Our Great Summer Novel — Chapter 12: Tater Saves The Day
“This is the most wonderful thing in the world! Turquoise and diamonds are nothing! This! This is delicious! Please give me another bite!” Boots exclaimed while reaching for the large slice of peach Davis was cutting.
Boots was on his third peach, Davis his fourth, sitting in the cab of the fire truck with the lights still flashing, the siren wailing and the two front tires up on the sidewalk in front of Davis’ house.
“Could you turn that off?” Davis said as Boots was beginning to stuff the slice in his mouth.
“Actually, I don’t remember how I turned it on. All I could think about was the fire that I was sure was blazing at your house… Wow, this is a juicy one” Boots said, wiping some peach dribble from the corner of his mouth while looking around the cab. “Oh, here. This should do it.”
“Ah, peace.” Davis said, relaxing back in his seat as the sound of the siren receded. “And you’re looking a little less like a maniac.”
“Yeah, but driving this thing was a high! If you know what I mean,” Boots gave a Davis a lopsided grin. “Or maybe it was just Kuai’s psycho serum.”
The two men continued slurping down peaches while watching a number of dogs, cats — some walking only on their hind legs and carrying peaches — a camel and a couple of goats go house to house down the street, banging on or breaking down doors and pushing peaches into the mouths of any human they found.
“This really is unbelievable,” Davis said, shaking his head, but feeling pleasantly satisfied to be doing nothing other than eating peaches with his best friend in a stolen fire truck.
He was just about to slice another peach when the thunk thunk of a paw sounded against the door and Bisbee the cockatiel suddenly appeared, hovering in front of the windshield.
“Davis, open up,” a Texas accent filtered through the door, which Davis promptly cracked enough for the pudgy tuxedo cat to slither through. He would have opened it farther, but he’d had enough unexpectedly appearing camel and alpaca heads for a year or so.
Tater thumped his rump down on corner of the seat and Bisbee settled precariously on a windshield wiper.
“Well, the town is getting back to a new normal with talking, mind-reading animals,” Tater said smugly. “And I’ve reached an agreement with Bisbee to no longer entertain thoughts about torturing and eating him.”
“Good realization, man ... I mean, uh, Tater,” Boots said.
Tater shot Boots a condescending look and flicked his tail. “The police are rational again and are on their way to arrest Lina and Kuai, so we don’t need to worry about them right now. Bisbee is my lookout for any more disturbances.”
Tater let out a pompous sigh, then began pacing rather haphazardly through the cab, over Davis’ and Boots’ knees.
“And now, I’m preparing myself mentally for the numerous media interviews I will need to give as president of the newly formed Palisade Animal Commonwealth and regarding this serum incident.” Tater paused for a dramatic kitty cough. Davis looked sideways at Boots and raised one eyebrow. Boots slightly shook his head.
Tater continued. “After that, I’ll you need you” — Tater stopped his pacing to level a stern look at Davis — “to purchase airline tickets to Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles.” (Another sigh.) “I need to meet with the president. Then there’s a photo shoot with Lady Liberty that I can’t miss. I’d also like to have a meet-and-great with Justin Bieber, Elmo and Angelina Jolie at the Reagan Library.”
Tater sat back down. Davis and Boots again exchanged glances.
“Davis, you have been voted vice president of PAC despite being human. Boots, I assume you’ll enjoy a position as my personal assistant.” Tater coughed again for dramatic effect. “I need to tend to some various matters before the media arrive. So Davis, if you’ll be so kind as to open the door again?”
Davis complied, then he and Boots sat for a dumbfounded moment after Tater disappeared out the cab door and Bisbee flew away.
“Personal assistant? Enjoy?” Boots blurted into the silence. “Give me another peach!”
But Davis couldn’t move his arm. He was shaking, then chuckling, snorting, laughing and gasping and laughing. Boots joined in.
At some point, their spasms of laughter reduced to the point that Boots was able to start the fire truck and back it off the curb. With a blast of the horn that sent a couple donkeys unceremoniously running for their lives, Davis and Boots drove off toward the fire station with the setting sun bathing the street in golden light.
Tater sighed happily, licked his paw a couple times then shut the laptop. “Another great novel to add to my collection,” he thought to himself as he stretched and look over to where Davis sat in a leather easy chair with Lina on his lap. They were looking over a travel book for Thailand.
Tater’s contentment turned to vexation, and he scowled his best cat scowl at Lina.
Sensing the ire directed her way, Lina looked up. “I think Tater’s still mad at me for accidently giving him buttermilk instead of cream,” she said.
“Oooo, that’s pretty bad. He’s not going to forgive you for at least a week or so and will probably write you up as some nasty character one of his novels,” Davis smirked.
“Ah, yes. That’s what he’s doing when he pounds on that laptop. Tater, the novelist. Someday we’ll find a file of astounding novels saved somewhere in there. I probably am a villain,” Lina laughed.
Tater shot Lina a most disdainful look before beginning to lick his rotund belly.
“Probably. But you do cook some great Asian. Thanks for dinner,” said Boots, who was lounging on the living room carpet rattling a cat toy. “Come on, Tater, I know you want to play. You’ve been looking at this longingly ... come on.”
Tater turned his back. He wanted the toy, “but I have principles,” he thought.
Davis chuckled and Lina closed the book and placed it on a trunk that was serving as an end table.
“Where is Chuy? Didn’t he say he was coming over for the movie?” Davis said.
“He’s coming. He’s always late,” Boots rolled on his back and threw the cat toy in the air.
Tater, moving with a speed that disguised his size, or so he thought, went after the cat toy, thumping Boots with paws and tail in the process.
“Ahhhh! Tater! Who do you think you are?” Boots yelled as he scrambled away.
“I’m a mind-reading king, a celebrity novelist in hiding! I’m one of the greatest cats this world has ever known ... or will know, if I can just get this toy…” Tater’s paws worked furiously, “behind the couch ... the blasted curtain ... I will get it ... It’s all in my plan to…”