Captain Jack

You are the pilot of a jumbo jet, just realizing the plane may crash.  What will you tell the crew and the passengers?

Okay, okay, what do I do…. Did that, did that… did that.  I don’t know.  I don’t know!  Is this it?  Is this for real?  I don’t know.

I should ask Jim.  Dammit, though, he’ll panic.  Look at him, he’s already panicked and he doesn’t even know anything’s wrong.

Ah, shit.  I can’t leave this without doing something about it.  I could kill all these people.  I should tell them.  I should tell them all that they’re about to die.

Oh God, how can I do that?  What do I say?

Maybe I don’t need to tell them.  Why tell them?  They’ll panic, all of them, and spend their last few minutes of life freaking out.  That’s not what they want.  They’d rather die suddenly and never have to go through that terror.

How can I say that?  How do I know that?  Oh God, I don’t know.

You’re supposed to spend the last few minutes of your life thinking back on your loved ones and how much you love them.  But who really does that?  I bet nobody.

No, people get all mad at life, don’t they?  Why do I have to die?  Why doesn’t anyone care that I’m dying?  This isn’t fair!  Or they get scared.  What’s going to happen next?  Does dying hurt?  Am I just gonna be gone?

Oh man, it’s so sad.  People spend their whole lives getting rich experiences and having love and laughter, and they spend their last minutes with nothing but selfish thoughts.  Maybe I should tell them all they’re gonna die just to spite them.  Go ahead, ruin your whole life with your stupid selfishness in those last minutes.

But they shouldn’t do that.  I should grab the intercom and tell them all to call the love of their live and tell them they love them.  Call your children, call your pets.  Call everyone you ever met and thank them for being a part of your life.

But they’d think I was crazy.  There goes Jack again, that lunatic, they’d say.  And then maybe they’d all realize that they’re gonna die and they’d all panic anyways.  Maybe Jack isn’t so crazy after all, is he?

Shit, I gotta do something here.  I gotta say something.  Dammit, though, what!?  What do I say? How do you tell somebody that their life is over?  What if there’s children back there?  Or a mother who’s kids are back at home?  Or a father who is just getting back from war and hasn’t seen his wife and kids in years?  How do I tell him that he’s gonna die on this plane?

I can’t do it.

But they have a right to know.

But do they?  They’ll just waste that time panicking and cursing me and cursing the fact that their life had to end this way.

Oh, why can’t people be more grateful?  Why can’t people appreciate what they had instead of always being mad?  Why do people always look at the wrong things?

Look at me, I’m doing it myself.  I’ve spent the last three minutes thinking about how shitty people are about death.  I’m no better.  I’m judging them instead of thinking of Shelley.  Oh God, Shelley.  I love you, baby.  I love you so much.  I gotta call her.

What’s that green light?  What – what.  Oh my God.  They fixed it.  The tower guys fixed it.  We’re gonna live.

Holy shit.

We’re gonna live.

And those guys back there had no idea that they almost died.

*****

The pilot suddenly picked up the intercom radio, much to the surprise of his co-pilot Jim.

“Attention everyone,” said Jack with a rather serious tone, “We’re about thirty minutes from landing.  I’d just like to take this moment to… to remind you all that, well, whoever’s waiting for you at the airport, to give them a big hug when you see them.  After all, they love you.  They came all the way to pick you up.  Why not show them you love them back?”

He hung up the intercom and felt his face turn beet red.  It wasn’t exactly what he’d wanted to say, but it was all he could think of.  He could feel Jim staring at him with a shocked face and he didn’t dare look at him.  He had never been a good public speaker.  His hand had picked up that intercom and pushed the button before his mind had told him what to say.  But it was and there was nothing he could do about it.  Maybe though, by some miracle, one of those passengers understood what he was trying to say.

Jim, sitting beside him, sat there thinking about what a good pilot Jack was.  Except that his fly was open.

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The Subway

Watch a group of people do exactly the same thing – board a subway car and look for a seat, for example.  Describe each individual in a sentence or two, using a different verb in each sentence.

                Author’s note:  I’m doing the subway thing without observing it first.

                The doors open at a busy stop in Lower Manhattan.

                A small girl gingerly steps on board, keeping a firm grip on her fathers’ hand.  She tentatively looks around, trying to spot the nicest person to sit beside on a train full of strangers.  Her saucer-wide eyes suggest she doesn’t find the person she’s looking for.

