Hooray for the WEEKEND!
Saturday was our favorite day of the week. Mommy and Daddy don’t have to work on the weekends, so we get to spend extra time with them. I am the luckiest, because on days like this one, you know the kind, the warm sunny ones, they will go out and do things and take me with them.
The cats they generally like it too because they get the place all to themselves. Mommy says they like to get into mischief when we are gone.
The day is still early, and I am at home alone with the cats waiting for Mommy and Daddy to get home from synagogue. While I am waiting, I think it would be nice to see what the cats are up to, so I mosey on over to the big glass doors where they are usually hanging out, only they aren’t there.
“Strange,” I mutter under my breath while looking around the kitchen and dining room. There was no sign of them, but as long as I am here, I should check out the table and counter tops in case there is a stray cookie that needs a home inside somebody’s tummy.
“Phooey,” I exclaimed loudly at the realization that there were no baked items to be found. I stood there silently for a moment, just blinking at the table, trying to will a cookie into existence, but without any luck.
Giving up on the yummy food idea, I decided to look for the cats in their other favorite spot.
“You guys up there?” I shouted out as I traipsed up the stairs.
“We are in the bedroom,” a distinctive New York accent called back. It was Yehudi, the newest member of our pack. Reaching the top of the stairs I could see her little black head poking around the corner.
“Hey Hootie,” I said addressing her with the nickname that Daddy gave her.
I jumped up on the bed to find Rapi, which is pronounced like “Hoppy”, and Bella basking in the sun. Yehudi followed me up onto the bed.
“Where are Mommy and Daddy taking you today?” She asked.
That was one of Yehudi’s favorite things to do. Ask questions. I wasn’t sure if her curiosity came from being a cat or from being young. I guess it could be a little of both I thought to myself as I plopped down on the bed next to Rapi.
“I am not sure yet Yehudi. Daddy wanted to go to the woods but Mommy wanted to go to the lake. Either way we are going to have a picnic,” I said wondering which would be more fun.
“I wish I could go outside too,” the little black cat said under her breath, her voice tinged with jealousy.
“No, you don’t,” I barked.
“No, you don’t,” Rapi`s thick Cuban accent cut her off.
“You are a house cat,” Bella reminded her with her.
“I was born outside,” Yehudi countered.
“We all were,” Rapi snapped at her.
I burst out laughing. Not just any laugh mind you, but a full hardy belly laugh complete with tears. The discussion came to a screeching halt. I finally regained my composure only to find three pairs of cat eyes boring into me.
“What’s so funny? Care to share,” Rapi asked, unable to hide his agitation.
“Nothing,” I said quietly, trying to figure out a way of extracting myself from this situation.
“What,” he asked glaring at me.
I sat quiet for a moment, running all the different options and outcomes through my head. Rapi, tired of waiting for an answer grunted at me, then held up his paw showing me four sharp claws. I gulped.
“Well, I was just thinking,” I hesitated before finally just spilling the beans.
“I was thinking, maybe if you told Yehudi about that time a certain orange cat went on an adventure outside …”
Rapi grunted but had to relent when the peanut gallery started chanting …
“Tell us! Tell us! Tell us!”
“Alright!” he growled in that same voice he uses when there are no midnight snacks. He looked me dead in the eye.
“But you have to help tell the story”
I nodded my approval and began.
It was muy caliente
We were living in Miami back then, and I was just a puppy. These were the days of Cosita and Bennie. Bennie was a little grey cat, who thought of herself as the original gangster. That little girl was tough as nails. I still remember the moment I met Bennie. She eyed me up and down.
“Kid, you got potential. With my brains and your brawn, we can take over the world!”
That was Bennies thing. Becoming Queen of the world. On this particular day the Queen of the world was busy napping on the bed, while Bella was under the sofa and Rapi was on the windowsill.
