Even in the morning sun, the abandoned warehouse was dark. The windows had long since been boarded up and let no sunlight intrude. Macavity sat on the highest perch in the center of the shipping crates, which were all turned on their sides. Each were stacked on the other forming an almost horseshoe shape. His accomplices, large black Maine Coon cats, looking more like panthers, sat in alternating crates. Each of their yellow eyes glaring down at on the silent form of the orange, black and white tabby. Mungojerrie sat silently in the center of their gazes, his head was lowered his eyes never moving from the floor. "…and if you aren’t going to be able to present any useful information, then I am afraid that you are no longer a necessity to my clan and I will be more then happy to retire you from my services."
Mungojerrie remained silent. "I'd like to retire alright." He thought to himself.
"And of course your cute little partner will have to take your place... maybe she will provide me with more information and entertainment" The wild cat snickered. Mungojerrie tensed slightly at the mention of his mate.
"Get out of my sight" The evil cat sneered.
Mungojerrie slinked from the warehouse and headed home. He didn't want to work for Macavity, and yet he could see no way out of the situation. If he tried to break connections with the wild cat then Rumpleteazer would get hurt, if he didn’t then he was going to get killed and Rumpleteazer would still be a target. He tried to shake the thoughts from his head. Once he arrived home he went through the cat door. He went through the kitchen into the dining room into the blue room. There the man master was seated on his favorite leather recliner. Mungojerrie walked in quietly. Rumpleteazer was just out of view behind the chair. She was circling the base of the birdcage. "There just has to be a way" she thought to herself. Mungojerrie passed the chair and would have continued if his mate didn't catch him completely off guard.
"Jerrie! I've got it!" she pulled the other into position a few feet from the base of the cage.
"Wha?" he was still heavy into his thoughts.
"Shhh, You just stand right there…a little to the left, there you go, purrfect!" She backed away "Don't move" She judged the area and counted her steps, then she charged forward,
"Teazer what's this all about?" he turned "Jerrie! NO!" She tried to stop herself but her momentum carried her past him and right into the base of the birdcage. It toppled over bringing everything down on the leather recliner and its occupant. Birdseed, feathers, and water were sent flying from the cage.
"AGH!!!" The man shouted. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer looked at the incredible sight before them. The lady came into the room now,
"What on earth happened to you?" She caught a glimpse of two tails disappearing from the doorway.
"Where are those two!" He bellowed.
"I'm doing laundry now, you might as well go up and change, bring me your shirt when you get out of it. I'll be outside."
In the hallway the two troublemakers laughed lightly.
"We have to improve on that on a bit, I think I might've had that bird that time" Teazer giggled.
"It might have worked, although it wasn't a complete loss" he snickered.
" 'ow did your meeting with Macavity go?" she inquired.
"Like all the others, still as mean as ever" Sensing that he might not want to talk about it just yet, she perked up
"Common Jer, let's go see what the lady's doing" He smiled,
They headed out the back and went to their lookout. The lady was hanging clothing and bed sheets on the line. After surveying the area and running all options through, the two of them locked eyes and at once pounced at the unsuspecting target. The sheet, which was white and fresh, now went flying from the lady master's hands and landed in a heap on the dirt and grass at her feet. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer untangled themselves with the craft that comes from learned experience and darted away to their look out.
"Those cats!" She shouted. Mungo and Teazer looked on to see the outcome of maneuver #31. Mungo chuckled and Teazer giggled. This was priceless.
"I swear I will never get this work done!" She reached down retrieving the now soiled sheet.
"What have they done now?" the man master asked still recovering himself.
"Just look around and you tell me something they HAVEN'T done." He noted the sheet,
"OH! Which was it?!" He scanned the area looking for the guilty party. Instead he saw his new dress shirt still covered with birdseed and now sporting a muddy look with tiny claw marks and grass stains. "These two cats have gotten into enough trouble, and I have had it!" he said as he shook off the mud from his shirt. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer crouched low.
"Which do we do now?" Teazer grinned.
Mungo considered the options. "Well…we could do #71." Teazer wrinkled her nose.
"Oh no Jerrie, that one takes too long."
Mungo shifted, eyes locked on the waving white shirt. "'ow about #8?" Teazer shook her head
"That one needs a ball of yarn, a match and the bird, and we still 'aven't got that bird yet."
