Ice Cream Kitty bobbled excitedly as Mikey held her up to the TV so that she could better see Crognard racing towards Sorceress’s rescue. The dramatic tension was so intense that she was on the edge of her bowl.
As the monster stuffed Sorceress into its mouth, she realized that she was hungry and began nibbling on the gooey square of pizza in front of her. In the space of a week her existence had gone from miserable to wondrous and she had Mikey to thank for it.
Ice Cream Kitty curled up in the freezer with a sigh. She was all for naps, but it had been hours and hours since anyone had come to her for anything. She was more than happy to hand out ice cubes for lemonade, cold packs for bruises and even the occasional frozen dinner for Leo when he decided to help out cooking. Everyone else’s panicked rush to intervene always made her hope that happened more often.
But mostly, it was sitting here, in the dark, alone. She probably wouldn’t have minded as much, if she didn’t know what else her life could be like. She’d been content back in the city. But during the winter on the farm, she oozed ice cream all over the snow covered fields exploring.
There’d been such wonderful snowball fights and ice fort building, broken only when Mikey would pause to sadly look up at Leo’s room. All she could do to cheer him up was continue playing at distraction, though she wasn’t always sure how successful she’d been. Mikey could look happy, even when he was sad inside.
She thought everything would turn around once Leo woke up, but then something horrible happened. Spring arrived in full force. Gone were the mounds of snow and icy frosts. Now whenever she left her frigid refuge for very long, she started melting into a puddle of ice cream. It wasn’t fair. She missed having fun.
The door opened and she perked up, a happy ‘mrrow’ burbling out of her as Mikey’s smiling face appeared before her. Without needing to be asked, she plucked up an orange Creamsicle from the back of the freezer to pass towards him. He wasn’t supposed to have more than one a day, but she wouldn’t tell.
He gave her a conspiratorial wink. “Thanks Ice Cream Kitty. You da bomb.”
He started, closing the door and she sank back down into herself. A few seconds later, she realized her world was still lit up. The door wasn’t closed. Cocking her head inquisitively, she looked up to see Mikey frowning down at her in concern.
Then his face lit up with a wide grin. “I know just what we need.”
This was the third party they’d had and she was over the moon. No one else ever took the time to have fun with her. No one else even seemed to notice her at all unless they needed something from the freezer. She’d been beginning to think no one cared at all until Mikey took the initiative. It was nice to remember she was valued, if only for a little while.
The episode credits started to roll and Mikey hopped up to set her bowl on the mantle.
“This is just what I needed Ice Cream Kitty. An ice cream-pizza-cartoon-party extravaganza!”
She high-pawed him enthusiastically. Best day ever.
“Pizza wrestling time!”
He scooped her up, spun her and gently splatted her into the rug. She scrabbled back at him, but was too slippery to attempt any of the holds that she’d seen on television. Even so, it was fun to try.
Noticing that she was at a considerable disadvantage, he quickly switched games, slinging her atop his shell and grabbing up the plunger that had been sitting beside the couch at the start of their party.
He flipped and jumped, hopping gracefully from couch to table, swinging the plunger like a sword. She clung tightly to his shell, having the time of her life. With a final, twirling leap, he landed in the middle of the room and hoisted the plunger high in victory.
“Mikey, what have you done?”
He froze at the sound of Leo’s voice and she loosened her grip to slide down his shell and leg, wrapping her sticky arms around his calf, using it as a barrier between herself and the group of Mikey’s brothers and their human friends.
“Uh, hey guys.” Mikey looked up at the plunger. “This isn’t what it looks like.” He quickly hid the plunger behind his back. “I was studying barbarian fighting techniques.”
Casey huffed. “You trashed the place.”
He pouted. “I did not…”
A square of pizza detached from the ceiling and splatted down onto his head.
Ice Cream Kitty looked around the room and had to admit that it didn’t look the way they usually kept it, at least during the opportunities she’d had to observe. But different didn’t have to be worse, right?
Mikey seemed to disagree as his shoulders slumped and head ducked down.
“This is the third time you’ve messed up the place in a week.”
Mikey looked even more browbeaten as Leo admonished him, with his two other brothers glaring mercilessly from behind Leo.
She wanted to explain that he’d done it for her. That it wasn’t his fault, but all that came out was a rumbling growled that no one understood or paid attention to. Only April seemed to have some inkling, but not enough to jump to Mikey’s defense.
Raph pushed his way to the front of the group and shoved a mop in Mikey’s hands. “Clean. Up. Now.”
Mikey looked crestfallen.
Well if no one was going to stick up for him, she would. He’d do the same for her. She hissed angrily at Raph, attracting his attention.
“And as for you…”
He wasn’t listening to her. Fine. She could express herself other ways. Furious, she swatted up at him, flinging a splatter of ice cream across his face.
His green eyes narrowed and she couldn’t help flinching back a little as his hand darted down and snatched her up by the slender top half of her torso. She hissed, clawed and bit ineffectually as he tossed her back into her frozen prison.
“And stay there!”
She growled as he slammed the door in her face. Then curled up in a ball. Staying in here was what had started all the trouble in the first place.
She was just starting to lose her sense of time again as she drifted in and out of sleep, when the freezer door surprisingly opened. She perked up excitedly at the sight of Mikey on the other side of it. But her excitement dampened when she saw his expression. Something was wrong. He wasn’t supposed to look that way.
“Ice Cream Kitty, tell the others I’m running away.”
His eyes welled with tears. “I’ll walk back to New York if I have to.”
No. He couldn’t. She reached out a paw towards him, wanting nothing more than to tell him to stay.
“Mrrow.” It always came out the same. She couldn’t ever seem to manage words when she needed them the most.
“I’m sorry my little friend. April will take care of you.”
She didn’t want April to take care of her. She wanted Mikey. He was her best friend and didn’t need psychic intuition to know when something was amiss with her or anyone else. They needed him here. She needed him here.
Not knowing what else to do to ease his hurt, she leaned forward and licked the bridge of his beak.
A little of the playfulness returned to his eyes and he licked her right back. “Mmm.”
At least he’d smiled, even if it was a small one.
With one last sad glance, he turned away and closed the freezer door.
Well she wouldn’t let this stand. It was too cruel. While her affection wasn’t enough to keep him through everyone else’s rejection, she’d find another way. She was the keeper of the frozen goods after all. No one was getting another item out of this freezer until they returned her Mikey to her.
Gathering her determination, she braced herself and waited. The next person to open the door had quite the surprise coming.