Mad Rat Hazelwitz!

A few days after March 17, 2007, the weather had turned warmer and the skies had cleared of clouds. Rumsfeld, Carlyle and Clarence had stopped by my house for a visit. We were all sitting on the deck, meowing our views on the politics which support the infamous dog park in our town of Hamden and life in general. Rumsfeld told us about how happy he was living under a nice dry deck attached to a nice house which was occupied by compassionate humans who provided him with ample servings of good tasting food. "Really," he purred. "This is the best home I've ever had, guys. Even when it was bitter cold, I had a nice dry place to stay. And who could have guessed that the humans who live above me would have cared about this poor old cat like me!"
"Well who found this wonderful place for you?" The voice, shrill and angry, came from just beyond the gate. "It was the brigade of rat scouts, under my careful direction and encouragement who found that warm, dry space for you, Rumsfeld!"
Carlyle rushed to the gate and pushed it open. In ran Raymond Hazelwitz, rodent activist, his fur all ruffled up and standing on end. His eyes flashed and his strong, sharp front teeth glistened in the sunlight. "I thought you tom cats were my buddies. Buddies share their joys and sorrows! They share their eagles and parades!!"
"We are your buddies, Raymond!" insisted Carlyle and Rumsfeld. Both Clarence and I agreed with our feline friends.
"Oh, yeah?" challenged Raymond. "Then how come none of you invited me to go with you to Essex to see the eagles which had built nests on the banks of the Connectiuct river? How come none of you invited me to participate in the Saint Patrick's day parade on March 17 of this year? How come? Well tell me! How come?"
"Look, Raymond," I purred. "We all love and respect you but I really didn't think you would like to drive fifty miles to see the big birds fly around their nests. Besides, eagles like to have small rodents for lunch. I thought you knew that."
"Well, Pussycat, it would have provided me and my scouts with a great opportunity to forge a friendship with those big birdies and exhange information about our lives and culture," snapped Raymond. "How could those birds possibly understand and cherish the rodent live style if they aren't informed about it. If they got to know us better, they wouldn't want to have us for lunch, dinner or a midnight snack!"
"I wouldn't be too sure of that, Raymond," growled Clarence. "I had a chance to speak with one of the male eagles that day and he was none too cordial. If I hadn't fluffed up the fur on my back and tail, I think he might have thought about having lunching on me."
"Okay, maybe the eagles wouldn't have been a good choice for the scouts, but what about the parade? How come you didn't invite me and my boys to participate in the parade?" chattered Raymond. "Brenda, my mate and her girlfriends made the scouts new uniforms and I got new drums and trumpets for them. We also have a banner! I could have five hundred rats, uniformed and marching in step, within twenty-four hours! Think of it! Five hundred rats stomping down Chapel Street, flags unfurled, uniforms gleaming! The crowds applauding! Think of it!"
Clarence shook his head and moaned. "I am thinking about it! Five hundred rats marching in step down Chapel Street! I do think the mayor might have a problem with that, Raymond."
Raymond sniffed. "I don't see why! The scouts would have been well groomed. They would have brushed their teeth and washed behind their ears."
It was time for me to add my opinion. "It's just that humans don't much care for rats, Raymond. It doesn't matter much whether or not they are marching or just walking. It doesn't matter if they clean their teeth or use breath mints. They just don't like rats! Humans aren't like us cats. We appreciate the gentle souls of the rodent community. We rejoice in our rat/cat relationship."
Raymond's ears began to twitch. "Is that a fact," he chortled happily. "In that case you won't mind helping me out come Easter morning. To be more concise, very, very, early Easter morning."
"Exactly what do you mean, Raymond?" I demanded. "Help you out with what?"
Raymond turned his head to one side. "You remember my very dear friend, Jerome, don't you, Henri?"
"If you are referring to your very dear friend, Jerome, the Easter rabbit, I certainly do remember him!" hissed Clarence.
"He needs our help." Raymond bowed his head. "And as one rodent to another, we have a pledge of brotherhood that you felines wouldn't understand. He needs our help! I implore you! Do not desert him in his hour of need!"
Clarence sighed. "What did that dumb rabbit do now? Are there no mishaps that don't befall that ridiculous creature of misfortune?"
"Not many," responded Raymond. "He has a knack for screwing things up. But I can't stand to see a rabbit cry. It gets me right here." The rat patted his chest. "Right here, fellas." Again he patted his chest. Then he began to cry. Tears poured down his face and hung from his whiskers. "How can I tell my friend, the Easter bunny, that I can't get anyone, cat or dog to come to his aid. His heart will be broken."
At that moment, Ashley my canine housemate, crashed through the back door an onto the deck. "I will help the Easter bunny!" The dog stood up on her hind legs and crossed her paws against her chest. "I, Ashley, will help you, Raymond. I am not fickle in my friendships. By the way, do the rat scouts still have that cute little red wagon? You could put a harness on it and I could pull it, laden with Easter baskets or better yet, perhaps you could find a nice tractor type lawn mower that I could drive......"
"Wonderful!" gushed Raymond, wiping his eyes with his paws. "What a compassionate dog you are, Ashley!"
Clarence nudged me in the ribs. "We've been had again, Henri," he growled, his voice barely audible. "We've been had again!"

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