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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dill

The trouble with family... - Part 2

“Oh…steal,” Punkin said. “That’s such an ugly word. I just want you to help me cast enough doubt on it to ensure I end up the Supreme Queen of the Catillion in Mobile.”

As Punkin spoke, she use her paws to push up imaginary sleeves of the cotillion gloves that were a time-honored tradition in Alabama.

“I’ve heard of those cotillion balls for cats, but I didn’t think you really were into that sort of thing, Punkin,” Pudding said.

“What is a catllion or a cotllion? Otis asked. “And why would you need him to rig an election for it?”

“Oh, Otis!” Punkin exclaimed. “You would just be so puurrrfect at the ball. You are a beauty but…” She hesitated before finishing her sentence. “You’re a little roughed up. The cotillion teaches you how to be a graceful princess ready for your debut as a young mademoiselle.”

“A what?” Otis said. “I’m definitely not one to be “picked”. But really, so it’s a dance for cats?”

“Girl cats, and we learn just about everything there is to learn about being a lady feline with proper manners and such.”

“And don’t forget the most important part,” Pudding said. “You’re dad has to present you to the world.”

“Right,” Punkin said. “And how could I forget our sweet daddy coming all the way down to Alabama to show little ole’ me off.”

Otis watched as Pudding turned from the computer screen, obviously confused. “He what? How would our father even know about this?” Pudding asked.

Punkin looked down at the plush carpeting, searching for the right words. “Well, I love our daddy even though he wasn’t perfect. And he is so charming when he wants to be, a little like you, Pudding.”

“He left mom before we were even born! And he let you be sent to Alabama. He let all our brothers and sisters be sent to homes in god knows where. But he never did the one thing we needed him for. Be a father,” Pudding said as he slammed his paw on the table.

Otis swallowed hard and started to sneak away. She was very uncomfortable with all the family drama. She knew it was common for animals to be separated from their home of birth, but that was the life of a pet.

“Listen, Pudding! He’s so handsome just like you. He came down for the catillion ball for two days with me and stayed in the backyard. He is the one who told me I should run this whole catillion someday because I was the most genteel. I want to show him I can do it!”

Pudding faced off with Punkin. He was upset as he raked his claws over the new scratching pad his owner bought him from Costco.

Punkin still wouldn’t meet her brother’s direct gaze.

“If you want to show him how great you are, then why do you need me to rig the election, how hard can it be?” Pudding said. “If you really are the best, then all the other dumb girl cats will vote for you.”

Otis peaked her head back through the door. She wanted to make sure her friend was ok. Family arguments were the worst.

“Well, this is just an insurance policy. I think they will vote for me but I’m not a purebred Southern belle like all those other phonies. They have the money to buy whatever they want including an election. So I just need…”

“Can we change the subject?” Otis asked. “I’m just pretty sure that Pudding isn’t going to help you Punkin. And I think your alley cat father really hurt him”

Punkin said. “He’s a good dad, just not one for sticking around. Pudding is a lot like my father. And he was a great big brother. Look at him.”

She pulled a photo from her suitcase. The photo of the elder orange cat did look similar to Pudding but a lot fatter..

“Listen Punkin, I have principles and I don’t want to break them now that I am leader in the OutClaws. But I know another cat who may help you,” Otis said. “If the rich kitty cats in Mobile are as mean as you say, it may be par for the course.”

Punkin hugged Otis and for a fraction of a second, Otis felt like she was doing the right thing helping her.


Later that night, Punkin met Otis near Kenny and Larry’s house. She wanted to ask the two buddies to be present so if anything funny happened with her contact, the two dogs could relay the message.

The contact Otis mentioned was in charge of another organization similar to the OutClaws. He did charity work but he also was the Winston, or the fixer of the Cedar Rapids cat community, the Muscatvites. He could get you whatever you needed.

Olav stepped out of the shadows and both Otis and Punkin drew in a breath.

The dark brown cat was handsome. He smelled good too. A little piney and a lot musky.

“Hello Ladies! Otis, thanks for inviting me to meet your friend,” Olav said, as he bowed, a gentleman at heart. “How can I help you?”

Punkin stepped closer. She immediately started walking differently. She sauntered up to the green-eyed Olav.

“I’m just so pleased to make your acquaintance,” she said. “My name is Punkin’ I can’t place your accent. Where are you from?”

“Of course. I’m originally from Russia, but I’m officially a citizen now,” he said, a hint of pride in his voice. “We got all the papers at the airport. It was a dreadful flight, I must say,”. His eyes stared off into the stars, remembering it.

“Let’s have a walk, if you don’t mind. The air is fresh today,” he said. “I love a crisp fall air, don’t you?”

Otis looked through the fence at Kenny and Larry’s four eyes peering through, spying for her safety. They were good friends.

“Is it ok if we stay closed to here?,” she asked. “I heard there might be some trouble on this street later with some opossums and raccoons.”

It was always easy to point the finger at someone else.

“Sure,” Olav said. “No pesky squirrels for me or whatever you just said. So tell me about yourself, Punkin.”

Punkin sashayed her voluminous tail, side to side. “Of course, well, I’m just a simple ole housecat from Alabama. I came here to ask for my brother’s help in a small matter, but he refused. So Otis here said you may be able to help.”

“Ok, so you lead with the business then? You don’t seem so simple to me,” he said. His voice deep and his accent just thick enough to be interesting.

Otis looked over at the fence. The guys couldn’t watch all night.

“She wants you to help rig an election for some supreme queen of a dance,” Otis said. “All the votes are on the computer or something and she’s not very technologically savvy.”

Olav nodded. His eyes gave nothing away about what he thought about the request.

“Is there a reason you thought of me, Otis?” Olav asked. “I’m a little surprised.”

Otis understood and was worried she may have offended him.

“Well, I think you are the only cat I heard Pudding mention that was as good as him on the internet.”

“Oh Pudding! Someday I need to me my chatting partner,” he said. “So you are Pudding’s sister, Punkin?”

“Yes, yes I am,” she said.

“Well, I understand you want me to help, but I couldn’t possibly put myself at risk without meeting your brother.”

“Oh and why is that?” Punkin asked, her tone was fraught with worry. “He’s not going to add anything to what I already said.”

Olav said, “But that is where you are wrong? This is a family business. So let’s go meet your family…shall we?”

Kenny and Larry nodded to Otis as they all walked off into the night.

“We should tell Pudding that the Russian is on his way,” Larry said to Kenny.

“Man, that was intense,” Kenny said, licking his paw. “This Punkin character is some type of persuader.”

“Yeah, but Olav is no one to mess with,” Larry said. “Our first fence spy mission complete.”

To be continued…

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