Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not a CATastrophe

Mama: Earline- I see you have packed several pieces of luggage. Are you traveling?

Earline: Yes. I am so glad Zebrudus is back. He said we are going to get in touch with nature. I hope it doesn’t involve poultry. I am getting a bit tired of the chicken drama. 

Mama: Whatever treat he has planned I am sure you will enjoy it.

Earline: All I know is that I don’t want Tia Xiomara looking at me. That Evil Eye thing is scary.

Mama: The Eye can bring many types of changes. But put that out of your mind. Focus on the present. Where are you two going? 

Earline: I think it’s a theme park and resort. He mentioned something about a cat mountain. That sounds like a thrill ride. Um... I wonder if I brought enough resort gear. I have one bag of swim and beach wear, one for fancy dressing up like dinners, one for sportswear, one for lingerie, one for shoes- how many pairs of strappy sandals do you think I need? One for personal care- moisturizers, massage oils, shower and hair products and equipment, makeup, fragrances, and one bag for accessories like jewelry, belts, sun hats.  Do you think that is enough? We’ll be gone a week, so maybe I will need…

Mama:  Zebrudus’ weight lifting abilities may be put to the test. Oh- here he is now.

Zebrudus: (Enters Mama’s office) Gradzhnya Olvecki everyone.

Mama: %”*^)$3$%?> , Sir.

Earline: Huh? Well, anyhow, I am all packed. Do you like my new sundress? (Twirls and stripy short skirt flares out.) Just right for traveling.

Zebrudus: You look delectable; it’s quite flattering. But we must embark while we have copious hours of daylight.  Quickly slip into the restroom and change. Here are your clothes and boots. (Hands Earline a stack of olive colored clothing.) Don’t forget the sunblock. I’m sure Mama will return your suitcases to your room when she picks up the kittens.

Earline: Wha???  I don’t get it. You said outdoors- like in resort.

Zebrudus: I said nature, like in backpacking. I have everything we will need in these two packs. Yours weighs only 40 or 50 pounds. No problem. (lifts backpack several times with one arm, pumping iron.)

Earline: But, but, but… these boots are so ugly- They tie. They don’t have heels. There’s no bling or anything. Where do I put my iPad? My make up? My curling iron? * Sniff*

Several days later:

Earline: I can’t believe this is our last night. I never thought camping would be fun but it is. I’ve learned a lot.  Who knew I could cook over an open fire, although cooking and fires seem to fit together for me.

Zebrudus: You have shown remarkable poise, stamina and courage in the face of so many unknowns. That is quite admirable.

Earline: Thanks. I’ll clean up the leftovers in a minute. I need to go visit the bushes. (Walks away while Zebrudus sees to their tent and other camping impedimenta.)

A while later:

Zebrudus: I was beginning to get worried- you were gone quite a while. It’s pitch black out now. The sun sets quickly here.  What are you carrying?

Earline: I found this kitten down in a bathtub sized crater. He was crying and couldn’t get out. He must have tumbled in. Why would somebody leave a kitten way out here? I don’t get it. He’s pretty big for a kitten. 

Zebrudus: (as Earline brings kitten into fire light) Earline- put that animal down right now and back away. That’s not a kitten; it’s a mountain lion cub. It is a wild animal and I can assure you the mother is close by. She will want her protect her baby. They are dangerous and can even kill a human if provoked.

Earline: I was wondering why his tail was so long and he had big paws. He’s so cute and soft. I bet he’s hungry. (She puts cub down by bowl of leftover beef stew. Cub eats.)

Zebrudus: You’re bleeding. Did it bite you?

Eatline: He was scared. He just nipped me here between my thumb and index finger. It hardly hurts. He’s been licking it. 

Zebrudus: Earline…

*Snarrrlllll!!!  Yowwwww!!!!* 

Earline: What was that?  I know- Maybe his mama came for him.

Zebrudus: Earline- back away. Oh no- too late!

Huge mama mountain lion leaps into camp between Earline and Zebrudus. She snarls, swiping at him. Zebrudus reluctantly backs away, heading for the tent where he has weapons.

Earline: Hold on there, mama cat!

Mama mountain lion spins toward Earline, snarling. The big cat takes one look at Earline, and then quickly drops down on her stomach submissively. 

Mama Mountain Lion: My apologies, Pikiskwatew kiki asiniwacew.

Earline: That’s okay. No problem. You just wanted to make sure your baby was fine. I understand.

Zebrudus: Earline- back away slowly. I have a rifle but I don’t want to shoot if I don’t have to.

Earline: Calm down, Z. We’re having a conversation here. (She sits down on nearby rock.)

Zebrudus: All I hear is snarling and hissing. What do you mean by conversation?

MML: (to Earline) May I approach the cub?

Earline: Sure- he’s your baby. (To Zebrudus): Just chill and listen.

MML: Cub- why are you here with the humans? 