Mungo crouched low, digging his claws into the earth. "#13." He said calmly. Teazer flashed him a smile.
"#13." She repeated. She mimicked his action. "One …two…THREE!"
They sprang from their lookout both landing in the basket of clothes by the man. In unison they both sat up straight tossed their heads high and gave a melodious " MEW!" Unfortunately the man was not charmed, as he had been in the past and for the first time he shot a hand out gripping Mungojerrie by his scruff hoisting him in the air. Rumpleteazer had already completed the final action of their plan by darting off to the lookout, all the while thinking her mate was right behind her. As she turned to congratulate him on another well-laid plan she was shocked and horrified to see him dangling from the hands of the man. A look of fear and confusion was etched across Mungojerrie's face. As much as he tried, he couldn't move! The man brought the shocked orange and black tabby eye level. His ears were pulled flat against his head his eyes were wide. The lady's voice came to his defense. "Oh don't be too hard on him dear." "I won't, I'm just going to teach him a lesson." He turned Mungojerrie towards the pile of clothes.
"NO! Bad Konran! NO!" He shook him slightly and tapped his nose with his finger.
"Don't ...touch…the…clothes!" He turned him around and swatted him lightly on his backside.
"Shame on you Konran!" He swatted him again. "Now where is your partner in crime, Kiken?" Rumpleteazer slinked back further into the hiding place.
"Jerrie…" she whispered.
"Oh, let the poor dear go, he's learned his lesson. Just look at him, if I didn't know better I'd say he was embarrassed." said the lady good-naturedlly.
The man chuckled, " Your right, hon." He lowered Mungo to the ground releasing his hold. Mungojerrie was in shock. The man stroked his head, "Go on, you."
Recovering, Mungojerrie darted away, running to the only place he could think of. The junkyard. Rumpleteazer sprinted after him.
Munkustrap was stretched out, his long silver, black, and gray striped body trying to take up every inch of room of the cushion. Mistoffelees kicked lightly at the sleeping tom.
"Move over Munku." he grumbled. He wasn't as large as the other but Munkustrap wasn't the only one who liked the soft velvet padding. Munkustrap looked at the black and white tuxedo through sleepy eyelids.
"There's plenty of room." He mumbled and stretched his entire length. Mistoff took the opportunity to bump him and wedge his way in.
"Thanks Munku." He purred. "Wha?" The larger feline shook his head.
"Unfair" he whispered. He knew that his young friend was missing the Jellicle leader and he was still weary of the cat-napping that took place at the ball. Mistoffelees was a young cat, not young enough to be called a kitten but still young, and he still had always enjoyed the company of others. He was very likeable and sociable and really didn’t like to be on his own. Especially after the whole incident with Macavity. The tux was sure that wild cat was plotting to nab him at any moment. Even as powerful as he was, he was still like a kitten, and yet not one. "Such a wondrous cat" thought Munkustrap. He smiled as he watched his friend. Not just any cat could pull off conjuring the way he did. Pushing him over slightly, he matched his breathing with the sleeping tux and both slept in the morning sun.
Mungojerrie ran as fast as his legs would carry him. ' Of all the 'umiliating, 'orrible…' He never felt so embarrassed and ashamed in all his life. He continued his way, Rumpleteazer still on his tail. As Mungojerrie ran into the junkyard he came face to face with Rum Tum Tugger. The large Maine Coone smirked
"And what has you running like your tail's on fire?" Mungojerrie didn't give him a second look and darted around him, running into his hole. Tugger stood with his mouth gaping. Never had Mungo backed down from a quick jab. The quick tongued tabby was always ready with a comeback. He was equally surprised to see Rumpleteazer dart by him as if he didn't exist, disappearing into the same hole. Skimbleshanks had witnessed the entire event from his favorite perch and slinked his way down, his golden bell ringing quietly. Tugger stood eyes wide.
"What was all that about?" Skimble questioned.
Tugger turned to face the orange railway cat. "You CAN see me, can't you? I mean I am right HERE…standing here in front of you.. Here on this very spot, you CAN see me can't you? I must be losing it."
Skimble couldn't resist a chuckle. "Tugger get a hold of yourself, you're babbling, and yes I see you. They did too but something is obviously wrong"
Tugger only stared at the hole. "I hope you're right."
