The alarm went beep beep beep! My eyes sprung open and I bounded out of bed ready for another wonderful day. Or at least I thought it was day. Autumn had come and the sun spent more time sleeping, and although I was now awake neither the sun nor Mommy and Daddy had risen yet.
“Hmmmm, maybe they didn’t hear the alarm, I better remind them it’s time to get up,” I thought.
I inhaled deeply then cleared my throat before belting out a get up sound that made both my humans bolt straight up in bed.
“Okay, Okay, I am awake,” Daddy grumbled. Mommy just looked at me and squinted in that way that made me realize that perhaps I had crossed a line. At any rate, I was successful, and they were stumbling out of bed. Having done this just about every day for many years I knew I was going to have some time to kill, and what better way to kill it than by chasing cats around the house!
My eyes began to scan the room in search of unsuspecting felines, but all I saw was a messy bed, a couple of nightstands and a dresser.
“Phooey! They are all hiding,” I whined. The prospect of ambushing cats now looked scarce, somehow they had found out about my plan and had scattered.
“Them cats are wily rascals!”
My cursory search of the bedroom had not been a complete loss though. I did spy out the full length mirror hanging from the door and decided to saunter over to it and check myself out to make sure I still had that magic look that allowed me to control Mommy and Daddy.
I stood in front of the mirror and turned my head to the left then the right. The big brown Labrador with the floppy ears and dark brown eyes in the mirror mimicked my every move. When I turned around to check out my butt and tail, she did the same thing. After some minutes of examining myself I concluded that everything was just the way I liked it.
I did not realize how much time I had spent admiring myself until both my humans raced past me and down the stairs. How embarrassing that I let them beat me down the stairs. Why embarrassing you may ask? Well, if you knew how slow and lazy my Mommy and Daddy are, you would understand that having them finish something before you was not a positive thing!
I raced down the stairs just in time to find Mommy holding my big fluffy orange friend in her arms, and Daddy reaching inside a cloth sack and pulling some strange object out and waiving it in the air.
“Look Rapi, now you can go for walks with Cindee,” she said in her Brazilian sing song accent.
“Yes!” Rapi purred, looking at the thing.
“Yes?” I barked, somewhat unsure of what was happening.
“Let’s put this harness on you,” Mommy said, taking the thing in her hand and securing it on the big orange and white cat, who sat there with a smile as she fastened the snaps.
Rapi jumped down and began to walk around in circles. He stopped and looked at me, cocking his head to the right a little as he did.
“You look stylish,” my head bobbed up and down to emphasize my approval.
“Okay let’s go for a walk,” Mommy said picking Rapi up.
Daddy opened the door and we all stepped outside. Mommy put Rapi down on the pavement where he looked around examining his surroundings. His eyes grew large, but not as large as the smile that spread across his face.
“I’m outside,” he whispered. A single tiny tear drop formed at the corner of his eyes and dribbled down his chubby cheek.
“Are you ready guys?” Daddy asked.
“Ready!” we shouted together, unable to contain our giggles.
With that we began Rapi’s first walk. The orange cat trotted along side me as we made our way down to the end of the driveway when Mr. Glass drove by in his white SUV.
Rapi let out a screech and began to scale Daddy’s leg like it was Mount Everest. Daddy howled in pain with each claw grabbing step until Rapi came to a stop. My mouth fell open and I could not stop staring. Daddy looked like his had a giant orange tick stuck to his back that was sucking all the blood out of his body.
“Rapi!” We all yelled at once.
At last, we were on our way. We went down to the corner and made a left, where a couple of hundred feet the houses came to an end and opened into a small park, with a playground in it.
“Wow, is this the park that you are always telling us about,” Rapi asked?
“The one and only!”
“It’s so big, no wonder you like to go for walks,” he said, his eyes scanning the wide-open space.
“C’mon, lets go check the pee mail,” I said, and began to drag Daddy behind me across the grass to the tall wooden structure at the far end.
I sniffed around the border of the playground, taking in all the messages. Rapi followed behind me. He stayed quiet, watching with great interest. I knew he wanted to say something, but I kept walking around with my nose to the ground pretending to check for messages just to tease him. To my great surprise he was able to contain himself for a few minutes longer, but being a cat, one of his natural tendencies is to be curious, and he had decided that he had restrained himself long enough.
“Well?” he asked, exasperated.
“Ugggggh! You know what Cindee! Are there any good messages?”
“Mostly small banter, but there is one intriguing message.” I said, emphasizing the word intriguing.
The orange cat’s interest was piqued.
“Well, what is it?” he grumbled at having to wait for me to tell him.
“Do you remember Spots and Mittsie?”
“The two corgis that live in that brown house on the corner?” he looked to me for clarification.
“Yes, that’s them”
“Well, what about them?” his voice rose an octave and a scowl was starting to form on his otherwise cute pudgie face.
“Spots said that Mittsie had the babies.”
“Oh, how exciting,” Rapi said hopping up and down. “A boy or a girl?” he asked.
