It was a dark and stormy night …
No really! It was dark outside. There were dark storm clouds hiding the moon and the stars, and it had started to rain. I was sitting on the couch with Mommy, Daddy, Rapi and Bella watching a television show. It was one of those shows were somebody gets lost or stolen and the police are looking to find the person. Mommy loves these kinds of television shows. They scare me personally. When I think about it though, almost everything scares me.
What doesn’t scare me though, are cookies. Earlier today, I went for a walk in the village with Mommy and Daddy and we stopped at the pet store, well, because we love to look around inside the pet stores.
The pet store is my favorite place. There are so many toys to play with and smells to sniff. It is wonderful. There is even a bakery at this pet store. As soon as we walked inside, I saw it, just sitting there staring at me.
It was the cookie of my dreams. To be fair, just about all cookies are the cookie of my dreams, but this one, it was super dreamy. This was one of those cookies that was in the shape of a smiley face. The top was covered in yellow frosting with red hearts for eyes. Oh my gosh. I needed this cookie, so I told Mommy and Daddy right away.
Unfortunately for me, my Mommy and Daddy are kind of slow upstairs. I must repeat myself several times and most of the time they are making wild guesses. I mean here I am screaming at them “buy the cookie!” and they are asking me crazy questions like “do you need to go outside?” or “do you need a drink?” I mean really, I am staring at the cooking, yelling at the top of my lungs “buy the cookie!” Like I said, slow. But I still loves them.
Lucky for me the young girl who works at the store is very smart. She told Mommy and Daddy that she thought I wanted the cookie. Thank goodness, somebody who gets it.
The rumble of thunder rolled through the house. I jumped in the air and yelped. The cats jumped up and ran for cover under the sofa.
The lights flickered, then died out, leaving us sitting in the dark. Mommy grabbed her cell phone and turned the flashlight on to help Daddy find his way into the kitchen to get the lighter so he could light the candles.
There was a candle sitting on the dining room table that we usually light on Friday nights, but it was the first candle Daddy saw so he lit it and it flickered to life casting a halo of light around it. There it was, glowing in the light like a gift from heaven … my beautiful cookie. smiley face cookie!
“Oh look,” Daddy said when he saw it. “we forgot to give Cindee her cookie!” What can I say, those words set my heart all a flutter. It was like a million butterflies floating around in my head.
“You know, why don’t you let her out to pee, it’s almost bedtime. She can have it when she comes back in,” Mommy said to Daddy and he agreed. “Darn her, foiling my dreams!” I thought.
Are you crazy?
That’s what I thought to myself when Daddy opened the door and told me to go outside and go potty. Does he not see the rain? Hear the thunder? Feel the wind blowing? Heck no, I ain’t going out there by myself and I let him know too.
It didn’t take him long to figure out what I was telling him either. Daddy grabbed his raincoat and put it on and started walking towards the door to the back yard.
“Put her coat on too!” Mommy reminded him. That was a big part of Mommy’s job in our house. Reminding Daddy what to do. She is always following him around reminding him. Sometimes she even reminds him to do things while he is doing them. Now that is dedication!
With our raincoats on we quickly dashed out the door. I wasted no time finding a place to pee and let her go!
It was super windy outside. The trees where shaking in the wind making a shhhhhhhhhh noise. It was scaring me really bad. That stupid wind even blowed my raincoat over my head and I was getting soaking wet.
The heck with pooping I thought. The poop can wait until morning. “Let’s go!” I barked and ran to the house with Daddy sprinting to try to keep up.
Inside, Mommy took one look at me and said “Oh no!, she is soaking wet! Keep her there while I get the towel.” Daddy and I looked at each other and shrugged.
“It’s time for sweet dreams …”
Mommy said, as she blew out the candle and went upstairs with Daddy following her.
I stood there alone in the dining room for a few minutes staring up at the table. “The cookie!” I yelled up the stairs to them. “You forgot to give me the cookie!”.
How could they do this to me? That is all I could think. Moments later, came the call from Mommy. “Cindee, come on baby, it’s time for bed.”
“But!” I started to bark, but before I could finish my sentence, she called down … “Now Cinnamon!”
Oh no! She used my first name. I was gonna be in trouble if I didn’t get my butt upstairs. I will remind them about the cookie first thing in the morning!
With that I bounded up the stairs and jumped into bed, taking my normal spot in the middle. In no time at all, I drifted off into a deep happy sleep where I dreamed of …
The music filled the air and I danced like a crazy dog. Samba you ask? Well, Mommy does come from Brazil and she brought some pretty cool things with her, like food and music and dance.
Speaking of dance, I was dancing the samba with my cookie. He was guiding me around the room, and I was looking at him longingly. There was a spark of recognition in that cookie’s eyes. He knew I wanted to eat him in one big gulp.