Mungojerrie was against the wall, he trembled slightly, his backside still tingled and his pride was shattered. Tears of frustration and embarrassment threatened. Rumpleteazer moved slowly to him. "Jerrie?" she mewed quietly.
He remained silent.
"Jerrie…are you okay?" she tried again inching closer.
He couldn't look at her. "Did you see?" he managed.
"Yes" she whispered and moved even closer. "Jerrie I thought you were right behind me! I never even saw 'im grab you!" Mungojerrie slumped lower.
"You saw what he did?"
"Yes, I did love" she was directly in front of him now.
"I COULDN'T MOVE!" screamed Mungojerrie. "I tried everything to try and get away but I couldn't move! And then he swatted me! He SWATTED ME! Like some KITTEN! And I couldn't move!" He was shaking now. Rumpleteazer licked his tears.
"It's okay Jerrie, he caught you by surprise that’s all, you're not 'urt are ya?" she looked him over.
"Only my pride" he muttered.
She rested her head on his shoulder purring softly. "You're not ashamed of me?"
He looked up to see her eyes. She gave him her special smile she saved only for him and licked his face. "Never my love, never" he purred quietly "Thanks Teaz."
Tugger was confused. Mungojerrie and his cute girlfriend ran past him like he didn't exist. "Of all the unthinkable insults, I must be slipping…"
Skimbleshanks was still near by. He cocked his head to one side. "That was odd." Tugger sighed.
"You're telling me.." he still stared at the hole. "I am here, right Skim? You CAN see me…?"
Plato tensed his muscles, he was low now, and every ounce of him tingling ready for his next move. "only a few feet away" he thought to himself. He crept closer to the sleeping figures. Munkustrap and Mistoffelees were still stretched out next to each other. "All the better." Plato grinned. He couldn’t resist the opportunity to get the pounce on that magical cat, it was priceless that Munkustrap was with him. "2 for 1" he chuckled.
Slowly setting his claws to the ground he arced his back, then LEPT! He landed with accuracy on the tuxedo "HA!" He shouted in triumph. "Got you at last!"
Munkustrap sprang to his feet. Mistoffelees tried to do the same but was pinned down, and he was clearly shaken. "What the?"
Plato grinned "Not bad if I do say so myself" he gloated. Munkustrap moved quickly growling and hissing. He turned lashing out at the intruder catching a stunned Plato on the shoulder. He flipped the white and brown feline off the tux latching on to his jugular.
"Mun..k.k?" he managed, but the pressure on his throat was making it hard for him to do anything. Munkustrap growled through clenched teeth. Plato did the only thing that he could think of. He went limp, pressing his ears to his head legs drawn up, belly exposed. He lay like that what seemed like and eternity when finally Munkustrap released him. Mistoffelees remained in silence. Munkustrap circled the defeated Plato.
"What were you thinking?!" he shouted, his hair still bristled. "Everyone knows the stress Mistos' been under lately, he's still stressed out from the whole Macavity scare and then you go and do something like that!" Munkustrap glared down at the shaken tom. "Well?!" He shouted.
Plato flinched "I'm sorry Munk, really, I didn't know it was still bothering him, I was just trying to get the jump on the two of you, that's all…really, it's just a game, I didn't mean anything by it." His eyes darted about not wanting to meet the others. This was not the reaction he wanted at all. It was known that Munkustrap was the leader when Old Deuteronomy wasn’t around and he was definitely the dominant male. Plato remained on his back.
Munkustrap admonished himself "What am I doing, I should never had over reacted like that." Yes, he was a little jumpy himself. He sat down drawing his long tail around him.
"Plato, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so harsh with you. It's been a long week for me and others"
Plato shifted rolling onto his belly. He looked up at the large tom. Munkustrap lowered his head rubbing it briefly against the other. Plato gave a soft purr. Munkustrap returned the gesture. Plato then sat up looking at the black and white cat a few feet away.
"He's really scared, isn’t he?"
Munkustrap followed his gaze. "Yes he is, I about had him pretty calm until you went and pulled that stunt." Plato slouched
"It's okay Plato, don't worry." Plato grinned "Well then, this time doesn't count. When he is feeling better I get another go at getting the jump on him!" With that, Munkustrap grinned and watched as Plato bounded away. The silver and black tabby moved close to where Mistoffelees was.
"You okay?" he questioned.
"Yea, I guess so" he shrugged. Munkustrap looked down at him.
