The big orange cat spun the dial with all his strength. It zoomed around in circles, and watching it made him dizzy. He felt like he was about to fall over, when the black arrow began to slow down and crept around the circle one more time before finally coming to a stop.
“Left paw red!” the cat called out enthusiastically, then looked up to watch.
Both Mylo and I quickly scrambled for the same red dot, but thanks to the puppy’s small stature and nimble limbs he beat me to it, so I had to quickly re-adjust my strategy and choose another dot.
I had managed to complete the maneuver successfully, but not without my old joints crackling and popping.
“Nice job,” the cream-colored Shepherd/Labrador mix said in his high-pitched squeaky wheel type of voice.
“Thanks Mylo,” I answered him, through labored breaths and shaky limbs, and I knew for a fact, that if the next spin of the wheel didn’t go my way I was done for. This chocolate lab body of mine is in no shape compared to that pup, and I had no delusions about it either.
“Hang on Cindee,” a young black and white tuxedo cat called from the sofa.
The words of encouragement helped me to steel my nerves, until the chubby grey and white cat sitting next to her spoke up.
“Keep on dreaming Yehudi, old Cindee is done for,” she said.
“You are not nice Bella,” the little black cat said as she looked at her neighbor on the sofa and gave her the best stink eye she could muster.
“Could you hurry it up Rapi,” I called to the orange cat, desperation in my voice.
“Oh yes, sorry Cindee,” he answered before spinning the wheel again.
I know it took less than a minute for the spinner to come to rest on the next move, but it sure seemed like five minutes or longer.
“Left foot, yellow,” Rapi cried out.
Once again, the newest member of our household beat me to the dot I wanted, and again, I made a course adjustment. At least this time, I was in a slightly more comfortable position.
“I love twister,” Mylo barked.
Something in the corner of the room stirred and Mylo caught sight of it out of the corner of his eye.
“What is that,” he squeaked, his eyes locked on a pile of toys stacked up in the corner of the living room.
“What’s, what?” Rapi asked, nervousness starting to grow on his chubby face.
“Bah, it’s just a trick,” the grey and white cat grumbled.
“It is not,” Mylo shot back.
“Look, it moved again,’ he barked.
All of us shifted our focus to the corner just in time to see it.
From behind the stuffed toys, its gruesome head rose.
“Ahhhhhh,” Bella squealed, then passed out.
That was all Rapi and Yehudi needed to see. Without saying another word, they dashed from the living room and sprinted up the stairs.
“Where are they going,” Mylo asked.
“Where else? To hide under the bed,” I answered.
“Rapi! Yehudi! Bella”
I called as loudly as I could from the bottom step, but none of the cats answered. I felt a tug on my leg, and glancing down saw Mylo staring up at me, puzzlement on his little tan face.
“Why did they run like that,” the puppy asked.
I thought about the best way to answer the question. I certainly didn’t want to answer too hastily, and I didn’t want to paint a bad picture for Mylo, after all, he was still new to our home and learning how things worked.
“They were just a little surprised,” I finally answered.
“Oh,” was all that he said, though a careful examination of his face said that he really wasn’t satisfied with the answer, but had decided not to press the matter, which I was extremely thankful for.
At this point it had become abundantly clear that the cats were not about to come downstairs, so Mylo and I did the only thing we could. We climbed the stairs to confront them.
“Now remember Mylo, this is a sensitive issue,” I said once we reached the top of the stairs. He looked at me and nodded with a smile. I knew I was gonna like this kid. He was going to be so easy to mold into the kind of dog I wanted.
“Why you hiding under the bed,” Mylo said as soon as we rounded the corner.
“Mylo! Don’t you remember what we talked about. Subtle, remember? Sensative? Ring a bell?” I growled.
“Sorry Cindee, I forgot!”
“It’s okay,” I mumbled, unable to remain upset with that face.
“So, why are you hiding under the bed?” I grumbled.
Mylo kicked me in the leg and scowled at me.
“Well, you already asked,” I said apologetically.
The puppy thought about that for a moment, then nodded at me and smiled approvingly.
“Well,” he added.
“Is it safe,” the orange cat asked, poking his head out from under the bed.
“It is,” I answered.
“Safe from what? That mouse?” the puppy asked, confused by the situation.
