Sherman’s Thanksgiving Dinner
Beth Bernier Pratt
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Copyright 2015 Beth Bernier Pratt
Sherman’s Thanksgiving Dinner
Something was wrong. Sherman stretched all four paws and opened one eye. His human was definitely not in her proper place, keeping the bed warm and cozy and hitting the noise box to make it stop squealing. And was that the shower running?
He opened his other eye and stood up, arching his back. The shower was definitely running. How humans could think it was a good idea to stand under all that water was beyond him. Yes, he understood how limited their flexibility was, and that bathing themselves the proper way was effectively impossible, but still.
The shower turned off and Sherman curled up in a ball, tip of his tail over his nose. The door opened and his human came in, a towel wrapped around her head. Sherman didn’t like that. It made her head bulbous and alien. But he’d learned from experience that in this area his human was impervious to his help, and any attempt would be met with irritation and a scolding of “No, Sherman, bad kitty!”
His human went to her dresser, retrieved a small bottle, and spritzed herself with something that made Sherman sneeze. He sneezed twice more and she turned to the bed as though to pick him up. Sherman evaded her grasp and jumped on the massive headboard and then up to the tall bookshelf.
“Oh, Sherman, it’s ok sweetheart, Mommy’s just putting on a little perfume.”
Sherman swished his tail and glowered down at her from his perch.
His human turned away and went to the closet. Sherman watched as she took out several outfits. All these years, and he still found it a little creepy how humans so blithely switched from one set of pretend fur to another. He found it unnatural, unsettling.
“Do you know what today is, my darling? Today is Thanksgiving. Mommy is going to a holiday dinner. Mommy would bring her sweet baby with her but Aunt Sharon is going to be there, and Aunt Sharon is afraid of cats. Can you imagine?”
Sherman thought maybe this Aunt Sharon had better sense than most humans. Cats were fierce predators.
Once she had her clothes on, his human got out the paint bag and turned on the wall of too much brightness. She leaned in to look at her reflection and started painting her face. Sherman’s tail flicked back and forth as he watched. First she painted her whole face, then spent a long time painting around her eyes, then more on the whole face, and then the part Sherman liked best. He jumped down off the bookshelf and crept along the headboard, waiting for her to open his favorite paint.
Sherman’s entire body tensed in anticipation as he waited and watched his human. With agonizingly slow movements, she reached into her paint bag and took out the tube. His muscles trembled as he focused on her hands as they slowly, so slowly, uncapped it. At last, the smell he was waiting for! He leapt off the headboard onto the dresser and batted the lipstick out of her grasp. It flew across the room and landed on the bed, leaving a red streak across the comforter. He flew after it and snatched it up in his jaws, then scrambled to leap back up to the safety of the tall bookshelf with his prize.
“Oh no you don’t! Bad kitty! Bad Sherman!” his human screeched, moving faster than he’d seen her move in years. She grabbed a throw pillow and threw it at him, knocking him off his trajectory.
Sherman scrambled in midair, bounded off the carpet, and took off running out of the bedroom and down the hall. His human was right on his heels, pounding down the hall after him. If he could make it to the safety of the living room, he could hide behind the couch and enjoy his catch.
“Get back here! Bad kitty!”
He raced for the living room and made it behind the couch. His human danced with frustration as she realized he was just beyond her grasp.
“Sherman! Come out here right now!”
Sherman ignored her and concentrated on the delicious odor of the lipstick. He dropped it on the carpet where it made a satisfying red smudge. It didn’t move, which was disappointing. He caught it between his paws anyway and sniffed it all over. Finally, senses going wild, he stuck out his rough pink tongue to take an experimental lick. But before he could taste his prize, the dreaded broom descended on him from above, sweeping and swatting at him. He crouched and growled, but the broom was relentless. Both frightened and furious, Sherman peed a little and bit the tip off the lipstick before scurrying away from the broom.
“You little brat! Sherman!”
Sherman ran to the utility room and hid behind his scratching post. He could hardly contain his disappointment. The lipstick tasted nothing like the delight its smell had promised. He slunk over to the scratchy plastic rug where his human’s outside boots sat, and horked up the lipstick tip into the left boot. It would take hours to get this taste out of his mouth.
The door opened and his human’s body filled the space. Sherman peered out from behind his scratching post.
“There you are, you naughty cat.” She went on and on, something about being late and favorite lipstick and very expensive.
He could hear the anger in her voice, even as he tuned out the words. Gathering his courage, he slunk out from behind the scratching post and rubbed against her leg. A bit of lipstick caught in his whiskers smeared on the hem of her skirt as he curled round and round her legs, purring.
“Don’t you purr at me!” Her words were scolding but her tone had softened.
Sherman purred louder.
“Oh you.” She picked him up and carried him into the kitchen, stroking the back of his neck in that perfect way she had. It always made him remember what was so good about humans.
She set him down on the tile floor and poured some dry kibble in his bowl. He sat down in front of the bowl and looked up at her with his most pitiful expression.
“No wet food for you this morning, you naughty kitty. But if you’re good, maybe Mommy will bring home some leftover turkey for you tonight.”
Sherman watched as his human gathered up her things and left. That leftover turkey sounded awfully good. He had to find a way to maximize his turkey consumption. He eyed the broom still leaning against the couch. Theft was out of the question. Bribery would have to do.
His ears perked up as he heard just the sound he was hoping for. Mice in the pantry. If he could just kill a mouse and leave it on his human’s pillow, she was sure to reward him with ample turkey. An idea occurred to him. Maybe she would be even more grateful if he could leave the mouse still alive and fun, but too injured to flee. Oh yes, that should do it.
In SHERMAN'S THANKSGIVING DINNER, Sherman the cat finds his human getting ready to go out on Thanksgiving Day -- without Sherman! What's a cat got to do to get himself a good Thanksgiving dinner?