Mommy and Daddy had just arrived home and were getting ready to take Cosita and I for a walk. Cosita was a little black and tan dog that taught me all the important things in life. Because of Cosita I knew how to bark at other dogs and how to dig holes and most importantly how to have fun. Daddy hooked us up so he wouldn’t get lost and the four of us were off.
“Goodbye cats,” I called out over my shoulder as the door was closing.
“Have fun,” Rapi called back.
We were off! We lived in a townhouse that had a big lake behind it. We would walk around that lake every day. Sometimes, on a Saturday, Mommy would pack a lunch and we would have a picnic. That was the plan today. Picnic days were great because there was a little beach on the other side of the lake that had a couple of picnic tables. Mommy and Daddy would let us go for a swim in the lake. It was so much fun.
After swimming for a while Cosita and I laid in the grass enjoying the sun. Today was super fun. The ducks were even out swimming on the lake having a good time. Mommy and Daddy were just yacking away. All was right with the world.
“Hey Cindee, watch this trick,” Cosita said with a strange chuckle.
Holy cow friend’s, you would not believe what happened next!
That little black dog went full cheetah mode on mommy. She had no idea what had happened. Neither did the duck that Cosita caught and was dragging around by its wing. Mommy screamed and started pulling on the leash and Daddy started yelling too!
“Leave it! Leave it!” he shouted over and over, louder each time.
Cosita just laughed maniacally like a dog possessed by a demon. That’s when I joined in crying out to her to drop the poor birdie. Finally, Cosita relented. Unfortunately for us, Mommy and Daddy were angry and our day of fun in the sun was over.
What the heck …
Or something like that, Mommy yelled in Portuguese, all the while pointing to the window that was left open to air out the house, but that was now missing the screen.
“Bennie … Bella … Rapi …” she frantically called the cats. Bella crawled out from under the sofa and stretched like a diva doing yoga poses.
“Bennie… Bella … Rapi …” she called again, this time Bennie sauntered out of the guest room and flopped down at her feet.
“Rapi!” she called, her voice starting to crack. I was scared because I could smell mommy’s fear. Daddy checked the balcony, but no Rapi. Mommy raced into the kitchen.
“Raposo!” she shouted using his full name and shaking a bag of treats. One moment passed. Then another, but no Rapi. That’s when we all knew something terrible had happened. Rapi would never, ever, willingly pass on treats.
Daddy stuck his head out the open window and looked all around. Mommy collapsed on the sofa and started to cry.
“Raparoo … where are you?” Daddy called out as loud as he could.
Yehudi squeaked, firmly engrossed in our tale.
“What the neck happened to you Rapi,” her curiosity driving her mad.
“Where you catnapped?” she asked.
“Catnapping?” Bella asked with a dry laugh.
“Next to snacking that is Rapi’s favorite activity Yehudi,” Bella said with a dry smile directed at the large orange cat.
You see Rapi and Bella are the same age, but in general Rapi is the more dominant of the two. Bella likes to take her shots at Rapi when she can, it doesn’t usually end well for her though. While Rapi may be big, he is still quick and will chase Bella down and slap her silly if she doesn’t watch her mouth. I could see he was getting upset and on the verge of leaping over top of Yehudi to slap Bella upside the head.
“Why don’t you tell us what happened Rapi,” I asked, trying to defuse the situation.
“Yehudi and I have never heard what happened,” I said trying to coax him to share with us.
“Yeah tell us please,” the nasally black cat pleaded.
“I haven’t heard the whole story either,” Bella exclaimed.
“Okay,” Rapi relented, blushing at all the attention he was getting. With that Rapi continued with the story.
I jumped into the air, startled by the door slamming shut behind you guys as you left. I hated that door. Always going kaboom when it closed. Bennie was watching me from across the room, laughing at me that I always got scared by the loud noise.
“Why you always so jumpy? A big cat like you afraid of your own shadow,” she prodded me. Bennie was short for Bencinha, which meant little blessing. I swear most days this cat was more evil than a blessing. She liked to play mind games with everyone and was a master at psychological warfare. I was scared to death of her. When she made her comment to me, I did what I always do with her. I looked away and kept my mouth shut.
