Donald R. Fletcher, Author
“I know that Becky is a sensitive child; but I don’t understand this business about a cat.”
We were home, after our long weekend at the farm. The “farm,” as we call it, is our country cottage, on a pond up in the Poconos, about an-hour-and-a-quarter’s drive from our house, here in south Jersey. To our marriage, the second for both of us, Cheryl brought Becky, who is nine, a sweet, gentle child.
Well, Cheryl had been in the back bedroom, seeing Becky tucked in for the night, and she was telling me now about a stray cat that Becky had found and brought back to the cottage. Cheryl said she had told Becky that we couldn’t have a cat, and had made sure that she put the cat outside when we were closing up the cottage.
“Ah, yes,” I said. “Now that you tell me this, I remember seeing a black-and-white cat near the back door; but thinking that there are plenty of stray animals around and it was probably one of them.
So, we turned to catching some late news on the TV and having a cup of hot chocolate, as we like to do in the Fall, before bedtime. I was just tidying up in the kitchen, when Cheryl came suddenly back in, her eyes wide and frightened.
“Becky—she’s gone, and my keys are gone, too!”
Quickly we checked around back. The garage was open and Becky’s bicycle was missing.
“Jim, she’s taken it. I knew she was upset about that cat, that she had named Whiskers!”
We got on our jackets, and into the car again.
“Oh, Jim,” Cheryl was saying, “hurry, but be careful. Please, be very careful!”
It doesn’t take long, from where we live, to get out of town. We had gone only a mile or so, leaving the last houses behind, when our headlights picked up the red reflector on the back fender of a bicycle lying on the shoulder of the road.
As we came up close, there was Becky, sitting up on a bank. The front tire of her bicycle was flat.
“Becky, dear,” Cheryl said, after we got her in the van, with her bicycle loaded in back, “Dad knows about Whiskers. Late as it is, we are going to get him, if he is at the farm.”
And so we did. Cheryl retrieved the keys from Becky, and we made the drive to the cottage. When we got there and went in, we heard a mewing. There, under the bed in Becky’s room, was an empty saucer, and there was Whiskers, coming out and rubbing against Becky’s leg.
Author Notes: At 101, Don Fletcher, after publishing nine books, is writing flash fiction and short prose pieces.