I may have to fire my cat. When my wife and I hired our tabby cat Louie through the King County Pound Work Release Program, we didn’t draw up a specialized contract — we just used one of those generic employment contracts you can download off the web. We agreed to provide him with room and board, supplemented by occasional kitty treats and cat toys as performance warranted; In return he agreed to shed on everything we own and sit on any books we might attempt to read. All the standard stuff.

Of course these contracts have fine print as well, like the nondisclosure agreement (he won’t reveal that we sing him Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys” by substituting “meow meow” for all the words, and we won’t reveal that he’s neutered). There’s also the standard Outside Employment Restrictions provision, which states that he cannot work for anyone else so long as he’s under contract with us. It’s this last bit of boilerplate which I suspect him of violating. Last Saturday when I got the mail, there was a tiny envelope addressed to Louie with “Federal Bureau of Gravity” listed as the sender. I put it with all his other mail, but, later, when I asked him about it, he said he didn’t know what I was talking about, and that he had never heard of the FBG.

Never heard of the FBG? Everyone knows that the Federal Bureau of Gravity was established in 1966 to lessen the dangerously high amounts of gravitation potential energy which had accumulated across the nation. Agents of the FBG seek to reduce gravitational potential energy by assisting objects in reaching their so-called ‘zero position’.

Even before seeing the letter I had long wondered if the FBG had our apartment under surveillance. It seemed that every day my wife and I would place objects on tables and counters throughout the household, and then, when we awoke the following morning, we would find them scattered all over the floor. And each time I looked behind the sofa I would find dozens of pens, coasters, knickknacks … even old tomatoes which had once been sitting on the kitchen/living room divider. At first I just naturally assumed that were were experiencing a 2.3 earthquake every morning at 2:00 AM, but soon I noticed that objects would mysterious find their zero position even during the day. Last Saturday, for instance, I took an afternoon nap and woke up to find that everything that had been on my nightstand was now on the floor.

Now that Louie is getting mail from the FBG, I’m really starting to think he might be pulling down a second income. And it doesn’t help his case that the envelope I intercepted bulged oddly and smelled of chicken ‘n’ rice. It’s too bad if it’s true. On the other hand, this would only be his first offense, which, according to the terms of the contract, means he just gets a verbal reprimand (“Louie, NO!”), so I’m still optimistic that we can work things out.