Sometimes a song comes along that is so inspiring, one can’t help but howl about it. For Blossom, that song was Eye of the Tiger, which she first laid ears to during a rerun of the movie Rocky III. Mr. H was such a fan of watching old Rocky movies that Mrs. H had taken up watercolor painting to avoid the boredom of having to sit through another boxing match. But, Blossom, with a furry ear for music, soon had all the lyrics down. At that point, she began serenading the Hatchers during dinner.
“And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eyeeeeeeeeee of the tiger.”
It was Blossom giving her all while meowing the word eyeeeeeeeeee that made Mrs. H roll her eyeballs and get up from the table.
Willow turned concerned eyebrows at Blossom. “Blossom, what’s the matter? Are you sick?”
Blossom’s vocal stylings swiftly earned her time-outs in the basement. Going forth, she decided to take her music into the Hatchers’ back yard. After all, the cardinals and chickadees loved to sing. She would fit right in. Under the apple tree, Blossom crooned, her heart swelling with the last line of her beloved song.
“And he’s watching us all with the eyeeeeeeeeee of the tiger.” Singing salamanders, that single line made Blossom feel like a tiger.
“Blossom?” Riley, Blossom’s best feline friend forever, was at the chain link fence that separated their yards. “Are you OK? You sound kind of sick, if you know what I mean.”
Merle, the neighbor bulldog on the other side of the fence, did a little hop. “Blossom sounded like she yacked on a toad,” he whispered to Riley.
No amount of whispering could escape Blossom’s musical ears. Yacked on a toad. Riley and Merle wouldn’t know fine singing if it bit them on the nose. “I’m practicing my favorite song,” Blossom said. “I’m going to be a great singer someday.”
But singing wasn’t enough for Blossom. Going deeper into the woods of the Hatchers’ back yard, so deep that Riley and Merle couldn’t spy on her, Blossom sat back on her haunches. She began roaring her favorite song but put up her paws as well, just like Rocky, and started jabbing the air. Punch. Punch, punch, punch. Her paws punched the air, their rhythm in perfect time with the song’s guitar chords playing in her head. Blossom batted her paws this way and that. She rose up on hind legs and hopped about, displaying her fancy footwork.
Meow-stro Blossom continued conducting concerts for all the woodland creatures in the Hatchers’ back yard.
“What’s up with all the howling?” cawed a crow.
Now what would a crow know about good singing? “Howling?” Blossom howled. “I’m not howling. I’m singing Eye of the Tiger.”
The song’s melody made her whiskers quiver. The lyrics left her paws punching right, left, right, left. But the last line of the chorus, the crescendo that led up to the all-important eyeeeeeeeee, gave Blossom a most meow-velous feeling of empowerment. This feeling of really being a tiger.
Blossom the Tiger. She no longer pictured Rocky Balboa performing these stunts. It was she, Blossom the Tiger, running through the alley of Tulip Drive. Punch. Punch, punch, punch. Taking a swing at a lady bug attached to a blade of grass. Punch. Punch, punch, punch. Sprinting laps through the neighborhood, dog at her side. Maybe Merle could trot along?
Blossom yowled the words, “And he’s watching us all with the eyeeeeeeeeee of the tiger.” The tiger in her could not be leashed. She purred the words and punched the air. A cat on fire. Splat! Warm bird poop slid down Blossom’s face, matting the fur between her eyes. She tilted her head back to see a robin perched up above.
“Enough already,” it chirped.
“Blossom, are you OK out there?” Riley called from his yard.
The following evening Blossom waited until she saw that Riley and Merle had gone back in their houses. She then raced to the back door, scratching at it until Willow let her out.
Crossing the patio, passing beneath the apple tree, into the soft, green grass, she trotted. The dense woods that lined the Hatchers’ back yard were thick with croaking frogs and trilling finches. Blossom situated herself among the columbine and day lilies, thick as swamp grass. Who knew what lived within them? An audience, that’s who.
She opened her mouth to perform but a sound came to her ears she could not identify. Right there in the woods with her. What? What was that horrible racket, its voice scratchy as toenails on brick? And then she spotted the awful singer in the Hatchers’ catalpa tree, near the very back of the lot. It was a squirrel, screeching for all he was worth. The same squirrel, in fact, that often made himself at home on the Hatchers’ window ledge, glaring in at them as they watched TV. Blossom watched the chatter pour from his mug.
“Getting strong now
Won’t be long now”
The squirrel zipped up the tree, then darted down just as fast. Up, down. Up, down. Blossom’s neck got sore just trying to keep up with him. “Excuse me,” she finally cried. “This is my back yard on Tulip Drive and you need to do whatever you’re doing somewhere else.”
The squirrel only blinked at Blossom and continued his ritual. Up, down. Up, down, all the while warbling,
“Gonna fly now
Flying high now”
There was something familiar about his babble and then it hit Blossom like a bag of Milkbones. He was singing the theme song to the first-ever Rocky movie. Yes, she recalled even Mr. H in his off-key yelping, Gonna fly now, touch the sky now. And he sang so loud Mrs. H was forced to politely close the door to her craft room so she could paint her watercolors in peace.
Blossom found her head swaying back and forth to the squirrel music. This song wasn’t as catchy as Eye of the Tiger, but was inspiring all the same. Maybe if she sang along, he’d at least squeak in the proper key.
Blossom sucked in breath and belted out the meows, imagining it was she flying up all those steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Gonna fly now. Flying high now.” The woods rang with Blossom’s beautiful notes.
“You sing terrible,” hollered a bluejay.
“Take singing lessons,” tweeted a falsetto wren.
Blossom could only sigh. Fame never came easy for anyone. After all, it took Rocky five movies to get there.