"Mistof, it's okay to be scared.."
"I HATE IT!" the other countered. He shook with frustration. "Blast that Macavity!" Munkustrap sat next to the young cat.
"Don't worry Misto, we'll figure way to deal with him." 'The sooner the better' he added quietly.
Mungojerrie couldn't help it; he was completely ashamed of himself. He wasn't sure what was worse, being swatted or the fact that Teazer had seen it happen. He looked up briefly to watch her sleeping and couldn’t resist a smile. "We'll 'ave to work on that one, eh Teaz?" he whispered. She was beautiful; he sighed. Quietly, without waking her he crept out of their little hole. As he walked he couldn't fight the feeling that was building in him. He had to burn off some frustration, there were so many things buzzing through his mind. He didn’t want to work for Macavity any more, but he couldn’t risk anything happening to Teazer if he confronted him, the events of the day were still very vivid, he grimaced at the remembrance.
"Almost got that bird too."
He thought of maneuver #13, "Got to work on that one." The actions of the man had really had him steamed though. Not that he minded being held, but never in that manner.
"AGH!" he shouted "Of all the terrible, 'orrible, awful..."
"What's on your mind?" the voice shook him out of his thoughts.
Quaxo came from behind him. "I said, what's on your mind?"
Mungojerrie looked away. "Nothing I really care to discuss right now"
Quaxo regarded the other "Oh? Well okay, um… me and the others, 'lonzo, Demi, Pounce, Plato Bomb, Tumble and even Tugger and Skimble are going to have a tumble bout. Whaddya say? Want to join in?"
Mungojerrie considered. "Teams or every cat for themselves?"
Quaxo tilted his head, was there and edge to that? "We hadn't decided yet" he replied.
"Sure, count me in"
Quaxo looked around. "Is Teazer with ya? Will she want to join in too?"
Mungojerrie shook his head "Nope, she's sleeping"
Quaxo smiled "Alright lets go!" They headed off to the open site. "Oh, uh…. Mungo? When you see Tugger, do us all a favor and say 'Hi Tugger! I can see you just fine.' Okay?"
Mungojerrie looked at him quizzically. "Sure…"
When they arrived, Tugger was first to greet them. He glared at Mungojerrie
"Hello there, Munjie" he growled. Mungojerrie looked him square in the eye
"Hi there, Bugger"
"That's more like it!" Tugger exclaimed, a huge grin on his face. The others looked on with confusion.
"I hate inside jokes" Alonzo muttered to Demeter.
"Quit the jabbering, let's fight!" Bomb shouted while crouching low, Pounce swished his tail, Plato grinned, Skimble looked around confused.
"What was decided, Teams or…"
He was cut off when all the others pounced and shouted at once "EVERY CAT FOR THEMSELVES!"
"I have to get his mind off of Macavity." thought Munkustrap. He looked at the tuxedo, who was still and quiet. "Com'on Mistof, lets go for a walk"
Mistoffelees looked up at him. "And where are we headed?"
Munkustrap looked around the yard, "Oh, I don’t know, we’re sure to find something to do"
Mistoffelees gave a sigh. "Whatever"
As the two felines walked they over heard the events of the tumble bout the others were engaged in.
"WOOHOO! YEA! Got you good on that one...OOOOFF!" Tugger's voice.
" HA! But you didn’t see that one coming a mile away!" Demeter shouted,
"I say! 10 points for me!"
"Skimble? "You call that a move? HA! I've seen kittens with more!"
Munkustrap grinned, "Sounds like we just found something to do!"
Mistoffelees followed the larger tom as they mad their way towards the commotion. Once they came into view they could see all of the others circling each other. Quaxo noticed them first.
"Alright! Two more victims! You two going to join in?" Munkustrap crouched low "You can bet on it!" He grinned, looking at the tux by his side he motioned with his head "You can be my back up"
Mistoffelees only shook his head "No, thanks, I'll just watch from here"
Munkustrap shrugged, "Suit yourself" and bounded into the gathering tackling Plato.
"Oh no! Not again!" the tabby cringed.
Munkustrap let out a low friendly growl "All's fair right now Plato"
Plato's eyes lit up "Really?" He recovered and started circling the other "ALRIGHT!"
Alonzo was matched up with Tumblebrutus, Skimbleshanks circled Quaxo, Bombalurina and Demeter teamed up against Tugger.
