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April Fool the Cat 3-3-21

‘April stalked the village streets by night and early morning, her ebony coat made her all but invisible. Only the creepy glow of her eyes gave her away. Tonight she was up to no good. The closer it got to midnight, the stronger her powers became.

On this particular night of March 31st, April padded carefully along the top of a fence, picking her way along like a wicked black ballerina. When she smiled, her deadly canines shone in the moonlight. Her long snakelike tail twitched at the tip, acting as her rudder, steering her on course…’

“Hold up. Hold up.” She turned abruptly to the mouse following her along the fence top, the little mouse bumped into her nose.

“You’re supposed to be writing my memoirs, cat-a-logging my adventures as it were.”

“But I am doing just that, my finicky feline friend,” answered Heeby, the small brown mouse.

“Can’t you just say ‘cat’? You make me sound like a gargoyle or something…”

“I’m using my artistic tongue, by which of course I mean ‘pen’.” Heeby said defensively.

“Grrr. Okay. Just be aware I have full editing rights,” said April. She liked getting her way. She was not used to having a friend around, she had to constantly remind herself to be a nice kitty and not let her ego get in the way of that friendship. “I do admit you are pretty good at chronicling my yearly pranks. Just the fact that you can keep up with me is impressive.”

“Who said we are friends?” asked Heeby.

“Damn.” Thought April. She’d forgotten that Heeby could read minds. It was part of their deal after all.

Heeby said, “We’re more like partners in crime, like Bonnie and Clyde. Or Grinch and his dog. I’d be the dog by the way.”

“Never mind all that…I’ve spotted our next victim.” April pointed to the house coming up on their right. Across the small, toy cluttered yard, the light from a window assaulted the night. They could see the curtain blowing gently in the cool spring breeze. On the sill was a muffin tin. In each little cup, a mound of sweet yumminess peeked up like a toad in a pond. April sniffed the air and said, “Cranberry walnut. Perfect.”

Heeby said, “Yuck, I hate walnuts. They give me hives.”

April sighed, thinking her partner in crime could be so dense sometimes. She said, “Baking this late at night means that the mom in that house was told, at the last minute by her kid, that he needed to bring baked goods of some kind to school. Mom wouldn’t bake cranberry walnut muffins for her kid’s class. She probably made blueberry or chocolate chip. With the extra batter, she then made her own favorite. Or perhaps her husband’s favorite.”

“You do have a brilliant mind, April.” Said Heeby with admiration. “I sometimes forget that you used to be a human being once.”

April pointed at the notepad in Heeby’s tiny paws and said, “Keep writing. It’s nearly midnight. My powers are ramping up. I feel the electricity in my whiskers.” They quivered as if to prove the point.

Heeby jotted down some more notes in his neat little shorthand. Then followed quickly behind April, not wanting to miss any of the events to come. They snuck around a rusty blue bicycle lying on its side in the weedy grass. The front tire was slowly revolving, its spokes catching the light, the back one was nearly flat. They tip-toed through a battlefield, where tiny plastic men were frozen in place. Some were ready to fire upon the enemy and some were already dead in the dirt. The enemy appeared to be a Hulk Hogan doll with its face melted off. At the window, they heard a woman humming to herself. The tune sounded suspiciously like the Stones’ ‘Mother’s Little Helper.’ April stifled a giggle. They peeked in and saw a thirtyish brunette woman in a red checked apron. She was brushing flour from her hands, while dancing around the room in a way only moms do when no one’s watching.

“Better hurry, she’s going to take the muffins inside any minute.” Whispered Heeby.

April concentrated on the moon for seven long seconds. Then she stared at the muffins with eyes full of borrowed moonglow. Then! A flash of brilliant blue like the flame of a jeweler’s torch, and Heeby knew that, once again, April had cast her wicked spell.

“Duck!” whispered April. They ducked out of sight.

The tone-deaf woman came to the window. Behind her in the house, a clock struck midnight. Ah-ha! Officially April Fool’s Day. The woman took the muffins from the window and put them on the table just below it. She inhaled the sweet arom-

Wait! She sniffed again. The cat and mouse peeked in and could barely control their glee. The woman frowned. The muffins did not smell sweet at all, but more like rotten mushrooms marinating in a fetid mud puddle. Curiously, she reached for a knife. She gently prodded the top off one of the muffins. A dozen fat black cockroaches spilled out! Their many chitinous legs tap danced across the counter, their antennae licking the air as if to taste her fear. The poor woman screamed! It was a very long, very high-pitched scream indeed.

By the time she’d stopped screaming, April and Heeby were back at the fence, scrambling their way up it, while laughing the whole time. They sped across the top, on feet light as air, and back to the street. They followed the rural, potholed lane until they came to the edge of the woods where April lived. There they sat on a log, catching their breath, while Heeby scribbled away in his little pad.

“That was awesome!” exclaimed Heeby, “What a setta lungs on that one! You really lived up to your name tonight, April Fool.”

April licked the dew drops from her paws, and tittered a little, “heh heh heh. I can’t wait to read this year’s column.” She saved each article, every year, and kept them in a scrapbook under her bed.

“Okay, I’m ready now. If I get back by four am, I’ll have my column in tomorrow’s paper.”

April looked once more at the melancholy moon. She let its magic enter her eyes until they once again glowed that spooky blue color. Then she turned back to the mouse and worked her yearly promise spell. The tiny shadow of the mouse grew larger, then taller still, until it towered over April. The swarthy young reporter bent down and shook April’s paw.

“Until next friend.” Said Heeby with a wink. Then he turned, pulled out a flashlight, and went back towards town.

April followed a trail in the woods that only her sharp green eyes could see. She came upon a large oleander bush, tucked deep in ominous shadows. After crawling through to the other side- the secret side- she came to the little log cabin. She knew by the faint glow from the window, that only the fireplace was shedding it. The faint scent of burning pine was a pleasant welcome home. She slinked through the small red door, inside the people-sized one, and faced the witch.

“Well, April Fool, did you get it out of your system for another year?” The old woman cackled to her familiar. She patted the sofa beside her. Next to the worn checkered sofa was a slice of honey-baked ham and a glass of warm vanilla milk on a tv tray. April’s favorite meal. The old woman smelled of cinnamon, ginger, and soft downy feathers. Her ancient eyes glowed an unusual shade of pale green, just like her cat’s. After her kitty meal, April curled up in the witch’s lap and purred to show her affection. April Fool was very happy. She was a lucky cat, and very much loved. The terrible nightmares about the awful orphanage she was stolen from now barely a whisper of memory.

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