Smoke drifted from the barbecue, covering everyone in its path. Still, it sure smelled good at the Lawrence family picnic. Their cat, JC, did not agree. For her, it meant gasping for air.
At first the gray mist was only a small cloud. Then it grew into coal-colored piles, like dirty foam on the seashore. JC's eyes stretched wide as the moon. She jumped around like a rabbit. Her whiskers twitched nervously.
Except she wasn't a rabbit looking for an escape route. She was an old "scaredy-cat" cat. And her "Meows" were not sounds of happiness. She searched nervously for an escape route. Where was her master? JC needed to hide from the smell.
Her heart pounded wildly. Claws dug into the soft earth. Her tail flicked, back and forth. Back and forth, like windshield wipers. Smoke from the barbecue continued to mess up her nose.
Smells from hotdogs and steak were wonderful for humans. Not for a cat. Oh no, not at all. She left the scene quickly. Otherwise, stinky, dirty smoke would cover her gray and white fur. Then make her smell like a rat pack.
JC was a friendly seventeen-year old cat. And her patience with all ages was well known. They loved to pat her lovely fur coat. And speak to her in a soothing voice. Not right now, though. Instead, it was 'hurry-up-and-escape' time.
Her paws padded nervously around the yard. She crossed the street to Victoria Park. A car hurried, by with tires looking like rolling pizzas. JC's fur shot up in fear. She did not wish to be part of the pizza dough. Her feet retreated to the backyard, even if ghostly-smoke was still there.
If only she had extra legs she could run faster. She choked and gagged her way into the neighbor's yard. Her silent feet padded around a child's wagon. Then jumped over a rusting bicycle, and lay like a trap in her path. Her paws didn't mind splashing through sneaky puddles.
Of course, Yap-Yap Ace was waiting next door. A mouth full of dog's teeth came rushing towards her. JC was too old for this kind of excitement. It was time to climb the nearest tree. Branches dug like rough fingers into her soft fur. Now she watched from her branch perch, and spotted Bushy Red.
The noisy squirrel rushed across her porch below. Why wasn't the squirrel bothered by the smoky smell? Where's bushy red going? she wondered. Curiosity made her brave. JC crept backwards down the tree. Finally she turned and jumped the last few feet.
At that moment the front door opened. And her master stood with a bowl full of her favorite food, crunchy Meow Mix. JC rubbed against his legs and gave a sad, "Meow." She was not hungry right now. Her "MEEOOW!" was much louder the second time.
She didn't wish to stand around in that smelly smoke. "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" she screeched in cat language. Her tail swept back and forth. "MOVE!" she yowled.
If her master wanted to join his friends at the barbecue, then let him. How could he not know his cat was having a panic attack? JC looked up with a pitiful look. Now her master understood and stepped aside. About time, she thought.
Her claws scrambled noisily under his legs. Then, across the kitchen floor, tail swishing up the stairs. She leaped two at a time, bumping her nose twice. She jumped onto the bed and settled on the windowsill. JC sniffed the air hoping the cloud of smelly smoke did not follow.
Ah, the air was nice and fresh in the room. From her window perch she could see people having their picnic fun below. The fog-like mist continued to float around. Children wrestled and hollered. Gabbing adults continued to fill their mouths with hot dogs, hamburgers and other munchies.
A short distance from the window, Bushy-red was in his tree. Cat and squirrel stared at each other a few moments. Then JC yawned, turned and plopped herself into the middle of the waterbed. Her paws found a very comfortable spot. Instantly she became a ball of curled up fur.
Peace at last. No more unfriendly smells. No children nor adults to bother her. No nosey squirrel, and no ghostly mist, only sleepy time for an old cat. "Meow."
* * *
2011 Richard & Esther Provencher
All messages for Richard or Esther can be sent directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org. They enjoy reading comments on their work. Readers are welcome to visit their website at: www.wsprog.com/rp/. Free downloads also available. They live in Truro, Nova Scotia. Canada. Blessings for your loved ones
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