Author: Howard Buchin The Write Place
Ridley-roo and Zelda-lu Begin Their Search for Parents
Ridley-roo and Zelda-lu Get Ready to Leave
I looked over and spied my mate Zelda-Lu peering out from her cute little hazel coloured eyes as she awoke. “Hey Zee-Lu” I called, “ guess what? You should have seen what I saw!” Zelda-Lu blinked her little cat eyes while looking back at me with a funny expression as she asked, “What, what did ya see, Ridley-Roo?”
“I just saw two humans walking up along the path. I heard them talking about looking for two pets to adopt.” Zelda-Lu just rolled her eyes at me as if she were asking if I was just dreaming again. “So?” Zelda-Lu said. “You were thinking that we could fit in with the rest of their household? Is that your big idea Ridley?” I felt a bit agitated, “Well, yeah.” I just wanted to know if Zelda-Lu was as interested as I was in trying to get settled down with some human peoples. I gave her a nudge trying to point her in the direction of the pathway where I saw these two peoples. Suddenly Zelda-Lu let out a loud “Meow!” Boy, I thought to myself, that cat is really the most demanding creature! Zelda-Lu always had to have things her own way. She never liked having to follow orders or getting told what to do. As a mate, she was loud and bossy, but most of the time, she was a load of fun to be around.
We’d made Wompous forest our home for the past year or so. Zelda-Lu and I really loved our forest, but we didn’t feel at home. We dreamed of one day finding parents to adopt us. One day we hoped to live in a big house without worrying about being attacked by other animals. In the forest there were too many predators, so we slept with one eye open all the time. We had to have our ears perked up closely listening for intruders. “Hey Zelda-Lu” I called over to her, “Maybe today is the day we are going to be taken to our new home by our new human parents?” Zelda-Lu wasn’t so sure as she replied, “You’re always dreaming of finding humans with a home for us, one that’ll be real warm. Two humans to adopt us, Ridley-Roo, that’s what you would like, isn’t it?” “Yeah, I like to dream about it,” Ridley exclaimed.
Not far from Wompous forest, Hector Charingo and his wife Maude stood perusing their yard and debating whether they should look for one pet or two. “I told you Hector", Maude charged, “If you bring me home a great heap of trouble I 'weel' thr-r-r-row you and whatever pets you cart hom straight into the garbage. Do you hear what I’m saying Hector? Are you paying any attention to me?” Maude clamored.
“I’m going to tell you just one last time, Hector, if you drag home two animals that end up being a big load of work for me, I’ll make your life miserable!” Hector felt Maude was (once again) working herself up over nothing. He became more determined. He replied, “All’s I’m saying is, how's about we just take a nice little stroll down by those woods, y’ know the ones we went by yesterday, down by Wompous?” He continued, “I’m sure we’ll see those two cats we saw there. I’ll betcha they’re still hanging around playing together. What d’ you say, Maude?” Maude agreed with a flippant nod of her head. “Okay Hector. You win already. Let’s go now. I want to get home in time to watch my soap opera.” Off they drove, with the lake to the south, as their old Chevy pick-up lumbered along in search of the two cute cats they had seen a day earlier.
“Hey, Ridley-Roo, do you hear that? It sounds like people talking!" Zelda-Lu let out a loud meow as she looked out in the direction of the path. I was just about to fall into an early morning slumber, “Yes Zelda- Lu, I think I can hear them, those voices, yes I think they're the two humans I told you about. They are coming down the path. These two humans are the parents we’ve been dreaming about finding!”
END OF CHAPTER 1.
Howard's Video Reading of Chapter 1
The Next Day
Zelda-Lu and I loved our secluded little spot on the edge of Wompous forest although we did sometimes feel uneasy. Since there were so many low hanging branches, we knew we could quickly escape, if we had to, up into a nearby tree. If a predator came bearing down upon us, as they often did, hot on our tails, Zee-Lu and I would just disappear. As I said, that one problem was troublesome and had us thinking about leaving Wompous forest for a new home. A number of predators prowled these woods, especially raccoons, and they would stalk us constantly. Animals of our size were considered prize catches. Not far from this locale, we heard voices. We could see outlines of two humans walking along side by side. The first human was referred to as Hector by his mate, and he was calling out to someone named Maude. They were hiking down the forest path towards Zelda-Lu and me. Now they were only a hundred yards away. These were the same two people I’d seen a day earlier. I could hear Maude loudly calling to her partner Hector.
