole1 joined us.

Sadly the cafe was closed for hot food and the Proles and I had to have sandwiches.
I said they could choose some fruit. Prole1 chose fruit salad and Prole2 chose Lemon Drizzle Cake.
I was going to make a stand but I felt bad for calling him evil and telling him the cats could have his bed and he could sleep in the kitchen.
We did posh shopping (there are no Waitrose in Cornwall, everything is relative) and went home.

We had bought the exact same model of cat flap which meant we could just swap the door over.
Prole2 cleaned all the hair and black stuff off the inside of the cat flap door and held the new one in place while I clipped the cover on.
He then spent nine minutes trying to get the bits we didn’t use back into the box.

Prole2: Am I really evil?

Me: No. No you are not. You are lovely.

Prole2: Thank you.

Me: That’s ok.

Prole2: What is evil?

Me: Well….you know you locked the cats out in the rain and they had to smash their way into the house?

Prole2: Yes?

Me: Do you want to do it again?

Prole2: No. Never.

Me: If you wanted to that would be evil.

Prole2: Is it the same as stupid?

Me: Ummm…sometimes. I think. Not always.

I probably should have said ‘Often’.

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