Saturday, April 30, 2005


Buddy and Percy

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“Buddy, you have the hiccups.” Percy is concerned when he finds Buddy sitting in the living room in the middle of the night, his sides heaving with great hiccups. “Do you want me to scare them out of you?”

Buddy is miserable. “No, I don’t have the hiccups. I’m sick to my stomach but nothing will come up. This must be what it feels like to die.”

“You probably have a virus. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

“No, I would feel better than this if I had something as common as a virus. I think I have food poisoning. I just know I’m going to die from it. I’m only five months old. That’s too young to go.”

“Food poisoning? Hmm.” Percy is thoughtful. “You don’t get food poisoning unless you eat something tainted. What have you eaten today?”

Buddy furrows his brow as he tries to remember what he has eaten. “I didn’t have much to eat today, mostly nibbles here and there.”

“But exactly what did you have?” Percy persists.

“Well, Merci and I took Jan out on her leashes first thing this morning, just as soon as she rolled out of bed.”

“And when you returned we all had breakfast.”

“No, first I had some hors d’oeuvres from the tree out front. They are small but good on an empty stomach.”

“You mean the little things Jan calls acorns?”

“Yes. Then I had some pecans I found near the mill,” Buddy says. “I guess the squirrels have enough to eat since they buried those in the dirt for me.”

“And then you had breakfast?”

“Yes, I had a cup of dry puppy food with a spoonful of canned dog food and a big gulp from Merci’s bowl before Jan pulled me away from it.”

Percy is aware of Buddy’s voracious appetite. “What else did you have today? I know you ate more than that. I saw Jan serve you a cup of dry food this afternoon and one late in the evening so you would sleep through the night instead of searching for food.”

“Yes, I had a mid-morning snack,” Buddy admits. “When Jan wasn’t around, I ate some of the treats you guys hide in your litter pans for me. And after lunch Jan took me over to Miss Mother’s to play. She took Merci too. I ate some more pecans there. Oh, and part of a stick. And some grass. I almost forgot the grass.” He looked a bit sheepish and admitted, “I also ate a slice of bread and cheese. You should have seen Jan’s face when she turned around for a moment and I swiped half of the sandwich off the table that she was fixing for her lunch. She forgets I’ve grown taller and can reach higher now.”

“Well, that sounds like a fairly normal day for you,” Percy tells Buddy. “There isn’t anything you ate that could give you food poisoning. Are you sure you didn’t forget to mention something?”

“No, that was everything.”

“Well, you aren’t going to suddenly die from eating the same things you eat every day,” Percy says. “You must have left out something!”

“No!” Buddy is adamant. “I told you everything I ate today. I’m going to die and they’ll have to do an autopsy on my body to find out what poisoned me. Make sure they put me back together before Jan buries me, please, Percy,” Buddy begs.

“I will,” Percy promises him.

Buddy’s heaves turn stronger and at last he vomits up the offending food. Buddy and Percy both stare in surprise at the mess on the floor.

“I knew it!” Percy exclaims. “I knew you didn’t tell me everything you ate.”

“Oh, yeah,” Buddy admits, “I forgot the corn cobs. Jan gave me one. I bit it in half and swallowed both pieces whole. Then I stole Merci’s out of her mouth and ate hers the same way. She was going to take it away and nibble on it daintily, like a lady. That’s no way to eat. Food was meant to be swallowed whole. Boy, those corn cobs were good!”

Percy shakes his head, unable to comprehend Buddy not eating his food slowly and savoring every bite. “Well, at least you aren’t dying. You’ll live to pig out another day.”

“You know,” Buddy says happily, “these corn cobs were so good the first time. They should taste even better the second time around.”

“Buddy, I love you like a brother, but you have the manners of a dog,.” Percy throws over his shoulder as he walks away in disgust.

“But, Percy, I am a dog.” Buddy calls after him as he licks his lips. “And now that I’m not going to die, I think I’ll go back to bed and get some sleep. It’s almost time to get up and walk Jan by the hors d’oeuvres tree again.”

Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Percy’s murder weapon

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Buddy is awakened from a sound asleep by a scream and then a loud crash in the kitchen.

“Out of the waaaaaay!” Percy screeches, as he races through the house, sending the desk chair rolling across the floor and nearly knocking Cotton heels over head. The other cats scatter to keep out of his path and go into hiding, not wanting to become involved in whatever Percy has done to cause this commotion.

