My Day of Glory and Betrayal!

I had found the local newspaper and dragged it into the living room. When I spread it open on the living room floor, I can read it quite easily and thus keep up with all the news of the day. An article caught my eye. The city of New Haven was going to have a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade!

Wow! I thought. How exciting! There would be marching bands and floats and and humans throwing batons into the air riding on the top of horses! I guess I began meowing to myself because Helen, my housemate stopped on her trip to the kitchen, gave me a curious look, and then peered over my shoulder. "What are you reading, Henri?"
"This is an article about a parade, Helen! A parade is something humans do when they want to celebrate something. They get all dressed up in grand costumes and ride on horses and have floats and all kind of neat things!"
Helen arched her eyebrows. "Doesn't sound like much fun to me, but there is no accounting for tastes. I'm glad no one expects us cats to march in a parade....."
Dogs march in parades! They look very grand with scarves tied around their necks and having lots of humans applaud them as they march by the viewing stand! Humans throw them dog biscuits and smile at them and ......" Helen put her paw across my mouth.
"As you well know, Henri, dogs do very dumb things. Ashley was in a parade and she was insufferable for weeks after that! Cats have too much pride than to display themselves in such a manner. We have dignity! We have pride! And besides, if the weather is cold you will freeze your butt off or if it rains, you will look like something the dog dragged in, if you will pardon the expression. She shook her head at me. "Sometimes, Henri, you really do get carried away."
I hissed at her and resumed reading the article. But I fell asleep before I had finished the last paragraph.
Cats riding on horseback! Cats dressed in uniforms! Cats blowing trumpets! Henri of Twin Brook, a baton held high above his head, directed the 500 cat band as they marched in step, tails straight, heads held high, musical instruments held tightly in their paws. Three cats carried a drum as two cats beat upon its sides! Proudly we marched as humans clapped, yelled and threw sprigs of catnip at our feet! Our hearts pounded with excitement! Quickly I climbed up upon the back of our marching horse and threw green carnations at the crowd of screaming spectators! I twirled my baton to the cheers of the approving humans who threw bigger and bigger handfuls of cat treats and catnip sprigs! Never had I been so exalted! Never had I felt such elation. Then I woke up.....
My whiskers felt sticky. My chin was stiff. It was difficult to curl my lips. I raced to the bedroom, jumped up onto the bed, then onto the bureau. I stared into the mirror. The face that stared back was not mine! It was green! The ears were green! The nose was green! The whiskers were green and the noble chin was green! I began to moan and cry. What horror had befallen me? What evil spirit had so cursed me?
It didn't take long to find out.....I heard the feline titters. They were coming from underneath the bed. "Alright! Come out now!" I growled. I recognized the paws of Clarence of Belden and then those of Rumsfeld. Slowly they pulled themselves into view. They began to laugh, softly at first, then loudly. I was about to box their ears when Helen appeared in the doorway.
"I see sleeping beauty has awakened," she smirked. "You look lovely in green, Henri!"
"Did you put these two creatures up to this, Helen?" I demanded. "How will I face my friends, looking like this?"
All your friends are in the kitchen, so you can face them without leaving the house," meowed Clarence, holding his paw to his mouth to skiffle his giggles. "By the way, green really enhances the color of your eyes......"
Helen motioned to me. "Come with me Henri. The green color is food dye. We can wash it off in the bathtub. Next time, when you fall asleep, try to keep your dreams to yourself. You were meowing in your sleep....."
"Who is the one that came up with the idea of putting dye all over my face," I asked, looking closely at Clarence and Rumsfeld. Sidney was asleep on the living room sofa and Stella was pretending to attack Helen's tail.
Max our next door neighbor sauntered in from the kitchen. "It was sort of a group effort, Henri. Helen found the food dye in the kitchen cupboard and we decided it would better decorating your face than decorating a bunch of cupcakes."
"I had so much fun!" meowed Rumsfeld. "You guys really know how to have a good time! Next time we can paint Henri red, white and blue for memorial day!"
"There is not going to be a next time, Rumsfeld!" I hissed, wiping the water from my dripping head. "As long as everyone is here, we might as well have a game of poker......"
"I'm all for that!" Raymond Hazelwitz dashed in from the computer room. He tipped his head to one side. "I really think you looked better as a green cat, Henri," he chattered. I glowered at him. "Well at least, we all had a good snicker over it, Pussycat! You have brought joy into the hearts of the depressed and underprivileged."
"I might have known that you were behind this atrocity! I will get even, Raymond Hazelwitz, rodent activist!" I meowed, baring my teeth.
"Will you two boys shut up and deal!" growled Helen grabbing the deck of cards from Stella's paws.

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(The above story was first published in March of 2006 by the Writer's Society of Fur and Fang. org. I am the writer and sole owner of this text.)