The Rumsfeld Collection
It was a very hot day in early August when Rumsfeld came by, opened the back gate to the garden and joined Penelope, our neighbor from down the street, Max, who lives next door, Clarence of Belden, Helen and Stella,my roomates and Carlyle, a cat from the Evergreen Lake Colony. We were all sitting under the big fir tree out beyond the deck. Rumsfeld approached us, breathless with excitement! "You guys got to come over to my new home! I just finished decorating it. I got some really great stuff!"
Penelope smiled that sneaky cat smile of hers. "Pray tell, dear Rumsfeld. Wherever did you find these treasures you have brought into your home?" "Well!" meowed Rumsfeld. "I looked over all the stuff humin bens put out at the curb during major item pickup and found all kinds of great things there. Me and another cat named Falstaff carried the stuff home." He stopped long enough to lick his paws and smooth his whiskers. "Falstaff is a tom cat I know from my back alley days."
"Of course," purred Penelope. "How decent of you to remember your friends, especially when you need their help." I have noticed that both Penelope and Helen share the same feminine feline sarcasm. I suppose I shouldn't complain even though I myself have been the target many times of their rather acid tongues. I could tell by Rumsfeld's fidgeting that he was eager for us to join him on his journey back home. "I really want you guys to come home with me now to see the place. Raymond Hazelwitz is there waiting for me. He said that his mate Brenda had baked a little something for us cats to enjoy." "How thoughtful of Brenda," meowed Helen. "She's the only rat I know who would consider a cat's needs and feelings." With that said, we all headed for the back gate. Halfway down the block, Helen stopped. Let's split up into smaller groups, she meowed. "Humans might find it suspicious if they see seven cats marching along together in broad daylight." She was right about that. Helen frequently has the foresight to predict trouble. She, after all, was the cat who foretold trouble when Clarence and I attempted to sing, with the aid of all the neighborhood tom cats, the arias and choruses from the opera Aida. Our attempts did bring the entire law enforcement establishment to my family's backyard gate. Without hesitating we cats broke up into small groups of two cats walking single file down the sidewalk. Along the way, we met Raymond Hazelwitz, rodent activist. His eyes glowed strangely as if he had beheld some awful thing. "Raymond," I meowed. "you look as if you'd witnessed something unearthly, something never before seen by feline or rodent eyes!" "You have no idea...." chattered the rat. "To venture into Rumsfeld's home requires a strong heart and constitution. You don't suffer from nightmares and dark visions, do you?" After a long walk, we finally arrived at Rumsfeld's new home. Quietly and quickly we ran into the backyard and slipped through the opening under the deck. There before us, in all its glory was the new abode, completely decorated by none other than Rumsfeld himself. It truly was something to behold! Helen and Penelope nearly fainted! Clarence stood as stiff as a plaster statue. Carlyle looked as if he had been stricken by lightening. "Well guys! How do you like it?" growled Rumsfeld. "It's different," purred Helen. "Is that a 2003 calendar?" She pointed at a colorful but moldy pile of paper items. "I imagine some of the pictures might have been lovely years ago." "I found a pair of scissors in a pile of trash. I'm going to cut out the pictures and put them over there against the wall," explained Rumsfeld proudly. "And that there vase here is for my flowers!" It was an old mayonaise jar, stripped and cleaned of its contents. In the corner lay a bunch of dingy cloth flowers. "I got that clock there from the major item pickup pile on West Side. It don't work none but if it did I could tell what time it." "My," cooed Penelope. "What a nice collection of old tin cans! However did you manage to get them so clean, Rumsfeld? Rumsfeld smiled broadly, showing all his broken teeth. "After I ripped off the labels, I took them out to the curb. When it rained so hard a few days ago, the water pouring through the gutters washed 'em all clean and shiny. Then I put them out on the grass, in the sunshine and let them dry before me and Falstaff brought 'em back here." "Boy, are you a smart cat, Rumsfeld!, meowed Stella. "I wish Henri and Sidney, my housemates were as smart as you!" I glared at the young cat. "I knew there had to be a reason why I dislike you so much, Stella. And now you have just told me what it is!" "What do you think, guys? Do you like the way I decorated it?" asked Rumsfeld, eager for our approval. "It's lovely, Rumsfeld. I think it could use a little more color and some softness to your furnishings," purred Penelope. "Yeah, I was think that a nice soft, blue, bunny rabbit would really look nice here over by my bed," meowed Rumsfeld, pointing to a rather dirty pillow over by the far wall. "And when it gets cold outside, I could use it as a comforter to snuggle up against." My heart sank. I knew then that I would lose my precious blue rabbit! Penelope and Helen stared at me. I knew exactly what they were thinking. To prove my tom cathood, I must part with my rabbit. Or forever face their scorn and the scorn of every queen in the neighborhood, not to mention the ribald and insulting remarks of every tom cat in the neighborhood. "I know that a big box arrived for you Henri. It came from a cat in Florida named Jessie. There were two really large stuffed rabbits inside the box as well as a pair of bunny slippers." Rumsfeld's voice was insistant. "You can give me the blue rabbit now that you have two others to take its place." "Who told Rumsfeld about the box of rabbits?" I demanded as we walked home. "I did!" hissed Helen. "Let Rumsfeld have the blue rabbit, Henri. You have so much and he has so little. Sometimes, I think we are the luckiest cats in the world. We lack nothing in our lives. We have a soft bed to sleep on. Big windows which reveal the world to us. We have plenty to eat. Clean litter boxes and catnip treats to tease our palates. What more can a cat ask for, may I ask?" "Try a big blue bunny rabbit," I growled under my breath. Now I ask you. In all sincerity, do you believe the two rabbit pictured below will satisfy my need for comfort and warmth on a cold day? Certainly my roommate Helen wouldn't do it! She has ice water running through her veins!
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