Every time I open my front room closet door, to retrieve cat food, a winter coat, a reusable shopping bag, a sombrero, or my Bacon and Egg themed Halloween costume, Shakespeare The Cat bounds from his meal, nap or hiding spot to try to sneak in the closet before he misses his chance.
There's nothing especially intriguing in there for him. I don't hoard a secret a pile of fish or yarn or frosted mini wheats (things I'm told cats like) in said closet, but regardless of what he would gain by accessing the space he races to the door like it was a shrinking portal to the future providing his last opportunity for survival in an early 90s sci-fi film.
Usually, I just scoop him up mid-cat-jog and toss him gently away. Some days, when hes too quick for me and gets in, I have to leave the closet door open and go about my day.
Sometimes, amid all the smoke and mirrors, with a sleight of hand or whisker, he darts into the closet without my knowledge. He is sadly unaware that this trickery can only be harmful to himself.
Such an illusion on Shakespeare's part resulted this week in his spending the night locked in the closet. I was dog sitting, and did not sleep at home - or I surely would have heard his scratchy voiced cries. When I returned to my apartment and called for the two felines to greet me at the door, I was slightly alarmed that there was no sign of Shake.
I cased the apartment, checked the bedroom closet, confirmed that there were no ropes made of bed sheets hanging from any of the windows and then, finally, heard his tiny cat cry coming from the closet.
He emerged from the closet a little startled. As I snugged his face and led him to his water dish, images of James Franco and a pocket knife filled my head. Maybe he thought about ways to escape, or contemplated what items in the closet were edible and what could be poisonous. Maybe he thought about me and his brother and hoped to chocolate that we would still eat salmon flavored treats without him. Maybe he closed his eyes and imagined his favorite toy - the rainbow fleece - floating dreamily against the rising sun in a field of cat nip.
I was thankful that he emerged from the closet with all four paws, but I hoped that the experience wouldn't scar him forever.
I'm starting to think that Shake lacks the brain capacity to hold on to this fearful experience for too long because this morning, as I opened the closet to retrieve a plastic bag, he sprung to his feet and darted for the door - determined to revisit the place where he so recently almost met his maker.
Brave little man.