“Fug, you know what this cold weather means, you know what it means when people rush around?”
Fug stopped, squinted his brow, and looked at Bopper.
“Fug, remember our first Christmas? Remember when the magic sleigh lost the big yellow thing that Wise Old Owl had cut apart for us? Remember Fug?"
Fug just stared at Bopper.
“Last year at Christmas time, remember the bag of sweet things with holes that fell out of the truck and old dog brought them in for us?”
“Bopper, oh shucks Bopper. You know I do not remember so right pretty good, but tell me Bop, old buddy, tell ole Fug so he can remember.” Fug was smiling because he knew the way Bopper said it it was a good remembrance. “Huh, huh, tell me Bop baby, tell me.”
“Fug, this is the time of year when the people give each other things, and boy do they eat. They buy lots of sweet things and stuff like that. Heck I was talking with Hieronymus House Mouse the other day and he said they just put stuff out everywhere, and Hieronymus said he could hardly button his collar.”
“Well, what are we going to do Bop? We going into the house again?” Fug did remember the last time they went inside. Old dog had had to rescue Bopper. The weather had warmed and most of the snow had melted, well except for the deep places, the drifts.
After their discussion, the two buddies went outside to bask in the sun there in front of the shed. Bopper heard a noise. He heard people talking as he heard the courtyard gate latch being opened. He and Fug scurried behind a chunk of ice and up under the edge.
All at once they heard Old Dog barking and running around because the man was playing throw the stick with him. The man had something in his arms, a live something. The man walked over to dry concrete apron in front of the shed and put it down.
“Cat, Bopper, cat!” Fug yelled, and he quickly scampered to the hole at the corner, diving into it.
Bopper just watched. This was a new critter. A new hated critter, for mice do not like cats in any way shape or form; well except for one way. “They got a cat, they got a cat, the man said there were too many of us around.”
“Smell them out Cat. Smell them out. Find those mice, for that is your job, learn to rid this place of mice.” As the man spoke, the little kitten meowed. The little critter was sort of yellow with three or four other colors on its small body. Bopper laughed for it looked like it had been used to clean paint brushes.
“Honey, hey honey! Telephone. The Dispatcher.” The woman had called from over toward the house.
“Old dog, watch out for Tiger, Ok? I have to go answer the phone.”
Old dog came close and looked up at his master, as if he understood. Old dog licked the small kitten and the man hurried off.
Old dog sensed the mice around and headed straight toward the spot where Bopper was. “Hey Bopper, old buddy," Old Dog said. "See the new pet the man got to keep you in line?”
The kitten was on the other end of the concrete slab so Bopper came out to see his big friend. “Yep, Old dog, there were a lot of us that day when you and he came into the shed.” Bopper was looking at the kitten. It did not look so mean and vicious. It looked like it was not much larger than one of Old dog’s paws.
“Don’t be afraid Bopper, let me bring him over so you can make friends. If he learns you are his friend now, then when he gets older he will not be apt to try and get you.” Old dog trotted over to the kitten and pushed the kitten with his nose until the kitten wound up where Bopper was.
Bopper wanted to run, to escape, but Old dog’s demeanor gave him grit so he stood and waited for the kitten. “Hi Kitty. Hi there Tiger. I am Bopper.” Bopper spoke in his deepest squeaky voice.
The kitten came up to Bopper and smelled him. “Bop . . . Bop . . . per," It mewed as the two normal arch enemies rubbed noses.
“Tiger, Bopper is my friend. Bopper lives in the shed, can you say Bopper?” Old dog made sure the errant kitten stayed there with his mouse friend.
“Bop . . . Bopp . . . Bopppeee . . .,” then there was a pause, “Bopper, Bopper..... Hi Bopper,” Tiger said, in his light mewing voice.
Just then, all heard the courtyard gate. Bopper scampered away as the man called, “Kitty, kitty, kitty. Tiger, come here Tiger.”
Old dog shook his head in disgust. The people got a cat and Old dog does not like cats. But oh well, he would raise this cat how he wants him to be raised.
“Fug, oh Fug. The people got a cat, a little kitty cat. His name is Tiger, so when we see him we have to be nice to him. We have to teach him that we are his friends.” Bopper spoke to his buddy who had been spying from behind the water faucet at the corner of the shed.
“You mean that cat ain’t gonna eat me up? It ain’t gonna kill all of the house mice, and all of the field mice, and all of the shed mice, and all of the barn mice?” Fug only knew one thing about cats, and that was that they hated mice and killed them.
“Aw Fug, Old dog said he will teach the cat that most of the critters on the Lane get along, and that they respect each other. Well, that is except for Hawkeye Hawk and wise Old Owl. But wise Old Owl, he leaves us alone most of the time, if we do not get too close.” Bopper was trying to think, to think about how he and Fug could make friends with the cat named Tiger, and what he could do, or what he how he could top the previous two Christmas things he had done.
“I don’t trust him Bop baby, I don’t trust him. Even if Old dog did save your life.” Fug had found a kernel of corn and was busy gnawing it into Fug supper.
A couple days later, it was so nice. Not a cloud in the sky. The sun was shining and there was hardly any wind, so all the critters were out. Yes, including Hawkeye Hawk.
