Halloween Story – Cat Lady Roulette

title

A special Halloween treat, featuring our heroes: Farfel, Bob and Rooster the kitten.

Some cats lie low on Halloween, some cats dress up and go trick-or-treating. And some cats go running home to their mommas! 

Cat Lady Roulette

Part 1

Cat Lady Basics

Bob’s back porch was crowded on Halloween as he and his best friends gathered around a wide bowl of cat candy.

“Marcia gave us the best treats,” Bob announced, his furry gray chest puffing up in pride. “She wondered if you were allergic to gluten, like trick-or-treaters might be, but then said she was overthinking it.”

“You eat gluten?!?” Farfel exclaimed. His orange tiger stripes frizzed a bit with alarm.

“I don’t know.” Bob blinked, taken aback. “Do I?”

“Beats me.” Farfel tossed a fish-shaped treat in the air and caught it between his teeth. “Never heard of the stuff.”

“I eat all the gluten!” Farfel’s nephew Rooster cried, diving face first into the bowl.

On Bob’s invitation, Farfel had agreed to forgo their usual fence-top meeting place in favor of keeping out of sight. It was Rooster’s first Halloween. The kitten had no idea what the night had in store.

“One more, boys.” Marcia, Bob’s cat lady, appeared with the Mighty Kitty jack-o-lantern hefted in her two hands. The pumpkin shell was massive. She’d carved it herself, and a tiny tea light candle now flickered behind a menacing cat’s pointed eyes. She set it down next to them, illuminating their little circle in a warm glow. “Why don’t you keep this safe for me. Don’t want any hooligans smashing it.”

Bob looked up adoringly, his way of promising to guard it with his life.

Marcia wiped her palms on her jeans. In honor of the holiday, she wore a plaid button-down shirt and a headband with two black fuzzy cat ears. When she turned back to the door, a long fake tail bobbed behind her.

“Remember Bob, you guys stay back here. Kitties shouldn’t be out on the street tonight.” She disappeared into the house.

Farfel sniffed at a bit of pumpkin goo that was smudged at the corner of the jack-o-lantern’s feline grin. “Marcia really likes cats.”

“Obviously,” Bob said. It was one of his favorite things about her.

“What does she mean kitties shouldn’t be out tonight?” Rooster asked.

“It’s freak night,” Farfel said. “The humans go berserk and dress up like weirdos. The smaller ones walk around the neighborhood going door to door, begging for extra kibble.”

“And it’s not safe for cats,” Bob added, “because some people get carried away and think cats are in league with the devil. They do mean things to them.”

“But I thought all humans liked cats,” Rooster said, still waist deep in cat treats.

“No such luck,” Farfel replied.

Bob considered the question. “Some humans prefer dogs. And some don’t like animals at all.”

“In fact, even when you’re dealing with a bona fide cat lady, things can go wrong.”

Bob had to agree. Even Marcia, who was the best cat lady ever, had given him a fright or two.

“Did you ever meet a scary cat lady, Uncle Farfel?”

“Well…” Farfel trailed off as shouts and whistles erupted in the distance. “Sounds like they’re on the move.”

Trick-or-treaters, each one intent on coming to Bob’s door and presuming to beg kibble and attention from his Marcia. The nerve.

Plus, they would keep ringing the doorbell all night, which had an unfortunate agitating effect on Bob’s nervous system.

At least on the back porch, most of the noise would be muffled.

“Why don’t you tell a story,” Bob prompted. After all, they had the whole night.

“Ooh, you do tell good stories, Uncle Farfel. How about one like the Litter Box Monster?”

“I don’t know any more monster stories…”

“Please?”

“Well, I did once meet three witches.”

Rooster’s eyes widened into saucers of hope and delight. He shoved a cat treat into his mouth and talked around it. “Were they evil witches?!”

“What kind of story would it be if they were good witches?”

“A modern, non-violent one?” Bob offered. “Suitable for children.”

