Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher were taking Willow out to Buca for dinner and then to a Pixar film. Riley, Blossom’s best feline friend forever, was staying at the Hatchers’ home overnight so his family could attend an out-of-town wedding.
It had happened by accident, but Blossom recently stumbled over the kitchen’s 15-inch flat screen’s remote while on a mission to find some little snack on the countertop. Her toe had clumsily pressed the remote’s top button, turning the TV on. She’d figured how the arrowed buttons switched channels and, as fate would have it, she’d come upon a program about searing salmon filets.
Blossom almost turned inside out waiting for her family to leave, so she could demonstrate her flat screen skills for Riley. This was one of the smartest things she’d ever discovered. She felt her furry head growing bigger as she importantly pressed the remote’s buttons. The programs flipped by. Wheel of Fortune, Nickelodeon, DIY. Where did the food channel go? Hmm.
Riley looked on patiently. “We could be watching On Demand, if you know what I mean.”
Blossom felt her Meow Moment folding. “I know there’s a culinary fish show out there somewhere.” She was trying her best not to be catty as she knew it was bad manners and Riley was a sleepover guest.
“Let me try.” Riley spread his big toes over the remote and ground his footpad into the big red button in the middle. Something flashed on the screen. “See, look at the TV now.” It was his turn to sound a bit show-offy.
Neither of them knew how to read but there were little pictures next to each title listed. Blossom recognized the tawny colored cat wearing a red and yellow cape in one of them. “Captain Cat! Let’s watch Captain Cat!”
Riley hit the remote’s button labeled OK and, just like that, the movie rolled. They sat back on the tiled floor and stared up at the screen. Blossom had seen this Captain Cat movie before with Willow.
When the movie finished, Blossom crowed, “I want to see another!” This On Demand was the greatest invention since Fancy Feast Medleys. They needed a snack to go with their movie viewing. Yesterday in the pantry, hadn’t she spotted that cheese that squiggled from a can?
Riley hit the next Captain Cat title. “This Captain Cat movie is brand new. You can only watch it if you hit the RENT or BUY button.” He looked at Blossom like they were about to pull buttons from a couch. “At my house we can only watch two RENT movies in a week.”
Blossom knew her family only watched FREE movies but she really, really, really wanted to see another Captain Cat movie. “Maybe if we only watch the beginning and turn it off, it will still be FREE.” She looked at Riley for agreement.
That sounds logical, if you know what I mean,” said Riley.
Blossom and Riley watched the whole movie.
“That Captain Cat is a hoot,” hollered Blossom, rolling around on the floor. It was definitely time for some squiggle cheese.
After that movie ended, Blossom said, “So what should we watch now?” There were no more Captain Cat flicks.
Riley tapped the up arrow, advancing more titles. “Stop!” Blossom cried. She couldn’t spell but she did know the word CAT and had seen it flash by. Riley tapped the down arrow.
“There it is! There it is!” Blossom’s toes were a-tingle.
Riley’s furry forehead wrinkled up. “Z-o-m-b-i-e Cats,” he slowly sounded out the word. “Not sure what that is but it’s another one of those RENT movies.”
“Go for it!” This was going to be a movie night to remember. Blossom trotted into the pantry, jumped onto the second shelf and knocked the can of squiggle cheese to the floor. It made a tinny sound as its plastic cap flew off. Orangey colored cheese squiggled straight up like a frightened snake. Strings of cheese landed on the pantry door and the floor and clung in ribbons from the pantry shelves. The remaining cheese continued to squiggle into a big pile on the bottom shelf until nothing but air came out of the sprayer.
“Holy cat chow,” said Blossom. “We’ll never be able to eat all of this.” She was feeling a little itchy, hoping the squiggle cheese incident wouldn’t earn her a time-out in the basement.
Riley’s eyes had turned to slits. “Blossom, this zombie cat movie is R. We can only watch PG movies at our house.”
“Us too,” said Blossom. “Mr. H told Willow she couldn’t watch R movies until she was as old as he was.”
Riley’s face lit. “But we’re three years old and every year is six human years, so we must be way older than Willow. How old do you think Mr. H is?”
“I think 100,” said Blossom. She had no idea how old Mr. H was but something clawed at her cat gut, telling her Mr. H was not an R kind of guy anyway. Maybe they should stop watching movies and try to eat up all that squiggle cheese. Blossom hated time-outs in the basement. Once she thought she saw a troll hiding behind the laundry tub.
Riley hit the RENT button anyway and the movie began. It definitely did not have the colorful settings or beautiful costumes of the Captain Cat variety. In this movie, cats were prowling all over the place and their eyes glowed.
Blossom caught herself cocking her head at the screen.
Riley did the same. “Whoa!” he said. “Is that cat eating a human hand?”
Blossom felt the fur on her neck standing straight out.
“He is!” Riley nodded his head. “Blossom, he’s eating a human hand! That would be like you eating one of Willow’s body parts!”
Blossom lay down and put her paws over her ears. “Stop it, Riley! Don’t say those things! Ick! I don’t want to watch this!” Through her paws, she could hear the zombie cat chewing. And the cats that weren’t eating were howling. Words out of nowhere winked like fireflies in Blossom’s brain. Wild. Rabid. Feral.
Riley lay down as well. His paws covered his eyes. “This is too scary!” he cried. “Turn it off! I’m going to have nightmares!”
Blossom knew the right thing to do was turn the TV off. But she was too scared to move. She looked over at Riley, flattened to the floor like a rug.
First looking behind her, Blossom pounced upon the remote, repeatedly smacking it with her paw. How could an evening that started out fun as mice bowling turn into something as ugly as clumped litter? The TV would not shut off so she whacked the remote across the floor. It hit the fridge and made a cracking noise. Two batteries popped out, making her jump. The batteries continued rolling around on the tile like they were alive. This made Blossom feel jumpy as a bunny. And she couldn’t stop checking behind her like a zombie cat might be there.
A piercing squeak sounded out the kitchen window. Blossom shot off the floor. Riley had already bolted down the hall into Willow’s bedroom. Blossom tore after him and they both scooted under Willow’s bed, listening to their hearts leaping about like popcorn.
There were more squeaks and rattles and Blossom had to shut her mug tight for fear her heart might hop up her throat and onto the floor. Riley shook as if he’d had too much DQ.
The walls began to vibrate with a low hum. Blossom sighed. It was the garage door opener! The Hatchers were home!
Her heart settled down so she opened her mouth. Everyone was safe. Pretty much. If the zombie cats really were out there, Mr. and Mrs. H might be dog biscuits, but not Willow. Willow was clever, she’d outsmart the zombie cats.
Blossom heard Willow’s feet padding down the hall. Mr. H out in the kitchen questioned why the TV was on and the remote on the floor.
Blossom could almost see Mrs. H roll her eyes as she said, “Have we ever left Blossom and come home to find everything as it should be?” Mrs. H could probably destroy a zombie cat with her icy eyeball look.
“Blossom,” Riley whispered. “We shouldn’t have watched that movie. I’m still scared under the bed!”
“It could be worse,” Blossom whispered back. She could be in the basement with zombie cats and trolls.
“What did I tell you? Look at this cheese mess!” Blossom listened to Mrs. H stomp her feet across the kitchen floor, huffing and puffing like life was throwing her lemons.
Under the bed, Blossom meowed a little prayer of thanks. She wouldn’t get a time-out in the basement while Riley was here. Hopefully Mrs. H would be in better spirits in the morning.