‘You got a visitor, Puss.’

‘Not now, Dog. Can’t you see I’m preening?’

‘I told him, but he won’t take bark-off for an answer. Says it’s important.’

‘Oh well, I suppose you better shepherd him in.’

‘Not blooming likely. He’ll trotter mud all over the floor. Anyway, his snout won’t fit through the catflap, let alone his belly.’

‘Oh my Dog, don’t tell me it’s my bank manager.’ My face went a queasy shade of tabby.

‘You got it, Puss. It’s Pig from PorkyBank. Says he intends to put a flea in your ear.’

Quivering with jitters, I slunk out to face my demon with my tail between my legs.

‘BookCat,’ Pig oinked. ‘We need a word.’

‘How about goodbye?’ I suggested.

‘Hold your haunches, my feline friend,’ he said, uncharitably in my humble opinion bearing in mind how much interest PorkyBank was charging for my tiddling little overdraft. ‘From what I can see, your business is going to the dogs.’

‘Balderdash and piffle,’ I said cattily. ‘I’ve got a fantastic turnover. Look . . .’ I rolled over, put my paws in the air and purred like a queen on heat.

‘Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity,’ Pig oinked. ‘I’ve been sent by PorkyBank’s computer to sort you out. Your account is making a complete pig’s ear of our soggyware so we’re calling in your overdraft. If you don’t cough up, I won’t get a bonus this year and I’ve promised my sow of a missus I’ll take her and the piglets to Porkugal for the summer hols. If I don’t come through she’ll make rashers of me and have my guts for garters.’

‘Tough,’ I said. ‘As it happens, I’m expecting a multimillion pound publishing deal with Plattypuss Publications any time now. It’s as good as in the lap. And I’ve applied for a government backed Pounceback Loan.’

‘Well get a move on. You got till the end of the month, BookCat. Then we’re calling in your catnip. I suggest you get a proper job. Ever thought of a career in pest control? Or maybe train as a lapsitter.’ And with that Pig trottered back to the corporate sty to throw his weight around.

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