Saturday, May 21, 2005


Percy, Buddy on Bar Stool, and Jenny

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Percy types away, oblivious to everything around him, until the keyboard locks. He glances at the screen but all he can see is Cameron’s back. He reaches over and swats Cameron between the shoulder blades.

“Get out of the way. You’re sitting on the keyboard.”

“I’m sorry,” Cameron apologizes, “but I moved closer to the monitor so I could read the screen better.”

“Well, look at what you did,” Percy complains. “What’s a ]]]=ppppp[[[[[[[[[? And where did my last paragraph go? You stepped on the delete key, didn’t you? There’s an entire paragraph missing.”

“I said I’m sorry, Percy. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it.”

Cotton leaps onto the desk and glances at the screen. “What’s a Floppy-Eared Honda?”

“You must need glasses. That reads, ‘Floppy-Eared Hound Cat.’”

“No,” Cyndi says, joining them. “It does read -”

Percy squints at the screen. “Yes, it does.” His nimble claws quickly make the correction.

“So what is a Floppy-Eared Honda?” Crystal demands, landing lightly on the far edge of the desk.

“Do you guys know what a Scottish Fold is?”

“No,” Crystal and Cameron chorus.

“Isn’t that some kind of foreign currency?” Cyndi asks.

“It’s a breed of cat with folded ears,” Cotton says. Crystal, Cyndi and Cameron laugh at her. “Well, it is. You guys don’t have to look at me like I’m making it up. There’s a cat book on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. Look it up for yourselves.”

“You’re right,” Percy assures Cotton. “Their ears fold forward and downward. I was looking through Jan’s cat book and found some pictures of them. They gave me an idea.”

Crystal closes his eyes and sighs, “Oh, no. Percy has another idea.”

“What is it?” Cyndi asks.

“I’m writing a press release for a new breed of cat I’ve discovered.”

“The Floppy-Eared Hound Cat?” Percy responds to Crystal’s question with a nod.

Merci wanders into the room and joins the conversation. “What is a Floppy-Eared Hound Cat?”

“It’s a Buddy!” Percy exclaims.

“But Buddy’s a dog,” Cotton reminds him.

“Yes, Buddy was born a dog,” Percy agrees, “but he was only three or four weeks old when he moved in here with all of us, and he learned to be a cat by imitating what we do.”

“That’s ridiculous!” Merci sputters. “Buddy’s a dog, just like me.”

“No, he isn’t. Buddy is just an oversized cat. Remember, one of the first lessons he learned was how to climb onto the back of the swivel rocker to curl up and sleep? We cats all do that.”

“Yeah,” Crystal admits reluctantly, “but we sleep on the back of the chair while it’s upright. Buddy’s weight tips the chair over onto its back on the floor.”

“So? He still climbs onto the back of the chair to sleep. We don’t need to stress that the chair is on its back on the floor at the time. Besides, remember how he climbed onto the washing machine a couple of months ago when Jan was moving cabinets in the kitchen? She did a double take when she turned around and there was a Floppy-Eared Hound Cat sitting among us.”

“She sure did. I forgot about that.” Crystal laughs. “Jan didn’t realize Buddy would figure out how to climb the chair ladder she made for Jenny.”

“But Buddy can figure out how to do anything to reach food,” Percy says. “Look at how he figured out how to squeeze past the bar stool between the counter and dryer, stand on the round scratching post, turn around, and climb onto the stool to help himself to huge bowls of extra food. And he got away with it!”

“Yes, until Jan caught him sitting on the bar stool with his feet on the counter, licking the last of the dry food that was supposed to feed six cats,” Cyndi adds.

“But,” Percy continues, “when she moved the bowl onto the washer and put things on the counter to stop Buddy, he just repeated the same route, climbed over the obstacles and ate another huge bowl of food. That was his second, or maybe it was his third bowl, in just one day. He’s a master sneak. He has to be a cat!”