                A teenager carelessly strolls through the open subway doors without looking up from his smartphone.  He senses an empty seat nearby and glides into it like figure skater doing their best move, paying no attention to the people on either side.  His head never raises from his gaze at his phone.

                An elderly woman struggles her way onto the subway, her cane shaking under the weight of her worried hand.  She peers through the crowd to find a seat that she can easily get into, hoping that someone will have the generosity to give her their seat nearby.  A young man does, and she passes him a greatful smile as she carefully lowers herself into the blue seat.

                A woman carrying a baby lugs herself on board and desperately looks for a seat, glad she’ll be able to sit down for a few minutes before getting off at another busy stop.  Her whole body is sweating under her winter jacket and the weight of the baby, but she knows she has no choice but to carry on.  She plops into a seat and exhales like she had been holding her breath for years.

                A business woman prances onto the train with her sensible shoes and her brown leather briefcase.  She quickly takes position in the middle of the train, leaving the seats to the elderly and the less considerate.  Her gaze seems to fall on nothing, clearly showing her mind has not yet left the bustle of Wall Street.

                Lastly, a man who has seen nothing but dark streets and garbage lately creeps onto the bus, hiding his face from the crowd.  He knows what they’re thinking and he does in fact care, but he has to work his way up from the streets and taking that subway from Lower Manhattan up to the Bronx is the only way to get to that job his brother set up for him.  He keeps his hands covered by his long sleeves to hide their dirt and their shame.

                I sit there, watching all of this, listening to the Beatles, which provide the soundtrack to my life and everything that happens in it.

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Lil’ Waffles

My stuffed dog, Lil’ Waffles, has been watching me ever since I got him for Valentine’s Day 4 years ago.

I never knew that he was even alive.  But he was.

He’s been in my bedroom the whole time, so he’s seen everything.  He knows my routines.  He knows that on some mornings, I go through about seven shirts before I find one that I think doesn’t make me look fat.  He knows that sometimes I pose in front of my mirror, wishing that I was pretty/fit enough to be a model.  He knows that sometimes I just sit here and cry.  He knows what I say when I think nobody’s listening – when I’m mad or upset.  He knows what I really think.  He knows that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and eat potato chips. 

He also knows that when I buy a Christmas present for someone, I put it on my desk and look at it for a few minutes, imagining how much the person I’m giving it to is going to like it.  He knows that sometimes I get very touched by a text that I get from my boyfriend, to the point that I get tears in my eyes.  He knows that sometimes I just lie on my bed, no television or anything, and just think about stuff.  He knows that sometimes I sit here and plan nice meals that I can make for my mom.

He also knows that when I really think about myself, I tend to look at the stuff in that first big paragraph instead of the stuff in the second big paragraph.  And he doesn’t think that’s right.

One day, somehow, he got the power to be able to talk.  And all he wanted to do was say this to me:

“You are a good person.  You do things when nobody’s watching that you would never do in front of other people, but everybody has things like that.  You don’t always look fat when you think you do.  And you shouldn’t care.  Because you care about how happy your Christmas presents make people.  You get emotional and tear up when people say things that make you really happy.  You spend time planning things to do to make someone else’s life better.  When you think about yourself, think about the good things.  Nobody else knows you do them, so you’re the only one who can recognize your efforts.  So recognize them.  Because you are amazing.”

Then he went back to never saying a word to me again.

Now I want you to look at your stuffed animals.  Would they say the same kind of things to you?

I think they would.

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Call Before You Dig!

(Author’s Note:  I work in the Damage Prevention Industry.  We protect underground infrastructure from being damaged when people dig.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, it can actually save lives.  If you hit a gas pipe without knowing it, you can cause an explosion that can lead to fatalities.  In fact, maybe you’ve heard some of the stories.  It happens.  So I wrote this story to help inform people on the importance of it.  I wrote it a few years ago and just came across it while cleaning out some files on my laptop.)

Call Before You Dig!!

       “Good morning new Ants,” President Crawley, the President of the Ant Hill, said to his bright-eyed young students.  “It’s nice to see so many happy new faces.  But as you all know, you have a lot to learn about your life as an ant.  First of all, you need to know what we eat.  We ants eat anything we can find.  The sweeter it tastes, the more we like it.  Second, you need to know what your job will be in the Ant Hill.  Some of you will be soldiers, some will be carpenters, and some of you will be food-hunters.  You will all go to special classes later to learn about your jobs.”

