The big orange cat pawed at the round plastic container, pushing it forward inch by inch towards the edge of the table.
“C’mon baby, c.mon,” he urged it on until it was teetering on the precipice. With one final nudge it careened over the side. Whomp! It collided with the ground, resulting in a hollow sound that echoed in the dining room. The dice spilled out and tumbled along the tiled floor. They came to a rest with the faces showing three sixes, a two and a four.
“Keep the sixes,” the ginger cat said confidently, while the less rotund grey and white cat looked on.
“Wowwie Rapi, that was a good roll,” I called from down below. I could see a reflection of my brown face and floppy ears in his deep brown eyes.
“Thanks, Cindee,” he smiled down at me.
I lowered my head and scooped up the two and the four then dropped them back in the cup, which I then deposited on the table in front of Rapi.
“C’mon baby, be good to daddy,” he cried out as he coaxed the cup to the tipping point. He blew a gust of air on it and over it went. Rapi peered down from the tabletop and watched with anticipation as the cup crashed onto the ground below. Bella stood next to him, holding her breath. The dice popped out of the cup and danced across the floor coming to a rest with a pair of sixes showing.
“Yatzee!” Rapi and I yelled in unison.
“Bah, no fun,” Bella hissed under her breath at the realization she had just lost, all the while the big orange cat rolled around laughing extatically on the surface of the dining table.
“Sore loser,” he called back to Bella, who by now had jumped down and was stalking off into the living room.
Bang, Bang, Bang!
came the loud noise from the front door. I jumped to my feet and took off running for the door.
“Who is it,” I howled?
Daddy came scampering down the stairs with Mommy in tow behind him. The door cracked open and Robin stuck her head inside.
“Hello!” she called out before slipping in through the opening. Daisy bounded in behind her. Robin almost fell to the floor when Daisy pushed past her and into the living room.
“Daisy!” I cried out.
“Cindee!” she called back.
Together we began to sing and dance around the room. Daisy was my bestie, just in case you didn’t already know. Our dancing was cut short when Robin gave Mommy and Daddy hugs.
“You be a good girl today Daisy. I want to hear only good things about you when you get home later okay?” Robin gave Daisy scratches on the head, then snuck out the door and closed it behind her before Daisy had a chance to protest.
“So, who wants to go to Niagara Falls today?” the excitement in Daddy’s voice was contagious. Both Daisy and I were jumping up and down barking out our approval.
“I do, I do!”
“Then let’s go!” Mommy said.
We all ran out the front door and piled into the car. Just like that, we were on our way to a new adventure!
Kerr Clunk Kerr Clunk,
the car tires went on the little bumps on the road. Daisy and I were each staring out our own window watching the city go by. I felt a tapping on my shoulder. I glanced over at Daisy who was nodding for me to look out the front windshield.
A thick cloud of white smoke rose into the blue sky.
“Oh my gosh, that must be a huge fire,” I said.
I shifted my gaze back to Daisy and looked into her eyes. She must have been able to see how nervous I was because her face transformed from inquisitiveness into concerned in the blink of an eye.
“Fire,” we both barked out, trying to get Mommy and Daddy’s attention. How they were not able to see the smoke cloud, I do not know, because it was a very big cloud. They didn’t even acknowledge us, instead, Daddy just kept driving towards the smoke.
“That has to be one big fire,” Daisy said, glassy eyed from staring. I think she was right too. That cloud just kept on getting bigger the closer we got.
“Do you think your Daddy is going to see if somebody needs help?” Daisy asked. Unsure of the answer, I just shrugged and went back to monitoring the smoke.
Daddy made a couple of turns and soon the billowing haze could be seen through the window on Daisy’s side of the car. We shifted in our seats so we could both see what was happening. Outside, there were mobs of people walking down the sidewalk. They were all laughing and pointing to the thick cloud that was roiling into the sky. It was so thick that the sun was almost blocked out.
“Those nasty rubberneckers!” Daisy exclaimed.
“Somebody could be seriously hurt!” I was angry. No, I was furious. I could feel my heart pounding and heat in my face and ears. I just wanted to bite their ugly faces off! The only thing we could resort to was barking at them from the back seat, so that is exactly what we did!
I almost lost my balance when Daddy unexpectedly turned into a parking lot. He slowed the car down and brought it to a stop in a parking spot.
“We’re here!” He sounded happy. Daisy and I looked at each other dumbfounded. Mommy let us out of the car and hooked us up, before leading us off towards the looming cloud directly in front of us.
Sniff Sniff … The fire had a strange smell to it.
Friends, this was a wierd experience. Daisy and I walked among the crowd of happy terrorists, which now included Mommy and Daddy. The pathway along the road eventually revealed an open area, which was enclosed by a railing on the one end of it. Together, the four of us leisurely walked over to the railing. Daisy and I pushed our heads between the rails so we could have a better look. In front of us was a roaring river, the water pouring over the edge of a precipice. We peered down the ravine in front of us at the water pooling at the bottom of the falls. Daisy and I were both shocked by what we saw.
There was no fire. There was no smoke either. What we had been worried about was mist rising from the base of the falls in a giant cloud. I was so relieved. Mommy and Daddy were not crazy nutjobs after all.
