Usually no one knocks on the front door of our house unless it's a human delivering packages. What occurred that day was not exactly a knock on the door, but a noise like claws scratching against wood. Carefully, I opened the heavy door as Helen, my housemate hid behind the sofa. "Be very careful, Henri..." she cautioned. "It could be a desparate criminal waiting to overcome us and make off with the family jewels."
I nodded. I would proceed with caution but not to protect the family jewels. Neither Helen nor I have anything like that.... I peered out into the sunlight. I thought it might have been squirrels who had stopped by to convince our persons to put out some peanuts or fill the half-empty catfood bowls , but no bushy tailed rodent graced the steps of our front entrance. In fact no animal was there at all. I looked to the right and then to the left. Not a creature stirred. The only sound was the faint swish of wind in the maple tree. I was about to close the door, when I heard a raspy meow calling my name. "Henri! Could I come in the house?"
"Who is there?" I meowed loudly, puffing up my tail and chest. "I demand to know who has scratched at my door!"
"It's me, Rumsfeld. I got something for you....."
Helen peered over my shoulder. "Rumsfeld?" she hissed. "The only 'something' he is likely to have, is a bad case of fleas!"
"Don't be unkind," I growled. "I don't think he is as bad as some queens claim. He has probably traveled a long distance so he could meow to us. He probably wants to thank us for letting him attend our party....."
Helen wrinkled her nose at my explanation for Rumsfeld's sudden appearance, but before she could turn around and run toward the kitchen, our strange visitor stood before us. He clutched, in his mouth, a large, bruised and smelly item which he dropped with a clunk onto the doorstep. His lips curled in a toothless grin. "I found it yesterday in a garbage can over on the West Side. It's practically the whole fish, except for a few bites and some bugs which got into it. There's a lot of good stuff left on the bones. I thought maybe this would make up for me not bringing nothin' to the party the other night."
Helen nearly passed out from the odor and I had to gulp back my breakfast. It was my housemate, however, who regained her composure and purred gently as she fanned her face with a paw, "Rumfeld, you need never, never, never, ever, ever, ever need to bring anything to our parties...Your presence is more than enough."
I nodded vigorously. "And," I meowed loudly, "if you look over there under the big maple tree, you will see a green,wooden box. Every night and morning our person fills the two food bowls which are in the box. You might stop by and check it out some time soon!"
"Is that a fact?" growled Rumsfeld, suspiciously. "What's the catch? Will I have to bring your person a fish every week or somethin' like that?"
"No, no, nothing like that," meowed Helen. "As a matter of fact, our person is very allergic to fish and anything else which comes out of a garbage can. I think our person would be very happy to know that you are partaking of the wholesome food he so carefully puts there each morning."
"You're sure he won't get mad at me and chase me off with a broom or throw rocks at me?" asked Rumsfield a look of doubt creasing his brow.
"Absolutely not!" insisted Helen. "As a matter of fact, Henri and I encourage the neighboring cats to sample the food in the green box. This will ensure our persons happiness and well being. His ego is very fragile and if he believes that cats who wander by aren't interested in the good food he has put out for them, he becomes very depressed. And then he has to take pills and stuff to undepress him. Then he doesn't feel very good because the pills make him feel sick and ornery and then he....." At that point I stood behind her and placed my paws over Helen's mouth. Rumsfeld looked bewildered as she squirmed under my grip.
"That's right Rumsfeld," I purred. "We don't want our person to become depressed so please help yourself to the food. And by the way, we are having a big dinner on Thanksgiving day and you are invited to come. Please, please, do not bring anything...."
Rumsfeld left our house a very happy cat. I stared at the rotting corpse of fish left on our front steps. Helen smoothed her whiskers and stared with me. "What are we going to do with it," she meowed. "If we throw it in the garbage cans out back, the entire garden will smell!"
At that moment I had a splendid idea! I nudged Helen toward the newly planted bushes in front of the house. "Start digging, kitty!" I growled, clawing at the soft earth. "We're going to bury Rumsfeld's gift."
Helen sniffed. "Fine! That's a good idea, Henri but if Rumsfeld ever brings another 'gift' like this one, I shall bury Rumsfeld!" She stopped digging and stared me in the eye. "By the way, just who is going to prepare this Thanksgiving dinner?"
"Well I suppose I could.....," I meowed.
Helen laughed that awful cat laugh. "We'll need bigger bushes when we have to bury the results of your cooking, dear Henri!"
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