“What’s his problem?” Buddy asks no one in particular. He climbs down from his favorite seat in the swivel rocker and walks into the kitchen to see what the problem is. “Uh-oh. Percy is in big trouble.”

He turns around and follows Percy’s route into the bedroom. “Percy, where are you?”

“Shhhh. I’m under the bed. Don’t let anyone know where I am.”

Buddy drops to the floor and lifts the edge of the blanket with his nose. Percy is at the farthest corner, huddled against the wall.

“Is Jan okay?” Percy asks.

“I don’t think so,” Buddy replies. “She’s lying on the kitchen floor with a ladder on top of her and blood pouring out of her head.”

“Is she dead?”

“She’s not moving. I think we better dial 9-1-1 and get her some help. That is, if it isn’t already too late.”

“Oh, no, oh, no,” Percy moans. “The police will send me to the shelter and kill me without a trial. What am I going to do?”

“Jan has a small suitcase in the closet. You can pack a bag and run away. They can’t send you to jail if they can’t find you,” Buddy says, trying to be helpful.

“Yes, good idea, Buddy. But what about the rest of you? If Jan is dead, won’t they send all of you to the shelter?”

“No, Mr. Doug will take us in,” Buddy says confidently. “He likes me. And Mercy. Surely he wouldn’t let the other cat critters go to the shelter just because one of her cats killed his sister.”

“It was an accident, Buddy. You believe me, don’t you?”

“Of course, I believe you, Percy. Didn’t you believe me when I was accused of trying to kill Jan a few months ago? That was an accident too.”

Merci runs into the bedroom and leans down to peer under the bed. “Percy, what are you doing under there?”

“I just leaped off the six-foot stepladder. It fell over and killed Jan. I’m hiding.”

“You what? But Jan is hard to kill. Ask Buddy. He’s tried. Besides -”

Buddy reaches over and places a large paw on Merci’s nose to stop her from continuing. “Percy is just getting ready to pack a bag and run away before the police get here. You did dial 9-1-1 to get help, didn’t you?”

“Mmmph, mmmph,” Merci says, unable to speak clearly with Buddy’s paw on her nose. She scurries backwards, out of his reach. “What are you doing, Buddy? I’m trying to tell Percy – “

“Percy doesn’t have time for small talk right now, Merci. He has to get moving if he wants to make his escape before the police arrive to arrest him.”

Merci’s eyes widen. “What? But –“

Buddy interrupts her. “Percy, before you go, I think you should say good-bye to Jan. It’s the least you can do after killing her.”

“I can’t,” Percy wails. “I can’t go back into the kitchen. I’ve never seen a dead body before, particularly one I’m responsible for.”

“Yes, you can, Percy” Buddy encourages him. “One last look, a final good-bye. You owe it to her and you won’t regret it. I promise.”

Merci tilts her head and looks thoughtfully at Buddy, who is exceptionally solicitous as he continues to urge a shaking and frightened Percy out from under the bed so he can pack a bag and make his escape before the police and paramedics arrive. Percy crawls slowly from under the bed and cautiously approaches the kitchen door, terrified of what he’ll find but wanting to pay his last respects to the one who allowed Merci to rescue and keep him when he was only three or four weeks old.

As he approaches the kitchen door, he hears someone singing off-key, “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes. She’ll be coming round the mountain -” The voice sounds familiar, but it can’t be. He leans to his right and peers into the kitchen. Jan is singing softly as she stands at the sink and washes dishes. There is no six-foot stepladder, pool of blood or dead body on the floor.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you, Percy,” Merci says. “The stepladder just missed Jan when you jumped off and knocked it over. It startled Jan, but there isn’t a scratch on her.”

Percy is shocked. “Buddy! How could you do this to me?”

“What do you mean, how could I do this to you? Who was waving the photograph and encouraging the club to ship me off to the shelter when I was accused of attempting to murder Jan? You were, Percy!” (“The Scene of the Crime,” posted February 19, 2005)

“But you said you forgave me for getting carried away.”

Buddy says, “Yes, I did forgive you, but I never said I wouldn’t get even. Now you know how it feels to be falsely accused.” He walks over and lays a big paw gently on his friend Percy’s neck. “It’s scary, isn’t it?”