“Oh, I see where you’re going with this,” Cameron says. “He’s one of us because he can find a way onto the counters no matter what Jan does to block him. Yes, he would have to be at least part cat to spend so much time where he isn’t supposed to be in the first place.”

Cotton gloats. “But Jan did finally find a way to keep Buddy out of our dry food. It took some doing, though. I thought I would fall off the washer from laughing when Buddy tried to crawl under the wooden chair and almost got stuck.”

“Actually, he was stuck.” Cyndi grins at the memory. “He would probably still be there, but Jan scared him loose when she walked in the kitchen.”

Percy looks around the group. “Now she has a three step fold-up stool blocking Buddy’s path. I wonder how long it will take Buddy to figure out how to move it out of the way so he can pig out again?”

Cotton changes the subject slightly. “Why are you interested in discovering a new breed of cat, anyway? You must have an angle or you wouldn’t have spent the day at the computer.”

“Because,” Percy tells them, “if I can get Buddy listed as a new breed of cat with the CFA, I can enter him in shows. Buddy won’t have any competition, he’ll win all the best of his breed at the shows, and I’ll be rich.”

“You mean we’ll both be rich, don’t you, Percy?”

Percy turns in surprise. “Oh, Buddy. I thought you were napping. Yes, of course, I mean we’ll both be rich.”

Buddy sits down beside Percy’s secretary’s chair. “What do we have to do?”

“I’ll tell you all about it in a minute, Buddy. But first, I need you to purr for me?”

“Purr? What’s that?”

“That’s the sound we cats make when we are contented.”

“Oh, of course I can purr, then. I do it all the time.”

Percy is delighted. “Good. Then purr for me so I can add it to your list of cat qualities.”

Buddy demonstrates his purr. “Ow-oooooooo. Ow-ooooooo.”

Merci stands and walks away. “That sounds like a dog to me. I rest my case.”

Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Buddy behaving in the midst of thieves

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“What’s going on?” Cotton asks, with a puzzled frown. “Why did Jan call us together and then leave the room?”

Cyndi shrugs. “I don’t know. I hope we aren’t in any trouble.”

“I guess we’ll find out when Jan stops gabbing on the telephone,” Crystal says. “What a time for the phone to ring. Let’s get this over with.”

“Yes,” Percy agrees. “It’s too hot to sit in the kitchen much longer. I want to get back to my nap by the back door. At least there’s a bit of a breeze there.“

“Anyone have any news?” Cameron asks, bored with the wait.

Merci speaks up. “Do you remember when those three dogs attacked me when I was walking Jan? I’m still nervous when I see a new dog, but I guess I was lucky and it could have been worse. This morning Buddy and I saw Apollo, the retired racing Greyhound next door. On Mother’s Day he was attacked by two dogs that crawled under the fence while he was visiting Miss Tammy’s family in the next county. They tore into his sides. He has a large flap of skin missing on one side.”

“Yeah,” Buddy chimes in, “it’s a big, ugly wound. It looks painful. I would have doctored it for him, just like I did Percy’s paw (see “Mr. Mummy” posted April 6, 2005) when Jan closed a door on it, but I was too upset to think to offer my services. Miss Tammy wasn’t sure Apollo would even let us near him after that experience, but he wasn’t afraid of us. We’re old friends”

“Buddy, it’s a wonder Miss Tammy even allows us to be in the same city with Apollo, after the way you carry on whenever you see him. Honestly,” Merci shakes her head slowly, “you act like an otter trying to swim upstream in a harness and wail like a fox gnawing off a foot caught in a steel trap. Have you ever considered just wagging your tail, whining and pulling on the leash, like I do, or like most dogs would do?”

“No, Apollo is my friend. I have to make sure he and Miss Tammy know I’m on my way to see him.”

“Buddy does everything in excess,” Cameron says. “Buddy’s a pork chop.”

Cotton, sitting next to Cameron on the washing machine, elbows the kitten in the side and corrects him. “You mean, Buddy is a ham.”

“Ham, pork chop, pig - what’s the difference?”