                The new little ants all shouted with excitement.

                “Now let’s get to the important part – digging.  As ants, you will all have to dig.  Ants are the best tunnel-diggers in the whole world.  We’ve been digging for millions of years.  We dig everywhere we go.  But we have to be careful when we dig.”

                “Why?” asked curious little Susie Ant. 

                “Because,” answered President Crawley, “we share the underground with all sorts of other things.  Lots of different creatures have underground tunnels.  Before we make our tunnels, we have to make sure we’re not going to dig through any other tunnels first.”

                “But how do we do that?” asked cute young Susie.

                “It’s very easy.  You just call before you dig.”

                “Call before you dig!” murmured the baby ants.

                “Let me explain,” President Crawley said.  “Say you want to build a tunnel from your kitchen to your best friend’s house.  You know where you want to make your tunnel, so with your phone you call 1-800-ANTS-DIG and they’ll tell you if that path is clear.”

                “What if the path isn’t clear? What happens?” asked another curious ant named Robbie Miner.

                President Crawley explained, “If you dig without knowing where you’re digging, you can cause a lot of damage.  You could run into an earthworm hole and ruin his home.  Or worse, you could hit something that a human put in.”

                “Like what?” asked little Robbie.

                “Like a gas line.  You see, humans put all sorts of pipes and tubes underground.  These pipes help move things like gas,  electricity, and even water  from one place to another.  If we dig through those pipes, they won’t work anymore.  We could cause a gas leak or a water flood.  This could put all of us ants, and even the humans, in great danger.”

                “I don’t want to get hurt!” cried Francine Fireant.

                “Nobody does,” said President Crawley.  “That’s why we call before we dig.”

                “And I don’t want to ruin an earthworm’s home!” piped in little Susie Ant.

                “Call before you dig!” said President Crawley.

                “But what about the humans?  Do they have to call before they dig?  I don’t want them to dig through our tunnels!” asked little Chrissy Carpenter.

                “Absolutely.  They have to call too.  Every time they dig into the ground.  Of course, humans don’t live underground like we do, but they do all sorts of digging.  They build swimming pools, roads, new houses, gardens, and all sorts of other things.  All of these things make them have to dig underground.  And if they don’t call first, they could damage something .  They use very powerful machines that could cut through a gas line in less than one second.  Then there could be a huge explosion.  The humans, and all the ants in the area, could be very seriously hurt or even killed.”

                The little ants gasped.   

                “Don’t worry, you won’t be digging tunnels yet.  You’re too young.”  The President smiled kindly.  “But your parents dig.  They dig every day.  So please, when you go home tonight, remind your parents that they need to call before they dig.  It’s very important.”

                “We promise,” said the ants happily.

                “And,”  the President said, “if every human child promises to tell their parents to call before they dig, our world would be a safer place .”

                Do you promise?

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Beer and Sandwiches

I knew all about that sandwich.  I knew when I dropped it back there and I knew that I would pretend to myself that it had never happened.  And I also knew that one day it would come back to haunt me.

There are some things about being intoxicated that are just wonderful – you feel free, everything is good, and nothing really matters.  There are no consequences.  I suppose this is why people still drink and drive, which is unfortunate.  But not me.  I’m not a total idiot when I’m drunk.  I just like to eat sandwiches.

This particular time, it was beer that was filling my blood and beer usually makes me want a sandwich that has an awful lot of cheese and mayonnaise.  Ah, yes, it sounds good just thinking about it.  Slabs of mayonnaise, big pieces of crudely cut cheddar, and whatever else is lying around.  On this occassion there wasn’t much.  I hadn’t been shopping in awhile.  So this particular sandwich was a mayo-cheddar-potato chip-ketchup sandwich.  And oh did it ever taste good.  But that, I’m sure, was the beer talking.

Something funny happens every time I’m drunk in my house.  The walls all close in a bit.  Every cupboard, counter, and drawer is a little out of place.  It makes me walk into them.  I get bruised elbows and a bit of a temper – a temper which is quickly withdrawn on account of the liquor spinning through my veins.  But when you’re doing something difficult like holding a sandwich and walking into your bedroom, bad things can happen – especially if your walls have closed in a bit.