I watched out the second story window, following you as you guys walked along the path the runs next to the lake. I sat quietly keeping my eyes on you until the four of you faded out of sight. I shifted my body inside the windowsill until I could lay my head down, close my eyes, and listen to the birds singing.
Slowly I drifted off into a deep sleep. I dreamed I was in a boat floating on the lake. I was all alone just being pushed along by a gentle breeze. I looked up into the deep blue sky and watched the clouds float overhead. I saw one cloud shaped like a fish and another like a fluffy white cat and even a mouse shaped one.
Everything was serene and perfect. Until, the boat started to pitch and roll. I looked to see what was happening. It was a big alligator. My heart was going boom boom boom!
“Goodbye fat boy,” I heard the gators voice
My eyeballs snapped open. It wasn’t the gator. Standing over me was the grey-brown outline of Bennies face.
“It’s been nice knowing you,” she cackeled like the witch in the wizard of oz. With one swift push, I found myself falling. I looked over my shoulder and saw the ground fast approaching. I gulped, then screamed like those women in the horror movies.
Jeepers! Is it true?
I shouted to Rapi interrupting his story. He looked puzzled by my question.
“Is it true that cats always land on their feet?” I clarified.
“It is,” he shot me a big smile.
“My gosh, I knew Bennie was mean, but that was a terrible thing to do to someone,” Yehudi spat out, her words tumbling out of her mouth at a mile a minute.
“She could be, but she could be your best friend too,” Rapi said.
“Yeah, her mood could change from one second to the next. Mostly, she was like a mother to me,” fond memories filled Bella’s thoughts.
“We were really worried for you that day,” Bella confided.
“And Bennie never said a word about what happened,” I said, still dumbfounded at Rapi’s revelation.
Rapi sat in silence, so I picked up the story from when we discovered Rapi’s disappearance.
Mommy and Daddy closed the window and quickly hooked Cosita and I back up and we went out to search for Rapi. We checked under the patio furniture, the trees and the bushes first, but there was no sign of Rapi.
Tears were running down Mommy’s cheeks and she had a bad case of snot nose. She pointed at the neighbors patio. Daddy looked over at it and let out a deep breath.
Daddy called our neighbors snowbirds. I did not understand why at all. They were very clearly people. Could he not see this? They were on vacation in Pennsylvania and were not coming back until autumn. All the patio furniture was covered with thick brown plastic. Daddy got down on his hands and knees and looked underneath each and every one of the covers. No Rapi though. Mommy dropped to the ground looking like she was going to hyperventilate so Cosita and I went over and gave her kisses.
“It’s going to be alright, we will find him,” Daddy said trying to encourage Mommy, only his voice didn’t sound too encouraging at all.
“Rapi!” Mommy called out while checking the tall grass along the lake.
“Raposo!” Daddy would yell when he wasn’t checking underneath the bushes. Even Cosita and I helped out, by sniffing and barking out his name.
We took the path all the way to the road and no sign of Rapi anywhere. Daddy put his arms around Mommy and hugged her and let her cry on his shoulder.
I was so upset. I don’t like when Mommy is sad, plus, there was always concern that the bull terrier down the street would get free and hurt Rapi. You see this Target dog is mean. Whenever we walk along the lake he stands out on the balcony and barks names at Cosita and I. Worse than that, he threatens to do things to us.
Cosita was very concerned too. Rapi was her best friend. She used to talk all the time about how nice it was to have someone to talk to and play with, because Bennie wasn’t into any of those things. While I was a Daddy’s girl, Cosita was a Mommy’s girl. Cosita’s heart was breaking seeing Mommy emotional like this.
Daddy suggested we walk home along the road so we could check the front yards out. His theory was that maybe Rapi had wondered out front and got lost. After checking under all the bushed along the way we arrived home unsuccessfully.
