“Hey, that looks really cool,” the tuxedo cat called over her shoulder.
Yehudi had claimed one of the green chairs which had a great a view of the front lawn and the perfect autumn day outside. The cat squinted to avoid the sun, which cast a glow on the yellow and red leaves.
“Thanks Yehudi,” I said, closing the screen door behind me.
Okay, so maybe I need to clarify. When I say I closed the screen door, what I am really saying is that it closed on its own, narrowly missing the big orange cat that followed me in and smacking me on the butt as it did so. Both cats took advantage of the opportunity to giggle at my misfortune.
“Okay, yuck it up you two!”
They were quick to pick up on my annoyance and fell silent almost immediately. One look at them and a pang of guilt filled my gut. Right away I knew I shouldn’t have barked at them like that.
What’s that? I didn’t introduce myself? I really am picking up some bad habits, I am sorry to be so rude. As you can probably see by my brown coat and floppy ears, I am Cindee, a chocolate lab mix, or as many people like to say, a mutt. I returned my thoughts to the two cats.
“It’s alright. I am the one who should be sorry,” I said.
My two friends greeted my apology with a smile, and both seemed eager to move on, so I too left it in the past, thankful that everything was put back to right so quickly.
“I need a drink of water,” I said to nobody in particular, but stood for a moment with my tongue hanging out, dry as a bone if anyone required proof.
“All that hard work left me kind of parched, I think I will come with you,” my orange friend added.
“From here, it looked like you guys watched while Mommy and Daddy did everything,” the little black and white cat said, feeling free to express her point of view.
It didn’t take long for the comment to hit home. The serene look on the big ginger cat’s face transformed into a scowl.
“Sorry,” Yehudi mumbled.
“C’mon Rapi, let’s get that drink!”
The big orange cat sauntered along beside me and together we walked towards the water bowl, his tummy sloshed around underneath him, narrowly avoiding scraping against the ground. The tuxedo cat mumbled something under her breath, and Rapi came to a sudden stop.
“Ignore her,” I whispered under my breath to him.
He looked at me, his eyes narrowed, and his breathing ragged with rage.
“It’s not worth the trouble,” I added.
“You’re right Cindee,” he agreed.
I took a long deep draught of refreshing cool water, then stood waiting for Rapi to take his turn.
“Oh my gosh,” the little black cat huffed and pointed out the window.
Rapi and looked at each other, then he shrugged and went back to drinking.
“Cindee! Look! Hurry!”
Now Yehudi had my attention. I charged towards the window and leapt up onto the matching green chair so that I could get a better vantage point.
My gaze followed the direction the cat’s paw was pointing in and took in the beautiful autumn decorations we had just put up. Standing in front of the porch were two scarecrows, one dressed like Mommy and the other like Daddy. In front of them sat two bales of straw with five pumpkins resting on top of it. Each pumpkin had a picture of one of us painted on it. Around the pumpkins we had placed ears of seasonal corn, the kernels all different colors.
“What? It looks beautiful,” I said, starring at Yehudi, without any attempt to hide the look of puzzlement that had most certainly grown on my face.
Again, with the pointing. At last, Rapi had reached us and found a spot where he too could look out the window.
“OMG,” the big cat hissed, his eyes growing wide.
I looked one more time, and that was when I saw it. On the far side of the lawn a group of ten hideous creatures had banded together. They looked towards our display with envy and disdain in their eyes. The three of us stood open mouthed, unable to believe our eyes.
An ear-splitting howl emerged from Mommy’s office behind us. The noise had caught us off guard. The cat’s dove for cover under the chairs and I spun to see what was going on. It was Mylo, the yellow lab mix who had just joined our household a few months ago.
The puppies voice carried through the home. There was a sense of irritation and urgency in the word. The young guy only had two speeds. Off and full. He came barreling out the office and leapt up onto the chair, knocking me over in the process.
“Look at their eyes,” the puppy squealed with disgust.
I did look at their eyes. I saw the way they glowed at the sight of the corn. Something had to be done, and now.
“Mylo, we need to protect our home against these filthy intruders. Anything goes. Got it?”
There was no hesitation. He heard and he understood. Together, the two of us dashed towards the front door and out onto the porch.
“Go get them,” Rapi called after us in encouragement.
I looked at Mylo and smiled at him.
“Take no prisoners!”
“Get em,” I yelled.
“Yes maam” Mylo called back.
I began to charge towards the nasty little buggers, but pulled up when a yellow-white flash zipped past me. My mouth dropped open and my eyes bulged out. I had never seen the puppy move so fast before.
“You are mine!” he called out and dove headfirst into the enemy camp.
Squirrels scattered everywhere. Five dashed off to the left and five went to the right while their commander climbed the tree. I felt a big grin spread across my face at the sight of Old Bushy Tail retreating up the ancient maple tree. But the celebration was short lived.
Like a finely trained general, he chirped out commands and his minions quickly shifted into gear. Soon they had fanned out across the lawn into a semi-circle. I watched Mylo split off towards the left flank of their formation. The young pup was like a heat seeking missile that targeted the fastest of the squirrels. In no time I felt my spirits rise as he quickly caught up to the speedy little monster and grabbed it by the tail. The fence was coming up quickly on Mylo. Too quickly. I could not see any way that he was going to be able to stop in time.
To my great surprise and joy, the puppy managed to avoid crashing by making a hairpin turn and flinging the fiend that he had caught over the fence at the same time.
“Behind you,” he screamed as he flew past me at Mach 1.
I spun around just in time to see him snatch up another one of those unsightly critters and head towards the tall wooden barricade where he launched the nasty thing into the air and over it so he could reunite with his other squirrel friend.
“Take that,” Mylo whooped with exuberance.
The puppy made a quick u-turn and headed toward the other flank. The five rodents that made up that attack force took one look at the little tan lab mix streaking at them and the decided it was better to turn tail and run.
I joined Mylo in the chase and together we herded them to the back of the house and over the fence, where we heard squirrels shouting such horrible words at us that we could not repeat them.
I glanced up at Old Bushy Tail up in the tree and could see the anger and frustration growing on his face, but I knew for a fact he was not about to give up so easily. He looked at me and shook his fist, then began to chirp out a new set of orders to what was left of his invaders.
The puppy and I took up a position between the squirrels and their prize. The demons didn’t back down, leaving us at a standstill. I glanced over at Mylo and smiled widely, confident in our impending victory. He nodded his head knowingly. I glared back up at Mr. Bushytail, who still hadn’t moved.
“Give it up! You have lost!”
He made no move to surrender, instead he began to laugh maniacally. Let him laugh, he was done for, and he knew it. The thought had no sooner filled my head when two dark shadows filled the yard.
“Oh no,” the puppy moaned.
I lifted my eyes upward and scanned the sky overhead in time to see two very large hawks descending on our yard. They swooped down over our display, each of them grabbing one bunch of corn per claw before ascending back up into the sky. Their large wings carried the birds through the air and into our neighbor’s yard where they promptly dropped the corn on the other side of the fence.
Mylo and I had become so engrossed in the hawks that we had momentarily forgotten about our sworn enemies. Scanning our property, the squirrels were nowhere to be found. I was about to chalk this one up to fate when we heard the faint sound of nibbling and laughter, which began to grow louder and more intense. A loud whistle came from behind us, capturing our attention. I turned to find Old Bushytail standing on the fence waving at us while chomping down on …
“Corn,” Mylo huffed, then trudged off towards the house.
“Yep. Corn,” I harrumphed.