Cub: I’m sorry Mama. I wanted to touch the moon. I saw it in a big hole.  I reached over the side, stretched my paw down, and I slipped. The moon was only a reflection in a puddle in the big hole, anyway. My paws got wet. I tried to jump out, but I couldn’t. The sides were too high. I missed you and started crying. Then the female human found me. I didn’t mean to bite her but I was scared when she pulled me up…

MML: Hush, cub. (To Earline): Thank you for rescuing this young foolish one. He has chosen to mark you as She Talks with Mountain Lion. It is a very rare gift. Wear the scar with humility and hold the secret close. 

Zebrudus: All I hear is yowling and growls. Can you understand them? What’s going on?

Earline : Shhh, Z. (To mountain lions):  Glad I was there to help. He just tumbled in. Hey, that can be your name, little guy- Tumble.

Tumble: I like it, thanks. Mama- Pikiskwatew gave me beef stew. It’s good but I liked those chickens better.

Earline: So, now we know what really happened to those Town Hall chickens. 

MML: I have to feed my babies. The rabbit population will soon increase again and …

Earline: Don’t worry. The animal sanctuary usually has some leftovers. I’ll make sure Pepe and Raul bring out food every few days and leave it here. With the ATV’s it won’t take long.

MML: I will listen for them from our den up in the mountain caves. Remember that our food must be meat. Cats need the amino acids in meat to survive, especially Taurine. 

Earline. I’ll research that some and get you what you need as long as you leave the chickens alone. I don’t want Mama getting mad. 

MML: Thank you, She Talks. No, the Mama is to be respected. Come Tumble, your siblings are waiting. I caught three fine, fat squirrels to bring home for dinner.

Tumble: Wait until they hear about this! So long, Pikiskwatew. We’ll meet again soon. (They lope off into the night.)

Zebrudus: Are you okay? What was that all about?

Earline: Tumble and his mama were just telling me about the food shortage right now. We worked out a deal. It’s no biggie.

Zebrudus: You really talked with them? Understood them?

Earline: Sure, didn’t you?

Zebrudus: No, I am not a Solomonar when it comes to cats. The zgrimties, the hultan in my family have strong abilities but we do not usually have the gift to understand cats.  But let’s get your hand bandaged.

Earline: I can’t. The mama mountain lion said I was to,” Wear the scar with humility, and hold the secret close.”

Zebrudus: We can then only stem the bleeding. You are right. This gift is rare. It is unusual that the mark will appear on two … Er… Come- let’s retire for the night. 

Earline: I am getting sleepy. 

They quickly finish cleaning up, enter their tent and settle into sleeping bags. Zebrudus extinguishes the lantern.

Zebrudus: (Takes Earline into his arms and holds her protectively.) Let me tell you a story, a legend, actually. The first known part takes place over a thousand years ago. In a mysterious desert kingdom built upon an oasis, a dark haired princess is born…

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chickens in the Trees

Most of North Punty is sleeping soundly. 

Pepe (Li’l Einstein’s older brother and part owner of a backhoe) and Raul (his friend and part owner of a backhoe) are joy riding the back roads looking for trouble they can ill afford to find. 
They are both on the far side of tipsy and should not be behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, or even in one.

Pepe: Stop quick, Raul. I wanna to read that sign.

*Screeeeeech* (Car stops leaving trail of rubber.)

Raul: What sign? Oh, that one: “Free Chickens.”

Pepe: Yup. C’mon- I know just how to get back at that snooty judge for that last DUI warning. I am so over community service. Two hundred hours of cleanin’ dog kennels at the animal sanctuary. I never wanna see a dog again. And I weren’t drinkin’ no more then than I is now. Haw haw haw. C’mon.

They exit the vehicle and stagger to the crates of chickens. Following some semi-lucid deliberation they each procure two chickens and miraculously manage to secure the crates. They stagger back to the vehicle amidst much clucking and fluttering of wings from 4 upside down chickens.

Raul: Where we puttin’ these birds fer the ride back? They sure be noisy! We cain’t be driving through town with this squawkin’ and flappin’. It’d give away the plan…

Pepe: (*Click* trunk opens) Just toss ‘em in here. 

Raul: But if they stink up Tia Xiomara’s ride, community service will be the least of our troubles. 

Pepe: I’ll drive fast so they don’t have time to do nothin’.

Raul. That’s usin’ yer brain. Let’s giddyup.

They  toss chickens in trunk, close lid and depart to the town square uneventfully except for muffled squawking every time the vehicle bumps or swerves, which pretty much is constantly. 

Chickens: *Brawwwwkkkk!! Sqawaaaakkkk!! Buck Buck Buck, Pa dawwwwkkk!!* {Repeat from asterisk several times right to left, then left to right}

Raul: Which office is that lady judge’s? What’s her name agin?

