Welcome back to Something Completely Different Fridays! Last Friday, I was so caught up in my own doings of something completely different that I did not share the next chapter in Oscar’s (
) Tail. To make up for that lapse, I offer you two chapters today! Enjoy your weekend, and for those who live in regions that oblige Daylight Savings Time–don’t forget to ‘spring ahead’ on Sunday! Tale
Chapter 9—Bailey and the Butterfly Man
Lolly took me to meet Bailey, and I learned that Bailey used to live with cats. It turns out that her cats no longer lived with her, and she missed having cats around. She asked me if we could be friends and I agreed provided she promised to keep her slobbery kisses to herself. She reminded me of Mitzie when she talked about her cat friends, and I felt kind of sorry for her—she couldn’t help it if she was a slobbery, smelly dog! I learned long ago that it never hurts to have a loyal friend, and that friends come in all shapes, sizes and species.
Bailey also told me about her next door neighbour—the Butterfly Man. She really liked the Butterfly Man, and talked to him whenever he came outside. She told me of how she would sit right up against the fence between their yards and talk to him. Unfortunately Bailey’s conversation skills with humans were kind of limited. Whenever she saw the Butterfly Man she would bark stuff like, “Hey Butterfly Man, Butterfly Man, wanna go for a walk? Wanna go for a walk Butterfly Man? Do’ya? Do’ya? Hey Butterfly Man, Butttt—tttter Flyyyy Maaaan—are you a good boy?? Do you want to play?”
As you can imagine, whether or not you spoke dog, this conversation could get very repetitive and irritating. Bailey only spoke the human words she knew, and unfortunately the Butterfly Man did not understand Bailey’s barking. Instead of answering Bailey’s questions he would say mean things like, “Shut up Dog!!” and “Go away!” Now Bailey was a nice dog, but certainly she was not the most savvy dog you will ever meet. When the Butterfly Man would answer Bailey, she didn’t listen to what he said. Instead, she focused on the fact that he answered her. She would get so excited about having a human conversation that she would just wag her tail even harder and keep on barking. She would say stuff like “Butterfly Man is a good boy! Stayyyyy! Butterfly Man SIT!”
Bailey was what Grandma Brown called a ‘basset hound’. Except for her colours, Bailey looked nothing like Mitzie. Bailey had a round barrel-like body, super short legs, long floppy ears, and big wide feet that pointed sideways instead of forward. She was, by far, the smelliest dog I ever knew (I could smell her from my house across the road!). As for the unrefined part, just let me say I never saw any animal eat the stuff Bailey did! One time I watched as she gulped down a pile of mud! She sure was a different dog, but for the most part, Bailey was rather harmless as far as dogs go. She loved cats and children very much. She was very kind and she always wagged her skinny little tail for me and for my girl Lolly.
Bailey’s human was an old man named Henry, but he let my Lolly call him “Pops”. Pops had lived in the neighbourhood longer than anyone else. I think Pops might have been couple of hundred years old. His skin was leathery, wrinkled, and brown. His hair was bright white, and he always wore denim coveralls. He grew a big garden—it was way bigger than Brown Grandma’s garden. It was so big that Pops didn’t have time to play with crows. If any crows flew by him, he would yell things like “SCAT” and “SHOE”. I am not sure if Pops really knew what a scat is, but I do know that crows don’t wear shoes. Maybe his tactic was to confuse the crows—who knows? Pops was a little too cranky and confusing for my liking. However, Lolly was always nice to him, and when she would ask, “How are you?”, he would start ranting about the weather. If it was nice and sunny, he would want rain, and if it rained, he always felt it rained too much. But, no matter how he felt about the weather, he always smiled for my little girl, and often he would offer her a handful of strawberries, or fresh garden peas.
At first, it surprised me when Bailey told me about her cat friends, because Pops didn’t seem to be too fond of cats. He often called me “that fat cat” and told Lolly that cats were “nothing but trouble!” He explained to Lolly that his daughters liked cats, and his daughters took their cats with them when they moved out. He seemed just a little too happy about that fact if you ask me!
Pops and the Butterfly Man were very different people. Pops liked to play in his garden from sunrise to sunset. He hardly made time to do anything else. The Butterfly Man had many hobbies in addition to butterflies. He liked to invent and build things. Often, he would play in his workshop from sunrise to sunset, but he would stop for tea, lunch, supper, and visits from Lolly. The Butterfly Man would call Pops a ‘workaholic’ while Pops seemed to believe that people from the ‘you—kay’ ate a lot of limes. At least I think that is what Pops meant because he always called the Butterfly Man “that limey bug catcher”. I’m not sure, but it seemed to me that Pops would get kind of upset and impatient with the Butterfly Man for yelling at Bailey. Perhaps he thought that you should only yell at crows and not innocent dogs looking for friendly conversation.
Chapter 10—Otto the Indoor Cat
For a long time I thought I was the only cat in the neighbourhood, but I was only partially right. There were other cats, but I was the only one who played outside. Granted, I rarely played outside alone anymore, but I still enjoyed my fresh air, and riding around in a little red wagon was very relaxing. The other cats in the neighbourhood just didn’t have the worldliness I had, and therefore the outside seemed like a huge and scary place for them. I do think, however, that I was the only Kids Cat in the neighbourhood.
The first “indoor cat” I learned about was Otto. My Little Girl told me all about Otto and his parents. Otto’s people were both very tall and smiley. They often encouraged Lolly to call them by their first names, but she thought they were too grown up for that, so she just called them Mr. and Mrs. Smiley instead. Mrs. Smiley reminded me a little of Auntie. She was tall, gentle and had a way of talking with cats. Seeing her with Otto reminded me of all the times Cleo helped Auntie with her homework. Otto was a black cat with glowy green eyes, and was definitely a Furry Child. He seemed to be a little cranky around children sometimes, but he did like to talk to my Little Girl from his window. Sometimes Otto would tell Lolly about his whole day.
Otto is something of an uptight cat who likes to worry about many things. Every time he saw Lolly, he would go on and on about how he helps his mom make the bed. Apparently he would wait hours for his mom to come home from work so that they could make the bed together. Otto is also overly concerned with procedure and schedule. He always seems especially perplexed on weekends when his people sleep in and feed him a later breakfast.
One day I sat outside Otto’s window. He started talking to me, but because the window was closed I couldn’t hear him. Otto tried opening the window from his end. I could see him digging at the bottom of the window with his paws. He seemed to be working really hard so I decided to help him from my side. I started digging a hole at the bottom of the window. I seemed to be making better progress than Otto because my side of the window was surrounded by flowers and dirt. Every time I looked up from my digging Otto was frantically digging and sniffing. He seemed very anxious to tell me something. I guess all the digging and sniffing made Otto kind of tired and cranky because he started banging on the window with his paw. When I looked up, he was swatting and hissing at the window. I guess seeing all my progress made him feel awfully frustrated.
When my Little Girl came around with the wagon, I was covered in black dirt from my toes to my belly. She almost didn’t let me jump into the wagon because I was so dirty. She told me that once we got home she was going to give me a bath. My day did NOT get better from that point on! I may be a kids’ cat, but I draw the line at bubble baths! I am not proud to say that I used my claws that day. I also howled like a crazy cat. Grandma Brown laughed so hard she started crying. Lolly may be little, but she was awfully stern that day, and no one could change her mind. From that day forward, I decided to leave digging in the mud to the dogs.