Following closely behind the Fourth of July with all of its bangs, pops and explosions, the next least favorite holiday on a dog’s calendar is…..Halloween.
Rex, Thor’s dog, always knew when Halloween was coming, because his boy, Thor, would put fake grave stones and bones all over the yard then forbid Rex from peeing on one or chewing on the other.
Next came the garden pumpkin harvest and massacre. Dogs always love garden pumpkins. After all, it is their favorite vegetable. A pumpkin patch is a yard filled with big orange balls, because, a ball, is a ball, is a ball. And, since humans rarely eat them for food, pumpkins quickly become a dog’s favorite morning bathroom stop.
Rex was no exception to this rule. Every morning before the sun could melt the frost on the pumpkin, Rex would engrave a design in the white ice crystals with his warm pee. Oddly enough, his bathroom art often resembled a miniature landscape.
After Thor had ended the reign of terror and forever saved his pumpkin patch from the ravages of Ned the Troll, the only real danger to the wonderful gourds was Thor himself. Thor really liked carving scary faces into those big orange orbs for Halloween.
While Thor loved carving on pumpkins, he hated sticking his hands into the belly of the pumpkin to pull out its cold, greasy, slimy, sticky guts. So, he developed a Jack O’ Lantern production system. After Thor lopped off the top of the pumpkin with his ninja sword, Rex was in charge of digging out the stringy stinky guts before the lad completed his carving.
Rex didn’t mind this process too much, because one of his life’s greatest pleasures was digging. This activity became especially enjoyable when his arch enemy, the obnoxious rodent Morton the Squirrel couldn’t resist temptation; would get greedy for pumpkin seeds; and would move close enough to get covered in orange slime. Pumpkin guts dripping off an enemy’s face is always sublime.
Yes, the human’s were convinced that everything was ready for another safe and happy Halloween. However, Rex and his animal buddies knew better. Each year it was the same. For on this night of bumps and boos in the night, all of the cats with bad attitudes, who had used up all of their nine-lives and who had once lived in the neighborhood, returned to trick, NOT treat.
Ghost cats are a nasty lot and messing with one is best left to an experienced professional…like a dog. Yes, dogs hate them and good cats have no time for them either and with good reason. Never, not even once did they try to be kind, gentle or loving during any of their nine-lives on earth. So, since they gave no peace when on earth, they deserved no peace in the hereafter. And, they got their just desserts! For these cranky bad-tempered snaggle pusses became ghosts instead of much loved pets for the angels.
The annual Halloween ghost cat preparedness meeting of Thor’s pets was scheduled and called to order. Everyone attended including Ned the fainting goat. The chickens were always excused from this meeting as it is about scary stuff, and they are chickens after all.
Rex began the meeting with a bang of the gavel. Ned, the fainting goat…immediately fainted. A motion was made, seconded and passed to make Ned an honorary chicken. Morton the Squirrel rendered immediate first aid by spitting in Ned’s face until he woke up. Morton’s mom, cleaned the squirrel spit off of Ned’s face, gave him a kiss and hug and helped him back to his pen, where he fainted with relief.
Once, Morton’s mother had returned to the meeting. The ghost cat prevention plan from years past was distributed for review and discussion. Morton the Squirrel’s mother asked Rex if she could have the grass and speak to the committee.
“For years and years we have done our best to protect our humans and their children from ghost cats and their mean Halloween pranks.” Our efforts have been very successful.
Rex, you have always been able to escape the backyard to perform street duty. Due to your diligence, never has one of our neighborhood children been hurt crossing a street! Job well done!
Of course, we are all aware of the occasional skinned knee from a unfortunate trip and fall in a costume that was too long. While any injury to a child is regrettable, it is not the type of trick a ghost cat would use, but rather just another indication that humans could benefit greatly from additional safety training. However, that is an issue for another day.
Morton, for once, your love of spitting has been put to good use. You have done a great job of staying ahead of those nasty ghost cats and their use of unattended open flames. You can take pride in the fact that no flaming candle, has become a flaming costume or house.
At this time, I would like to acknowledge our dear house cats. We all know that Halloween is hardest them. For they are in charge of candy safety. Without fail our cats inspect each and every piece of Thor’s candy. Their dedication to quality control and devotion to safeguarding Thor has always outweighed their loyalty to fellow cats, including ghost cats, and for that we thank you.