Well, on this particular occassion, my walls were all closed in and the mayo-cheddar-potato chip-ketchup sandwich met with disaster.  It was gone before I could even say goodbye.  I did, however, catch a glimpse of it as it fell into its new home behind my dresser, which is where my clumsy arm and hand had thrown it after the untimely encounter with my dresser.  I saw the cheese separate from the bread, I saw ketchup smearing, and I saw potato chips launching.  I saw it all and I thought it was absolutely hilarious.  And I knew what was going to happen, and I didn’t care.  Let it smell bad sometime in the future, I thought.  Drunken ol’ me doesn’t care.  In fact, I might just stay drunk and then I’ll never care.   Besides, it’s behind the dresser.  It’ll be fine.

Well now it’s not fine.  I can’t tell you what the smell is exactly, except it’s roughly a combination of old warm mayonnaise, mouldy cheddar, stale potato chips, and ketchup that has somewhat dried up and somewhat gone sour.   My God, it’s terrible.

I’m too afraid to deal with it.

I tried to get rid of it last night.  I drank several beers, hoping that I would lose my fear and be able to tackle that horrible sandwich like it was nobody’s business.  But when I got drunk, I went back to thinking how funny the whole thing was.  Imagine me, scared of a sandwich!  I have to abuse alcohol to get rid of it?  That’s so stupid.  Forget it, I’m leaving this sandwich for sober-me to handle.  That’ll teach me to be stupid and to use alcohol to solve all my problems.  See how well that worked!  Ha!

And so here I stand, in the middle of my room, not knowing what to do.  I can’t drink anymore for this sandwich.  Drunk-me is not nice when it comes to bad sandwiches.  But sober-me doesn’t want to deal with it.  Maybe I can move out.  Maybe I can get a dog and he’ll eat it.  Oh Lord, what am I going to do?

And then it hit me.

I was a genius.

I went and grabbed the biggest tupperware container I had and filled it with water.  Then I lugged that container upstairs and as fast as I could.  I dumped the whole thing upside-down behind the dresser.  That sandwich would be nice and soggy.

Then I went back downstairs and got the immersion blender from the cupboard.  I took it upstairs, plugged it in near my bedroom door, and without looking, stuck it back there behind the dresser (it just barely fit) and turned it on.  I could hear some odd noises, and the immersion blender protested a bit in my hand, but I kept going until I felt no more resistance.   When I pulled the blender out of there, it had some weird-looking stuff all over it, soaked and sticking to it.  Some of it was sandwich, some of it was big ugly pieces of dust with strands of my hair entangled in them, and some of it was other stuff that I couldn’t recognize.  So I went downstairs and threw that immersion blender outside in the backyard.  The rain would take care of it.

Then I grabbed the vacuum cleaner, carried it upstairs, and attached that little narrow tube attachment to it and vacuumed up all the well-blended crap.  That vacuum made some questionable noises, but it seemed to work just fine.

So, the mess is taken care of.

I figure it will be a few days before the wetness from the whole ordeal begins to smell, because I’m confident that some blended-up sandwich soaked down into the carpet, but hey, that’s a worry for another day.

Now I can drink a beer without worrying about anything.

Ohhh, I wonder if I have any mayonnaise…

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Lawrence Buckingham

Lawrence Buckingham had not had a good year.  In January, he lost his job.  In February, he lost his wife.  And for the rest of 2013, he had lost pretty much everything else you can think of.

Christmas time?  Forget about it.  His family wanted nothing to do with him.  Of course, that wasn’t his fault but there was nothing he could do about it.  Pauline, his wife of twenty-three  years, was the sort of person that wanted to be held in everyone’s high regards.  She hadn’t wanted her children and other family to know that she left her husband because he lost his job and was poor.  She made up a whole story about how he had been cheating on her for years and she finally just couldn’t take it anymore.  It wasn’t true – in fact, there wasn’t an ounce of truth in the story.  Lawrence had loved his wife dearly and had never dreamed of looking at another woman.  But he had nobody to defend himself too.  Pauline had been entirely too convincing and now nobody in the family would accept Lawrence’s phone calls.

Their kids were all grown up.  Jerry was now twenty-six and their little Sarah had just turned eighteen in July.  They were both out on their own and poor Lawrence didn’t even know where to find them.

Lawrence’s coffee pot was the only thing in the world that understood him.  That coffee pot, which he’d bought for fifteen dollars three weeks ago, had been his therapist for the past twenty-one mornings.  As he waited for his cheap coffee to brew, Lawrence poured his heart out to the small appliance.  It didn’t argue back, it didn’t call him a liar.  It was, sadly, his new best friend.

