COTTON CALLS A MEETING
© 2006 Janice Price
“What are we doing here in the middle of the afternoon?” Crystal is miffed at being summoned to an emergency meeting during his nap hour. “Our regular meeting time is four in the morning. It’s two in the afternoon and we’re in the living room instead of the bathtub. I’m the President and I didn’t schedule this meeting. What’s going on?”
Cotton leaps nimbly onto the coffee table. “This is not an official meeting of the Funny Farm Writing Club. I called this impromptu meeting to discuss some behavior problems among the residents. I don’t know whether you remember this or not but Jan rescued each of us, except Cameron. Cameron, you moved in on your own, but technically Jan did rescue you. You were lonely and didn’t want to be an outdoor kitten. She finally gave up and allowed you to stay, but only after she asked permission to keep you.”
“Yes,” Cameron admits. He reaches out a paw and pats Merci on the shoulder. “I was really glad to be inside the house with you and all the other residents when we had that ice storm last month. I could have been beamed by a falling branch if I didn’t freeze to death first.”
“Jan didn’t rescue me, Merci did,” Percy exclaims. “Jan thought I was a bird in the bush. If it hadn’t been for Merci I would have died last summer.”
Cotton speaks slowly. “But what if Jan refused to allow Merci to keep you? Did you ever think of that? Merci was rescued from the county animal shelter. She does not pay the rent or make the rules here. Jan does and Jan has given up a lot of things she needs or wants in order to keep us. She could have taken you to the animal shelter. There are more animals at the shelter than there are homes for them, so you would most likely not have been adopted and you would have died there.”
“I never thought of it that way.”
“And you, Cyndi,” Cotton nods at Cyndi. “You were rescued after a week of living under Mr. Doug’s car because his dog thought you were her next meal. You could have starved or frozen to death, but Mr. Doug and Jan rescued you, and Jan took you in.”
Cyndi smiles. “Yes, that was only a year ago. I really like it here even if it is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. I eat well and get lots of attention.”
“Well, Jan didn’t want to take me in because she couldn’t afford another mouth to feed, but she did it anyway,” Cotton says. “I was so sick I thought I would die before I found her and cried for her to help me. She didn’t have any money to take me to the vet but she nursed me back to health and saved my life.”
Buddy chimes in. “It was cold and I was hungry, but Mr. Doug is the one who rescued me when I was abandoned a week before Christmas.”
“And then he called his sister and Jan brought you home because you were only three or four weeks old. You couldn’t chew solid food yet and you needed to be fed several times a day.”
“I still need to be fed several times a day.”
“No, Buddy, you want to be fed several times a day. There’s a difference. And eating the floor mats or our toys doesn’t count as being fed.”
Crystal speaks up, “ Jan didn’t rescue me either. I only stayed because she needed me.”
“That’s not true, Crystal. You and your brother wandered the street after being dumped in the neighborhood. You followed anyone and everyone, trying to get help. Then you lost your brother and sobbed under Jan’s window until she took pity on you and took you inside.”
Crystal is embarrassed. “I was not sobbing. Guys don’t sob.”
“Is the meeting over yet?” Buddy asks. “I want to go look for something to eat.”
“No, the meeting is not over!” Cotton says firmly. “There has been too much unruly and mischievous behavior lately and if we want to keep our home here at the Funny Farm, we need to shape up and start behaving.”
“What are you talking about?” Percy wants to know.
“Have you already forgotten this morning?” Cotton asks. “Jan caught you throwing dry cat food to Buddy after you climbed onto the bathroom door, leaped over onto the bags of food, and ripped a large hole in the side of the unopened cat food bag she bought yesterday. She covered the bags over with a sheet and then found you and Cameron under the sheet trying to rip a hole in the bag of Buddy’s puppy chow. You aren’t starving; you always have food available.”
“Oh, that.” Percy shrugs it off. “That was a long time ago and it was already forgotten."
Cameron says, “It wasn’t my idea. Percy showed me how to scale the bathroom door and wiggle under the sheet to reach the bags.”
“And you, Merci,” Cotton continues. “Yesterday you ran off when Jan took you and Buddy to play in Miss Mother’s fenced yard. She thought you were lost and she would never find you.
“It wasn’t my fault. She was opening the tail gate on her car and when she reached up, the collar slid right over my head. I thought she wanted me to run away.”
“You know better than that! She dragged Buddy around the neighborhood, calling your name and hoping none of those big, barking dogs got loose.”
“I was hoping the same thing,” Merci says. “Once I got around the corner and could go anywhere I wanted to go, I realized the world is really a scary place. So I went back and she was driving away.”
“It’s a good thing you came back when you did. If you hadn’t, she would have been driving around the area to search for you. You scared her and when you returned, she picked you up and paced beside the car hugging you for a long time while I was left alone in the car.” Buddy is jealous. “For once, I was the one that was good and you got hugged instead of me.”
“The point is,” Cotton continues, “that we need to stop making problems for Jan. We don’t want to end up at the animal shelter. Merci can attest that it’s not a fun place to be. So, please, we must calm down and start acting like adults.”
“That’s fine for you,” Percy says. “But some of us aren’t adults yet. We only have one hood.”
Cotton blinks rapidly, confused. “Hood? You have a hood?”
“Yes, it’s like childhood, only we’re not children. I guess it would be puppyhood or kittenhood. Whatever, we only get one.”
“We’ll try to do better,” Cameron says.
Buddy agrees. “Yes, I’ll keep a better eye on Merci so she doesn’t get into any more trouble.”
Merci glares at Buddy. “At least I haven’t tried to kill Jan.”
“That was an accident,” Buddy says. “You all agreed it was an accident.”
Cyndi tilts her head. “I hear Jan’s car pulling into the yard.”
“This meeting is over,” Cotton says, “but think about what we discussed.”
Cameron calls to the departing backs, “Don’t forget, you’re all behind in paying your club dues.”
“That’s enough about dues!” Crystal orders, stepping on Cameron’s paw as he passes.
Mr. Buddy, Journalist, reporting the facts.
Note: I found these notes in Buddy’s writing journal. He probably wandered off to eat, took a nap and forgot about posting them. It’s a wonder he didn’t eat his notes too.