a man has been invited to dinner at his friend's house. he gets there and is clearly nervous about something, but he doesn't want to admit to it. he is jittery and keeps glancing about like he expects people to step out of the walls and drag him shrieking away. his host is fairly dying of curiosity by this point, but he just waits until his friend is ready to tell. they have some food, some small talk, and go sit in the livingroom. there is a fireplace in the livingroom, burning away, with a cat stretched out in front of it. the cat's name is stephen.
finally, the man is ready to speak. he looks into the fireplace as he's talking. his tale begins as any good tale should. "you're going to think i'm crazy," he says, "but walking through the park to your house tonight, i passed by a bunch of cats. it must have been 20 cats. at first i thought they were all milling about, like some wild pack - i didn't know what they were all doing there, probably eating pigeons or something. i started going around them, wide around in case they were rabid or something, but when i was going around i got to a different angle, i coudl see them better. they weren't just crowded in like i thought, they were standing there in three rows. sometimes one of them would meow or hiss, but mostly they were very quiet for so many animals. they started walking away from me, still in those three rows. like a procession. i circled around them the other way to see what they were doing. the cats at the front of the lines were pushing against a small box, sliding it across the grass. it looked like a wooden box, not much bigger than any of them. there was a lid on it, made of some silvery burnished metal. they were--"
he stops talking, and looks out the window, but couldn't see much in the dark outside. stephen had rolled over and eyed them lazily. his friend watches him silently for a moment, then askes "and? what happened?"
the man turned to him. "well, maybe five feet in front of them, there was a hole dug in the ground. i didn't see how deep it went. as soon as i saw that, i turned and ran the hell out of there. i must have been hallucinating or something, right? i swear to god, i stood there and watched those cats walking a funeral procession. creepiest damn moment of my life. and you wanna hear what really cracked me? on top of that little coffin, there was a crown sitting on top. a little gold crown, i swear to god."
he looks at his friend and his friend looks at him. he clearly means everything he's said, and his host is wondering how to respond when they both turn, hearing his cat stephen stand up with a growling hiss. stephen whisks his tail over the floor a few times, back and forth, blinking slowly, then suddenly turns to them and shouts "then i'm the king of the cats!" and with that, he flew up the chimney and out.