A young finch was tired of having to flap his wings all day. Would it be more fun being a cat, he wondered?
He and his feather friends often played tag, scooting from branch to tree. Then they traveled from tree to branch, singing chirpy songs.
Was anyone even listening to them?
His mind was made up. He flew to the ground, after spotting two cats lying on a sunny patch of grass. Suddenly they jumped to their feet, like two mosquitoes seeing breakfast come their way.
"Let's eat him," Midnight said. His coat of fur was scruffy from living outdoors.
"See what he wants first," said Lady, the smaller one. Her coat of white was soft and smooth from living inside her master's home.
"I don't want to be a finch anymore. I want to be a cat," said the finch. "Okay if I live with you for a while?" he chirped.
Midnight licked his lips. He liked this idea. Imagine, a bird wanting to be his friend.
Lady shook her head. Amazing.
Both cats introduced the finch to their friends.
"He wants to be one of us?" they asked. Many hungry eyes did yum-yum somersaults.
They named him, "Bert." Now he was just another cat.
Bert's first lesson was hunting for breakfast. Why, he wondered did cats think birds were good to eat?
All they had were bony legs with a little fur. And do cats really enjoy eating feathers?
"Skinny birds can fly faster," his mother once told him.
When Bert and his new friends sneaked across the yard, several birds chirped warnings. Finches, sparrows and chickadees flew swiftly to the safety of tall trees. Bert had to tilt his neck way back to watch them.
None of the cats caught breakfast this morning. Bert went hungry too. Usually all he had to do was land on the bird feeder for his favorite snacks.
Black oil sunflower seeds and Scratch was always in great supply. Not today, though. He was now a cat.
Bert couldn't understand one game the cats played. They sat facing each other for a long time, then growling and circling each other.
Bert almost fell asleep watching this game of slow motion. He wanted something with adventure.
And his wish came true when a huge black dog came rushing into the backyard. Every size and color of cat exploded in all directions.
The noisy dog did not see Bert, who played hide and seek in a pile of autumn leaves. He couldn't fly to the trees. Not if he wanted to be a cat. And he had to act like one.
Later, Bert joined the cats for a nap on a pile of boards. It was underneath a dark shed, and the wind whistled noisily.
He snuggled close to new friends, their fur like a rug across his chilly back. He kept wondering why one cat purred noisily close to his ear.
"Leave him alone!" Midnight said with an angry snarl. "He's mine! I mean, he's our friend."
Lady usually slept in her own cozy bed beside her master. Right now she knew it was important to stay close to her new friend, Bert.
She worried about his safety and decided it would be saver to have a sleepover at her house. Almost like magic, several loud "MEOWS" opened the door.
Both cats rushed in under the master's legs.
Sharing Lady's late supper was not so good for Bert. "This soft food tastes awful," he said. Bert couldn't nibble even one piece of Meow Mix.
The finch watched Lady crunch her food. Then wash her face and paws. Bert had no teeth and an almost invisible tongue. So he couldn't do the same as Lady.
Now they raced up and down the stairs. This game was not fun since Bert could only hop one step at a time. It would be easier to fly.
But, he wanted to be a cat.
From a bedroom window they watched birds fly from maple and spruce trees to the feeder. There was a blue Jay, two chickadees and other finches.
Their wings soared with the wind. And Bert missed doing the same.
So, he decided to have a little fun. He buzzed around, swooped through the hallway and entered another bedroom.
Then crashed into a mirror and fell on the dresser. Jewelry, perfume and brushes landed on the floor. The master came dashing up the stairs.
Using a broom he chased Bert from the house.
The little finch landed with a crunch on the front steps. He barely got his breath before a German shepherd spotted him. Bert tried to scoot across the yard like a cat. But the dog was gaining.
Panting with fear, Bert flew the last few feet, ducking under the back porch. The dog with a mouthful of alligator teeth barked in disappointment.
A shadow moved and a new cat the size of a mountain lion stared at Bert. He began to shake like a leaf in a storm.
Strange noises followed Bert's backward steps, as the alley cat moved slowly towards him. "Please, don't turn me into a meal," he pleaded. Where were his friends?
Midnight and Lady finally arrived by his side. "Quickly," they said. "You're a bird, not a cat. You don't belong here. Go home."
Bert accepted that wonderful advice. He quickly spread his wings and escaped to the closest tree. His feathered friends were very happy to see him return.
Together they flew to the feeder for a snack.
And Bert was a happy singing Finch once again!
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
NOTE: The above co-authors would like to see this story published one day, by an e-book publisher, as a picture book.
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. Many blessings on your loved ones.