My house mate Helen has a way of provoking me while looking as if she were the most innocent queen in the neighborhood.
There is something about her meow that can make the fur on my neck stand on end and on that particular day, that is
exactly what happened. Let me explain. Max, my next door neighbor hopped over the fence and joined me for a little "let's bat
the catnip toy around". I suspect that we might have gotten a little loud with our spitting and hissing because Helen pushed the back door open and stepped out onto the deck. "Do you tom cats have to be so noisy?" she growled. "I was thinking about hosting a Thanksgiving Day dinner for the whole neighborhood but you tomcats are so uncouth, I have serious doubts about it now!"
"Well really," I snarled. "I wouldn't come to your dumb Thanksgiving Day dinner anyway! I'm going to have my very own dinner with the toms and no queens will be invited! So there!" Boy, did I tell her off!
Max looked at me, his eyes wide with doubt. "Gee, Henri, you were really bad with Helen."
I shook my head. "I will show her that she can't talk to me like that. Calling me uncouth and all that! You and I will talk to every tom cat in our neighborhood and invite them all to dine with us at The Dumpster! In fact, we can start this very night!"
Golly, Henri," replied Max, "I have to be in the house before nightfall, you know...."
It was my buddy, Clarence of Belden who spent the next four evenings with me, going from alley to alley and house to house to invite the tom cats to my Thanksgiving Day gala dinner at The Dumpster.
Some of the Many Queens Who Were Not Invited to My Gala Thanksgiving Night Dinner!
B.J. Sidney's queen
"Sounds like fun to me!" meowed Frank.
"Count me in!" announced Rumsfeld.
"Just what we guys need! A night away from the Queens!" growled Abbott.
"It would be great to have dinner with just us tom cats!" purred Charles.
"Great!" growled Arthur, "I'm really looking forward to seeing you guys at the dumpster!"
After that fourth and final night of canvassing the neighborborhood tom cats, our spirits were high, our steps were light as we returned home. "Henri!" declared Clarence. "We are couth cats, you and I! Helen will be sorry she said such bad things about us!"
Well, I believed him! Why shouldn't I have believed him? He is streetwise and savvy. He is my very best friend! So when Thanksgiving Day arrived, I awakened with joy and expectations in my heart. Tonight, Clarence and I would journey to The Dumpster and join our many tom cat friends for an exceptional feast of prime discarded food from Hamden's finest restaurant! And Helen would be left choking down a dinner of dried cat food with Stella and Tonya.
It didn't work out that way, unfortunately. When Clarence and I arrived at The Dumpster, I noticed that the windows of the restaurant were dark. That did not disturb me. Eagerly we climbed into the dumpster, our stomachs gurgling with anticipation of a hearty repast. In the bottom of the dumpster was a tattered shrimp, once part of a noble cocktail. It was a few days old. It smelled. Clarence pushed it around with his paw. I pushed it around with my paw. We both rejected it.
"The restaurant was closed all day!" wailed Clarence. "There isn't any food to be discarded. We will have no feast to share with our fellow toms!"
"Speaking of toms," I mused, "I wondered why we didn't see any of them as we were coming over here......."
So I decided that we should return to my home and perhaps get a morsel of dried cat food if Helen, Tonya and Stella hadn't eaten all of it. So Clarence and I walked home, without joy in our hearts and painfully empty stomachs. As we approached my house, I heard the meows, growls, purrs, hissing and spitting of a crowd of very happy felines having a wonderful festive gathering. As Clarence and I climbed over the back gate, I saw through the opened back door of my home, a multitude of very happy cats enjoying an occasion of magnificent food and unrestrained comradery. There in the middle of the kitchen, was Abbott, Frank, Arthur, Rumsfeld, Carlyle, Sidney, Walter, Maxwell, Charles and a few other toms I had never seen in the neighborhood. And there in the middle of the kitchen floor, surrounded by those tom cats, was Hillary, Penelope, Maggie Mae, Carolyne and of course my house mates, Helen, Stella and Tonya. Stella came to the door and meowed loudly, "Come on in Clarence! Come on in Henri! There is plenty of roasted turkey and some tuna patties and shrimp stuff left!"
I was famished! Clarence was near collapse from lack of food. We both accepted the invitation and joined the happy crowd of well fed felines occupying the kitchen of my home. There was a chorus of greeting from them but not one tom cat would look us in the eye! Later, Raymond Hazelwitz, who was in the living room watching television with some of his friends
ventured into the kitchen to get another platefull of seeds and cracked corn offered this explanation for the reason none of the toms had come to The Dumpster. "There was a big sign on the restaurant's door. It said
Closed for business Thanksgiving Day
Too bad you boys didn't check that out before getting all huffy and putting your paws in your mouths. Besides, it was juvenile of you to try to ruin Helen's big dinner plans!"
Exactly how did the neighborhood toms learn about the restaurant's closing and Helen's Thanksgiving Day dinner plans?" asked Clarence.
"No creature can spread information and gossip throughout the community faster than a rodent!" chattered Raymond,, baring his sharp white teeth in a wide grin. "We have that knack, you know, Pussycat! What was in it for us rats, you ask? You have before you the finest assortment of seeds, grains, cracked corn, bread cubes and cookies ever witnessed and enjoyed by Hamden's rodent population."
A few days later I was to learn how Helen, my house mate was able to procure the bountiful ingredients of her lavish feast! Brenda, Raymond's mate taught and helped Helen to scratch out with claw or tooth, photographs of foods from a magazine. These were pasted onto a blank piece of paper along with pictures of alphabetical letters needed to spell out words.
Is there a recipe for humble pie? Is Helen a smart and savvy cat? Can a tom cat trust another tom cat? Is a rat a clever creature? Do Clarence and I feel stupid? Or what?
Some of the Many Tom Cats Who Came to Helen's Thanksgiving Day Dinner!