The conversation is interrupted as Jan returns to the kitchen and takes a quick head count to be sure none of them wandered off while she was on the telephone. She stops beside the dryer where Jenny, the elderly cat, is resting.

“I am very proud of all of you,” she begins, “but something unusual happened yesterday and I want you all to learn something from it. As you know, Jenny is nearly 17 years of age and she has been going through a rough time. She’s back in her bed on the dryer after a day of sleeping on the bedroom floor because she couldn’t climb her makeshift ladder. We’re all glad to see her feeling better today, aren’t we?”

“Mrrrow, arf, whine,” the group sings as a chorus.

Jan strokes Jenny’s head. “Buddy, I want you to come here.” Buddy rolls his eyes, wondering what he has done wrong this time. But he slowly obeys. “Turn around to face the group. Sit.”

Buddy looks frightened, as if he’s about to be corrected and wants to escape before the punishment is handed down. He runs through a mental list of things he can remember doing wrong and wonders which one she might have discovered. He shifts nervously from one front paw to the other.

“Buddy is the youngest and whenever something is happening, he’s usually in the middle of it, if not the instigator. He is so food aggressive he steals anything he can find. He has stolen my food, Merci’s meals, and even eats things not intended for consumption.”

Heads turn and nod in agreement. Yep, this describes Buddy the Pork Chop, as Cameron called him.

Jan drops a bombshell. “That’s why I am so proud of him that I have called you all together to watch him receive his award.”

“No!” Cotton declares. “This has to be a mistake.”

Buddy sits up straight and tall, grinning proudly.

Jan continues, “I had to fight you cats off yesterday morning while feeding Jenny. You all tried to steal her food. You did stop after I swatted each of you a few times, but Buddy was on his best behavior. Buddy, the food thief, never tried to steal her food, not one time. I thought, at first, someone switched dogs on me, but at age five months Buddy is finally starting to grow up and to look past his own appetite. Buddy, I guess you realized Jenny was sick and need the special attention she was receiving. Thank you.”

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a large dog biscuit. “Peanut butter, Buddy, your favorite. This is the Good Behavior Award. It’s for you.”

Buddy is thrilled that this award is his favorite kind - edible. It disappears in two bites.

“But what about me?” Merci whines. “I didn’t try to steal Jenny’s food either.”

“Merci, come here,” Jan calls.

Her tail wagging, Merci trots forward and sits at Jan’s feet. “The reason Buddy gets a special award, Merci, is because what he did is so out of character for him. You, on the other hand, have a sweet and gentle nature. I don’t have to worry about you stealing food from a sick cat. You would be more likely to share your own meal, if Buddy didn’t eat it first. So, I have a smaller dog biscuit for you, one more your size.”

Merci trots off to eat her biscuit in her den. Buddy follows, hoping to steal it from her.

The cats wait expectantly. Surely Jan has something for them too.

“I hope you cats will start treating Jenny with more respect.. That’s all, you’re excused.”

“What, no treats?” Percy demands, as Jan walks out of the room, then returns.

“Oh, I forgot to fill your bowl, didn’t I?” Dry food rattles into the empty bowl.

Jenny perks up. Jan drops a handful of cat food onto Jenny’s bed and disappears.

‘Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to start being more respectful,” Percy says, as he climbs onto the dryer and begins to help Jenny eat her food. Cameron, Crystal and Cyndi join him. Jenny sits calmly outside the group, listening to the crunch of her meal being devoured.

Cotton eats alone at the big bowl on the dryer and enjoys the peace of not having to share.

Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Percy watches Buddy eat crumbs

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“Buddy, what are you doing?” Percy asks, amazed to find Buddy in the living room, chest-deep in his empty bag of dry puppy food.

“Mmmmmmshg.” Percy mumbles from inside the bag.

Percy shakes his head. “I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Come out of there so I can talk to you.”

Slowly and reluctantly Buddy backs up. And backs up. And backs up. The bag moves forward as he moves in reverse. He’s stuck in the empty twenty-pound bag. “Mmmmmp!” His cry for help is muffled and garbled.