Farfel scowled, for he’d heard many bedtime stories in his years as a family cat. Evil witch characters were essential.

Part 2 

The Fanatic Cat Lady

Farfel sat back on his heels and raised a paw heavenward in preparation regaling them with his tale. The Mighty Kitty Jack-o-lantern cast his shadow high against the side of the house as he began:

Once upon a time, when Farfel Falafel was almost a year old, Halloween came to the Gregson house. Actually, it was an apartment building, since that’s where they all lived. Farfel Falafel, the Mr., the Mrs., the little boy, and their new baby girl, all stuffed into a two-bedroom apartment.

That year, Mrs. Gregson and her husband dressed up as bears. Their recent addition was declared to be Goldilocks on account her golden hair. The boy, however, said that fairy tales were dumb and refused to play the part of baby bear. This role fell to Farfel Falafel, who donned the bear cub hood and cape with pride.

“I bet you looked awesome, Uncle Farfel.”
“I admit, I did pull it off.”

“Didn’t the boy feel left out?” Rooster asked.

“No, the boy dressed up as a Spider Man Creature instead and ran around the living room attempting to sling invisible webbing at Farfel Falafel, who hid behind the sofa. For weeks, the boy had been wearing the costume in preparation for that very night. He’d built traps of blankets and sheets, all meant to capture Farfel Falafel in what he called a web of lies. It was in fleeing such a trap that Farfel Falafel found himself downstairs in the apartment building unaccompanied by his humans for the first time.”

“On Halloween, Uncle Farfel?” Rooster scooped up another treat from the candy bowl. “Weren’t you scared they’d think you were in league with the devil and chase you?”

“Not at all. I was dressed up as one of them. I hid in plain sight.”

“Ohhh…”

“Get to the part about the evil witches,” said Bob, who didn’t care for spider creatures.

“Ahem,” Farfel cleared his throat.

The first witch was also hiding in plain sight. In fact, Farfel Falafel thought he’d met his fairy godmother, meant to aid him on his journey. She was a kindly old lady who had two buckets of candy for children but made special allowance for a trick-or-treating cat and invited him in.

Seated on the woman’s ottoman, Farfel Falafel told her about his plight, being dressed up as a bear and chased around the apartment by a Spider Boy. She in turn told him about the loss of the Great Maurice, a big white cat shaped like a polar bear, who appeared in photographs scattered throughout the apartment.

She then invited him to the kitchen for what used to be the polar bear cat’s favorite treat.

“Seal meat?” Bob guessed.

“Close. Tuna.”

Bob perked up. “She sounds like a true cat lady.”

“Ha! Let me finish.”

The trouble was, since the polar bear cat’s demise, the old lady had started buying the cheaper tuna soaked in oil and it was, in a word, disgusting. Farfel Falafel couldn’t stomach more than one lick.

When he turned up his nose, the woman scowled at him and called him ungrateful.

At once, Farfel Falafel saw through her fairy godmother disguise to the wicked witch hidden underneath. With a hiss, he accused the woman of trying to poison him with false tuna.

The witch was highly offended. Never–so she claimed–had a cat dared address her that way.

She got out her broom and chased Farfel Falafel out of the kitchen

He ran behind the sofa and she jabbed at him with the stick end until he shot out, streaking across the braided rug to an arm chair. He had just discovered a hole in the back fabric that he could climb into when the doorbell rang, announcing another group of trick-or-treaters.

“Out!” she shouted imperiously and with that Farfel Falafel agreed. Seizing his chance, he darted through the costumed forest of short legs to the safety of the elevator where he waited for a civilized person to appear so that he could continue his journey on another floor.

“That was close, Uncle Farfel!”
“Too right, kid. I could have ended up stuffed on her mantle.”
“Was the other cat stuffed on her mantle? The polar bear cat?”
“Not that I saw. I bet she kept him in the bedroom.”

