It was fortunate that Raymond Hazelwitz had dropped by that morning or I probably would have done something totally regretable, such as running away from home. He stood before me, his paws on his hips, his hairless tail swishing back and forth, leaving a fan shaped arc on the dusty deck. "Now tell me what happened to make you cry like that, Henri?" he chattered.
I could barely choke out a meow. I gulped and the sounds poured forth from my lips. Raymond strained to hear, cupping his ears with his paws. "What was that again, Henri? Meow more clearly and a little louder." Finally I was able to voice my horror and betrayal. Raymond's eyes grew wide. His lips spread in a grimace. "They did what?"
"They got another cat," I wailed. "They don't love me anymore, Raymond. They got another cat to replace me. I don't know what to do. I have never felt so rejected in my entire life."
Raymond gasped. "They got another cat? Whatever possessed them? Weren't four of you feline flea bags enough? They must be totally insane!"
"I do think they are possessed by evil demons," I growled. "Why else would they bring that little monster into our home?"
Helen pushed the back door open and joined us on the deck. "It's really an assault on our dignity, Raymond," she meowed. "I really don't understand why our persons, who are usually very caring and sensitive to our needs and aspirations could do such a thing! It's obvious, this creature they have named Stella is ill bred and has inherited very poor genes!"
Erika was standing on her hind feet and peering through the screen door. "I can't stand the little runt! She thinks it's cute to take a swat at me when I'm using the litter box. Behavior like that comes from mutated chromasomal genes! I think her mother or father had a real problem with cat nip, if you know what I mean..."
Raymond grinned, showing us all those sharp white teeth. "She sounds positively dangerous! Did this creature of the dark, perpetrate any indignities upon your physical self, Henri?"
From the glint in Raymond's eye, I should have known better to reply to that question, however, I blurted out my rage and humiliation by the creature. "As I was walking through the living room, she jumped on my tail! Then she attacked my whiskers, smacking me with those powerful front paws! I was in terrible pain from the unprovoked attack! I have never felt so violated!"
"Uh, huh," chattered Raymond. "A quick right paw to the whiskers, then a sharp left paw on the nose....Next thing you know, you Henri, are sprawled on your back, stars dancing before your eyes as the evil doer prepares to strike another blow! You are filled with terror! Your heart races! The story of your life speeds through your brain as you face extinction! Now may I be introduced to this tower of distruction, this harbinger of horror?"
Erika snorted at Raymond. "Go ahead Raymond! Make fun of us! If you want to see what she looks like, just look through the screen door. She's sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, plotting her next dastardly move."
Raymond jumped up onto the flower box next to the door and peered in at the little monster. He began to giggle in his rat like way and hold his tummy with his paws. "My, my, what fearsome creature do I behold, sitting on the floor, washing her paws and then her ears? I shiver with fright! Will she strike out at me? Will my life end here, mingled with the petunias in the floor box? Will those lethal paws reduce me to mere nothingness?"
"Go ahead! Make fun of us! You just wait! Our persons won't be so crazy about that little speck of fur when she starts climbing the drapes and using the potted plants as her very own litter box! Wait until she rips out the bottom of the box springs in the bedroom! They'll be sorry they ever laid eyes on the little creep!" I howled.
Erika meowed loudly. "Helen tore out the bottom of the box springs years ago. I never even had the pleasure....."
Helen hissed. "You piddled on the ficus tree in the dining room! And Henri decided to add a little more texture to the living room drapes!"
She just had to bring that up again! Helen is like that! She never lets you forget your transgressions. "It was in a momsent of weakness," I growled. "A cat is entitled to a moment of weakness now and then."
Raymond snapped his tail against the deck to get our attention. "I do believe this terrible creature who has invaded your personal territories, is all of seven or eight inches long and must weigh at least nine ounces. I advise you to pack your bags and find another place to plant your furry butts. Since yours is so large, Helen, you will need a really, really big home." Helen sputtered a feline curse and glared at Raymond. "Your problem stems from your sense of insecurity and low self esteem. It frequently happens to cats who have spent part of their lives on the streets and have endured the scorn and harsh meows of the privileged house cat. They may have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. No wonder you cats are such a pitiful bunch! You are all so terrified of losing the wonderful life which you don't deserve that you but have come to regard as your personal right that you would deny the same comforts to this adorable creature who sits in the middle of the kitchen floor applying cat spit to its adorable paws. Would you deny this tiny ball of fluff, the softness of a queen sized bed? Would you not share your bowl of nourishment to that tiny body? Would you deny your bowl of fresh water to its tiny lapping tongue? Could he, she, it not use the comfort of a clean litter pan? Is it fear of losing or is it greed that has seeped into your miserable feline souls?"
"It's greed that has seeped into our miserable feline souls," meowed Sidney who had joined us on the deck.
"Oh, shut up, Sidney!" hissed Helen, slapping him on his nose. "Sometimes Raymond, I do wish you would mind you own business!"
Raymond Hazelwitz bowed deeply and showed all his teeth. "The truth is frequently painful, Helen, housemate to the esteemed but selfish, Henri of Twin Brook." Helen pried the kitchen door open and she, Sidney and Erika left me alone on the deck with the rat.
"I loved that 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' bit, Raymond," I growled.
"Shakepeare, old cat!" he chattered. "I thought it added a nice touch, don't you think?"
"Fine, but what do we do with the cat named Stella?" I asked.
"You will do what is right and just, Pussycat." Raymond waved goodbye as he ran from the deck and out through the garden gate.
Of course I shared my food dish with the new housemate named Stella. And we lap from the same dish of water. She also sleeps on the the big queen sized bed, along with Erika, Sidney, Helen and me. She doesn't smack me on the rump nearly so much anymore. I guess she is starting to grow up...