Percy walks over, hooks the claws from his left paw in the bag, and pulls. Buddy backs up and drags Percy with him. “Help!” Percy cries.

Merci runs into the room. “What’s the problem?”

“Buddy’s stuck. Help me pull the bag off his head.”

Percy gets a firm grip with the claws from both front paws and Merci grabs a corner of the bottom of the bag with her teeth. “Okay, Buddy, back up,” Percy tells him.

Buddy backs up, dragging Percy and Merci with him.

“It’s no use,” Percy says. “You’re stuck.”

“Mmmpphg. Mmmmpphg.” Buddy is starting to panic.

Suddenly Buddy races forward, still wearing the bag, knocking Percy and Merci to the floor. “Mmmmsh,” he yells as he runs into a door, seating the bag more firmly on his head.

Cameron is standing and looking pleased with himself.

“What happened?”

“I poked him in the fanny with my claws,” Cameron explains.

Percy is incredulous. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I couldn’t resist the opportunity. He was such a big target. Besides, he nearly stepped on me. I could have been crushed to death.”

“Mmmmshp.” Buddy is walking backwards again, still stuck in the bag.

“I have an idea,” Percy says. “Stop moving around, Buddy.” He points to the end of the bag and directs Merci to stand there. He and Cameron join her, standing one on either side. “Now when I count to three, we all leap onto the bag and our combined weight should allow Buddy to escape out the other end.”

“One, two,” Percy begins to count as the three prepare to leap forward, ‘three!”

“Mmm-mmmmspshsh!” Buddy screams when the dog and two kittens land on his head. Backpedaling furiously, he drags the bag and the three animals with him.

“What is going on in here!” Jan thunders as she opens the front door to find three of her pets riding around the room on top of what should be an empty puppy food bag, but with Buddy’s backside sticking out of the open end “Stop, Buddy. Stand still. The rest of you, move along.”

Percy, Merci and Cameron move away. Jan grabs the end of the bag and says, “Okay, Buddy, now back up.”

Buddy backs up once more. This time the bag comes off his head and he is finally free. Jan shakes her head at the four of them and carries the empty bag into the kitchen with her.

Percy is the first to find his voice. “What were you doing inside that bag, Buddy?”

“Eating the crumbs. I was fine until you interrupted me. What did you want, anyway?”

“Oh, right, I wanted to ask what kind of tales you have been telling folks about us.”

“What do you mean? You know what I tell everyone. We all read the Funny Farm journal.”

“Are you sure you haven’t been making up stories and spreading them around behind our backs?”

Buddy shakes his head in bewilderment. “No, you read my stories. Is there a problem?”

“Well, not exactly. But you get all the fan mail. I don’t understand why.”

Buddy perks up. “I have more fan mail? Where?”

Percy jumps onto the desk and passes a card to Buddy. “Here. This card came today by snail mail. It’s for you.”

Buddy takes the card with eager paws and reads it.

“What’s it say?” Cameron wants to know. “Read it out loud.”

Buddy, it seems you get picked on. They have to remember you’re just a baby and they are all elderly. They’re jealous of all your energy.

“Elderly! Who’s elderly?” Cameron demands. “I’m the youngest cat and I’m not even a year old yet. Neither is Percy.”

Buddy is perplexed. “The writer must be talking about Jan and Jenny, the elderly cat. Jenny’s eighteen and Jan is, well, ancient. This is neat! Someone understands, really understands. I’m the baby and you guys shouldn’t pick on me all the time like you do.”

“Oh, please,” Percy complains. “No wonder your head got stuck in a twenty-pound bag. You not only have a large head, you have a swelled head. And it didn’t come from crashing into a door.”

Cameron makes a decision. “The next time Buddy gets his head stuck in a bag, I’m not going to claw him in the fanny.”

“Thank you, Cameron,” Buddy says, beaming at him.

“No, I think the next time this happens we cats should all join in and leap on his backside together.”

“Yes.” Merci nods in approval. “And I’ll hold the door steady.”

Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club