Oct 25, 2005

Nine...But Who's Counting


Poetry Wednesday is taking a short hiatus in honor of Halloween.


Sampson detested the stupid doll shoes Cassandra made him wear. But he had decided to humor her since it was Halloween, and the shiny red shoes did just make the outfit--a pinafore of blue gingham check. The fact that he was a Tom-cat aside, who ever heard of dressing a cat up like Dorothy? It was a natural for Foxy to be Toto, but anyone who knew anything would naturally dress the cat as the lion.

But Cassandra had her heart set on being the lion. She looked adorable, too, in her gold yarn mane and plush jump suit with the tail attached. So there trotted Sampson a.k.a. Dorothy, in his ridiculous costume next to Cassandra, the cowardly lion. Foxy had pulled the old "thorn-in-the-paw-pad" routine. It worked every time.

So, instead of riding in the basket Cassandra had carefully lined in matching blue gingham check, Foxy was snoozing in front of a roaring fire. Sampson on the other hand was being humiliated in a dress and doll shoes for all the world to see...well, at least all the world that lived on Mockingbird Lane.

They were headed to the school carnival, which was only 3 blocks away, but it was starting to feel like 30 in the ill-fitting shoes. Finally they ascended the steps and entered the frenzy of crepe paper and costumes that was Carter Elementary School's Fall Carnival. Sampson made a mental note to check out some of that crepe paper later. It could make some interesting batting material. A giant purple Barney boot almost flattened him in the crowd so Casandra swept her cat up into her arms.

"I'm sorry, Dorothy," Cassandra whispered in the black cat's ear. "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

It was a whirlwind afternoon of cakewalks and candy corn, dunking for apples and downing tart cider. Finally they stepped back out into the evening, the golden moon low in the sky, giving off an orange glow on the sidewalk ahead of them.

"Don't worry, Dorothy. You won't have to walk all the way home in those shoes. Daddy's coming to pick us up. I don't want to be late."

Sampson knew why Cassandra was so anxious to get home. Tonight was not only Halloween, it was also Cassandra's birthday party. And Sampson was proud to say he had been present at nine of those 11 birthdays. He attended the first one when Cassandra was only two years old. He was a fluffy black kitten then--a gift from Grandma Winnetka.

They continued to shiver in front of the school as the crowds of carnival-goers sifted down to a single janitor locking the front door.

"My Dad will be here in a minute," Cassandra assured him as he headed reluctantly to his truck.

He called back, "I'd wait here with you, but I've got to get home and take my kids trick-or-treating."

They watched his truck's tail lights disappear around the tree-lined curve in the street; stirring up clouds of leaves behind him.

From the other direction a carload of teens pulled up in front of the school and one of them shouted, "Look! There's one!" The boy in the letter jacket was pointing directly at Sampson.

"Get him," shouted another kid. The jacketed boy jumped out of the car and started running toward them.

"Leave us alone!" Cassandra cried out.

In the commotion Sampson leapt from her arms and darted into the woods next to the school.

He shivered violently while running through the cold night air. Orange, yellow and red leaves crackled beneath his tiny shoes.

To be continued Halloween night...


Duke_of_Earle said...

Well, I'm certainly not counting!

(Nine WHAT?)


Karyn Lyndon said...

All will be revealed on Halloween.

Hale McKay said...

The drama ... the suspense ... and on Halloween!!