I got it from here …
Rapi said, nudging me in the side.
“Sorry, it’s your story. I will let you finish,” I said sheepishly while looking over at Rapi.
“No problemo,” he said before continuing on with the story.
After I landed on all fours I quickly ran for the first hiding spot I could find. Glancing around, I spotted the neighbors patio furniture covered up for the season. In the distance I could hear the Target dog threatening to rip somebodies head off. Filled with panic, I darted across the small open space and scampered under one of the neighbors covered chairs.
“What the heck is wrong with that crazy cat,” I hissed to myself. In this moment, though, I was too scared to think about Bennies motives. I just hunkered down with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, gasping for air.
“What do I do?” The question raced through my mind. Then I remembered the day last summer when Daddy had his heart attack. I could hear Mommy’s voice saying to him
“Breathe Anjo, deep breathes!”
So that is what I did. I took a deep breath, then let it out. Another deep breath. I could feel my heart calming down. One more deep inhale. My brain was working normal again. Finally, I was relaxed and in control of my thoughts and feelings.
That all changed when I heard footsteps coming towards me, then the crinkle of the plastic on the chair next to me being moved. I stifled a yelp and slid out the other side. I hugged the side of the house as I ran in terror. Behind me I heard the wailing and moaning of some wild creature. I had never heard the sound before, and sure as heck wasn’t going to stick around to see if it liked to eat cats.
Ahead of me was another neighbors flower garden. Wasting no time, I dove headfirst into the flower bed. I found the tallest flowers I could and wedged myself between the tall yellow flowers and the house. I lay there with my eyes closed hoping against hope that Mommy and Daddy would rescue me.
The sun had started its descent in the blue sky
I could feel the cooler evening air blowing through my thick ginger hair. I had been hiding underneath these flowers for a long time and I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to see Mommy and Daddy again.
I was still scared to death, but that didn’t stop my tummy from growling. The yellow flowers I was hiding under looked yummy, but I couldn’t risk moving. In fact, it had been hours since I moved a muscle. I tried to stay brave, but a little teardrop would form at the corner of my eye, blurring my vision before finally tumbling down my cheek.
I thought I heard voices calling me.
“Raposo Juan Pablo Moore!” I wasn’t imagining it. That was Daddy.
“Help!” I shouted, but it came out sounding like a sad pathetic squeak. I gathered up all my strength, took a deep breath and tried again.
“Over here,” another squeak quieter than a mouse came from inside me.
Feelings of dread and doom coursed through my body. The voices had stopped. I just wanted to jump out and yell …
“Here I am!”
My fear had such a strong grip on me that I was paralyzed.
“We are never going to find him,” I heard mommy say.
“We will,” Daddy told her, but I didn’t feel very good about the tone of his voice.
“We have already looked everywhere,” Mommy said through sniffles.
I can hear their voices, but they were moving further and further away. Then, I was all alone again, my thoughts were my only companion, and they didn’t have promising things to say.
Its funny the things you think of when you feel like your life is coming to an end. I spent a lot of time thinking about my friends. I was so grateful to have them. Behind me came the sound of grass rustling.
“This is It, I am a goner,” I thought silently. I could sense the Target dog sniffing and tracking me. He was probably thinking about all the ways he was going to torture me.
“Raposo Juan Pablo Moore,” I heard a soft voice say. It was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I saw the shadow engulf me, followed by his strong hands wrapping around my body. I felt myself floating through the air. I was slowly spun around until two blue eyes stared into mine. A smile. An embrace.
“Daddy,” I whispered, my face buried in his neck.
“Little buddy, we have been so worried about you,” he said softly while we walked to our home.
I spent the rest of that evening being loved by Mommy. She wouldn’t put me down for anything.
“And that Yehudi, was the day that Daddy yelled …”
“Raparoo, where are you?” we all yelled together collapsing on the bed in a pile of giggling fur!