His new apartment was small and had only one room.  That wasn’t too big a deal, as all Lawrence had to keep there was a dingy old bed that he’d brought off a community website, the coffee pot, and a few articles of clothing.  He paid for the apartment with his unemployment cheques.

Lawrence was a skilled computer programmer, but at the age of forty-seven he was behind the times too much.  All the kids coming out of college knew more about the quickly-advancing technology.  He was no competition for them and all the employers around the city knew it.

Thankfully he had a savings account that Pauline didn’t know about.  It was supposed to be for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  Lawrence had been planning it for years – they were going to go on a Hawaiian adventure followed immediately by an Alaskan cruise.  The two extremes of the United States of America, just like Pauline had always wanted.  It killed Lawrence to spend any money from that account, even though he knew that the vacation was never going to happen.  So mostly, he lived on his unemployment cheques.

It was Christmas time when the action of this little story occurred.  It was a wet, grey Christmas.  There was more slush than snow, and there was more misery than cheer.

Downtown, at a dimly-lit bar on a dimly-lit street, sat Lawrence on Christmas Eve.  He was not the only one there.  Other men like himself occupied the bar stools.  You could tell just by looking at them that they were in a somewhat similar situation to him.

Lawrence sat beside the only empty stool in the place.  It seemed like even his own kind didn’t want to get too close to him, and he didn’t put up any argument.  He’d been beaten, destroyed, conquered.  What could he do about it.

The bartender was a contrast to the rest of the crowd.  He was a young chap, about twenty-five, with a cheery red face despite his gloomy company.  His father owned the bar and young Jeff was glad to have a job there.  He was not much of a Christmas person, despite being too young to have any particular reason to dislike it.  He poured drinks heartily for the barmates, occassionally giving a round on the house.  For that, he got minimal tips and minimal smiles.

The gloom was suddenly shattered when the door to the bar opened and a fine woman strolled in.  She controlled the room from the moment she entered.  Long legs, long hair, long neck.  Soft brown eyes and the fullest lips you could imagine.  You could tell that she wasn’t exactly young, but she didn’t need to be.  She was what some would refer to as “middle-aged perfection.”  What she was doing in that bar, it was hard to tell at first.  But she walked right up to the row of sad men without even hesitating.

“Jeffy!  You got it?  Tell me you got it!”  her voice pierced the canny radio music and raised the heads of all the depressants.   She leaned over the bar, exposing her cleavage to the lucky men nearby, and pleaded her eyes at the young bartender.

Jeff gave a nod and a wink and disappeared behind the counter.  When he emerged, he was holding a small box.

The woman squealed with delight, leaned further over the bar, and kissed the lucky Jeff on the cheek with her full lips.  The silly bartender didn’t even blush.

“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” she squeaked.  “He’s going to love it!  You are the best!”

                Then she resumed a normal stance and tossed her glance towards Lawrence.

Lawrence, annoyed at the beautiful womans’ too-cheery mood, sneered.  “What are you so happy about?”

The woman was not phased in the least.  She smiled a pretty smile and answered, “I wanted to get my boyfriend this gorgeous cigarette case that we saw a few weeks ago down in Georgia.  But I had no way of gettin’ back there to get it.  So Jeffy here,” casting a look at the bartender, “went and got it for me.  ‘Cause he’s the best best friend of my boyfriend ever!”

Oh, she was too cute.  Lawrence smiled despite himself.

“Sounds like you both are some nice people.  I hope this boyfriends’ worth all the trouble,” he said, regaining his cynicism.

“Oh, he is!” she exclaimed with deep interest.  “He most definitely is!  He’s half my age,” she said, laughing, “but he’s twice as fun!”

Lawrence let his eyes wander from the womans’ smiling face down to her rounded chest, her slim waist, and her tight jeans.  She was a package, alright, and he was going to look so long as he had the chance.

Then he remembered that when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.  “Hey, how about you ditch the boyfriend and come on home with me?  I ain’t no kid and I got the experience you’re lookin’ for, honey!”  He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her towards him.

The woman struggled out of his grip with a bit of a whimper, clutching the wooden box tightly.

“Sir, now, please respect the lady,” said Jeff, losing his friendliness.

“Now why the hell should I?  Cute girl like this coming in to a place like this, she knows that she wants something other than some cigarette case.  Come on, now, dolly…”

Jeff grabbed Lawrence’s arm before he could grab the woman again and shoved him off to the side.  “Mr. Buckingham, stop!”