Rapi began to slink back under the bed at the mere mention of the word mouse. Mylo looked up at me, his expression demanding an answer for this behavior, but I had none. All I could do was shrug.
“You are a cat aren’t you?” the puppy asked.
Rapi nodded proudly.
“Aren’t cat’s supposed to catch mice?” Mylo asked.
“I guess,” the orange cat answered hesitantly.
“Then why are you hiding?”
Now Mylo was genuinely confused.
“Because,” Rapi answered hesitantly, his expression flushed with embarrassment.
“Well, because,” he began again.
“Because we are scaredy cats,” the little black cat called from behind Rapi.
Mylo and I had returned to the scene of the crime with the big orange cat, though Rapi had done so hesitantly.
“See, that’s not so bad,” I said to Rapi, who was feverishly scanning the room.
“What’s wrong with his eyes,” Mylo asked, concerned about the way the cat’s eyes were bulging from his head.
“Nothing. Nothing is wrong with my eyes,” Rapi protested, even though his eyes contradicted his words.
The cat opened his mouth to protest this search but was only able to manage a mere squeak when he was interrupted by a rustling noise coming from behind him.
Just when we thought Rapi’s eyes could not grow any wider they had somehow managed to expand even further to the size of two saucers.
Mylo and I looked at each other, then refocused our attention on Rapi and the stirring noise coming from the corner.
“P..p..please tell me that isn’t a …” the cat began to ask in a haltering stutter.
“A mouse,” Mylo finished Rapi’s sentence for him.
“Yeah, that,” the cat said gulping down air.
“Okay, I won’t,” Mylo said, shifting his eyes back and forth from Rapi to the corner.
“You won’t … what?”
Rapi;s tongue had fallen out of his mouth and his chubby body had begun to sway like he had sucked down a keg of beer all on his own.
“I won’t tell you about the brown mouse standing behind you making funny faces at you,” Mylo blurted out with a giggle.
“You are just pulling my leg,” the cat answered with a half laugh.
“Nope, he isn’t,” I interjected.
Before the word had left his lips that cat had leapt up into the air and scrambled behind us, hoping we would protect him. Now that Rapi was out of my line of sight, I was able to see the mouse for the first time.
“Hey Cheeks,” I said to the mouse.
“Hey Cindee,” the rodent answered back.
“Cheeks,” Rapi squeaked from behind.
“You know this mouse?” Mylo asked.
“I do. Cheeks lives with Mr. Thomas two doors down,” I explained.
“That’s true,” Cheeks affirmed my claim.
“How did you get here,” I asked, concerned about the little mouse.
“Truthfully? I don’t know Cindee. Pops fed me yesterday, but didn’t close the door tight, so I thought that maybe it would be nice to explore the world, only the world is bigger than I thought and now. Well, now, I am lost,” Cheeks said, hanging his head in despair.
“Not completely lost,” Rapi said, craning his neck so he could see around me.
“Rapi is right Cheeks. You are here with us and we are not lost. I will just tell Mommy that you are here and she will take you back to your pops,” I said, smiling, happy in the knowledge that I was going to be able to do a good deed for a friend.
“You would do that for me?”
“We sure would,” Rapi purred, side stepping me to get a closer look at the mouse.
“Oh, thank you so much. You are not so bad for a cat,” the mouse said, waving to Rapi.
“You are not so bad for a mouse either,” the big orange cat answered boldly and with a wide grin.
The sun had sunk below the horizon and had been replaced by a glowing crescent moon. Stars twinkled behind it and if we looked very carefully, we could see the dusty cloud that made up the center of the galaxy cutting through the sky.
We had gathered in our new spot, the bay window of our new home, with our new brother, Mylo to decompress from the day’s events.
“Who would have thought that I would be friends with a mouse?” Rapi chuckled. The rest of us joined in with heartfelt giggles of our own.
A light shot across the sky. It happened so fast that I barely caught it out of the corner of my eyes. I fell silent and watched for it to happen again, but the drone of Rapi and Mylo talking mixed together with my old aching muscles soon had my eyelids growing heavy.
“We are all in this together on this big spinning rock, we just need to get along,” the words fell from my lips, my eyes closed, and I drifted off into a deep relaxing slumber with dreams of Rapi and Cheeks engaged in a thought provoking game of chess under a dome of sparking lights.