Pepe: Her Honor Uh-Huh. Another cousin of Ta-Da and Ah-Ha. Dunno what window’s hers. We’ll just tie up the chickens to the railing here with her name on their tags. Like a late Christmas present. Haw haw haw.

They depart forthwith. 

The next morning the town awakens to a hub bub on the courthouse steps.

Police Chief Currently Serving as Acting Animal Control Officer Ah-Choo: Yup, those are mountain lion tracks. It got whatever was tied up here. * Ka Chew!!* From the few feathers floating about, I’d guess chickens. *Cough* But why there are four dog leashes tied to the railing * Sniff* with your name on tags attached to them, Cousin Judge Uh-Huh, I don’t know.

Her Honor Uh-Huh: I think I do, but until we have more evidence, the Court can’t take further action. By the way, cousin, how are those allergy shots going? I never heard of an animal control officer who was allergic to all kinds of fur and feathers. 

Chief Ah-Choo: Slowly working, thanks. *Sniff* I’ll assign some extra night patrols around here for a while, just in case the cat returns. I’ll also post someone outside your place at night. I think Buff Bicep is available.

Her Honor Uh-Huh: He’ll do just fine. *Smiles to self.*

Very late two nights later, a vehicle again swerves and lurches along the back roads outside North Punty, making one squawky stop. A few hours later:

Earline awakens suddenly as two kittens bound across her prone body to the window seat.

Heisenberg: Yeeoooowwwlll: (translation- what was that?)

Argon: Grrrrrr!!! (translation- Grrrrr!!!)

Earline- Ouch!!! What was that? It’s still dark out- It’s 4:30 AM!

Outside in courtyard: Err er EEEEErrrrrr errrrr! *Squawk Pa Dawk*

Heisenberg: Mrrrrrowp Grr. (translation- That was a rooster.)

Argon: Yow! (translation- And chickens.)

Earline rushes to the window where the kittens are frantically scratching on the glass.

Earline: That sounded like a rooster- and chickens. How could chickens get into the courtyard? There aren’t supposed to be chickens running around here. Why are they in the trees? Chickens don’t live in trees. I better call Mama.

Several minutes later; floodlights illuminate courtyard:

Mama (as everyone gathers in the library): Yes- those appear to be chickens in the trees. Quite strange, especially since they are on leashes attached to branches. Hm… Here comes Her Honor, accompanied by Officer Bicep.

Her Honor Uh-Huh: (arrives from her condo, quickly tying sash on robe) Not again. What were those …

Mama:  Chief Ah-Choo has finished her preliminary investigation. *Ahem* Mr. Bicep- aren’t you supposed to be on duty guarding Her Honor? Your shirt is buttoned askew and you are wearing pink socks and a dog collar.

Officer Bicep: Oops (blushes, glancing guiltily at Her Honor)… Er… I’ll be right back.

Chief Ah-Choo: I have gathered the evidence and the birds along with the security camera footage. Your Honor, you now have sufficient material to proceed. The video clearly identifies the two young men placing the chickens in the trees. I also found Pepe’s wallet on the ground. Officer Bicep and I will swing by The Hacienda and bring them in once he dons his standard uniform.

Her Honor Uh-Huh: Don’t be harsh with him, Chief, please. He is an amazing body guard. He did everything to protect me that I asked. My body has never felt safer or more relaxed. Really…

Chief Ah-Choo:  *Hrrrp* As you wish, cousin. But in the future please close your drapes. I shall need to edit some of the security footage before it is presented as evidence. By the way, can I have the name of your, well, never mind—I’ll text you later. Come along, Officer Bicep.

Her Honor Uh-Huh: (finger wave) See you later, Officer.

Four hours later in Her Honor’s courtroom:

Her Honor Uh-Huh: So, ladies and gentlemen, I believe we are finished here. Pepe and Raul, by day you are remanded into Mama’s custody where you will divide your time between attending animal husbandry classes, then building and tending the new free range chicken enclosure Mama has so generously agreed to develop. At the end of the day you will by remanded into Tia Xiomara’s custody where hopefully you will diligently attend to mastering domestic skills. 

Mama: Thank you, Your Honor. I believe the free range eggs will become a welcome addition to the healthy choices on the menus throughout campus. These young men will be quite busy while they work off the bond I posted. The backhoe makes excellent collateral. 

Tia Xiomara: * Ahem* {Points to eye}

Pepe & Raul: No, No!! Not the Stink Eye, Tia, please! Last time you done that we got the runs for a month.

Her Honor Uh-Huh: Then no more fowl play! *Clunk* Court is adjourned. Officer Bicep- my chambers- now!

Officer Bicep: (locking door) Yes, Your Honor? 

Her Honor Uh-Huh: Help me remove my robe, please. 

Officer Bicep: Ma’am- you’re not wearing anything but heels…

Her Honor Uh-Huh: An egregious oversight…