Contest Entry: Donna Van Cleve

A Hitch in His Tale

The door flung open and a hairy arm spun a yellow tabby around by the tail and slung him across the backyard before the door slammed shut.

The cat landed shakily on his feet and staggered back to the patio where an old Siamese cat lay curled up on a chair.

“I think he broke it this time,” said Siam, stretching his front legs.

“He’s thrown me further than that before.”

“I’m not talking about a distance record, I’m referring to your tail.”

The younger cat frowned at him, but looked back and circled around a couple of times checking out his tail. The last couple of inches jutted out at a perfect right angle, looking like it perpetually pointed at something.

“Of course, I could be wrong,” said the older cat, “with my vision being what it is.” He crossed his eyes to see more clearly. “Yep, it’s broke, Sport.”

“My name is Hitchcock, Siam.”

“About as original as your ideas, Hitch. What storyline did you suggest this week?”

“The best one ever! I told him he needed to write about a cat who wore boots. I don’t know why he threw me out this time—it’s brilliant!”

“Oh, good grief. Haven’t you heard of Puss in Boots?”

Hitch thought for a moment; then his shoulders slumped. “Darn.”

“Well, look on the bright side. He’s bound to be running out of ways to dispatch you from the house. Let me see, he shot put you across the yard for your suggestion that sounded awfully similar to the Lion King. What did you call it?”

“The Feline King,” Hitch mumbled.

“And he drop-kicked your butt out the front door for suggesting a story about a little mouse and cat who always fought, which sounded oddly related to your favorite cartoon, Tom and Jerry.”

“I honestly didn’t make the connection.”

“And he rolled you out like a bowling ball when you came up with the idea of an alley cat that comes to the aid of a bunch of uppity cats.”

“I swear I’ve never see The Aristocats!” Hitch jumped up on the table and sat down, trying to lick the kink out of his tail. He gave up and lay down dramatically, sighing. “Everything’s been done. There’s nothing new under the sun about cats. It’s all been written.”

“Poppycock,” Siam said, standing. “As long as there are cats, there will always be new stories.”  He arched his back and yawned. “That’s enough exercise for one day.” He lay back down again. “Why don’t you write your own?”
Hitch’s head came up. “My own?”

“Yeah—everybody’s got a story. What’s yours? How’d you get here anyway?”

Hitch’s eyes widened. “Actually, we had a mix-up when Arthur dropped me off at his father’s house 300 miles away, along with a couple of irritating dogs. We didn’t know it was only temporary, and we really started to miss him, so we took it upon ourselves to walk home, which meant traveling across dangerous terrain and fighting predators all along the way. I even fell in a river and was separated from my companions and lived in a junkyard with a bunch of other cats that loved to sing, and was even adopted for a short while by this classy-lookin’ lady who loved to hang out at the jewelry store. She called me Cat – so original, huh, but my good sense of direction eventually brought me and the dogs together again. Those knuckle heads wouldn’t have made it home without me.  Arthur was so glad to see us, he fed us anything we wanted, and I got so fat and sassy, he had to give me an attitude adjustment and put me on a diet, and then I decided I wanted to be a writer, and here I am!”

Siam’s mouth dropped open.

“I know! You’re speechless, right?  Thanks for the great suggestion!” Hitch jumped off the table and started toward the house.

“What are you doing?”

 “He can’t help but love this one!”

“You may have to tie him up first before you tell him. No, tie him up and write the story yourself.”

 “Love your humor, Siam,” said Hitch, chuckling as he slipped through the doggie door.

Siam stared at the door for a moment before the images of Hitch flying through the air and skeet shooting entered his brain simultaneously.

He nimbly removed himself from the line of fire.

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