Trick or Treat
It was in late October of this year when Raymond Hazelwitz, Hamden's town rodent
activist, climbed over the back fence to my backyard and scurried across the deck where I was
napping in a spot of sunshine. "Wake up, Henri! Fall is upon us! We must plan the season's
"I'm not in the mood for activities, Raymond!," I growled at the rat. "I really don't feel
very well. I hurt my hind leg and that dumb dog of ours caught my tail in the bathroom door. So
just forgot about activities. I am going to stay home, relax and get my strength back."
"You can't do that!" squealed Raymond. "The entire neighborhood is planning a big shin
dig come Halloween! We are all going "Trick or Treating!" It's never been done by the cats and
rats of Hamden. It will be a sensation!"
I began to think about it and the idea had some merit. "Just what would we be doing to
cause the citizens of Hamden to give us treats?" I asked.Well, Clarence had this idea," chattered Raymond. "He's going to round up all the cats
and form a big chorus. We will select certain houses along West Side, Belden and Wooden and
serenade the residents of these homes. When they can no longer stand the caterwauling and
screeching, we will hold up a sign, stating that the noise will stop when catnip treats and cans of
tuna fish and salmon are hurled at our heads. The rat scouts will collect the bounty in wagons.”
Sounds like it might be a lot of fun. My persons don't feed me all that much canned
tuna or salmon. I'd be willing to add my meow to the chorus," I replied. "In other words, count
"I knew you would see things my way Henri old boy!" clattered Raymond. I'll touch
base with you real soon. I still have a lot of work to do."
Since it was early in the fall, I sort of forgot about this big Halloween bash but in
October, Raymond and Clarence stopped by the computer room window to discuss who was
going to participate on the magnificent "Trick or Treat bonanza." Max, your neighbor next door
will join us and Frank from the West Side. Carlyle with a select group of cats from the
Evergreen Lake Colony will be joining us as well." Clarence held a long list of cat names for
me to read. "Rumsfeld wants to come with a few of his friends. Abbott said he wants to be part
of it and so does Charles and Walter. Penelope, your house mates Helen and Stella will be part
of the soprano chorus and Hillary will be part of the mezzo soprano chorus. I do think a few
more cats will join up before Halloween night."
It looked to me as if everything was under control. Five rat scouts held up the sign they
would display at the victim'shome. It read "If you want this caterwauling to stop, give us
cracked corn, canned tuna, salmon and crab meat!" That seemed obvious enough. We cats
would annoy you until you beg for mercy! I was satisfied that the plot to gain goodies would
work and that week I returned to supervising the clearing of the fall garden.
Word seems to get around the neighborhood. Samantha, the pooch down the street heard
about the plot to extort goodies from the human element and thought she would like to be part of
as well. Naturally, she told Ashley, our house mate and Ashley began to yap about being part of
it too. I told her she could not be with us. The was for only cats and rats. She carried on terribly
but since she is a bit of a drama queen, everyone ignored her. That was our mistake.
Well the big day arrived. I awakened early in the morning, my heart pounding with
anticipation and joy. We were going "Treat or Treating" which would be a first for us cats and
rats! I couldn't wait for night fall! All during the day I vocalized, letting my voice soar to the
ceiling! Then my person approached me with a concerned expression on his fur less face. "Do
you have a tummy ache, Henri? Do you think we should visit the cat doctor?"
I rushed from the living room into the bedroom and hid under the bed. A visit to the cat
doctor would be a disaster! Now I had to prove to my person that I was in good health! I
crawled out from underneath the bed and purred up a storm, constantly rubbing up against my
human’s ankles. I convinced him that I was fine! And then I waited for nightfall!
Finally the sun set and the street lights glowed. I pried open the kitchen door and waited
on the deck for the gang to assemble for our night of fun and frolic! I heard the rumble of wagon
wheels on pavement and the happy chattering of rodent voices! I heard the mellow purring of
cats! I rushed through the garden gate to greet them! And at the head of the parade was my
buddy Clarence of Belden, his head adorned by a rakish hat! "Hi, Henri!" they meowed. Come
Clarence then spoke to us all. "Tonight shall be a night like no other! Tonight we shall
serenade our human neighbors with our exquisite feline voices. We shall begin with a medley of
Beatle tunes for our friends on West Side! All together now! Let the tuna fish fly!" With great
vigor we marched. With great vigor we meowed at the top of our lungs. With great vigor, the rat
scouts hoisted the sign with our demands upon their shoulders. With great vigor the tins of tuna
fish and salmon sailed through the air.
On West Side, a total of twelve cans of tuna, six cans of salmon and six cans of cat food
were hurled our way! On Belden, ten cans of salmon, five cans of salmon, six packages of
cracked corn and three cans of cat food sailed the air. We were experts at ducking them. Not
one cat or rat got struck with a tin of food! By the time we had gotten to Bel Air, policemen
sirens had begun to blare loudly in the distance.
We were nearly finished with our night of "Treat or Treating" and had a few families to
assault with our choruses of song. Bel Air gave us a total of fifteen more tins of assorted cat
delicacies and several sacks of cracked corn and bags of peanuts! We were very happy cats and
rats when we turned the corner onto Twin Brook Road. What a wonderful night it had been. I
was so happy I had decided to be part of it. Then something terrible happened. I was standing
under the street light, when a huge shadow was cast over me. Then I was hauled upward and
although I struggled, I could not free myself from the bonds which held me. "Henri, you
naughty, naughty kitty! What are you doing outside at this time of night? All you cats and rats
get into the back yard! Hurry now before the police arrive! Bad naughty kitties!" The human
who had captured me was none other than my own person!
I was carried unceremoniously, like a sack of potatoes beyond our garden gate and onto
the deck. Oh the humiliation of it all! The cats and rats pushed the wagon through the gate and
began sorting the cans of tuna, salmon and cat food. "I suppose you cats and rats will now want
to taste your loot and celebrate? Okay, I'll get a can opener. It's a good thing that Ashley and
Samantha finally told me what you cats were up to this evening. You might all have been
arrested and sent to an animal shelter. I found you just in time.
Later that evening, after we had all feasted on our treats and we had cleaned up the empty
tins we all agreed that it had been an evening of fun frolic. We would probably never be able to
do it again since my person was now aware of my little deception. He had not been aware that I
had previously snuck out of the house to attend prior festivities. It's not a good idea, Henri,"
meowed my house mate Tonya, "you might have been hit by an automobile or attacked by a pack
of wild dogs or something like that....."
Tonya was probably right and we will probably never do Trick or Treating again but it
was really an awful lot of fun. Actually, I have a rather nice voice and make take meowing
lessons in the near future. You should have heard our rendition of "Yesterday, Eleanor
Rigby, Imagine and Strawberry Fields Forever!! They were mind boggling! Ask our
human neighbors from West Side, Belden, Wooden Street and Bel Air! They are still talking
about it! Even the police persons were overwhelmed!
This story was first published in Jessie the Cat's Fall issue of the Zine!
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