Percy nods. “Yes, it is scary. I’m glad Jan is all right and I don’t have to run away and leave my friends.”

“Do you forgive me for playing such a mean trick on you, Percy?”

“Of course, I do,” Percy replies. “You’re one of my friends. But one of these days, when you least expect it, I’m going to find a way to get even.”

“That’s what I like about you, Percy.” Buddy grins, as he saunters away. “You and I think alike. We must have been hatched in the same egg carton.”

Note to self (Merci) – Check on which egg carton Buddy and Percy were hatched in and destroy it!

Have a good day,

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Buddy in two-step stool jail

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“Buddy, what are you doing under there?” Cyndi asks. “You look like you’re in jail.”

Buddy is sitting dejectedly underneath the two-step stool Jan put beside the bed for Jenny, the oldest cat, to use to climb onto the bed. Instead, Jenny climbs the blanket and the other animals use the steps.

“When Jan gets back home, she’s going to send me to jail. I’m in big trouble.”

“Again?” Cotton asks, curled comfortably on Jan’s pillow. “You’re always in trouble. What did you do this time?”

“I shredded a leash.”

Percy walks into the bedroom. “Another one? Jan’s going to have to open a collar and leash shop just to keep you and Merci outfitted.”

Crystal gets slowly to his feet, stretches lazily and walks across the bed to place his front paws on the top step and lean down to look Buddy in the face. “Have you ever considered not chewing up things? Then you wouldn’t get into trouble and get sent to jail.”

“I couldn’t help myself. Jan left early this morning without me and then she came home with the scent of other dogs on our leashes. She let other dogs walk her - and she used our leashes.”

“Is that what your tantrum was all about?” Merci asks. “I could have explained, if you had just asked me first.”

Cameron walks into the room and opens his mouth to speak. Buddy growls. “Don’t you dare mention the word dues now or I’ll personally kick you out of the Funny Farm Writing Club.”

“I was just going to ask if any of you know what happened to the new leash,” Cameron fibs. “It’s in pieces in the kitchen.”

“”Buddy,” Cyndi says, giving a one word explanation.

“You’re going to be in big trouble.”

“I already know that,” Buddy says, peering at Cameron through the opening between the two steps. “I lost my head.”

Cotton chuckles. “You were jealous. You want all the attention for yourself, but there are other animals living here and others outside this house. You can’t always be the center of attention.”

“Yeah, what would you do if Jan brought another dog home?”

Buddy glares at Percy. “She can’t. We don’t have any room for another dog. And besides,” he adds, “Jan can’t walk with another dog. She only has two hands, one for Merci’s leash and one for mine.”

Merci clears her throat. “Ahem. I thought you wanted to know why Jan allowed other dogs to walk her using our leashes.”

“There is no good explanation for abandoning us at home while she gives other dogs attention!” Buddy says adamantly.

“Buddy, Jan took our leashes with her to use to help walk homeless dogs at the animal shelter’s adoption day, in hopes the dogs might be adopted and go to new homes.”

“Homeless dogs? You mean, some dogs don’t have homes?”

“No, not all animals have a home,” Merci says. “And none of the dogs were adopted today, so they still don’t have homes. I know what it’s like to know I’m scheduled to die if someone doesn’t adopt me, because Jan rescued me out of the shelter. All the animals there aren’t so fortunate.”

Buddy hangs his head in shame. “I didn’t know that. Every dog and cat should have a home. I thought she didn’t love me any more and that’s why she allowed another dog to use my leash. I’m so sorry now, especially that none of the dogs have a home, but it’s too late. I already tore up my leash. I’ll go to jail for sure.”

“We’ll miss you,” Cameron says sadly.

Crystal walks down the steps as he adds, “It’s too bad you can’t put the leash back together again.”

Buddy perks up. “That’s a great idea! Then I can walk Jan with it again and Jan can let homeless dogs use it too.” Excitedly, he stands, raising the legs of the stool off the ground as his head touches the underside of the top stool step.

“Where are you going?” Cotton calls after him.

“To get the scotch tape and fix the leash.”

As Jenny wakens from a nap in her bed on the clothes dryer, she is startled to see the blue two-step stool dancing past her. Buddy’s tail is sticking out the back of it and Buddy’s voice is rising from beneath it. “Yippee! Jan still loves me, I’m going to help homeless animals, and I’m not going to jail!”