Old dog and his new house mate, Tiger, were out in the field. Tiger, like any other kitten, was running hither and yon. When Tiger got close to the shed, Bopper rolled an empty soda pop bottle at him. The little kitten pounced on it and slapped it around as the light empty bottle was easy to move about. “Bopper, Bopper,” Tiger said as he swatted the bottle. Tiger didn't notice the shadow moving about on the ground.
“Run, hide, Tiger! Run! Hawk! Hawk!” Bopper scooted under the neck of the bottle.
“Hawk, what is a Hawk?” Tiger mewed.
Just then, Hawkeye Hawk swooshed down and grabbed the kitten. Bopper, without thinking, ran over and bit hard on Hawkeye’s talon. Bopper bit as hard as he could.
“Ow, ow, oh that hurt!” Hawkeye Hawk quickly flapped his wings and with power and determination, soared back into the safe sky.
Old dog, upon seeing Hawkeye Hawk’s shadow, barked loudly and tore after the little kitten, knowing what was going to happen.
“You Ok Tiger, you OK?’ Old dog asked. “You have to be alert to dangers like Hawks, Eagles, and other flying critters.” Old dog looked at Bopper, “Thanks my friend for saving this silly little critter. Thanks a heap, for the man, and oh yes, the woman, would have gotten very upset if their mouser had been carried off by Hawkeye Hawk.”
“Tiger, you have a lot to learn and I hope you listen to Old dog.” Bopper then scampered back to the shed, back to a secure place.
The next morning the woman opened a cupboard. “Oh my, oh my, I bought this bag of donuts and forgot them,” she said. She had, opened it and tasted one of the donuts. “Yucks, they are too stale to eat. Guess I will make biscuits for breakfast.” She threw the bag into the garbage can.
Old dog was watching, and when the woman went down stairs, Old dog put his paw on the trash can thingy, raising the lid. He stuck his large nose into the can and got the bag. Quickly, he turned and was gone through the doggie-door, out into the back porch, and then out into the yard. He took the bag and hid it behind the junipers in front of the back porch, then went back inside.
Later, after the people had gone, Old dog took the bag out to the shed, where he found Bopper and Fug eating grass seeds. “Brought you something. A gift for saving Tiger,” he said. Then he turned and trotted back to the house. He had a big bone that he was enjoying.
Quickly the two sized up the bag and seeing the grease stains knew it was some goodies. Both mice started gnawing at a greasy corner of the bag.
“Oh Bop, Bop old buddy, old pal. Wowie, what a feast.” Fug talked around a mouthfull of donut.
“Eat on Fug, old buddy. I am going to tell the others that their Christmas present is here, so watch out.” Bopper ran into his own hole to tell his mom, then scampered over to Grandma mouse’s hole to tell her. Bopper had cheated and had brought Grandma mouse a big mouth full of donut; his cheeks so expanded its is a wonder he could get through the holes and tunnels.
Soon the dry concrete apron of the garage was near covered with all the mice wanting their share of Bopper’s Christmas gift.
It was getting dark and the man inside the house was getting a drink of water. From the sink window he could see the shed and he noticed a bag setting there next to the door. He figured the wind had blown it there. “Tomorrow I will pick it up, if it has not blown away," he told himself. Little did he know that the Lane mice were having a feast because a mouse had saved the cat that was supposed to be his mousing salvation.
Later, with their stomach’s full of Christmas sweets, the mice slowly made their way back to their holes and little niches. The older mice were all filled with a good feeling, for Bopper had again made this night similar to how the people feel this special time of the year. Bopper and Fug stood looking at the few crumbs that remained, both full and feeling good. Bopper felt exceptionally good for again he had brought forth a feast for his rodent friends, well Old dog had brought forth the bountiful feast.
A clatter was heard, a low noise that quickly grew louder. A bright light came moving across the field. What was it? what was happening Bopper wondered as they saw the thin bright light and heard the loud noise. Bopper and Fug hid behind a chunk of snow at the edge of the concrete pad.
Old dog, upon hearing the noise, raced from his rug in the living room, out through the kitchen, through the doggie door, into the back porch, out the back porch, into the courtyard, then over the fence. He too heard the noise and saw the bright light. “Arf, arf, woof, woof,” he said as an Air Force Helicopter raced from the airport toward the Torrington road to get a crash victim, its searchlight fully blazing a beam of light down onto the ground.
John Glinkenspool, who had been in his cups at the McDroofuses, had forgotten about the Storey Blvd road project and came driving down the lane. John had been singing at the top of his lungs.
The helicopter’s flood light moved across John’s car, scaring the ‘be-jesus’ out of him, scaring him so much he had jerked the steering wheel to miss the beam of light and rolled his Jeep CJ 5.
The canvas doors and top of the little jeep gave way and there it was, upside down on the roll bars, with John strapped in while his stereo went full blast, playing 'Silent Night'.
Tiger was right behind Old dog and the two ran outside, with Tiger catching the door flaps on the rebound. Tiger went under the courtyard gate. John’s rollover made little noise so they were not frightened as much. The helicopter continued off in a Northerly direction.
Bopper, Fug and Old dog stood on the concrete apron looking up at the big full yellow moon, as strains of Silent Night were heard along the lane. Tiger rushed to find his big dog friend to see what had happened.
Members of the Third Baptist Church Choir who were out caroling joined in the singing of the famous hymn, as an Alberta Clipper rolled in bringing big thick clouds filled with snow.
© Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)
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