Lawrence stopped dead with surprise.  This young bartender knew his name.   He demanded to know how.

“You’re my best friend’s father.  And you know what?  This is your son’s girl.  So you’d better back the hell off.  You’ve done enough.  Come on, Cindy, I’ll take you outside.”

Lawrence stood dumb for a minute, and then shook his head.  “No, no.  You guys stay here.  I’m out.”

And so he left.

There’s not much further down you can go from sitting alone in a dimly lit bar on a dimly lit street on Christmas Eve, but if you ever find where a further down place is, you’ll probably find Lawrence Buckingham sitting there.

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Oscar the Cat

Oscar was a cat.

He was a great cat.

But he had no family.  He was born without parents.  He didn’t have any owners.  He had no money and no place to live.  It was a tough time to be a cat.

Most cats, when they have no real place to live, spend their nights in the alleys and dark corners of the city.  But Oscar didn’t like that.  The alleys were dirty and the dark corners were scary.  Oscar wanted to make a better life for himself.  But how?

He needed money.

Now, we all know that the only real way to get money is to get a job.  So Oscar started looking for a job so he could get hired.

He went to the donut shop and asked for a job.  The owner of the donut shop looked at him like he was crazy.  “Are you nuts?” asked the donut shop owner.  “You’ll get fur in all my donuts.  People don’t want to eat furry donuts.  I can’t hire you.”

So Oscar went to find another job.

He went to the hospital and asked if he could be a doctor.  The nurse in the Emergency room looked at him like he was crazy.  “Are you nuts?” asked the nurse in the Emergency room.  “People are allergic to cats.  We can’t have a cat working here.  I can’t hire you.”

Oscar left the hospital and went to find another job.

He went to the McDonalds on the corner and asked for a job.  The owner of the McDonalds thought about it for a long time.  “Well, we could use a cat,” he said thoughtfully.  “Our burger cook is not very good.  In fact, he’s nuts. I always used to tell him that a cat could make a better burger than he can, and maybe now I can prove it to him.  But… our uniforms are too big for you.   You would fall right out of it.  And it’s against the law to have a burger cook who doesn’t wear the uniform.  I can’t hire you.”

So Oscar went to look for something else.

Finally he thought he found the perfect job.  The city’s exterminators were looking for someone to help them get rid of rats.  Oscar marched right into their office and asked for the job.  The exterminator at the office looked Oscar over, admiring his orange fur and long whiskers.  “Well,” said the exterminator, “you’re a hairy little guy and you look a lot like a cat.  And rats hate cats.  So you could probably chase them away.”

Oscar nodded.  “Oh yes, I would eat them all up!”

The exterminator was shocked.  “What?  You would eat the rats?  Are you nuts? I can’t hire you.”

Oscar looked at him like he was nuts.  “But I’m a real cat,” he said.

The exterminator shook his head.  “No no no.  I know a real cat when I see one.  I’m sorry Mister, but I can’t hire you.”

So Oscar left the exterminator’s office and started walking down the street.

Suddenly he heard a squeal as he was walking by a house.  It was the squeal of a little girl who had a lot of tangles in her hair.  Her mother was trying to brush those tangles out and the little girl hated it.  The cat went to look in the window. 

The little girl saw the orange cat looking in the window and flew to open the front door.  She grabbed the cat up in her arms and gave her a big hug.  It was love at first sight.

“Melody!” gasped the girl’s mother.  “Put that cat down at once!  We don’t know where it’s been!”

Melody squeezed the cat even harder.  “But it’s so cute and cuddly!  Can we keep it?”

It was Oscar’s big chance.  He jumped out of the little girls’ arms and went up to the mother.  “Excuse me Madam,” he said.  “I would like to apply to be your housecat.  I am orange.  I am furry.  I am a real cat.  I will be a good friend to your little girl.  Please hire me.”

The woman looked at him like he was nuts.  Then she looked at her little girl.  “Melody,” she said.  “This cat talks.  That’s weird.”

Melody grabbed the cat up in her arms.  “Yup!  It is weird!  And I love him for it!  Weird cats are the best!!

The woman looked at her daughter and said, “Melody, you’re nuts.  Little cat, you’re hired!”

And that was it.  It was Oscar’s first job and he stayed there for ever and ever.

Oh, and he was a really weird cat. 

And weird cats really are  the best.

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