Part 3

The Cat Dabbler

Alone, yet feeling bold in his soft fur cape and hood, Farfel Falafel pressed on. The taste of freedom was again sweet on his lips, the poisoned tuna a thing of the past. When the elevator dinged he went forth seeking adventure.

He should have known something was amiss when he got off on the thirteenth floor. But he was a cat and he couldn’t read the numbers, so he pressed on none the wiser.

“What’s wrong with the thirteenth floor?”
“Thirteen is a haven for witches, warlocks, and evil beings.”
“Marcia’s house number is thirteen.”
“Then you guys should definitely consider moving.”
*nod nod*

At any rate, on this perilous floor our hero ran smack into a crowd of very small children, who being very small children saw straight through Farfel Falafel’s disguise. 

“A kitty!” a little girl cried. A second squealed and then a third.

“I wanna pet the kitty!”

“No, me!”

Farfel Falafel was penned in. A half dozen pudgy hands smelling like chocolate and hand sanitizer reached for his head.

Behind him, someone tugged on his tail and pronounced it “so soft!”

Farfel Falafel was too intimidated to retaliate against the hoard. He hunkered down, making himself small.

“Girls, girls, you’re scaring him.”

A knight in shining armor came to Farfel Falafel’s rescue. Or at least, a knight in a sparkling silver jacket. He also wore an oversized pair of sunglasses lined with rhinestones. Huge multi-colored rings glimmered under the fluorescent lighting as he gently parted the sea of fangirls and invited Farfel Falafel into his private sanctuary. 

Pausing in the doorway, he handed out packets of M&M’s to the children eagerly peering around him for a glimpse of Farfel Falafel’s luxurious orange fur.

“You’re laying it on a bit thick, aren’t you?”
“I am a legend in my own mind.”

“Hey, kitty kitty,” the knight said when he closed the door. He stooped down and held out a single crooked finger. “My name’s Chris, what’s yours?”

Farfel Falafel permitted a chin scratch in thanks. 

“You must be the cat from upstairs,” he said. “I always wanted a cat. Where’s your human?”

Farfel Falafel nonchalantly licked his front paw. He was a cat about town. He didn’t need his human’s permission.

Chris laughed. “A guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do, huh?”

That warranted a purr of solidarity. “This guy really gets me,” Farfel Falafel thought, “and there’s no kids around here either. Maybe I’ll stay a while.”

He was mentally granting Chris the title of honorary cat lady when the winds of fate suddenly changed. It turned out, Chris was hiding worse things in his apartment than a stuffed polar bear cat.

“Yip!” was the first warning.

Followed by a chorus of “Yaps” and more “Yips”. 

And then came the scratches. 

Farfel Falafel went on full alert, hackles raised, tail bushy.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Chris said. “The girls are locked in the bathroom until trick-or-treating is over.”

But then came the sound…

“What sound?”
“You know the sound the old oak tree made just before it fell over last month?”
“Yes?”
“That’s the sound Farfel Falafel heard next.”

The bathroom door succumbed to the pounding of three fluffy hounds of hell. With mops of fur dangling down past their eyes and little pink bows by their ears, they hunted by smell. They fell on Farfel Falafel, sinking their teeth into his cape and tugging at his fake bear hood.

“Muffy, Mitzy, no!” Chris cried.

He captured one dog and then a second, locking them behind another door. He held the third one in his arms, a squirming furry mass of bad intentions. Farfel Falafel’s ruined Halloween costume dangled its snarling jaws.

“Hush, Missy,” Chris said. “Be nice to the kitty.”

But Missy wasn’t having it. And neither was Farfel Falafel, who hissed and spit and spit some more. 

Chris’s sunglasses now lay trampled on the ground, frames cracked, cheap rhinestones strewn across the carpet.

Without the shades, Farfel Falafel recognized his rescuer for who he really was: just an ordinary guy with delusions of cat ownership. Taking charge of the situation, he marched to the front door. 