“Hector,” Maude shrilled, “Can you not understand that I’m tired? This walk is going to be the death of me, but of course you couldn’t care less, could you, Hector? And you told me the hike would be short! Hah! Short! Oh yeah! Can you see those blasted cats? I can’t! This is just a big wild goose chase, isn’t it? Maude to Hectoro Charingo, come in please.” Maude called him Hectoro when she started to get annoyed with him, and at that moment, Maude was getting hot and under the collar. Her face had begun to turn red and her eyes started to bug out. “Your problem is you live in a world of your own Hector. What planet are you on?”
I thought this was the ideal moment for Zee-Lu and me to make our grand entrance. “Okay Zee-Lu, let’s make our move towards the path,” I nervously sputtered nervously. Gently, gently, I reminded myself, knowing how Zee-Lu didn’t take well to being directed. I nudged her slightly forward trying to move her toward the path. “Hey, Zee-Lu, let’s get our paws in gear!” Zelda-lu and I began moving to where the grass was less deep and the path became clearer. Wrestling was always one of one our favourite pastimes. We always liked to wrestle, especially when we had nothing better to do. We were slowly edging closer to the forest pathway where the human people could now see us. We just barely made out the conversation between them. Down they came, walking and talking, and it seemed as if there was an argument about how many pets they would look for.
Hector loudly announced, “Hey look Maude! There they are! Aren’t they cute?” He blurted out, “I told you Maude. I knew we’d find ’em here! There’s that little light beige one, you know, the one I described to you! And there’s the other bigger one. Look at the white tip on the end of his tail. Hey little feller, aren’t you an interesting colour of cat?” I have spots like a leopard with white hairs on my chin and at the tip of my tail. Hector addressed me, “How’d you like to come home and live with us?” He suddenly reached down and scooped me up, and then the lady named Maude bent down and scooped up my mate Zelda-lu. Once hoisted, I felt myself being carried along as they walked back towards their old pick-up truck. Minutes later we arrived at their vehicle.
Hector had trouble finding his keys and then located them on the seat where he’d dropped them. “Okay everybody, we’re off! Yippee! We finally got us a couple of pets to adopt, ain’t that just great, Maude?” Hector exclaimed. Maude did not respond right away to Hector. She looked down at this little new addition to the family, Zelda-lu, trying to size her up. Zee-Lu gazed back at Maude. In that instant, Zelda-lu jumped up over Maude’s shoulder and bolted under the truck seat where she couldn’t be reached. Maude exclaimed, “Well I’ll be, that little beige cat moves like a lightning bolt! She’s just pure pee and vinegar, Hector.”
Loudly the motor roared and the truck clattered as we all rumbled along down the meandering lakeside roadway. The pace quickened as we lumbered along on the way to our new happy home. On we went as the truck bounced along the bumpy ever-curving lakeside highway. It seemed we had already been traveling for some time. I could now see the hills of Wompous forest becoming just a dim hazy outline off in the distance. “So, Zelda-lu, what do you think of our new parents?” I asked. Zelda answered sharply, “I’m not so sure, Ridley. This Maude lady seems to be a hothead. But I did like munching those onion pieces from that Hector’s pizza slice.” Zelda paused and then cautioned me, “For some reason I feel uneasy, Ridley. I can’t say exactly why.” I felt Zelda-lu’s nervousness had gotten the best of her. I told her, “ Zelda-lu, why not just calm down, enjoy the ride? Everything will work out fine. I don’t know why you have to always be the Nervous Nellie.”
At that moment, I noticed Maude looking down her snout at both of us. Maude said, “Hector, did you notice that little brown cat, the one you call Zee-Lu, nibbling some of the onion bits on your pizza slice?” “No,” Hector replied, “I never heard of a cat that eats onion bits. Couldn’t be or could it?” “Are you saying I’m a liar?” Maude spat out. Hector replied, “Oh, Maude, it’s impossible. Everyone knows that cats don’t eat onions!” Maude didn’t seem so sure about that. “There’s something ‘bout that little cat that’s really weird, Hector,” she grumbled. Maude seemed to suspect that Zelda-lu was an irregular cat, and boy, come to think of it; Maude was certainly bang-on, at least, not far off with her suspicions about my mate Zee-Lu.
It wasn’t long before we pulled up to Hector and Maude’s old wooden house. It was almost hidden behind large pine trees. The windows all had old wooden shutters.
End of Chapter 2
The Adventure Continues
We finally had arrived at our new home. Hector had me tightly clutched under his arm, while Zelda-Lu squirmed and struggled as Maude had her firmly gripped with an iron-like grasp of her arm. We must have made for quite a site as we entered their house.