"It's not fair, but I didn't say I didn't like it" he grinned.
Pouncival was struggling under the grip Mungojerrie had on his neck.
"Hey! Ease up Mungo! I need that to breathe…" Mungojerrie released his grip only to grab him by the nape.
"Quit whining and start acting like a cat!" He flipped the other over his head making him land directly on Tugger's tail,
"YEOWCH!" he sprang forward slamming into the female duo, both losing their balance, falling over in a heap of tangled limbs, ramming Skimbleshanks into Quaxo, who let out a yelp of surprise as he collided with Tumble causing him to lurch forward towards Munkustrap and Plato, who both dodged the out of control feline who then bashed into Mungojerrie sending the orange and black tabby head first to meet the ground stunning him.
"OOOMPH!" All the other cats were in an uproar laughing at what had just occurred. All except for Mungojerrie, who was still a bit stunned. Mistoffelees couldn't suppress a laugh that was threatening to over take him.
"Oh what the heck." he thought to himself and bounded out of his lookout toward Munkustrap.
"Good! You decided to join in." Mistoffelees looked at all the possible targets
"So who ya going to plaster?" Munkustrap asked the tux. Mistoffelees considered his options. He crouched low slinking towards Mungojerrie who was still trying to recover. Quicker then lightning he sprang forward, catching the shaken tom, slamming him to the ground once more.
"HA! Got ya!" Mungojerrie thrashed violently sending the magical cat into a mud hole.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" He sprang forward digging his claws into Mistoffelees' shoulders. The black and white let out a yelp. Mungojerrie raised his paw, his claws unsheathed, ready to strike a clearly shaken Mistoffelees. Mungojerrie wasn't thinking, so many things had gone wrong today, he had to let his frustration out.
"JERRIE!!" Mungojerrie halted his movement,
"Teazer?" He looked around his vision focusing on the look of confusion on her face.
"What are you doing, love?" Mungojerrie looked at his upraised paw. "I..I…" He turned to look down at Mistoffelees. "Misto?" The others had recovered from their shock and rushed forward. Mungojerrie backed away from the group, and darted away. Rumpleteazer looked at his retreating form
"Jerrie…" she shook her head.
Munkustrap came up from behind her. "Do you have any idea what that was all about?" He questioned. Rumpleteazer looked guilty.
"I do but it's not for me to say, I better go" She bounded off to accompany her mate.
Munkustrap moved to stand next to Mistoffelees. The tuxedo was now covered in mud, his black and white coat matted.
"Misto?" Plato and Alonzo both moved closer. Munkustrap looked at the others, once all eyes were off him Mistoffelees got up and sprang away.
"Misto!" Munkustrap called after him. He gave a frustrated sigh, "Tugger, you, Skimble, Alonzo and Bomb, go see what you can find out about Mungojerrie. Pounce, Tumble, Demi, Quaxo, and Plato slink around and see if you can locate Mistoffelees when he decides to reemerge. "I'll go see if I can find Old Deuteronomy, there has to be something he might be able to advise."
Mistoffelees ran to the entrance of the junkyard, "I don't know why I even try. Everything is going wrong. Maybe if I wasn't part of the Jellicle tribe then Old Deuteronomy wouldn’t have been catnapped, then I wouldn’t have had to conjure him back, then Macavity wouldn’t be out to get me, then I wouldn’t have anything to worry about." He was almost at the entrance.
"Maybe it is all my fault" he said out loud.
"What is all your fault?" Old Deuteronomy emerged from the entrance halting the other in his tracks. Mistoffelees was happy to see the old leader and yet he was the last cat he wanted to see.
"Everything's my fault," he said softly. "Why do you think that, and why are you covered in mud?" the Jellicle leader asked calmly. Mistoffelees only studied the ground.
"Is it anything you might want to talk about?" Mistoffelees shook his head. Old Deuteronomy regarded the young cat. "You know that if you have a problem you can talk to me or any of the others"
"What are you planning to do right now?" the old leader asked.
Mistoffelees only shrugged "I was thinking I might go to my home and get cleaned up"
"And..?" Old Deuteronomy prompted. "I was thinking that I might stay at home for a while, you know, to think things through."
Old Deuteronomy shook his heavy coat, "Are you planning on returning?" Mistoffelees walked to the entrance
"I don't know…." He whispered.
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