LT swaggered into the house on Wednesday morning and nodded to Miss Rudy. “I finally caught up with that wretched frog this morning. Yesterday he waited until I went inside to eat a bite or two so I wouldn’t die of starvation, and he came out and croaked until I came through the cat door and then he vanished again. I fooled him this morning, by hitting the flap with my paw, and he thought I’d gone in. Tee hee – that frog won’t be keeping me up any more.”
“You didn’t hurt him, did you? I kind of like listening to him,” Miss Rudy started, but when she saw the look on LT’s face she rushed to say, “but not when anyone is sleeping of course. He needs to know when to say when!”
“Nope, I didn’t hurt him. I just put the fear of the Higher Cat in him. The Higher Cat has no patience for noisy frogs that wake people up, and I, LT, am his agent. I may have to rough him up next time.” LT said this last almost gleefully. “Okay, so what was this about the Peep? I’m sure I can put this right in a snap.”
“Hummph. Peep didn’t get up until almost dinner yesterday because she was so sad. She did finally get up, no help to you!” Miss Rudy was a little put out that LT thought he could accomplish in a minute what it had taken her hours to do yesterday, and might have to do again today. “She finally got up when I read her the email from the yarn lady about how much Mommy loved her.”
LT was a bit ashamed, which made Rudy feel better. “I didn’t realize it was that big of a problem. I guess I was too busy with the frog. Well, you know us cats; we want what we want when we want it….” LT tried to excuse his behavior with this little saying.
“I wanted to have a nice day lying in the sun, but that sure didn’t happen for me. I spent ages writing that email and then waiting for the reply. I barely had time to eat.” Miss Rudy was not above exaggerating a bit when she had the upper paw.
“Well, let’s check on Peep now. I heard the Daddy leave early – he must have had an emergency call.” LT led Rudy over to the green chair where Peep was sleeping. “Peep, wake up, the sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day!” LT sang.
Peep opened her eyes. “First, no cat with your voice should ever sing. Second, it’s hot and humid, and most important, the Mommy still isn’t here!” Peep put her head back on her paws, looking dejected. “And don’t worry; I did the scratch for today already.”
LT and Rudy slunk off into the office to talk privately. Rudy showed him the email that the yarn lady had sent.
“Rudy, do you know what months are?” LT asked.
“Nope, I hoped you would. They have to be longer than weeks, as we’ve already had a week, and she’s not home.” Rudy looked thoughtful. “And where is Virginia, anyway?’
“I don’t know, but the Daddy went to Virginia a while ago, and he was back the next day. It can’t be too far.” LT felt guilty now. He’d been selfish yesterday when Peep and Rudy had needed him.
“Maybe I could try to find out where Virginia is, and maybe even go there to tell the Mommy to come home,” LT offered this hesitantly. He was the senior cat in the house, but he was also an old cat. Long distance travel would be hard for him.
“Would you, LT? That would be great!!” Rudy rubbed her head alongside of his to show how much she liked this idea.
LT thought that he’d really gotten himself into it this time. Now he’d have to go. “All right. Let me just have a good breakfast and I’ll be on my way.”
After a good helping of squishy food and a few mouthfuls of crunchies, LT was ready to go. “Don’t tell Peep where I am unless I’m gone for more than two days. I don’t want her to worry about me, too. Sometimes I stay away overnight when I’m visiting, so she might not even notice.”
LT set out through the woods. He decided that he’d talk to every cat he could find, and ask them where Virginia was, and walk in that direction. He knew of a few cats in the neighborhood that weren’t Cat Club members, and he decided to start with them.
His first stop was a stable where two barn cats lived. They were usually pretty friendly, unless there was a lady cat around that they were trying to impress. He cleared his throat to get their attention, “Frodo, Bilbo, I’m looking for Virginia. Do you know where that is?”
Frodo looked up, “I don’t even know what a Virginia is, although we used to have a rider named Virginia, but they usually called her Ginny.”
“No,” LT shook his head. “It’s a place. I need to go there, and am hoping someone can give me directions.
“Road trip!” yelled Bilbo. “I love road trips! I haven’t been on the road since I came back from the Lonely Mountain.”
Frodo shook his head. “Pay him no mind, LT. He’s been a bit off ever since he saw a movie called The Hobbit. There was a funny little guy with furry feet who had adventures, and he was called Bilbo, so now this weirdo cat thinks he’s had adventures. The farthest he’s ever been from this barn is to Tibet, and that was with our owner.”
Posing as though he were the president Bilbo said, “Little do you know, Frodo. This was before you were even born.”
“We’re littermates, stupid,” said Frodo. “Anyway, LT. I don’t think we can help you. I have no idea where Virginia is, and if it’s not the Lonely Mountain, I don’t think Bilbo does either.”
“Maybe it’s in Mirkwood? Or Rivendell? I could get you to those….” Bilbo sank into reveries of his remembered travels with dwarves.
“Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find it. You don’t happen to have any fresh water do you? It’s a bit hot for all this walking.” LT was hopeful they’d also offer food, but it wasn’t polite to ask.
“Sure – they just filled the big bowl in the barn,” replied Frodo, and led him in for a drink. When no food was offered, LT decided to get on the move again.
LT wandered the morning away with the sun at his back, talking to this cat and that cat. Finally, he found someone who said she’d been to Virginia, and had actually lived there.
“Mah stars,” the pretty cat named Sissy drawled. “Ah haven’t heard of Virginia in yeahs. Ah came from there as a sweet little kitten. Mah owners had me shipped up after they moved. The handlers said that Ah was going north quite a way for such a little southern cat. So, you need to head south.”
Sissy was gorgeous, and he would have liked to have spent more time with her, but now that he had a direction, he needed to get on the move. “Thanks, Sissy. You’ve been a great help.” LT trotted off to the south, realizing that he’d been heading west all morning, and had probably hours going in the wrong direction.
By the end of the afternoon LT’s paws were a bit tender, so he looked for a quiet place for a nap. He found a lovely little wood – all pine trees, with a tiny water hole. The water was brown, but it was cold and delicious. He drank a bit, and settling under a bush he fell quickly asleep – he’d walked enough for one day.
Photo courtesy of Laura - http://www.flickr.com/photos/starrynight1/2135186682/