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Image by Juan Ignacio Escobar Tosi

Help Me Chester!

(c) Linda Hutchison May 2016

“Frankly, I’m terrified.” admitted Emma, as she hugged her knees to her chest, rocking her body back and forth on the old leather couch. “It’s not like it’s my first time, but it’s giving me the heebie geebies.” She lowered her chin thoughtfully onto her knees, rocked a bit more, then stopped and looked at her confidante. “Well, Chester, say something.” Chester just stretched out his long dark paws, looked at her with his deep blue eyes, blinked as if to say it wasn’t his problem, and settled back into his repose on the carpet. “I know, chill. You always say chill. That would be fine if I had luxury on tap like you, but I don’t. And after your disastrous attempts at modelling, we have to watch our pennies.” Chester replied with a gentle mew. “Very funny!” She made a face at him, then grinned, remembering the most-recently outraged photographer. “But really, what was he thinking? No one leaves a Siamese cat alone with a velour lounge suite.”
Emma leapt off the couch and lay next to Chester on the floor. She reached over and tweaked his ear gently. “It was an awful colour, wasn’t it. Honestly, the texture really added to it.” She stared up at the ceiling fan as it whirred slowly over their heads. Her thoughts drifted back to her current dilemma. “What if I have forgotten how? What if I make a total fool of myself?” The word ‘fool’ brought another scene unbidden into her mind. She grimaced and jumped to her feet. “And how dare that jumped-up Food Designer call you a fool?! Why on earth he thought you’d ignore a perfectly good pile of pristine prawns, I’ll never know.” She mimicked the scandalized stylist. “Hours! Hours and hours it took me to get that right, and you and your ridiculous flea bag destroy it in seconds! Get out! Get out now!” She grinned again, remembering the man’s expression of surprised indignation. “You’d think he’d never met a cat before.”
She sank back to the floor and started stroking Chester absentmindedly. “Now, for this problem I have, Chester. What should I wear?” She glanced at him and noticed his tail swishing. A vivid memory of that same tail, swishing purposefully across a heavily adorned, ornate white mantelpiece, made her cringe. “And as for that tail of yours, don’t people understand that when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. So much for your starring movie role.” She emphasized the final three words with air quotes. She also relived the sight of the rare and expensive bone china figurines smashing into fine pieces on the marble fireplace, and the ire of the director who just pointed to the door and said nothing. The ceiling fan continued to whirr overhead.
“Chester, I have to know! What if it all goes horribly wrong?!” The cat stretched languidly across the floor and rolled over, turning his back on Emma. “Don’t you care? This could mean the difference between fresh chicken wings and packet slops.” He opened one feline eye as if to question her; both of them knowing that she would rather eat beans than withhold his favourite treat. The smooth cream and brown fur, gently rising and falling with each breath, led her thoughts to another time and place where she’d seen exactly the same response. “Hhmmph! Feisty, I’d called you. Energetic, playful, funny, and entertaining, and you just leapt up to her couch, curled yourself up and slept!” The lady in question had employed them to demonstrate her latest diversion for the bored housebound pet, but Chester had been more intent on demonstrating his sleeping prowess. “No advertising for you, my dear boy.” summed up Emma, resignedly.
Emma looked at the clock and realised that the time was drawing near. She grabbed a handful of coins, then raced to her room to check her reflection. Chester surprised her by springing on to the chest of drawers next to her. “What do you think? Will I do?” she quizzed him. He squeezed his sapphire eyes in approval and rubbed his head against her shoulder. In the distance, the sound of destiny approaching tinkled through the humid summer air. “Greensleeves”, tinnily heralding the Ice-cream Truck, had never sounded so good. She raced out and stood waiting, breathless, as Antonio, the new owner, pulled over. Antonio – young, single, Italian. He appeared at the window. Her words tumbled out as she fought to contain her nerves.
“I’m single, with a flake please.” Inwardly, she cringed, and outwardly, she lit up like a spectacular sunset, but he just smiled broadly and handed her a single cone, complete with the requested chocolate.
“This one’s for free.” he said gently. A dainty grey pointed face joined him at the window, with her beautiful azure eyes fixed firmly on his tanned face. “Oh, and let me introduce you. This is Juliette, my sweetheart lilac-point.” He purred down at his besotted cat. Emma, and her nerves, were instantly lost in infatuated fascination. Chester waited quite some time for his ice-cream.

Help Me Chester!: Work
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