4th of July
Story 9 of Muttley Crew
by Trish Hubschman
“What’s wrong? Where are you going?” I ask as Tabitha races past me, through the glass door into the house. She ducks under the coffee table. Before I could move, another burst of fireworks explodes in the sky, shooting pretty colors everywhere that came streaming down to earth. Tabitha lets out a sad and long meow from inside and I knew then what was wrong. Sighing, I get to my feet and go inside, stopping a few feet from her hiding place. “Are you a fraidy cat?” I ask.
She looks up at me with bright eyes. “That’s me. It sounds like bombs going off out there. Are we under attack or something?”
I make a face, realizing that she’s still only a baby and probably doesn’t understand what today is all about. As the head of this animal family, it’s my job to explain it to her, but how?
Bubba came down the stairs. “A beautiful fireworks display out there,” he remarks. “What are you two doing in here?” He looks at Tabitha. ;’And what is she doing under the table?”
“It’s too noisy out there,” Tabitha protests. “Somebody’s trying to blow up the house.”
Bubba looks questioningly at me, as if it’s all my fault. Instead of answering his unspoken question, I look at Tabitha. She’s shivering. “It’s a celebration.”
Her head pops up, nearly banging the table.
I wince. “Is it somebody’s birthday?” she asks.
I roll my eyes. This is going to be even harder than I thought. I look to Bubba for help. He steps forward. “My dear pussy cat,” he begins. I roll my eyes again. “Two hundred plus years ago, I was never very good at math, our country declared its independence and became a free nation. This is the anniversary of that.”
I glance at Tabitha. She has no idea what Smarty-Pants Bubba is talking about.
Woof! comes a bark from behind me. Relief, I’m saved. The two dogs poking their noses at the screen outside. Turning, I march out onto the porch.
“What are you guys doing in there?” Cookie asks, wagging his tail. “They’re having a great party out here.”
“Hamburgers, hot dogs, fireworks,” Rocky puts in.
I know about the fireworks.
“Come out and join us<” Cookie adds.
Now I’ve got another wise guy on my hands. “In case you forgot, I’m an indoor cat.” Mostly by choice, I admit, though I wouldn’t tell the others that. It’s a pretty big, scary world out there!
Cookie raises his paw. “It’s the 4th of July, come on, all of you, Rocky and I will protect you.”
I squint at him. He’s got to be kidding.
“Unless you’re a fraidy cat?” Rocky dares.
That’s it! Nobody calls me that. “Come on, Bubba. We’re going outside.” As Cookie pushes the screen door open with his nose, Tabitha is the first one to dart out.
“I’m not staying in here.” Bubba follows her. What choice do I have? Slowly, I take a step out the door. The four of them are waiting. “All right, all right, here I am. What now?”
We’re like a marching band. Cookie leads the line, followed by Bubba, Tabitha, me, then Rocky. Okay, here’s how I saw it, Tabitha’s in the middle and the four of us are protecting her.
Another round of fireworks goes off. Scared, Tabitha darts forward, crashing into Bubba, then jumps back, knocking me over. We all fell down in a tumble. “Tabitha?” I shout, nervous enough about being out here, but not because of the fireworks. “Maybe we should go back inside,” I suggest to all of them. “We don’t want to get into trouble.”
“It’s a party,” Cookie says.
I wish he would stop saying that. It was blowing my cover. “All right, all right.” I have to show him I’m as tough out here as inside. “But what about Tabitha? This is too much for her.”
“She’ll have to get used to it,” Cookie explains. “They do this every year.”
“Every year?” Tabitha protests, dropping down to the ground and burying her face in her paws.
Cookie moves back in the line and pats her on the head with his nose. She looks up. “And morning comes the next day every year too. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
I couldn’t have said it better.
“Really?” she asks.
“Really?” he replies.
I’m feeling teary-eyed here. Tabitha gets up and we join the party. After we go back inside and settle down for the night, the fireworks are still going off, but we all fall asleep. When dawn breaks the next morning, I open one eye and look at the others, who are still asleep. I do a countdown and wait. Finally it comes – Cock-a-doodle-doo, Cock-doodle-doo.
Tabitha jumps up. “It’s Chick-a-Dean making the morning call. Oh wow, morning did come.”
It’s the 5th of July, only 364 days till we have to go through this again and I’m staying indoors till then.
MORE ABOUT TRISH…
Trish Hubschman is the creator and author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series. Tracy is a private detective from Long Island. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band, Tidalwave. There are presently three books in the series, the first of which is Tidalwave. Danny’s band’s summer tour bus bursts into flames while they’re on Long Island. A police officer on the scene recommends his friend, Tracy Gayle, to investigate the fire. Danny hires her. During her sleuthing, she discovers bigger and more dangerous threats aimed at Danny.
Stiff Competition is the second book in the series. Tidalwave is performing at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. Danny Tide is Master of Ceremonies. The pageant is rolling along smoothly. The ten semi-finalists have been picked. Then suddenly Miss New Jersey is missing. An all-out search of the hotels on the Boardwalk is begun. Danny calls his longtime friend, Tracy Gayle, in New York and invites her down to assist in the search. The girl is found but it’s not good and she’s hospitalized. Another finalist must be picked to replace her. Then another girl is found dead. Tracy really has her hands full. She and Danny are working together on this one.
In Ratings Game, the third book of the series, someone is trying to kill Danny’s second wife, popular daytime talk show hostess, Blair Nelson. She collapses in her TV studio due to a drug overdose that she is not responsible for. Tracy and Danny spend the next few days at Blair’s Central Park West apartment in New York city sleuthing and taking care of family business. Tracy nearly becomes a victim of Blair’s attempted murderer.
She has also written numerous Tracy Gayle short stories, as well as, shorts in other genres. She writes poetry and nonfiction too.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing from Long Island University’s Southampton Campus. She grew up on Long Island, but presently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and dog, Henry.
You may now also see her latest release at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54928819-tidalwave?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=6yqDxpx6uy&rank=3