Anyways we was dancing, then the music went all crazy. The samba quickly shifted to an ugly noise. A noise that went beep beep beep. Oh my, I must be dreaming.
My eyeballies popped open and I looked around the room.
“What time is it?” Mommy said with that weird morning voice.
I didn’t stick around to hear Daddy’s answer.
I was off like a bolt, zooming down the stairs and into the kitchen to find my beloved dance partner. I mean, my cookie. I skidded to a stop right in front of the dining room table and stared up at… at … oh my gosh! The cookie plate is empty. Just a few stinky crumbs sitting there.
The empty plate sat there mocking me
I instantly sent off the alarm, barking out to Mommy and Daddy.
“My cookie! Somebody stole my cookie!”
My parents came stumbling down the stairs. Daddy grabbed the leash and connected it to my necklace. He does this when we go out so that he doesn’t get lost. He needs me to remind him where we are going because he forgets from time to time and tries to wander off into new places.
“My cookie!” I yelled at him.
“I know, I know, calm down Cindee I just need to grab your poopie bags then we can go check the pee mail”.
“it’s useless,” I thought to myself. “It’s hard to imagine he can even dress himself!”
With no choice but to surrender, we were off on our morning stroll through the neighborhood. While we are out, I can leave some pee mail for my friends to see if any of them have heard anything about cookie robberies in the neighborhood!
Silence and hopelessness washed over me.
“What’s up Brown Sugar”, a sultry latin sounding voice rolled passionately over my shoulder. I spun around to find a fat orange cat staring at me. Rapi was living near a bunch of office buildings in the Doral section of Miami when he met Mommy and Daddy. He was scared and homeless at the time, and Mommy and Daddy managed to talk him into staying with them.
As the years went by, he grew up in a house full of women, and somewhere in his mind he began to see himself as a latin lover. He is kind of strange, but I like him.
“Someone stole my cookie,” I told him, sniffing back the tears and heartache.
“That’s no good,” he said, notes of true sympathy in his words. “What do you wanna do about it? You wanna look for it Brown Sugar?”
Rapi’s words struck me hard. I hadn’t really thought about it. Maybe it wasn’t gone for good. Maybe that cookie was lost or hidden. “Yes Rapi, I would like to look for it. Would you help me?”
“Sure thing sugar! Where you wanna start?”
Both of our heads snapped over our shoulders to Bella who was sitting on the sofa getting some sun.
“Nasty,” I said.
The grey and white cat just shrugged, plopped onto her side and closed her eyes.
Like Rapi, Bella was also originally from Miami. She had dreams of being a diva, aspiring to be the JLo of the cat world. A pretty girl who was always getting all the attention. She had been born in Brickell and somehow had become separated from her family. One of Daddy’s friends introduced them and together Daddy and his friend tried to find Bella’s family, but they were never able to.
Bella knew she was cute, and kind of developed an attitude that she was better than the rest of us. Sometimes I get so frustrated because Bella gets whatever Bella wants. She has that Mommy wrapped around her little paw.
Let the search begin …
I cried out in joy to Rapi! He stuck his head out and we head butted in solidarity.
“I think this is the work of a cookienapper” I tell Rapi, while I glance around the room.
“You can’t be for real?” he exclaimed, looking a little worried that a stranger had been in their home.
“I don’t like this,” he muttered under his breath. “Let’s check around the table for a ransom note or something.”
“Great Idea!” I agreed. “You look on top of the table and I will look under it okay?” I asked.
“You got it Brown Sugar!”
With that we began to look for clues to the disappearance of my cookie.
Tap tap tap tap …
I could hear Rapi moving around. Seconds later, I heard paper rustling.
“Is it a note from the cookienapper” I called up to him? There was no response for a few minutes, only the sounds of paper being rifled through. My nerves were on edge and I was getting impatient. I was just about to ask again with more vigor when Rapi called down that it was only todays mail.
“Humpf,” I thought to myself, before resuming my search. Unfortunately, the only things I found were a couple of dust bunnies and a curious black cat.
“Oh hey, what’s up Yehudi” I asked? Yehudi was a young cat that moved in with us when we lived in New York City.
“Not much, what’s up with you” she asked in her normal laid back New York accent.
“My cookie has disappeared. Rapi is helping me look for it. Have you seen it?”
“Nah, sorry I can’t says that I have. Hope you find it. Lemme know,” and with that she was sprinting across the room and up the stairs.
“Crazy cat.” Rapi called down before landing on the floor in front of me with a thud.
“I know, she hasn’t been the same since the red dot,” I replied, referring to Yehudi’s addiction to the red laser that Mommy had brought into the house.
“Nothing down here either,” I shared with Rapi.
He just shook his head and headed over to the sliding glass doors. I watched him as he stared out the window in deep thought.