However, I feel it is time to change our ghost cat trick prevention plan. Year after year, we work hard to prevent the hurt and mayhem caused by these lost, angry and unhappy ghost cats. While we have all become very good at preventing their mischief, now is the time to stop it.
Then, Morton’s mom presented her cat ghost rehabilitation and reformation plan. Which was unanimously approved, because everyone knows that mother’s always know best.
The cool night air of a Minnesota Halloween Eve would make it almost impossible to detect the cold breezes emitted by ghosts as they float by or through you. So, the team decided that the ghost rehabilitation should take place inside the home with the dear house cats.
To implement the new plan, supplies had to be gathered and deployed. They needed toilet paper, a large floor fan, gum, duct tape, black work clothes, wooden clothes pins, a bright shiny new penny, cloves, marshmallows, orange-colored cheese crackers, white feathers, a can of baked beans, a copy of grandma’s rules for acceptable behavior and Grandpa Walter.
Before any part of the plan could be initiated, Mother Squirrel called Grandpa Walter to ask for his help and for him to bring a large copy of grandma’s rules for acceptable behavior. Yes, that is right, Grandpa Walter speaks fluent squirrel.
Grandmother’s have always known that whether it is young humans or some misguided ghost cat exampling, teaching and expecting good behavior is an adult’s most important task. So Thor’s grandma always had a copy of her acceptable behavior rules posted in her kitchen. In case a child, anyone younger than grandma, experienced a memory lapse and need to re-enlightened.
Grandma’s rules of acceptable behavior:
1. Treat everyone just like you, yourself would like to be treated.
2. Be respectful of your elders and others. Always say please and thank you.
3. Kindness like cleanliness pays.
4. Be responsible and take responsibility.
5. Always be honest with your words and actions.
6. Don’t use bad words, unless you like the taste of soap.
7. If it isn’t yours, it is not yours.
8. When you want something, work for it.
9. Don’t pick your nose.
10. Be thankful to God and count your blessings.
11. Never, ever, pull Grandpa Walter’s finger in grandma’s presence.
Ghost capture can be a challenge and more so with ghost cats. Therefore, choosing the right bait is essential in any successful trapping operation.
First, the committee discussed the only thing cats, living or otherwise, cannot resist. Catnip! With a negative shake of her head and a raised eye brow, Morton’s mom quickly put an end to the discussion of cats and catnip. Cats using catnip is like humans using drugs, no good can come of it and it will only end in tears.
It was decided to use two other items that cats cannot seem to ignore…birds and expensive black work clothes. Since they were going for ghost cats, they decided to make white ghost birds as bait for the trap. As Rex headed off to Thor’s dad’s closet to find his best black suit, Mother squirrel scooted into the kitchen to find a bag of large marshmallows, box of orange cheese crackers and cloves. Morton quickly raced out to the hen house to get feather donations from the chickens.
Once the marshmallows, cloves, crackers and chicken feathers were all gathered together. Rex returned with several of Thor’s dad’s best black suits and his mom’s favorite black pants. After throwing the clothes on the living room floor, Rex proceeded to nip the crackers into four equal pieces.
Morton and his mother assembled the birds with marshmallow bodies, clove eyes, orange cheese cracker beaks and feathered wings and tails. When they had used up all of the marshmallows, except the one they fed to Rex, because marshmallows have always been one of his favorite snacks, they were done making birds.
Next they had to assemble a ghost motion detector. What always signals that evil spirits have infiltrated a neighborhood on Halloween? Toilet paper! The dear house cats accepted the challenge to make the motion detector. Soon, toilet paper was hanging and dangling all over the place.
With the motion detector completed and the ghost cat bait prepared, they needed to make the trap. As luck would have it, just at that moment Grandpa Walter arrived!
He helped place the marshmallow birds on the floor, carried the big fan into the living room, chewed gum and put the shiny penny in his pocket. After using the gum to stick a copy of grandma’s rules for acceptable behavior on the wall, Grandpa Walter opened and heated up the can of beans. As Mother Squirrel and the dear house cats finished setting the trap, grandpa sat down in the living room’s swivel rocking recliner to relax and eat his supper.
With grandpa settled nicely in the swivel chair, and Rex and Morton, as usual, out safeguarding children as they trick and treated, it was time to set the trap in motion. Mother Squirrel signaled grandpa with an affirmative nod that now was the time, then she turned all the lights off. As Mother Squirrel and the dear house cats put the clothes pins on their noses, Grandpa Walter removed his socks and shoes.