The first thing I noticed was the holes in the walls. “Hey Zelda-Lu,” I stammered, “These two peoples can't keep their house in good repair, can they?” Zelda looked back at me with that 'I told-ya so' look on her face. Maude spoke first, “Now I just hope you two little kitties aren't going to be giving me too much trouble.” Maude clamored on, “'Cause I've already told my Hector, if you two end up making for us a bunch of trouble, then both of you are going straight to the garbage! And that's a promise!”
Maude's last comment allowed Zelda-Lu the opportunity to make her get-away from Maude's grip. Off Zee-Lu scampered, just like the flash of a camera. Away she went, up the rickety staircase. All I saw was a blur of beige. She whisked her way up those stairs, as I've heard friends say, the fur was flying. Man, she was quick. Already she was right at the top. The next thing I heard was a loud bellow from Maude. 'Hector! Someone has to go upstairs and lasso that darned cat! It's my worst nightmare. Hector, I have to let you know, that I hold you and these two wretched cats to blame. I just knew it! As soon as I set eyes on that little sinister midget of a beige cat. This is exactly what I feared would happen. And what do you bring me! Trouble times two!”
Swack! The hand-rail shook as she banged her hand down in a fist on it. Hector was barely able to mouth a reply, “Now Maude - how about you take a nice deep long breath. Slowly in and out. Remember what your doctor said to you. Your blood pressure goes up every time when you’re upset. I remember he said it was likely the cause of your high blood pressure. I'll dash upstairs and scoop that little varmit up. Just you relax yourself down here for a while.”
“Hey little feller,” Hector spoke to me as he looked down, not knowing I could understand his consternation, “you'll just have to stay down here with my Maude for a while. I'm going to find what your mate is up to.” Hector put me down onto the nice soft sofa in the living room. Quickly he made his way up the old creaky stairs. I was hoping that Zelda-Lu might be hiding under a bed or above a dresser. With luck, she hadn't had a chance yet to chew on any cotton pillowcases or anything that she usually liked to do.
Maude took me under her arm with a rock-solid grip. She had quite a hard grip, but I kind of expected it. She murmured under her breath, “This is just what we don't need - beeg heeps of trouble from two furry, noisy, messy cats! You don't want to be causing us a big mess of trouble, now do you, mister?”
Maude peered down her snout at me. For some reason, I just felt like saying usually I don't like causing trouble, but I thought, in her case, I might make an exception. And I certainly wasn't ready to snuggle right up to this woman and start purring and giving her some licks. She didn't seem overly nice. I tried to relax, but inside myself I felt downright nervous. Meanwhile, I could hear Hector upstairs calling to Zelda-Lu. “Here kitty-kitty. Here, here Kitty-kitty. Come now, my little pretty one. You don't want to start off here with us on a sour note, do you now?”
Oh, there she is, that's a good-” . Hector suddenly gasped. “Oh god, no! Not my favourite sweater! Why, you little devil!” Hector stamped his foot. “Oh my, now aren't you being a bad little kitty.”
Maude called up to him, “Hector, that's it! Bring that cat to me. Let me deal with her! She's gonna have to learn the hard way, I'm afraid!” She wasn't the only one that was afraid - since I was feeling quite afraid also. I wasn't quite sure what that meant about “Let me deal with her,” but it sure didn't sound too good.
Hector came down the stairs with Zelda-Lu in his right arm, as he carried his sweater showing the big hole with his free hand. Maude commanded Hector, “Put the cat down now!” Hector obediently did as he was told. Then Maude suddenly reared back with her big muscular right leg, and with all her force directed a karate style kick in Zelda-Lu's direction.
Zelda-Lu saw it coming. She sprang high up into the air, and as she did so, Maude slipped a little bit, sending her off-balance just enough so that Maude's pointy booted foot went straight through the wall. Maude hissed, “Damn you, you little wicked cat! You’re a devil's daughter, I say, a natural born devil-cat.”
Maude's face turned red as she struggled to disentangle her foot from the wall. “Hectoro! Get her. There she goes up on the fridge. I see her in the kitchen. I can't allow this. She must be stopped!” With all this chaos around Zelda-Lu, they had forgotten about my existence. I ran to the kitchen sink to see where Zelda-Lu had gotten herself now.
“Hey Zelda-Lu!” I called to my mate. “I think you'd better lie low for a while, I think old Maude is going to skin you alive, if she can catch you.”
Zee-Lu heard what I said and then scampered down behind the fridge. It would take Hector time to move the fridge out to get at her. Zee-Lu cracked back, “They'll never catch me, Ridley-Roo. I'm much too fast for them. And I'm smarter too!”
End of Chapter 3.
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