It echoed in the dining room.
“That cat is nasty! One time she was even walking around the house with poop hanging out of her butt. Poop! Can you imagine that,” Rapi asked, his gaze falling on me.
“Poop?! Really? She acts like a beauty queen or something. It’s hard to believe,” I said as I let that image roll around inside my head.
“Believe,” Rapi said. “It fell off right on Mommy and she was not happy.
“Nasty,” they said in unison.
“Now what? What do we do next?”
Rapi thought for a long moment, then began to speak.
“Well it happened while we slept last night, right?”
“Right!” I agreed.
“You slept in the bed, and I slept in the cat tree at the top of the stairs. Surely, one of us would have heard the Cookienapper if he came up the stairs.”
“Right again,” I squealed with excitement.
“So, we can rule out the upstairs. We won’t need to look there. Likewise, Mommy already cleaned and vacuumed the living room. Any clues that were there have been lost.”
“Darn that Mommy,” I huffed under my breath.
Rapi looked around the room before his eyes settled on the door inside the alcove.
“We have to Cindee,” he said once my howl had faded.
“No, not there. Not that place. It scares me Rapi!”
The big orange cat’s eyes filled with compassion. He strode over to me, brushing his body against mine and sat down next to me. With loving nudges he gently encouraged me.
“Why are you so afraid of the basement Cindee?”
I could hear the concern in his voice and feel his heartfelt love as he looked into my eyes.
I sat quietly for a moment, trying to collect my thoughts. The horrors of the basement played through my mind. You see, Mommy goes down there every Sunday afternoon. I know, because I watch her.
She disappears into the basement holding a basket of clothing. She always goes down carefully, like she expects to find something horrible down there. I watch her until she goes around the corner. Then I hears it. There is always a loud rustling sound and then the monster wakes up.
I can hear it grind its teeth. Even now, I get chills thinking about the sound. Click, click click. Then is starts to growl. Mommy gets so scared that she comes running up the stairs. She even forgets to bring the clothes with her.
I know the monster must be super mean because Mommy is really really brave. It is not like her to run away. That Mommy will stay in the living room, listening for the monster to stop growling and fall back asleep. Once she is confident it is safe, she sneaks back down there to get the clothes that she threw when she came running up the stairs earlier.
My heart is pounding just thinking about all of this. I can’t go down there. I just can’t. So, I look at Rapi, who is still looking at me and I shakes my head no.
Thank goodness Rapi is brave!
Instead of pushing me to go, he relents and offers to go alone. Before he can start down the stairs though, I give him a big sloppy kiss all over his face. It is meant as a thank you, but also, I want him to know how important he is to me just in case the monster catches him, and I never get to see him again.
He smiles at me warmly, then bravely begins his descent down the stairs. I watch him go with anxiousness until at last he is shrouded by darkness. Seconds slowly turn into minutes for me as I sit frozen at the top of the stairs waiting for his return.
Soon ten minutes has passed and still not a peep from the basement. My mouth has gone dry and my heart is going boom! Boom! BOOM!
“Hey!” a voice calls from behind me. Startled I jump in the air and yelp.
“Chill baby doll, it’s just me,” Yehudi says in her Brooklynesque accent.
“What’s goin on?” she asks, her whiskers trembling and her eyes big and bulging.
“Nothing, just looking for my cookie,” I remind her.
“Oh yeah, that,” she says as if recalling a long-lost distant memory.
“Good luck,” she says with a twitch, then races off.
I return my gaze to the basement in time to see two tiny green lights appear at the bottom of the stairs. I squealed in terror and stumbled backwards. Slowly, the green dots started coming closer and closer. I feel my tail curl up between my legs and I am about to scream as loud as I can when I see a white nose start to appear between the green dots. Then a mouth and whiskers, and finally a chubby orange face. Oh, thanks goodness it is just Rapi!
The second he is out of the basement I give him the biggest, sloppiest, wettest slurpiest kiss ever!
“Thanks Brown Sugar!” he purred.
“Did you see anything,” I asked anxious for some answers.
“Nothing,” he said, shaking his head. “Only, a big black spider!”
“Spider?” I thought silently. Maybe that is the monsters name. I will have to ask Mommy, but not now.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the cookie. MY cookie …
“Poor cookie,” I mumbled under my breath as we both sat at the big glass doors in the dining room.
For the longest time we sat there together in silence, lost in our own worlds. My world was occupied with thoughts of my cookie. Was it lost? Was it being held hostage? Did someone do the unthinkable and eat it?
“What happened to you?” I call out.
“Huh?” Rapi asked looking over at me.
“Oh nothing, just thinking out loud”
We both returned to staring into the back yard.
“Cindeeeeeeeeeeee hehehe! Came the high-pitched giggly call again.
I jumped to my feet and started yelling as loudly as I could …
“Let me out! Let me out!”
