The grey and white cat gently nudged the plastic cup towards the edge of the table. Mylo, the vanilla labmix puppy stood on the floor below anxiously waiting.
“C’mon Bella, you can do it,” he panted excitedly.
“Hush,” the cat complained.
Her face was scrunched up, contorted in deep concentration. With one final poke, the cup plunged over the precipice. It sailed through the air smacking into the ground with a loud clatter, sending it’s contents skittering across the floor.
We all held our breath with our eyes glued on the red dice as they danced and tumbled along the hard wood until at last they came to a rest.
“A five and a one. That makes six,” the puppy barked up at the rest of us gathered at the table, before collecting the dice in his mouth and depositing them back into the cup.
Bella stretched out her paw and began to slowly guide the pewter car along the board one space at a time, counting them along the way.
The other two felines at the table, one a tuxedo and the other a ginger, watched intently, counting along with Bella.
“Five … six,” we all shouted in unison.
Bella brought the car to a stop.
“Boardwalk! That’s mine,” the orange cat leapt up and shouted jubilantly.
The white cat with the grey patches on her back glared at him.
“With a hotel … that’s two thousand dollars,” he bellowed.
Bella began to paw through the pile of money that she had accumulated throughout the contest.
“Pay up Bella,” the orange cat roared.
“Chill out Rapi, I am counting out the money,” she shot back at him.
“Do you got enough? I don’t this she has enough,” the small black and white tuxedo cat commented from across the table.
Though the comment was polite enough, the smile was smug.
“I said I am counting Yehudi,” Bella groaned.
“Yeah, I don’t think she has it,” Rapi whispered to Yehudi.
Now friends, I am just a dog, and not the wisest one to walk the face of the earth but I had enough sense to see that trouble was on the horizon.
“I only have six hundred,” Bella mumbled.
“Ha ha, you are out!”
Rapi had roared the words with such enthusiasm that his big white belly began to jiggle and shake.
“Gosh, you don’t need to be so mean,” Bella hissed.
Rapi reached out his muscular arm and swatted Bella across her face.
“Don’t use that tone with me,” he growled on his way to his feet.
The orange cat’s tail had swollen to three times it’s usual size. Bella chose to stand her ground, but wisely opted to maintain a defensive posture.
Then, if by some divine intervention, the front door swung open and Daddy stepped through it, holding a giant orange disc in each hand.
“I have a surprise!”
The sound of snow crunched under the tires as we pulled off the road into a large open parking lot. The crackling soon turned to a groan when the vehicle pulled to a stop.
Mylo and I turned our heads to look at one another.
“The park?” he whispered.
“The park,” I answered with a wide grin.
Barks of surprise and unadulterated happiness filled the car. Daddy’s eyes met mine in the rearview mirror. His eyes smiled almost as widely as my lips.
I get such large goosebumps whenever Mommy shouts those words. They could mean only one thing. Something awesome was about to happen. She never says, ‘let’s go,’ when something awful is going to happen.
Daddy grabbed the big orange discs from the trunk, and we all raced along the pathway until we reached the edge of a large drop off. I peeked over the lip and suddenly my tummy was stuck in my throat.
“Are we going to suicide,” Mylo asked, looking over at me with his face turning a sickly shade of green.
“I am not sure,” I gulped.
Daddy had dropped the discs in the snow, and now he and mommy were sitting on top of them. I felt my face contort into an odd posture.
“What the heck …” I began to ask but before I had a chance to finish my sentence Mommy had reached out and was pulling me towards her.
She wrapped her arms around me and lifted me on to her lap.
“Let me go!”
I kicked and wiggled until I was able to escape her grasp.
“Cindee, we are going to suicide. Ayeeeeee,”
Daddy and Mylo disappeared over the edge. Bile began to rise in my throat. I liked Mylo, but really, we had only known each other for six months. I would miss Daddy though.
Mommy chose that moment to take advantage of me. Her arms wrapped around the center of my body. She lifted me off the ground and pulled me onto her lap.
Friends, she is much stronger that I have given her credit for.
“Here we go Cindee!”
She leaned forward and our disc hovered on the precipice of the drop off. We balanced precariously for a moment until I panicked and shifted my body in hopes of breaking free from Mommy’s grip. It turns out that little movement was all it took for us to drop off the brink and begin a nosedive down the hill.
It started out as a yelp but soon transformed into a full out scream that came from deep inside of me. We began to race down the hill. A frosty cold breeze blew my ears around and smacked me in the face.
My throaty scream became more intense at the sight of the trees at the bottom growing closer with each passing second. I had resigned myself to the reality that my life was coming to an end, then something truly horrifying came into focus.
Waiting for us was a monster, his tiny round head sat on top of a big round body. His eyes were dull as coal and his teeth just as black. He stood in our path; his scrawny arms spread out waiting to catch us.
Mommy’s howl terrified me. If she was afraid of the monster it must be really bad.
“We are going to hit the …”
Pow, We smacked right into him.
“… the snowman,” she finished her sentence with a giggle.
We skidded to a stop.
“Wow, that was fun don’t you think Cindee?”
I stared at her wide eyed, letting the whole thing sink in.
“No. It was awesome,” I barked.
“That was cool right Cindee,” Mylo yelled across the field as he and Daddy ran towards us.”
I jumped to my feet and began to dance around.
“Let’s do it again!”
“Yeah, lets do it again,” Mylo echoed my sentiments.
Lucky for Mylo and I, we were able to do it again, and again, and again! It was a fabulous day! Unfortunately, it came to an end, and we are on the way home now. Why do all good things have to end? The car turned left and began its long trek down our street.
“Cindee, I don’t understand something. Rapi is such a nice guy, but why does he treat the girls like that,” the puppy asked.
“It’s a complex thing Mylo. Rapi and Bella have always had times where they don’t get along. When Bennie died, Rapi become the cat’s leader because he is the oldest. Sometimes I think Bella resents it, especially because she was so close to Bennie and Rapi really wasn’t.”
“I don’t understand,” the puppy said, the look in his eyes confirmed it.
“Let’s see if I can explain it. Sometimes Bella challenges Rapi’s leadership and Rapi responds. She does such a good job at getting under his skin that he overcompensates … like today, and is mean to her even when she didn’t do anything.”
“You are right, it is complicated. I am glad I am not a cat,” Mylo said before turning his gaze out the window.
“Cats are not the only ones with issues like this Mylo. Dog’s and even human’s experience jealousy and large egos. All we can do is be mindful of how we act and when we do make a mistake, we need to make sure that we apologize and try to make things right.”
Our house appeared in the distance. Even thought it is fun to go new places and explore different things, there is always that special feeling about being home.
“What about Rapi and Bella,” Mylo asked, studying my face as he waited for an answer.
“I think they will be fine,” I said as we pulled into the driveway.
“How can you be so sure,” he asked.
I pointed towards the bay windows. Mylo swung his head to find Rapi and Bella sitting side by side waving to us from the other side, each with a huge smile on their face.
The puppy looked to me and smiled.
I shrugged my shoulders and smiled back.
The car ground to a stop.
“Let’s go tell them all about our day?”
“Let’s,” the puppy answered.
Together we trotted towards the door to tell our feline friends about how we fell off the side of a hill and survived.