Colton planted himself on the curb, and reached into a box to pull out a fuzzy grey kitty. He watched the Parker boys as they worked the customers on their way into the corner store. Who could resist the innocent pleading eyes?
“Want a free kitten? We have to find them homes today, or Daddy’s takin’ them to the pound.” The older of the two boys would quickly plead their case and let his adorable little brother do the rest.
“He says they will be eu-than-ized. Jimmy says that means killed.” The tears would well up as Jimmy would reach to comfort poor little Joshie, and another fluff of fur would be carried away in sympathetic arms.
Colton grinned every time the Parker boys gave their sales pitch. The last kitten mewed and batted at his hand as he teased it mercilessly. Colton’s hand froze in mid air when a bedraggled, smelly old woman bent towards the critter to have a better look.
He held his breath to avoid smelling hers as she talked silly kitty talk to the fluff in his arms. “I think I’ll take you home, little sweetie,” Cora grinned wide with delight as Colton’s face began to turn red.
Just as the local town hermit scooped the kitten into her arms, Colton let his breath out. In a matter of seconds, Colton jumped on his bike and headed to Kevin’s house. Arriving in record time he threw his bike out from under him and jumped to the bottom step of his buddy’s porch. He took one leap from step to door and knocked frantically.
“Come on, Kevin, hurry.” Colton shouted out of breath.
Bewildered by Colton’s sense of urgency, Kevin rushed to get his bike, “What in the world is wrong with you?”
The look of pure orneriness spread across Colton’s face. “You will never guess what just happened at the store.”
“Well, since I will never guess, how ‘bout you just tell me what all the rush is about?” Kevin could hardly keep up. “Where are we going, anyway?”
“Crazy Cora came to town today.” Colton shouted back to Kevin who was lagging behind.
“Parker boys were giving away their latest batch of kittens.”
“Crazy Cora took one?” Kevin asked excitedly. He knew what was going on now, and peddled harder as the new information bolstered his energy.
Out of breath, the boys ditched their bikes among the briars and snuck along a border of trees, careful not to let Cora see them on her property. As the boys neared the house they could hear her talking to herself. They looked at each other wide-eyed and tried not to bust up laughing.
The mischievous pair snuck around Cora’s property many times; they were becoming quite capable at their reconnaissance missions. Crawling on their bellies like army men, the pair slid into their favorite hiding place. They could see everything from there.
“Ok, there’s old Brutus the St. Bernard on the front porch,” Colton’s eyes scanned the yard as he whispered. “And there’s Lulu and Lance, the love birds perched on the hanging flower pot.”
“Paulie Poodle is foraging in the flower garden,” Kevin interjected proudly. Colton had always been quicker at finding the magnificent menagerie of pets Cora took pleasure in.
“Parrot Pat is perched amidst the climbing vines.” Colton pointed for Kevin to see. The vines were taking over the covered porch and made it difficult to see poor Pat.
“Where is he?” Kevin’s eyes watered from strain. “I don’t see Cozy Cat.”
“Duck, she’s coming out.” Colton shoved his friend’s head down before he could make his own choice to hide. “There he is.”
“Oh, how funny, she put him just below the unsuspecting love birds.”
“Yep, looks like he is going to pounce on the poor pitiful things.”
They could hear Cora saying in a sing-song voice as she stroked her new pet, “Krissy Kitty, you will curl up next to me now.” Cora stooped to pet Cozy as he sat stiff as can be. “You will be missed, darlin’ dear. You have been a mighty fine companion for over a decade. The Lord giveth, and taketh away, but I can enjoy forever.”
Sneaking back out, the boys laughed openly as they retrieved their bikes. Colton wrestled his handle bars out of the overgrown briar-bushes that partially hid a signpost. Clearing the remaining briars, they gasped in shock as they revealed Cora’s former fascinating occupation: Cora Collins Touching Taxidermy.
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