It is a long time since I have been borne along so enthusiastically. My admirers carry me up the muddy street and around a corner. They sing, they dance, they wave their stone bottles at everyone we meet, and chatter loudly of supper.
It is nice to be appreciated. Perhaps we will have kang-oo-roo and opossum.
But as we near the inn where they first saw me, we pass a male and a female sitting in the gutter. These new humans are also struck by my feline beauty. They leap to their feet and begin to argue with my admirers.
‘Give ’im to us,’ cries the female. ‘We’ll ’ave ’im for supper.’
I am beginning to understand their crude language a little better. How sweet, I think. They are all so keen to feed me.
‘We saw ’im first,’ shout the first three. ‘’E’s ours!’
I am touched. I really am. I did not expect such loyalty and appreciation from rough colonials.
But Harry-le-beau must look after his own interests. I am trying to decide who I should go with – who is more likely to have kang-oo-roo – when a fight breaks out. They are competing for the honour of my company.
‘Keep off, y’old bat!’ shrieks one of the females, crushing me to her bosom and lashing out with her stone bottle. ‘You can’t ’ave ’im!’
But her opponent also has a bottle, with which she whacks my admirer over the head. My admirer’s grip loosens and she collapses with a thump in the middle of the road. I leap out of the way just in time to avoid being squashed.
The remaining two females set about each other with shrieks of rage. They kick, they wrestle, they bite. Meanwhile the males have tumbled into the gutter, punching at each other and grunting like pigs in a wallow.
Ho hum, I think, and I set about cleaning my ruffled fur, so I will be beautiful for when the fighting ends and the feasting begins.
But the fighting goes on and on, and I grow bored. In the slums of Madrid they fight with knives, which is much quicker. I am about to suggest it to these colonials when they fall asleep.
THEY FALL ASLEEP! All of them, male and female, lie snoring in the gutter with their stone bottles still clutched in their paws and all memory of the promised feast forgotten.
I am more than a little offended.
With a sniff, I go in search of another lizard.