"B-Bustopher? What are you doing here?" Jennyanydots asked the large cat who stood at the oven door.
"Well, Jenny," Jellylorum called from inside. Aren't you going to let our visitor in?"
"Oh, yes, how rude of me, come in," she paused a moment and looked at Jellylorum, "Bustopher,"
Jellylorum gasped and tried to hide her smile. Bustopher Jones smiled and hoisted himslef into the oven. And by hoisted, thats what I mean. When you last saw him he weighed twenty-five pounds, now, he was pushing thirty, but as in those times, being wieghty was a sign of wealth
"Madam, I have come to ask you a question," Bustopher's usually flushed cheeks were now pinker than usual.
"Yes Bustopher?" Jennyanydots urged him on. Bustopher stood up and then attempted to lower himself to one knee. When he saw he wasn't able to he simply stood and bowed;
"Madam, I would be honored if you would allow me to escort you to the caterwaul tomorrow evening," he said this as if he were announcing he was going to take her. The Gumbie cat, knowing not what to say, simply looked at him, then at Jellylorum, and suddenly there was a knock at the door.
"Jenny? I know yer in here. Tis where Gemimer said you were," Skimbleshanks cried through the door. Jennyanydots looked at Bustopher again, then at the door, and promptly fainted.
Rum Tum Tugger stood in front of the shard of broken mirror and started flexing his muscles. From various places surropinding him he heard the girlish cries of the younger female cats. He turned to the side and flexed again. One of the cats giggled louder than before and Rum Tum Tugger msiled in spite of himself. Taking one last turn so his backside was facing the hiding places, he flexed one last time and he heard the notorious squeal of Etcetra. With his back to the hiding places, he didn't see Cassandra wlak up behind the mirror.
"Very nice," she said sarcastically.
"Cassandra!" his voice cracked as he saw her, "I wasn't expecting to see you here!"
"I should think not," was her cool reply. She was actually quite a lovely cat. A strange breed of siamese caused her to be black for the most part. Her chest was a dark brown and her paws faded into a light brown. When she walked she seemed to slink, and slide in such away you would expect her to be slimy to the touch, but in fact she was quite smooth and had a beautiful coat.
"W-well," Rum Tum Tugger stammered. he wasn't used to being questioned and was always quick to reply. Often in one or two word sentences. For some reason, only Cassandra could knock him off of his feet.
"Go on," Cassandra prompted. She slid up to him and The Tugger's eyes grew large.
"I was just," he hesitated and twitched his tail, "I was jsut making sure my collar looked right,"
"Oh? Is that why Etcetra was squealing like a stuffed pig?" Cassandrsa raised her eyebrows. Rum Tum Tugger lowered his eyes. Sensing she went to far, Cassandra sat down next to him. Now beiong taller, Rum Tum YTugger stood up straight and lowered his voice.
"So, you goin' to the Caterwaul tammorah?" Cassandra laughed to herself as he said this. He sounded like a bad Elvis impersonator
"I might, big guy," she teased. While saying this she twined her paw in his hair curling the tuft of fur that was longer than the rest on his forehead.
"Good," he replied. His tail started twitched and he grabbed it with his paws and pretended to play a guitar solo. While doing so he hummed the tune. Cassandra loved it when he did that. She giggled and stopped herself. Act cool, she instructed to herself. Tugger kept playing his "guitar", then stopped.
"Well then, I just might see ya there," he said as he looked her in the eye. Smiling they both stood up and ran off behind the mirror to one of the cats hiding places. As they ran tow other voices became apparent.
"What do you mena you don't have a date?" Demeter hissed at her older sister. Bombalurina sighed and shook her head.
"Well, Cassandra has Rum Tum tugger wrapped around her little claw. I don't have a chance with him," she complained.
"Well," Demeter paused to think, "what about Alonzo?"
"Nah, he's been smitten with that cat, Tansyleaf since she showed up the other day. No chance there either,"
"You know, you're not much help," Demeter scolded. Bombalurina smiled with a glint in her eyes. Cheerfully she replied;
"I know!" The two laughed and when they stopped they heard a faint purring coming somewhere form their left. They stopped in their tracks and listened. Bombalurina looked around and saw a spiked collar resting on a peg near where the purring could be heard.
"Hmm," she said to Demeter, "I wonder who that could be?"
deeter smiled and then started laughing. Bombalurina, caught up in the humour of it started giggling as well. The two she-cats sat there giggling for quite a while until Demeter got an idea.
"Hey! I've got it!" she shouted out loud.
"Got what?" Bombalurina asked, surprised by the outburst.
"You mentioned Tansyleaf right?"
"Well," Bombalurina replied, "yeah. Why do you ask?"
"Well, who brought Tansyleaf to the junkyard???"
"Bill Bailey?" Bombalurina asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Yeah! As I understand it, he's single!" she said this last sentence schemimng in her mind.
