LAST EDITED ON 07-02-01 AT 02:17 AM (EST)
Sniffs in His Kingdom
It had been a fine day but now it was afternoon and Sniffs had not been exploring yet. Truck and men had come early, new people moving into the realm, so Sniffs decided to remain at his castle, his own yard. Almost 22 years old, his eyes gone bad, he did not feel like risking the danger of moving men.
But now it was afternoon and he felt he had wasted most of a good day, so he ventured out, keeping his ears perked and sniffing each step of the way. The Girl had named him Sniffer when he was but a puppy because she thought it funny how he poked his nose into everything. The Girl had hands but knew nothing about having a good nose, he had had to live down the name ever since, but anyway they had made it just Sniffs at some time and that seemed better somehow.
First he came to the realm of the many cats, he could feel that they were watching him, their scents were confusing since there were so many of them. He knew some of them, they ventured toward his castle at will, and they were prone to be unpleasant, haughty even, but that was only because he was old. Wisely, though, they kept a respectable distance, and they maintained a truce of safe passage. The only real problem with the many cats, he knew, was that they kept only to their own company, not caring or needing to know any other. It was sad, really, because he'd had many good cat friends over the years.
By and by he made his way to King's realm, where he thought he might take a rest. King was young yet, only three, but he was big and he was strong and he was proud. King's family were very good people, they took pride in everything they had, and so King was proud it only made sense. King had a collar, though, and had to stay in his own realm somehow because of that collar, he couldn't explore; Sniffs did not understand that and it seemed wrong to him, but he would never let King know that thought, it would do no good and maybe make his friend sad.
King had the best garbage in all the realms, Sniffs had always made a point of telling him so. It was true and it was a mark of distinction that meant much to King, who gaurded his yard and its attractive garbage with great zealousness. It would be silly of Old Raccoon to venture into King's yard.
Skipper, a cat-friend who lived with no one anymore, was there telling King all about the new people who had moved in that day, three old people and four children people but no cats or dogs that had shown up yet. Skipper had to live on the sly anymore and often took refuge with King during the wintertime, but was the only "wild" King would trust. Sniffs rested a bit, listened as Skipper filled in King on what King could not explore for himself to find out. There was nothing for Sniffs to say during all this, but the three acknowledged their friendships in the subtle ways they had, and before long Sniffs smelled the smoke and decided to continue his explore.
In the yard-realm of the new family he found the cooking fire and the meats left out for when the fire would be ready. It had been many years since he had been able to hunt, but he could not resist and he grabbed one of the meats and padded away. He could not use his nose now so he kept his ears especially perked, it would not do to let Old Raccoon catch him. Old Raccoon was nearly seven, about as old as raccoons get, and had been most angry of late and had taken to swiping whatever he could. By and by Sniffs came to a secluded spot and rested there with his hunted up meat.
Then he ate, digging into the treat with great joy, it had been so long since he'd had such a treasure. He relished each chew, this good and fatty meat, and felt how good it was throughout as each well-chewed morsel filled into his belly. King, for all his pride, would never know the satisfaction of such a hunted meat, not unless Skipper brought him one which Skipper was unlikely to think to do and wasn't the same thing anyway. Sniffs chewed each bite though his teeth ached a bit and his jaw grew weary, he savored every second of this.
Slowly then he made his way back to the castle his yard, it had been a good explore but he was tired from it. In his youth he could explore all day and be good for play with The Girl when he returned, but no longer. When he finally found himself at home he found a spot in the sun and settled in for a doze.
He dreamed of wintertime often anymore, but not this day, the day of the hunted meat. No wintertime dream with a belly full from a good hunt. He dreamed instead of The Girl, perhaps she would come tonight or tomorrow. She didn't live with her Sniffs anymore now that she was grown, but with a Man, and when they came for a visit lately they had brought a Baby with them. Sniffs liked the smell of Baby, it smelled fresh and new except when it had fouled itself, and something in that smell told Sniffs that sometime there would be another to play with him, another Girl or was it Boy, at least once in awhile, and that would be good.