Ghosts, even ghost cats like to show off by going through walls so there never is a need to open a window or door to let them in, but a window was opened to let the smell of Grandpa Walter’s stinky feet out. While birds and dark clothes may be irresistible to cats, ghosts cannot ignore the horrible smell of rotting dead flesh.
It did not take long before the nasty stench of Grandpa Walter’s old sweaty feet attracted the attention of the ghost cats.
Soon a strong cold ghostly breeze raced through the house towards the living room. Chairs tipped over; books flew off their shelves; the dear house cats’ fur all stood straight up as they began jumping in circles and hissing; the toilet paper began swinging and swaying as the ghosts roared in.
Mother Squirrel stood frozen in terror as she realized that the rotten smell from grandpa’s feet had been more successful that any of them had ever imagined. For ghost cats filled Thor’s home.
First, the ghost cats rubbed up against Thor’s parents best black clothes covering them with cockle-burry ghost fur. Then, they attacked and shredded the flock of ghost marshmallow birds. It did not take long before they exampled their evil and dangerous trickster ways and flew towards Grandpa Walter intent on tipping the poor old man’s chair over.
Nothing ever scared Grandpa Walter and ghost cats were no exception to this rule. As they screeched towards him, he calmly leaned forward in his chair, switched on the fan and released his secret weapon.
A fart exploded out of the old fella with such force that it put his swivel rocker into furious spin creating a tornado of stink. Ghosts may like nasty smells, but even ghost cats are not prepared for the potency of a grandpa fart.
Almost immediately, the ghost cats were caught up in furious fart tornado as it whirled around the room flinging marshmallow birds everywhere and tangling ghosts cats in the toilet paper. Twirling at such great speed the ghost cats were soon completely wrapped up in the toilet paper just like mummies.
Since mummies cannot fly, the ghost cats fell to the floor, too dizzy to move. Mother Squirrel switched on the lights and the dear house cats sprang immediately into action encasing the toilet-papered ghost cat mummies in layer of duct tape, because everyone knows that duct tape can hold anything.
With the ghost cats completely immobilized, Mother Squirrel felt that she had their attention and explained that their behavior on Halloween was unacceptable. She did not care how or why they felt compelled to be mean to others, but their behavior needed to change immediately. Then, she went over grandma’s rules of acceptable behavior one at a time. Mother Squirrel then asked the cat ghosts to nod if they understood the rules. As each ghost cat nodded, she gave them a hug and a kiss to the forehead.
That’s when the magic happened. For a gentle kiss to the forehead and loving hug can heal meanness. In a flash, the duct tape fell away, toilet paper covered the floor, the ghost cats disappeared and in their place were real live perfectly fuzzy white, grey, orange and black calico kittens.
It was then that Grandpa Walter put his thumb under the shiny new penny and flipped it into the air.
The moment the coin hit the floor the King of the Leprechauns appeared. He had been right in the middle of a rather rowdy Halloween party when he had heard grandpa’s shiny penny summons. As he rubbed the heads of the purring kittens, the King exclaimed, “I see that those pesky ghost cats were truly sorry for their evil deeds. I suppose they do deserve a do over. I will see to it that they all find good homes with children who will love them very much! It is good that in the future there will be no more nasty ghost cats, only cats and angel cats. ”
“But, first,” the king continued,”I think these kittens would enjoy attending a Leprechaun Halloween party!” As quickly as the King had come, he disappeared with the kittens.
At that very moment the front door swung open and Thor, his friends, their parents and Rex returned home from trick or treating to begin their Halloween party. They all just stopped and stared at the scene before them.
As, Thor’s dad saw a squirrel wearing hat and dress standing in front of what looked like his mother’s rules for good behavior that were stuck to wall with gum; he and his wife’s best black work clothes covered with cockle burrs laying on the floor; and marshmallows, crushed orange-cheese crackers, white feathers, toilet paper and duct tape scattered everywhere, he calmly turned to a bare-footed Grandpa Walter and asked, “Did you start the party without us?”
As Rex began to wolf down all the marshmallows, and a squirrel began spitting on the dear house cats, Grandpa Walter slowly looked around the room noticing that grandma had not arrived for the party yet and replied, “Pull, my finger!”