"But we've known eahcother for like," Bombalurina hesitated," forever!"
"I know! It's perfect!" Demeter smiled, "All we have to do is get the two of you together!"
"I don't know, he's like my best friend," Bombalurina hesitated to follow the plan.
"Oh well! We have a cat to find!" Demeter said. Thus doing so she grabbed Bombalurina by the paw and pulled her off towards the lookout posts.
"Would ya mind tellin' me what 'as 'appened here?" he asked Jellylorum.
"Oh my! Jenny just keeled over! I don't know what happened!"
At this, Bustopher stood up and staretd to leave. "madam," he siad addressing Jellylorum, "When Ms. Anydots awakes, please tell her I will pick her up and seven," and with that he left. Skimbleshanks merely stood hwer ehe was, puzzled.
"Now wha' has just 'appened?" he asked Jellylorum once more.
"Oh my goodness!" she replied still fanning off Jennyanydots. Finally, the fallen Gumbie Cat statred to come to. When she was a wake she looked at Skimbleshanks, then at Jellylorum, then back and Skimbleshanks and started bawling.
"Aooow!" she cried, "I didn't mean to Skimble!" If you have seen the musical My Fair Lady then you can quite imagine what this sounded like. Skimbleshanks, not used to grown cats crying plugged his ears and replied:
"Didna mean to do wha' Jenny?"
At this she started bawling louder and couldn't answer. Jellylorum, oblivious to what had happened, answered for her.
"She'll tell you tommorrow, Skimble dear. Pick her up at seven?"
Skimbleshanks, not knowing what to say simple nodded to Jellylorum and bowed to Jennyanydots. "See ya tommorrah Jenny," and he left.
"Wha' the bloody 'ell are ya doin'?!" shouted Grumbuskin. He was yelling at Genghis who was unrolling the streamers as Grumbuskin walked. Instead of being an equal amount of streamer and distance, there was about ten feet extra of streamers and Grumbuskin was furiously picking it up.
Over towards the chair were Gilbert and Admetus who were both trying to clear off the area surrounding the chair. Admetus would pick up a piece of trash and place it on the chair, while Gilbert would see the trash and toss it back over his head back into Admetus's pile of trash and vice versa.
Quaxo had to laugh to himself. The four cats had come from the wharf and all lived near the Thames. Grumbuskin and Gilbert had both once workjed for aGrowltiger and Genghis was part of the horde that rose against the pirate cat. Admetus was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up with Genghis's troupe of rebellors.
"Oh my!" Admetus shouted as he watched the two cats on the gorund. Grumbuskin had attempted to whap Genghis over the head withn his tail The attempt had failed and Genghis had proceeded to wrap Grumbuskin up in the streamer.
"You know, I've never actually seen one of old Tut's pet mummy's," Quaxo shouted down to the four cats.
"Well!" Grumbuskin shouted from within the wrapping, "if it t'isn't lit'le Quaxo!"
" 'ello kit!" Genghis shouted cheerfully. Grumbuskin hopped over to the black cat. He attempted to shake hands with Quaxo, but when he realized he couldn't, he merely nodded and asked, "Are ye goin' to the Caterwaul?"
"Well, actually yes, and on that note, do any of you know where Gemima is?" Quaxo looed hopefully from face to face. The only answer he got was from Admetus.
"Oh Gemima! You know, I'm a lookin' for her as well," Quaxo looked at Admetus surprised.
"Looking for Gemima?" Quaxo asked, His heart fell. He was sure Gemima would go with him. Besides, what would she want with a magic cat who can't even make a hat float?
"Yeah, I needs to ask her sometin', why do ye ask?" Admetus eyed Quaxo. The three other cats smiled knowingly.
"Oh, no reason. Nothing at all," Quaxo answered. he turned slowly to wlak away and he heard the sea cats behind him laughing.
"Poor lit'le tyke," Genghis laughed.
" 'e doesn't even know it either!" Grumbuskin laughed. In fact, he was laughing so hard he fell over, being as he was still wrapped in the streamer.
"Quaxo, what were you thinking?" the small cat asked himself, "She'd never go with you. Besides, what made you think you were brave enough to ask her?" He walked slowly away form the other cats. He then became aware of Gemima's voice rising above the din of all the other cats, as she cried out the time;
Turn your face to the moonlight.
Let your memory lead you,
Open up enter in.
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is,
then a new life will begin."
Sighing, Quaxo turned away from the main yard of the junkyard and walked to his bed. Old enough to have a bed of his own, he slept in a tattered derby hat. It was close to Mistoffelees's Top-hat, but Quaxo felt older when he slept un-watched, with the exception of tonight. He wished he was still young enough to be under the care of his friend and mentor not only during the day, but at night. Closing his eyes, Quaxo dreamt of what it might have been like dancing with Gemima at the Caterwaul.
...to be continued