Meekly, Chris opened it for him. “If you ever want to come back to visit…” he said hopefully.

But Farfel Falafel was already gone.

“Wow, Uncle Farfel, apartment life sure is dangerous.”
“Well, it was the season. This is why we have Halloween back here on the porch.”
“I don’t get it. How was that an evil witch?”
“This is the 21st century. Men can be witches.”
“But he seemed like a nice guy. How was he evil?”
“Nice guys don’t keep scary dogs locked up in their bathroom.”
“Seriously, Uncle Bob, weren’t you listening?”
“Besides, he was at best a cat dabbler. True cat ladies have commitment.”
“You mean indecision is its own form of evil?”
“Exactly.”

Part 4

The Hidden Cat Lady

The springs on the Bob’s porch door squeaked. Marcia appeared.

“Hey boys, how’s it going back here?” She squatted down beside them, the denim stretched tight over her knees. “You want more treats? You almost ate all of them!”

Well, one of us, Bob thought, tucking both paws neatly under his chest.

The kitten, who had gorged on cat candy while Farfel told his story, groaned.

“No more treats or I’ll have to roll him home,” Farfel said.

But all Marcia heard was a polite meow. She reached out and gave Farfel a head scratch in response.

The moon had sunk lower in the sky, but the stray whoops and yelps of neighborhood kids could still be heard from the street.

Marcia stood when the doorbell rang again. “Duty calls. Shouldn’t be much longer.”

Rooster held his paws over his belly. “Uncle Farfel, I don’t feel so well.”

Farfel scarfed down the last heart-shaped vittle. “Overeating treats is a Halloween rite of passage, kid. You’re right on schedule.”

“That doesn’t make me feel any better,” Rooster replied, as a loud belch erupted from his small body.

“I can’t believe I’m about to say this,” Bob said, “but then what happened? You said three witches–by which I now assume you meant three cat ladies.”

“Correct,” Farfel replied. “One obviously crazy. One amateur. And one remaining.”

He again adopted his story telling pose, sitting back on his hind legs.

By this time Farfel Falafel was tired and ready to go home, but how to get there? The building’s trick-or-treating had wound down, and the halls were deserted. He was forced to wait for a human to either call the elevator or open the door to the stairwell.

“But how did you know where you were going?” Rooster interrupted.

“Well, to be honest, this wasn’t Farfel Falafel’s first excursion in the building. Plus, as a cat, he had mad hunting skills. If needed, he could find his way home using advanced echolocation techniques.”

“Did you just compare your younger self to a dolphin?”
“Okay, okay, I did it by smell. We lived on the floor that smelled most like stinky socks, with a faint note of scrambled eggs and bacon. It was one floor down.”

Farfel Falafel had just reached the stairwell door when it open to reveal his nemesis, Corrina the building custodian. This woman had no sense of humor. She wasn’t even dressed up for the holiday, unless you counted her usual blue pants and black t-shirt.

She carried a pail of soapy water and muttered about troublemaking kids. Apparently, she didn’t realize there were three property-damaging dogs right down the hall. 

She recognized Farfel Falafel at once. “You. You’re that cat!”

Farfel Falafel sprang into action, streaking past her and down the steps. At the bottom, he raked his claws against the door, alerting all within hearing distance that there was a cat in crisis.

Her lumbering footfalls pursued, closing in on him from above.

Farfel Falafel redoubled his efforts.

Finally, Mr. Reynard, who was responsible for the daily smell of eggs and bacon, yanked open the door. “Who’s making all that racket?”

“Stop that cat!” shouted Corrina.

Farfel Falafel didn’t wait around to get caught. He was gone, down the hall to the last threshold, the door to his very own home.

Corrina was close behind. Her detergent-scented hands closed around his ribs just as Mrs. Gregson opened the door.

“Farfel! There you are,” Mrs. Gregson said.