Secretary to the dysfunctional Funny Farm Writing Club

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Buddy and Percy

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Cotton opens one eye and stops in mid-stretch, blinking rapidly. Cyndi screams and leaps to the back of the swivel rocker at the same moment Crystal does and the chair tips over onto its back. Cameron leaps onto the coffee table and Merci scrambles underneath the couch.

Ever so slowly a white apparition with black and gray tabby ears shuffles from the bedroom into the living room, dragging its right hind leg and leaning heavily on a makeshift crutch. Beside this strange creature walks Buddy.

Merci is the first to recover. “Percy, what are you supposed to be?” she laughs, as she crawls out from beneath the couch.

Percy leans hard to his left, his weight held up by his temporary crutch, and slowly drags his thick, white-swathed foot another fraction of an inch forward. “I’m an invalid. Jan made an invalid out of me.”

“You’re not an invalid,” Crystal says. “And you better put her hairbrush back where you found it or you will be one.”

“Now, you leave Percy alone,” Buddy says, in Percy’s defense. “I have examined him and doctored his wound. He really is an invalid.”

Cotton is skeptical. “What wound?”

“In case you didn’t notice, Jan closed the back door on my foot and I gushed blood all over the house.”

“The way you screamed the whole county probably noticed, but that was yesterday,” Cotton reminds him, “and that was an accident. What were you doing on top of the door, anyway? I wouldn’t have thought to look up there for you either.”

“And you didn’t gush blood,” Cyndi adds. “You lost a few drops of blood in the kitchen, and right after Jan checked to see if you were okay, you were swinging from the ceiling again.”

“See, that’s why I appreciate Buddy. He isn’t giving me a hard time. He’s the only one who is willing to help me before my foot turns green and falls off from loss of blood.”

“Yes, I cleaned his wound and –“

“You cleaned his wound? Oh, gross!”

“Don’t you call Buddy gross, Cotton. He just doctored me.”

“He also just sneaked a snack out of our litter pans.”

“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear your sarcasm,” Buddy says. “I didn’t lick his wound, I washed it with soap and water. Then I bandaged it.”

“But why?” Crystal wants to know.

“Well, that’s what you do with an injury. When Jan fell while Merci and I walked her, she bandaged her elbow until the bleeding stopped and then Mr. Doug brought her some colorful Garfield knee Band-Aids.”

“But she only used a strip of gauze for her elbow and another for her knee. You look like a mummy with ears. Even your tail has disappeared under all that white fluff. How big a bandage did Buddy use?” Cameron asks.

“The biggest bandage I could find,” Buddy says, proudly. “I thought he should go for the sympathy wrap. And I only stuck him three times when I fastened it with a safety pin.”

“Yes,” Percy sighs, “Jan won’t be able to mistake my misery. She’ll feel guilty and I’ll get lots of attention and extra treats. And she’ll never close a door again without checking to see if I’m on top of it.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse us,” Buddy says, “we’re on our way to the litter pan. Percy has to pee.”

Merci and the other cats erupt into laughter, as Percy continues his slow shuffle across the floor. “Good luck,” Crystal chuckles. “Buddy is going to have to unwrap you and then re-wrap you.”

“Maybe this time he’ll only stick you twice with the safety pin,” Cyndi teases.

Percy stops shuffling and looks at Buddy. “You didn’t? You couldn’t be that dumb.”

Buddy looks crestfallen. “Uh, I guess I might be. I wasn’t thinking. There was just so much bandage and so little of you to wrap in it. I wrapped you from neck to tail” He brightened. “At least I didn’t wrap your face. I did remember you need to breathe.”

“Don’t worry, Buddy,” Cotton says. “Your mistake isn’t half as bad as Percy’s.”

“What are you talking about?” Percy asks, puzzled. “I didn’t make a mistake.”

Cotton grins. “Yes, actually you made a big mistake. You had Buddy wrap your right foot, but Jan closed the door on your left foot yesterday.”

Percy looks Buddy in the eye and forces a smile. “Oops.”

Filling in for Mr. Buddy, Journalist, who is busy unwrapping Percy

Friday, April 01, 2005


Percy, Buddy, and Merci

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Percy asks Merci and Buddy, “Do you two remember complaining that it’s hard for you to teach Jan to walk on a leash because she has no motor skills?”

