Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winston and Molly Fussybuttons

Mister Winston Fussybuttons was a serious cat. He got up every morning, had a sensible breakfast, groomed his tail, and always left for work by 8:00. He had no time for daydreamers, layabouts, or catnip nippers.

Molly Fussybuttons was his exact opposite. She was always imagining what-ifs. What if she could run on the ceiling and catch the red light? What if coffee tasted like liver? Why isn't it as fun to stalk things that don't move? What if everything could move? She would always nom the fresh flowers even though they tasted terrible. Then she would get angry at their flavor and give them more bites and maybe a swat. But most things made her happy, and always, always, she was joyful when Winston came home.

But Winston wasn't really going to work. You see, he had been laid off six months earlier and was too proud to tell Molly. So every day he went to the park instead of the office. He'd sit there arguing with the other out of work felines about what was to be done.  They would sit in the park until 5:00, when it was safe to go home.

And back home, Molly always  wanted to know how the day had gone. Had there been any accounting emergencies? Was Peterman still trying to impress the receptionist with pictures of his latest vacations? How did the meeting go?  Were there any more rumors of layoffs?

That last one hurt. When the layoff rumors first started, Winston was loudest in calling them bunk. Of course the company had been hurt by the recession, but Boss Cat had been reelected and had promised that this time he really would make things better. "He'd be stupid to lie to us again," said Winston. But while Winston was waiting for things to get better, the layoffs started.

*          *          *
 This situation, though unpleasant, became manageable. Winston would frequent dumpsters on his way home, and often found food that was presentable enough. When Molly asked for household money he'd put her off by saying he was saving for a boat.  He hated to lie to her but the lies were getting easier with every one he told.

Every morning Winston would scan the want-ads for jobs. Then if he had the energy, he'd visit offices in the city, leaving his resumé with anyone who would accept it. Back at the park bench the others would make fun of his efforts.

"Face it Winston. You're a cat. You know nothing about arithmetic," said Bob, the out of work carpenter cat, "You'll never get another accounting gig."  But Winston was determined to get a job. His unemployed friends became more and more derisive but he ignored them.

The park bench arguments even got racist, the last one ending with Winston meowing loudly, "Listen you stupid Tabby, I'm a Norwegian Forest cat, I have to work."

 And so it was that Winston abandoned his park companions. He decided to spend every "working" moment looking for a job.  He was limited by the lack of math skills, computer skills, and an opposable thumb, but he was not discouraged.

He finally took a job as a greeter at Pet Smart. I say "took" a job because nobody really hired him. He just started greeting the shoppers as they came in. "Good day mam, welcome to Pet Smart."

"Thank you, come again."

"Welcome to Pet Smart, be sure to check out our specials on dog beds this week."

"Welcome to Pet Smart, could you please ask your dog to stop biting me so much."

It was thankless, and payless, work but it gave Winston a sense of purpose and his spirits improved tremendously. The cashiers accepted him and would even slip him treats from time to time.

He told Molly about the job change and claimed he had grown bored with the old job. "Truth is dear, I got tired of covering for Peterman."

Molly was happy for him. She never was overly concerned with status anyway. She started to say so but she became distracted by a spider on the porch and never finished the sentence.

Molly was delighted with her Christmas present that year, which was a fish on wheels, assembled from parts found behind a toy store. She named him Rooster and tied a string to him "for walks." She had knitted Winston a sweater, which he pretended to love, even though he was a cat and hated being put in a sweater.

Winston declared this the best Christmas ever, and Molly agreed. Then Winston thought about it a little and  realized, to his surprise, that he wasn't lying. 

(image was found on the internets)


MAX Redline said...

Excellent post! Thanks.