Chapter 3: 11 Days before Christmas
We hurried over to Monk’s place to see our friends off to the Himalayas.
Solo and Hobbs had lots of luggage all laid out on the landing. They were taking their warm winter jackets and stout boots to keep them warm in the high elevation of the Himalayas.
Terrance himself had a warm fleece jacket and boots to protect his paws from jagged stones and cold weather.
There were also strong tents and a large box of canned goods to keep them all fed for two weeks.
Fresh food was to be bought in the local market, by the guide, before taking the long trek.
Terrance had his own canned food and a big packet of doggie croquettes.
Fromage had told me that when Mom heard that they were going, she had brought a huge chunk of French cheese, well wrapped in foil, for their journey.
He sniffed the cheese from the outside of the box and said that it was safely packed inside.
Monk scowled as his family was about to leave.
Knowing Monk well by now, I knew that he was troubled for their safety though he kept it well hidden. Nevertheless, his usual breezy good-natured face looked pinched.
“Keep strong buddy, we will be back before you notice that we are gone,” said Terrance to Monk.
“Don’t worry too much about Monk. I promise you that we will keep him company until you come back,” I whispered to Terrance when Monk was not looking.
“Stay safe and bring everyone back and hopefully Raoul, too. That would make Polo a happy camper,” I added.
“Thanks Inca. It was a lucky day when you all moved next door,” barked Terrance as he gave me his quirky lopsided grin with his pink tongue hanging out.
A large black taxi pulled up soon after. Lance, who had arrived earlier, Hobbs and the taxi driver loaded the car with the luggage, and off they went on their journey to Nepal.
I turned from the doorway to take a look at Lance.
He was a sandy haired young chap with bright blue eyes. He was casually dressed in blue jeans and pullover and had an “I don’t care” air about him.
Lance was inspecting Cara by carrying her high up in the air and from Cara’s face I knew she did not like being carried by this stranger.
He then turned to me and lifted me up and carefully looked me over.
I wondered why the sudden interest in US
while he had ignored Fromage completely.
I wriggled out of his arms and jumped down.
“How dare he carry me and inspect me as if I was a science specimen?” I thought to myself.
I had a feeling that Lance had something up his sleeve.
“Let’s get back home,” I said to the others, not wanting to be around Lance any longer than necessary.
After inviting Monk to come over and spend some time with us whenever he wished, we
left Monk and Lance and raced back home as Mom would be returning home for dinner.
We loved racing one another. I am small in size, but I am quick too. I could beat both Cara and Fromage in getting my head through the door.
Fromage had decided not to go to the cheese shop that morning as he wished to say goodbye to Terrance.
Even one day away from his beloved cheese shop was too much for Fromage.Monday Evening:
Mom was working on her laptop, sitting cross- legged on the comfy sofa.
Cara and Fromage had hogged the little mat in front of the fireplace, and Charlotte was settled comfortably on Fromage’s woolen winter scarf.
I surveyed my family and yawned widely on the back of the sofa behind Mom. This was my preferred position as the head honcho of the
Inca kingdom. I also liked to read what Mom was typing away on the computer.
In the evenings Mom would write out the day’s sales from the family cheese business. I always liked to keep an eye on how our business was going.
The weather had changed since the warm summer days, and we were spending the first days of December in our new cottage.
Although the weather had quickly turned cold, our little cottage was warm and toasty, the way we kitties liked it.
Suddenly Mom’s Skype started playing a melody and Aunt Florence’s face appeared on the screen.
I didn’t move but my ears twitched to attention as the conversation turned to plans for Christmas.
Aunt Florence was coming to London for Christmas.
There were several reasons that Aunt Florence was a STAR in our household:
❖I generally had Aunt Florence twisted around my paws. She spoiled me rotten and gave me lots of attention.
❖Fromage loved her as Aunt Florence always sneaked in special treats for him when Mom was not looking.
❖Cara loved her as she always made something special for her to wear.
All in all, Aunt Florence was a welcome visitor.
Just to get some attention I peered over Mom’s shoulder so that Aunt Florence could see me. She blew me some kisses and I purred back loudly.
I could see myself in the little box on the screen and eyed myself while they chatted.
“Hmmm, not bad, not bad at all,” I murmured to myself.
Yes, all intact. My soft, smoky, gray and white coat was well brushed and smooth. My magnificent tail fell gracefully like a plush velvet scarf.
I am a pretty unusual kitty, in addition to my spiffy looks.
I should mention at this point that I am blessed with telepathic powers. In other words, I have had quite some practice sending messages directly from my mind and receiving info from another’s mind.
Naturally, it is with Mom that I practice this skill most often.
I studied my facial expression and tried one or two looks showing a famous cat detective.
A world-famous snoop must have a serious face, I thought to myself. I gazed at myself with a stern expression.
“All good,” I murmured to myself on the screen, “and even if I say so myself, a good-looking kitty am I!”
Some fur balls in my household think I am a wee bit vain.
Oh well! no one can be purrrfect, can they?
Dragging my thoughts away from myself, I started thinking of Christmas.
Christmas is a fun-time! I wondered how it would be this year.
Aunt Florence always spent Christmas with us. But then we had been living in France.
After moving to London, we had made lots of new friends.
Surely this Christmas would also be great fun with so many more people?
Mom suddenly sat up and sniffed the air. What was that?
I sat up too and wrinkled my nose, sniffing the air.
Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff.
How come I hadn’t noticed the strong smell slowly swamping our sitting room?
What was that terrible but familiar smell invading our living room?
It was the strong smell of ripe old French cheese!
A great chunk of cheese hidden behind a painting was slowly melting and dripping down. The warm room was enveloped by the rich and overpowering smell of French cheese.
Drip, splat! Drip, splat! Drip, splat!
I dare you to guess who would have hidden this large piece of cheese!
Yep, you are right!
It was Fromage, of course!!
Who else could it be???
He had hidden a huge chunk of cheese for his midnight snack. The cheese was now fully melted due to the warmth of the fire that had been lit all evening.
“What a smell!” Said Cara as she held her nose.
Mom cleaned up the mess with a stern warning to Fromage that he should not help himself to cheese from the shop when no one was watching.
Fromage was all upset. Not about stealing the cheese, but because his wonderful cheese had melted and ended up in the bin.
Mom had not allowed him to lick the melted cheese either, and he was hopping mad about it.
“My cheese, my wonderful cheese thrown in the bin!
“Mom shouldn’t have done that!!
“I am going to starve to death tonight!!! “Mom will be sorry when she finds a skeleton tomorrow morning instead of her great kitty Fromage!!!!”
“A skeleton indeed! Fromage, it would take many moons to turn you into a SKELETON!” said Cara crossly.
“You were stinking up our cottage, and that just before Christmas too,” ended Cara.
“What stink?” shouted Fromage as he glowered at her.
“The most glorious fragrance in the world – the aroma of French Cheese!
“Cara, you have no idea what you are talking about!!!”
The squabble simmered off as Cara stalked out angrily.