Never had Farfel Falafel been so happy to see his human’s face.

Corrina, gasping for breath, held Farfel Falafel out at arm’s length. “Mrs. Gregson,” she wheezed, “what I have I told you about letting your cat out in the building?”

Mrs. Gregson took Farfel Falafel in her arms. “Oh, surely it’s okay for a cat to go out trick-or-treating with the rest of the kids.”

“A cat is not a child, Mrs. Gregson.”

“Really?” Farfel Falafel found himself squashed to his human’s chest while she made all sorts of smooching noises against his head. “Farfel Falafel, did you hear that? Are you not my baby?”

The smooching got quite carried away. Poor Farfel Falafel couldn’t help but purr in sheer embarrassment. Of all the would-be cat ladies he’d met that night, surely Mrs. Gregson was the best.

“Mrs. Gregson—”

“Corrina, do you have a cat?”

“Of course not.”

“You should definitely get one.”

Corrina looked bewildered at the prospect. “I don’t see what that has to—”

Mrs. Gregson cut her off again. “There’s nothing quite like it when they purr for you. I bet you’re a cat lady just waiting to happen.”

“I really don’t think—”

“Here, why don’t you hold Farfel for a minute.”

“Me?” Corrina quailed at the prospect of properly holding a cat. Farfel Falafel quailed also. “I wouldn’t know how.”

“Oh, he doesn’t bite. Just, put one arm under his butt, yup… there you go.”

Before he knew it, Farfel Falafel was purring against Corrina’s sweaty bosom. And that’s when it happened.

“When what happened, Uncle Farfel?”
“The magic, kid. Pure cat magic that only affects certain people in the world.”

All at once, Corrina was like putty in Farfel Falafel’s paws.

“Oh my,” she said, petting Farfel Falafel’s head as much as she dared. “It is nice when they purr.”

The Mrs. nodded enthusiastically. “You live downstairs by yourself, right? You should totally get one.”

Eventually Corrina wandered off in a state of dazzled delight.

When the Mrs. closed the door, however, she frowned at Farfel Falafel, pointing an accusing finger. “Where have you been? I was worried sick about you! And where is your costume?”

Farfel Falafel did the only sensible thing, he head-butted her leg.

“Oh no, mister, I’m not letting you off the hook so easily. Corrina could have called animal control on you!”

So Farfel Falafel threw in some purring and cute looks on top of the head-butts, until Mrs. Gregson scooped him up and gave him dinner.

That Thanksgiving, Corrina came by with a cranberry loaf gift and a Siamese kitten on a leash. With tears in her eyes, she told the Mrs. getting a kitten was the single best thing that had ever happened to her. It had changed her life. She was a true cat lady.

“I of course hid behind the sofa because I didn’t want to end up getting held again.”
“Wise.”
“Plus, I prefer my cat ladies with more experience.”

Beside them, Rooster was sniffling.

Farfel stopped. “What’s wrong, kid? Was the story too scary?”

“Does your stomach still hurt?” Bob asked.

Rooster wiped a tear away with the back of his paw. “No, it’s just… I need to go cuddle my momma now!”

And he raced off toward his and Farfel’s back door.

“Well, the Mrs. is the best cat lady in town.”

“Second to Marcia, you mean,” Bob corrected.

“Heh heh. Right.”

With that, the Mighty Kitty Jack-o-lantern’s candle burned out, and Farfel called it a night.

Bob headed into the house and sat with an exhausted Marcia on the sofa.

I don’t like sharing you with people on Halloween, he told her with each of his purrs.

“Aw, I missed you too, Bob.” She turned on the tv. “Wanna watch a scary movie and cuddle before bed?”

I thought you’d never ask.

The End


 

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this Farfel and Bob story. 

If you like Farfel’s story telling mode, check out the free mini-story, Tale of the Litter Box Monster here.

For more of Bob’s love affair with his cat lady, see his books.

 

Advertisements