“I sure do,” Buddy complains. “The funny farm residents nearly called Animal Control to send me to the animal shelter because of her lack of motor skills.”

“It’s hard for her to have motor skills when you trip her on the steps and try to kill her.” Merci says, quietly, remembering the incident under discussion.

Buddy sighs. “How many times do I have to tell you that I did not try to kill her. It was an accident.”

“We believe you, Buddy. At least we do now.” Merci touches Buddy’s shoulder with one paw. “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you then, but I do believe you now.”

“There is, however, a pattern here,” Percy says. “The two of you took her flying again last Sunday while you were walking her.”

“She tripped on a twig,” Merci explains. “We didn’t take her flying.”

“You didn’t stop either, when she started to fall, did you?”

“No,” Merci admits. “We didn’t realize she was in trouble. It isn’t unusual for her to stop suddenly or yank on the leash.”

“Yeah, we would have stopped, if she asked us to,” Buddy says.

Percy stares at Buddy. “Is your nose growing?”

Buddy touches a paw to his nose. “Why, does it look longer?”

“I’m not sure, but I hear that’s what happens when you don’t tell the truth.”

“I am telling the truth.”

“Buddy, you’re like a steam roller. You wander around in your own world, setting your own pace. You’re oblivious to everything around you,” Percy says. “Except food. You will stop for food. But you don’t pay a bit of attention to whether Jan can keep pace with you. You have to remember, she’s at least a month older than you and you’re what, four months old? That makes her old! People age faster than animals do. You can’t expect her to keep up with you and Merci.”

“Oh, I never thought of that.”

“You have to learn to pay more attention to what Jan is doing before you actually do kill her. Then what will we do?”

“Mr. Doug?” Buddy asks. “Do you think Mr. Doug will take us in if we accidentally kill Jan?”

“But we’re not going to kill her,” Merci says, with finality. “She’s hard to kill.”

“Not if she bleeds to death,” Percy says. “She lost a lot of blood Sunday.”

“Yes,” Merci admits. “It was running down her arm and dripping everywhere.”

“It didn’t hurt her. I saw her drinking a glass of blood to replace what she lost,” Buddy says.

Percy laughs. “That was tomato juice, Buddy. She doesn’t drink blood.”

“Maybe she should, if she’s going to keep falling on cement,” Buddy says. “I heard her telling Miss Mother on the telephone that Mr. Doug is going to make a video if she keeps falling on the sidewalk. Do you think we could be in it? You know she’s going to keep falling. Maybe we could sell it on the Internet and make enough money to buy her some new blood.”

“How much do you think she’ll need?” Merci asks.

“Not much, I’m sure,” Percy says. “Maybe one or two cups.”

Buddy is thoughtful. “How much do you think a cup of blood costs? We are talking about a plastic cup, aren’t we? You know how Jan drops and breaks everything.”

I have a better idea,” Percy says. “I read an interesting article in tonight’s newspaper. The Sheriff is going to make his staff take dancing lessons because dancing deputies have a higher arrest rate.”

“Whoa, Percy. What does that have to do with Jan? She can’t arrest anyone.”

“So?” Percy continues. “If choreographed dancing will help investigators with their analytical skills, it can help Jan think better on her feet instead of on the ground.”

“Oh,” Merci says, “I get it.”

“And clogging is supposed to help patrol officers strengthen their legs so they are prepared for foot chases. So,” Percy looks directly at Buddy,” it should help strengthen Jan’s legs so she can keep up with you.”

Buddy smiles. “Great!”

“There are other types of dancing but those two should do for now. I wonder what it will cost if we sign up Jan?”

“Whatever it is, it will be worth it,” Merci exclaims. “This sounds even better than sending her to charm school.”

“But,” Buddy complains, “we don’t have any money. How are we going to pay for Jan to take dancing lessons at the jail?”

“I don’t know, but this is important, so we’ll figure out something,” Percy says confidently. “We’ll just call the person giving the lessons and ask if she’ll take a rain check, since it has been raining so much lately.”

“You’re going to call the Sheriff?” Buddy asks. He’s a bit apprehensive about dealing with law enforcement after his recent mock murder trial.

Merci is becoming excited at the prospect of helping Jan.

“No I’m going to call the dance instructor, “Percy says. “The newspaper doesn’t give her phone number, but her name is April Fool.”

Mr. Percy, Journalist, signing off to go sign up Jan for dance lessons