One afternoon,last week, my pals Rumsfeld, Carlyle, Frank and Raymond Hazelwitz, rodent activist, had gathered on the deck to play a few games of poker, a cat's favorite fall pastime. Raymond was waiting for his turn to play when something captured his attention. It was the voice of Sidney, my housemate."What's all that caterwauling about?" chattered Raymond, scratching behind his left ear. "What's wrong with that cat? He sounds as if he had lost his best friend, if he really has one."
I shook my head. "Sidney's queen, B.J. was poking fun at his whiskers. Some of them have turned white. He's heart broken. He spends the day on top of the dresser staring into the mirror checking out his whiskers. It's really sad to watch him," I replied.
Raymond shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe I should go inside and talk to him." Without waiting for my reply, the rat pried the screen door open and disappeared into the darkened kitchen. Penelope, Tonya, Helen and Hillary were in the living room watching a game of football on television. I never will understand the queens fascination with that raucous game!
Soon after Raymond had entered the house, the terrible moans of despair stopped. Within ten minutes, Raymond pushed the kitchen door open and rejoined us on the deck. "Not to worry. I will take care of everything," he announced, pushing Carlyle aside. "It's my turn to play poker!" he announced, grabbing at the cards.
Carlyle cuffed the rat gently on the side of his head. "I'll go and watch football game with the queens. I smell tuna patties!" And off he went. So Raymond, Frank, Rumsfeld and I spent the rest of the day playing poker and sharing neighborhood news with each other. When Carlyle rejoined our group, we all agreed to have dinner at The Dumpster the following evening.
So the day ended peacefully and Sidney was no longer whining about his whiskers but he was still inspecting them in the mirror every thirty minutes. Finally he crawled up on the bed and fell asleep. After the evening news and a nice dinner, I did the same, but I could hear an occasional sob from Sidney. Apparently he was dreaming about his white whiskers as he slept.
The next morning, I was surprised to hear claws scratching against the computer room window. When I jumped up onto the desk and peered out, I saw Raymond Hazelwitz looking a bit stressed. I pried the window open. "Could you open the gate? I just can't manage to drag this package and unlatch the gate at the same time."
Naturally, I rushed out to the backyard to help him. Fortunately, my persons were out shopping at the moment and did not see me pry open the kitchen door and unlatch the back gate to admit a rather large, dark rat who was dragging a plastic bag behind him. I could not imagine what was in the bag and my curiousity got the best of me. I opened it and pull out a package. On the label were big, red letters
White whiskered Sidney
"Just for Toms"
"Just for Toms? What does that mean, Raymond?" I meowed.
Raymond sniffed and wiped his nose on the sleeve of his running jacket. "Well as you may have probably guessed, male rats can be very vain about their appearance." I nodded. "As a rat gets older, his beautiful brown or black whiskers might lose their glorious color and turn white. This had actually happened to me. An enterprising rodent in our neighborhood decided to do something about it. He studied cosmetic chemistry and developed a product to address the problem. He came up with this product." Raymond pointed to the package. "He then went on to develope a similar product for cats and skunks. I picked this up at the Boutique this morning." Quickly we pulled the package into the kitchen and showed it to Sidney.
Tears welled up in his eyes as he read the label. "This is for me?" he cried, trying to embrace the rat. "Can we try it out now?"
I called to Helen and Stella to come and assist us. Tonya shook her head. "I wouldn't fool around with fur or whisker dye if I were you." she hissed, "Many a cat has rued the day his fur was touched by the artificial wand of color!" And with that meow, she abruptly left the kitchen and returned to the living room.
An hour after we had entered the bathroom with Sidney and the "package" in tow, we egressed the bathroom with a new Sidney, a beaming Sidney, a Sidney with darkened whiskers, a happy, happy Sidney.
After Just of Toms
There was catnip to be shared by all cats and cracked corn to be enjoyed by Raymond Hazelwitz, rodent activist and benefactor. After inspecting his whiskers for the umpteenth time in the dresser mirror, he lay down on the bedspread and fell asleep. He was truly a contented cat, confident and filled with self-esteem. The morning hours however did not bring happiness or contentment. They brought anguish and very disturbed humans for they had discovered that the "Just for Toms" whisker color had not stayed on Sidney's whiskers, but had been transferred to our person's bedspread. It was not a pretty sight!!
Later that week, Raymond did try to explain what probably had happened. "It seems the batch of dyes intended for the "Just for Toms" coloring kit had been replaced by the "Just for Matcho Rats" dye, an unfortunate but not deadly error. The bedspread was restored by a trip through the washing machine and Sidney's spirits restored when his queen B.J. dropped by to tell him she thought he was the best looking tom cat in all of Hamden. Once again, peace has decended on our humble home.
Pat my whiskers to return to my homepage!