“Three boys and a girl!” I exclaimed, unable to keep up the teasing game anymore.
“Yahoo!” he shouted.
“I’ll be right back, I am going to congratulate them,”
I trotted over to the spot where the pee-mail had been left and squatted down on the border where the grass from the park met the dirt from the playground and let some pee dribble out with my message encrypted in it.
“Good girl,” Daddy said, patting me on the head.
“Do they always do that?” Rapi asked.
“Every time,” I responded.
“Condescending bastard,” the cat grumbled.
He stood up on all fours and strode over next to the congratulations message I had just left and squatted on the dirt patch. I watched, while Rapi contorted his face and he made his tale twitch and bend at angles that seemed to defy logic. He was in that odd posture for a few minutes then he got up leaving a small wet patch in the dirt.
“Ready?” I asked, eager to move on.
“Yep, just a minute,” he said.
The cat turned and ran back to the wet spot and began to pile dirt on top of it. Once it was completely covered, he looked up and smiled.
“Done!” he exclaimed joyously.
“Rapi,” I called to him, shaking my head as I did.
“You realize, now Spots won’t be able to read your message,” I asked, just to make sure he understood.
“Damn,” he growled and slapped himself in the face with a paw.
“Don’t worry, when I see Spots, I will tell him my message was from both of us,” I offered.
With that, the cat smiled and together we moved on down the street.
We were walking at a nice leisurely pace. I was out in front with Rapi trotting along beside me. He wore a smile that went from one puffy cheek to the other the whole time. It was so nice to see my friend so happy. He had even gotten used to the rare car that would rumble down the street. Things were going perfect.
The four of us had come to the next corner and Rapi and I turned right and began down the street. Mommy and Daddy, however, tried to turn left. We came to a stand still for a moment, each of us pulling in our own direction.
“C’mon Cindee, we are going this way,” Daddy said.
“Daddy’s right lets go baby,” Mommy tried to fool me with her sweet voice.
“No! We live this way!” I barked at them.
They tried one more time to pull me their way, then Daddy huffed and gave up.
“Fine!” he mumbled.
“That is why we have to wear these leashes,” I said looking over at Rapi. “If we didn’t wear them, they would get lost. They are always trying to go the wrong way!”
Rapi giggled and for awhile we fell silent.
Rapi walked along beside me with his head tilted upwards observing the birds flitting about from tree to tree singing their beautiful good morning song.
“They look so different in person,” he said.
I stopped walking and looked up into the trees. There were little birds and big ones. Some had red feathers and others had black ones, and still other birds had different shades of brown feathers. They were all so different. For the first time in my life I realized that they all made their own special sounds. Each bird was unique but together they made a beautiful song.
“How had I not seen this before?” I asked myself.
“Seen what?” Rapi looked over at me.
“How beautiful they are,” I told him.
Mommy and Daddy said nothing, they just let us sit there for a moment and enjoy all our birdie friends.
“Hey you! Orangie! What’s your name?”
Our heads turned to the right. A white bulldog with a brown patch of hair over one eye was on the other side of a fence, pacing back and forth.
“Hey Orangie! What’s your name?” he barked again.
“Rapi!” my friend called back, the wide smile still on his face.
“I thought it was Fatso!” the bulldog hollered back and began to bark out a deep rumbling laugh.
“Why you son of a …” Rapi began to swear as he lunged forward.
I grabbed his leash and began to pull him away. He tugged and struggled against me. Mommy and Daddy saw what was happening and rushed us down the street until the white bulldog was out of site, but his laughter could still be heard echoing down the block.
“That stinking pile of …”
“Rapi,” I slapped him across the face to get his attention.
“What,” he looked up at me, his tongue hanging out of his mouth between gasps for air.
“Calm down, he is just a bully trying to get a reaction out of you.”
‘But, but …” the cat stammered.
“I know, just let it go. Let’s enjoy the rest of our walk,” I coaxed hm into calming down.
“Okay,” he agreed, and we set off down the sidewalk and around the corner. We were back on our street and soon we would be home. Looking over at my friend I could see a smile beginning to play at the corner of his lips.
We pushed the door open and scampered into the house where Bella and Yehudi were impatiently awaiting our return. They crowded around Rapi making it difficult for Mommy to unbuckle his harness, but somehow she managed and let it fall to the floor.
“How was it?” Bella asked.
“He was a rock star!” I bellowed.
“Thank you,” Rapi looked up at me and whispered with moist eyes.
The orange cat stepped out of the harness and headed for the big glass doors in the dining room with his harem in tow.
“What did you see?” Yehudi asked.
“What happened?” Bella further interrogated him.
“Well there was this big white bulldog …” both Rapi and his voice faded out of sight as they rounded the corner.
I followed Mommy upstairs and curled up in my favorite bed beside her desk in the office. My eyes grew heavy until I couldn’t keep them open anymore and I went to that place where my special dreams wait for me, and on this particular morning I dreamed again of the day Rapi went on his first walk through the neighborhood.