The Wrong Hat

Fred slipped into the elevator just before the doors closed. Finally, something was going right. He’d had a hole in the first three socks he’d pulled on this morning and he’d had to skip breakfast. And because he left that late, traffic was terrible.

He looked around the elevator, hoping to see a familiar face. It would be nice if there was someone else late to work. It would be a little less embarrassing that way. He sighed in relief when he saw Bob. And then he looked again.

He rubbed his eyes and blinked. “Bob,” Fred said. “Did you know that you have a cat on your head?”

Bob rolled his eyes. “Of course I do.”

“No really, you have a cat on your head,” Fred said.

Bob nodded once, and then winced as the cat hissed and dug its claws in. “I meant of course I know that. It’s hard to miss.”

The elevator stopped and Fred and Bob stepped out. “So, why do you have a cat on your head?” Fred asked. “It doesn’t look very comfortable.”

“It’s not.” Bob sighed. “Honestly, I was in such a rush this morning that I didn’t pay attention when I grabbed my hat.”

“And you didn’t notice it was a cat when you picked it up?”

“I was in a hurry,” Bob said.

They paused in front of the door to their office.   “So, you noticed when you put it on, right?” Fred asked.

“Of course I did,” Bob said. “But the crazy cat decided it likes being a hat. Every time I try to set him down he growls and scratches me.” Bob held up his hands. There were several sets of little parallel scratches. “I was already late, so I decided to worry about it later.”

“Ouch,” Fred said. “That looks painful. So, you drove here with a cat on your head?”

“No, I took the bus,” Bob said.

“And no one noticed?”

Bob shrugged. “Someone said, ‘nice hat,’ but no one else even looked up.”

“Can I try to get him down?” Fred asked.

“Sure,” Bob said.

Fred slowly reached towards the cat and said, “Nice kitty.” The cat hissed and swiped at him. He pulled his hand away just in time. “I guess not,” he said.   “Sorry.”

“That’s all right,” Bob said. “Thanks for trying.” He opened the office door and waited for Fred to go through.

“Thanks,” Fred said. He walked into the office. “So, what will you do?”

“Hope that the cat gets bored, I guess,” Bob said.

“Or that someone has a tuna fish sandwich,” Fred said.

Bob laughed. “Yeah, That would be nice.”

Fred smiled. “See you later, Bob,” he said.

“You too,” Bob said. He walked off, with the cat still perched on his head, its tail resting on his shoulder.

Fred sat at his desk. He hummed a happy little tune. Today wasn’t so bad after all. At least he didn’t have a cat stuck on his head. He sorted through some papers for a few minutes and then paused and picked up his phone.

He searched for a number and then dialed. “Hi, I’d like to place an order for a tuna sandwich, to be delivered to Bob, but I’ll pay for it. Here let me give you the directions…” He finished the call. There, now maybe Bob’s day would be a little better too.