Monday, November 7, 2011

When *do* the cows come home?

Kid was so relieved that Lemuel and his flock would be okay.  She ran into the house, totally unescorted by Ziggy and Bella, actually jumping over her nemesis, Buddy. He stood up to chase her, but she’d already made it into the house, and he decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.  Emma was snoozing on the back of the couch and Bella and Ziggy were in their dog beds.  Val lay on the couch, looking completely exhausted.  Kid ran over and pounced on Ziggy.  “They’re going to be okay!  Lemuel and his flock are saved!”  She then playfully batted at Bella who was still snoring. 
She then raced to the end of the couch, jumped up onto the arm and the backrest and bounced over to Emma.  “Did you hear me?  Lemuel and his flock are going to be okay!”  She jumped off the back of the couch onto Val’s stomach, looked her in the face and told her, “Bart’s not getting rid of his turkey flock, he’s just putting the eggs in incubators.  There will be poults galore – soon!” 
Val stroked Kid’s head and said, “I’ll feed you in a minute, Kid.  I’m bushed.  Trish had me running all over the county today it seemed.  Take Rob here.  Take Mae there.  Pick up Gus from Manalapan.  Good grief!  Don’t they think anyone else can drive?”  Val buried her fingers in Kid’s soft fur.  Kid had a special place in Val’s heart, because her father had given her Kid as a kitten.  She’d lived with Val ever since.  The others were nice, but Kid was special.  She was a beautiful calico molly, and was usually a pretty mellow cat, but not today.
“No turkey dinner for Bart this year, unless he buys it from Shop-Rite.”  Kid prophesied this last and jumped to the floor, unable to contain her joy and relief.  She raced to the end of the hall and back, ending up on the hearth, where she nearly collided with the fireplace doors.  She turned and ran into the dining room, leaping onto the table and scattering Val’s keys and cell phone.  The keys clattered to the floor, and Kid jumped down to play with them. 
She tried batting the keys, but the ring was so full that they didn’t go very far.  Next she hooked a claw in the large ring, picked it up and dropped it...  That made a satisfying sound, so she did it a couple more times until her paw started to hurt. 
“Would you cut it out, Kid?  Can’t you see we’re trying to sleep over here?”  Bella was cranky when she didn’t get enough sleep, and she’d stayed up most of today waiting for Emma to check the email. 
Ziggy said, “Oh, Bella, let her be.  She just found at that her best friend isn’t going to be fricasseed.  Wouldn’t you be happy too?” 
Bella’s eyes filled up with tears.  “They don’t fricassee dogs, do they, Ziggy?  You’re not going to get cooked, are you?  I couldn’t live without you!”  She began to cry.  “I won’t live without you.  They’ll have to fricassee me first.  I’ve got more meat on my bones.  Oh, I don’t want to die.”  By this time she was howling.  When Bella was tired, she became a little irrational.
Kid ran over and tried to lick Bella’s ears.  “No one is going to cook a dog.  Ziggy is way too skinny to provide even food for a baby.  He just said that as a joke.”  Bella couldn’t hear Kid over her own howls.  Ziggy snuggled next to Bella, trying to reassure her.  How the heck did this all get started anyway? 
Val got up.  “I don’t know what’s gotten into you all today.  Emma’s the only sane one of the bunch. I know I fed you before I left, and you’ve all had a chance to go out since I got home, so I don’t know what your problem is.  Come on, everyone, I’ll give you a little smackeral.  It’s too early for dinner, but everyone can have just a little something.”
No matter how much Bella was crying, she heard words pertaining to food and stopped howling and trotted into the kitchen.  She loved food, and okay, upon serious thought no one was likely to fricassee a dog.  In fact, she wasn’t even sure how one fricasseed anything.  She knew it had something to do with cooking, but not quite what.  Food, marvelous food.  Oooh, even better, she thought.  Cat food.  Squishy, flavorful cat food.  She loved Val, did not love her diet, but she just looooovvved cat food.  She turned circles on the kitchen floor in front of Val until she put down a tiny spoonful for Bella, who inhaled it in less time than it took to put down.  “May I have some more, please?”  She asked this with her most beseeching look. 
Val rolled her eyes, but put down a slightly larger spoonful.  “I suppose one day off your diet won’t kill you, but don’t think that howling like that will get you food again.  Next time you can howl until the cows come home.” 
That remark so surprised Bella that she sat down with a thump.  What?  She’d lived here for over two years, and there’d never been any cows living there, so why would they be coming home?  Kid, Emma and Ziggy daintily ate their portion of the squishy cat food while Bella considered the possibility of cows in their household.  Where would they live?  The shed was too small, so not there.  The garage?  Maybe.  Val’s mommy had cleared it out a lot, but there was still a whole bunch of stuff in there that the cows could get into.  She certainly hoped the cows wouldn’t live in the house.  They’d make an awful mess. 
Ziggy walked over to Bella and asked, “Are you okay?  You just kind of stopped, and you look like someone hit you with a board.  You know, surprised.”
“Ziggy, why didn’t anyone ever tell me that there were cows that lived here?”  

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