It took just seconds for Mommy to come bounding down the stairs and open the door so I could go out. I have trained my humans well!
Our backyard is fenced in, so Mommy and Daddy feel comfortable letting me out on my own for a little while. We has the house on the corner, so we only has the one neighbor. There is a spot along the fence in the back corner where there is a small gap so that I can see into the neighbor’s yard.
I could feel Rapi watching me through the glass doors as I ran over to that spot in the fence. I put my face to the opening to look through to the other side. I couldn’t help crying out, startled, when I saw a big brown eyeball peering back at me.
“Cindeeeeeeeeee hehehe!” the little black dog squealed in pleasure.
“Belle!” I called back.
“Are you okay,” she asked, wasting no time on pleasantries.
“I smelled your pee mail about your cookie,” Belle clarified.
“Did you find it,” she continued not giving me a chance to answer her first question. That is Belle’s way of course. She is small and very hyperactive, never wanting to sit still. A lot of fun to play with, but sometimes it was a challenge holding a conversation with her.
“No, no luck Belle. Was there any news from the neighborhood friends?” I asked, in hopes she would have some shred of information about my cookie.
“No, I am very sorry Cindee. Nobody has seen or heard anything about your cookie. Old Chester thought that maybe someone had stolen his cookie, but then he remembered that he ate it himself.”
I let out a sigh.
“Thanks for letting me know Belle, I appreciate your help!”
“No probs! What are friends for?” she said between excited pants.
I heard the gate open on her side of the fence, then heard the fading sound of Belle’s voice telling me she was on the way to the dog park.
The world suddenly became a lonely place!
I stood in the yard, listening to the sound of the birds singing. I love the pretty songs that they sing me, but today, my mind was preoccupied with darker thoughts, thoughts about the Cookienapper. I was so focused on it that I didn’t even hear Daddy’s car pull up.
The gate handle wiggled, startling me. I jumped around just in time to see Daddy closing the gate behind him.
“Daddy is home! Daddy is home!” I alerted everyone in the house.
Mommy and the cats all gathered at the big glass door. Daddy leaned down and gave me scratches on the cheeks and a big kiss on my nose.
“How has my girl been today?” he asked kissing my nose again.
I wanted to tell him about my cookie and the Cookienapper and our investigation, but I couldn’t. I was just too happy to see him again. He gave me a few ear rubs then we went into the house together.
Wowwieee! Did it smell yummy. We all sat down and watched Mommy make Lasagna while Mommy and Daddy talked about their day.
“That cat is nasty …”
Daddy said looking over his shoulder at Bella. Rapi and I burst out in laughter.
“Be nice to her,” Mommy admonished Daddy.
“She has been burping and farting all day, poor thing! Probably got into some cheese or carob” Mommy said reminding Daddy of Bella’s allergies.
Rapi and I stopped laughing and turned to face each other.
“Was there carob in your cookie?” Rapi asked me.
Tears started to fill my eyes. I couldn’t speak, so I just nodded my head. I stood and sprinted to Bella, corralling her into a corner.
“You cookie thief! Why did you do it?” I yelled at her.
Her eyes widened in fear as I stood towering over her an angry expression on my face.
“Why?” I growled at her.
“I am sorry, I couldn’t resist the cookie. It looked so yummy on the plate. It was there for hours. Nobody claimed it, so I thought it would just go bad if I didn’t eat it.” She whimpered.
“Cinnamon Bagunca Moore, you be nice to Bella” Mommy said in that stern voice she has when she gets annoyed.
“Besides,” Bella continued, “you are always mean to me, and you deserved it!” Bella hissed, swiped her claw at me and taking off running for her life, before eventually diving to safety under the sofa.
“Why can’t they just get along?” Mommy said with a sigh before grabbing the dish cloth and wiping down the dinner table. She picked up the plate with the remains of my cookie still on it and put it in the sink.
“Did Cindee like her cookie?” she asked Daddy.
“I didn’t give it to her,” he said adding a shrug to emphasize his point.
Mommy looked at him quizzically for a moment, then walked over to Rapi and picked him up. She held him so that they were nose to nose.
“Rapi, you are such a bad boy, you have to stop eating everything. You are getting too fat!” She plopped him back down on the floor after accusing him of eating the cookie.
He stared at me dumbfounded.
“We will walk to the store after dinner and get you another cookie okay Cindee?” Mommy asked.
“Sure,” I barked back to her, thrilled that I would get another cookie.
Rapi regained his composure, stood up and strolled over to me.
You know,” he said,” You are right about Mommy and Daddy …”
“Slow upstairs!” we shouted together in unison before falling on the floor and laughing hysterically about Mommy blaming Rapi when he was innocent.
And that my friends, was the day we all lived through the great cookie caper!