We all stood there for a little while, watching the water rush over the edge with a loud roar, similar to that of a jet plane about to take off. All the noise made me more than a little jittery. I glanced over at Daisy, who had decided to sit down, right next to me. Her tongue hung from her mouth, and there was a brightness to her eyes. You could just tell that this was an exciting moment in her life and she was relishing every moment of it.
“Pretty cool, right girls,” Daddy asked. He was sucked in by the sight and sound of everything too.
“You wanna go on the Maid of the Mist?” he asked.
Daisy and I looked at each other, our eyes growing wide, hers in anticipation, mine with fear.
“Yes!” she barked.
“What is a Maid of the Mist?” I asked, but nobody would answer me.
The door to the execution chamber slid shut in my face.
We had gotten on the magic box. I think Mommy and Daddy call it an elevator. We had come to a stop deep down at the bottom of the gorge, where I soon discovered that a Maid of the Mist is a boat ride, in which you put on a rain coat and ride to the edge of the falls. To me though, all I saw was a floating death trap that would escort us to doom.
The four of us stood in line for what seemed like forever, until we finally reached the ticket booth at the front. The young blonde-haired girl that worked there shook her head at Mommy and Daddy and pointed to a sign behind us.
“Next,” she called out before we even had a chance to turn around to see what she was pointing at. Much to my joy was a sign attached to a chain link fence with the three best words I have ever seen in my life.
“NO DOGS ALLOWED!”
“Yippee! I am saved,” I shouted. Everyone glared at me.
“I mean, that is terrible!” I shouted. Thank goodness everyone bought into my acting. I mean what self-respecting dog would want to go on that death trap?
“What a shame,” Mommy said
“Yes, a shame, now let’s go!” I urged everyone on.
Daisy gave me the evil eye. She was obviously disappointed in this set back. We walked dejectedly to the back of the line. Daddy stopped abruptly and stood on his tip toes, looking off into the distance. I squinted in the same direction to try and get an idea of what he was looking at.
It was a sign that said Cave of the Winds. I was not liking this either. It sounded damp and dark and worst of all … windy. Three things I did not like at all. I put on my game face and looked him square in the eyes with my big sad puppy dog eyes.
‘Ugh,” he sounded disgusted.
“What is it,” Mommy asked.
“Another sign,” he grumbled.
“NO DOGS ALLOWED!” he shook his head as the words tumbled off his tongue.
“Sorry about that girls,” Mommy gave us both a pat on the head.
“It’s discrimination,” Daisy barked.
“We will survive,” I did my best impersonation of a disappointment dog.
I was so done with this whole gorge experience. The loud rumble of the falls was making my heart go pitter patter, and not in a nice way.
I let out a deep breath once we were back on the magic box and on our way back up to ground level. It felt so good to have all four paws back on normal ground. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking the pathway around Goat Island. This was my favorite part of the day. The sights and sounds were fabulous, but not as fabulous as the picnic lunch that Mommy had packed. Yummy!
Peace and quiet
That is what I heard on the way home. When Mommy and Daddy are this quiet on a car ride it usually means that they are tired. Daisy and I kept our voices low when we talked, just in case Mommy and Daddy really were listening to the country music playing on the radio.
“It was nice today, right?” I asked Daisy.
“The water was way cool. I just wish we could have gotten closer to those falls!”
I could understand how Daisy felt. If only I were more adventurous, I would be disappointed too.
“It was discrimination, wasn’t it?” I admitted.
“It was,” Daisy’s voice sounded flat.
“Sometimes, the people who are put in charge don’t understand how their decisions affect others. Especially, people like us who are different from them,” Daisy went on.
I finally saw her point. The fear of the unknown, or of something that is different or new, and sometimes even the fear of loud scary things can cloud your judgment.
“What can we do? We are just dogs,” she shifter her gaze out the window as she spoke. Together, we sat in silence for a while. Well, almost silence, after all, Garth Brooks was singing about spending the weekend in a dive bar.
A light bulb went on in my brain! Then, it flickered on and off a few times before going on and staying on.
“I got it Daisy! We can write a letter with our complaints!”
“That’s a great idea Cindee!”
We smiled and high fived.
“Oh No,” Daisy grumbled.
I looked up in time to see Daddy slow down and pull into Daisy’s driveway.
“I will Skype you tonight and we can work on it then okay?” I asked.
Daisy nodded in agreement just as Daddy pulled the door open to let her out.
“Talk to you later,” she said.
“Yes, later!” I barked out just before the door closed.
Cindee come to bed!
Mommy called from upstairs. I waited at the bottom of the stairs for Daddy to finish turning off the lights so we could go up together.
I jumped in bed, and Daddy climbed in behind me. Once he was settled in, I found my comfortable spot in the middle and closed my eyes for just a moment to think. I knew that somewhere, in some office building in Niagara Falls, a person would be checking their email in the morning. They would click on our email and read it. The thought was exhilarating. I just hope that it makes a difference, and that one day us people of four paw persuasion are permitted to visit the falls up close. Finally, my eyelids began to close, and my mind drifted off to dreams of cookies, Daisy and a fun day at Niagara Falls.