Cat Purrs: Part Seven of the Muttley crew Series
By Trish Hubschman
I keep thinking about Nibbles, the mouse that moved into our house a few weeks ago. I haven’t had time to plan his safe get-away, so he’s still there, under the stairs. I’ve been bringing him food, but now that we’re away, he’s on his own. The house is his for a week. He can come out of his hiding place, get himself food and not have to fear being whacked by a broom or snapped by a trap. Me, Cookie and Tabitha cleared out the traps the night before we left, and the humans were in too much of a hurry to leave on vacation to notice. All should be well at home, but I’m worried.
“What are you thinking?” Tabitha asks from across the screened-in porch. She’s laying in the broiling hot sun.
I, on the other hand, am curled up under a table near the sliding glass door leading into the house. The door is partially open, to let the cool air conditioning out and for us to sneak in. “Just about our mouse friend,” I reply.
“Worried?” she asks. “I’m sure he’s okay. We’re on vacation now. He is too. Stop thinking about it and have fun,” she tells me. I know she’s right. “We’re having some visitors out here today,” she announces.
That catches my attention. I don’t like when she knows something I don’t. My head pops up. “Visitors, as if we don’t have enough people and animals here already?”
She giggles. “That’s what I heard Little Janie’s mom tell her dad when I went upstairs to use the litter box.”
I don’t remember her going inside. I must have been asleep. “Well?” I urge. “I haven’t got all day. Who’s coming to visit?”
She gets up and stretches slowly, then walks toward me. “It’s nice and cool over here, but you can see what’s going on outside better from where I was.”
She’s stalling. I don’t bother to answer, just stare at her. She’ll talk eventually and it better be soon.
“All right, all right,” she says. “I was just trying to make conversation.”
“I don’t want conversation,” I snap. “I want to know who’s coming to visit?”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot.” No, she didn’t. “It’s Little Janie’s mom’s sister, her two sons, Mikey and Randy, and their cat. We don’t know them.”
I add that up in my head. “That makes four.” Then I roll my eyes. “Did you say they’re bringing their cat?”
“Sure did,” she says. “Wouldn’t it be fun to have another one of us around to talk to?”
That depends on if this cat thinks he’s the boss. ’m the boss around here and everyone knows it, even the dogs. I get up. “I’m going inside. It’s hot out here.” That’s only part of it. I need some private time to think and use the commode. I slip through the open door. Tabitha follows. So much for being alone,
I dash upstairs to the bathroom and climb into the box. “Personal business,” I tell her. Tabitha climbs into the other box. “You’re always in there,” I snap. When we come out of the bathroom, the front door is opening. “What’s going on?” I ask, taking up position at the top of the stairs.
“Little Janie’s aunt and cousins,” Tabitha whispers.
First through the door are two boys a few years older than Janie. I stare at them, then close my eyes for a second and stare at them again to make sure my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me. But there are two of them. “Which one’s Mikey and which is Randy?’ I ask Tabitha. “They look exactly alike.”
She shrugs. “Maybe they both are,” she replies.
“Hi kitties,” one of them says, holding up a yellow plastic carrier. “We brought you a friend.”
I squint. Who says he’s going to be a friend? The two boys climb the stairs and Mikey, or it could be Randy, puts the carrier on the wood floor in front of us.
“He’s daring us,” Tabitha says. I already figured that out. “I’m game,” she adds, moving closer to the carrier.
“So am I.” Hey, I can’t let her think I’m chicken. I have a reputation to protect.
“Come on out, Bubba,” the boy says, opening the cage door.
“Yeah, Bubba, come on out,” I urge, sounding tough.
“When I’m ready to,” Bubba replies. “I was asleep.”
“You do that a lot too, Chauncey,” Tabitha squeals. I give her a dirty look, then turn my head away to look at the two boys. I never saw twins before. “Wow, Chauncey, look. Bubba just came out,” Tabitha squeals.
I look at him. He stands tall and proud. My mouth opens but I can’t speak. It’s like looking into a mirror. bubba looks like me, exactly.
“It’s you,” Tabitha wails. “Well, kind of. He’s a boy and you’re a girl, but you know what I mean.”
“Be quiet, Tabitha,” I finally squeak out.
“Holy cow, you do look like me, girl cat.” Bubba announces.
“My name is Chauncey,” I correct. “Not girl cat. And it’s you who looks like me, boy cat.”
“You look like each other,” Tabitha puts in.
“Be quiet, Tabitha,” Bubba and I say together. We all giggle.
“Let’s all go downstairs and see what the dogs are doing,” Tabitha says.
I look at Bubba. He looks at me. We both nod. Since we’re stuck together, we might as well make the best of it. Besides, you can’t get much better looking than him if he looks like me.
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tialwave, Stiff Competition/Miss America, and Ratings Game/Talk Show Queen. Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band, Tidalweav.
She is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She worked for new York State Civil Service. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and their dog, henry.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/