In celebration of Halloween, we have a special MaxE Tall Tail for you. Be sure to check back on Friday to see Max in his Halloween costume. He’s the cat’s meow.
A tiny bird with baby soft red feathers flew circles above Max. Yum Yum sang a happy song about a ginger tabby named Max, the King of Felines. Brave. Smart. Cool. He sang his ode to Max up and down the coastline of Los Angeles. All the other birdies and pigeons and seagulls joined in and soon Maximillian Emeril became a legendary feline worshipped by all throughout the world.
Max sighed and his right paw twitched slightly, almost as if trying to grasp that elusive fame or birdie. This was a familiar dream. Mama still refused to buy him a Yum Yum birdie, but it was on his bucket list. Mama tended to be a bit of a sucker when it came to indulging him, so he felt confident he could wear her down eventually.
MaxE drifted back to sleep, where he ruled over the birdies. This was his sacred place. He breathed in the scent of freshly cut grass and trotted confidently through a large field on his way to Garfield’s Waterfall. His warm, sun-baked rock beckoned him. It was the ideal spot for a Feline King to lord over everyone while the mist from the waterfall kept him cool and the serenading birdies lulled him to sleep. The perfect nap within a nap.
Nearly there, Max noticed something highly unusual. A strange birdie had claimed his spot. He strutted back and forth on the rock, like it belonged to him, squawking loudly to interrupt the other birdies melodious songs about Max. One by one the birdies stopped singing and silence fell over the field.
Max crouched down. This disrespect required swift action. He must capture this oversized birdie and turn him into a prized pet. He’d call him Hugo who would serve at Max’s beck and call. Just a he was about to pounce on Hugo, Max felt someone tickling his paws and woke up.
He opened one eye and saw his Mama smiling down at him.
“MaxE! Are you awake?” Mama asked.
Max immediately pretended to be asleep. Mama had a nasty habit of waking him up, then she’d giggle and walk away.
He rolled over and went back to sleep, but Hugo was no where to be found. Max curled up on his rock and went to sleep, a nap within a nap were the very best naps.
Tap … tap … tap…
Max woke with his ears perked as he listened carefully. He swore he heard someone tapping.
Quietly, he slunk out of his bed. Mama wasn’t on the sofa watching TV. Nor was she sitting at her desk where she spent hours on the computer, ignoring him. He didn’t see her in the kitchen, making him dinner either.
He peeked in the bathroom, but Mama wasn’t singing off-key in the shower. He found it amusing that she sang songs about him while standing naked under running water. People did the weirdest things.
But where was she?
Maybe she’s reading in bed, Max thought, so he jumped up to surprise Mama, but only found an empty bed with tangled sheets.
Now MaxE was getting worried. Mama never left him during the day without saying good-bye. Where did she go? Maybe she was hiding from him.
He dashed underneath the bed, but no Mama. He looked in the closet, but she wasn’t hiding among the shoes or the piles of clothes. He nudged the linen closet open, but he couldn’t find her in there either.
He double-checked the bathtub and peered into the toilet, but still no Mama. Max was starting to feel a bit frantic.
“Meow! Meow! Meeeeeeow!” Mama, where are you?
He checked under the desk and in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. He jumped on the dining room table. Nope. Not there either.
He walked into the kitchen and sat for a moment, staring up at the kitchen countertops. They were the one place where Max was forbidden to go, which made it the perfect hiding spot. And if she was hiding someplace else, Mama wouldn’t be able to resist yelling at him for being naughty. With that in mind, Max jumped up and waited for Mama to start throwing a fit.
But nothing happened. There was no yelling. And no Mama waving her arms and asking him why he was so naughty.
Max jumped down and started yowling. “MEEEEEEEOOW! MEEEEEEOOW!” as he tore around the apartment.
Then he heard that strange sound again.
Tap … Tap … Tap …
Tap … Tap … Tap …
Tap … Tap .. Tap …
Where was that sound coming from? Max ran into the bedroom and under the bed.
Tap … Tap … Tap …
Oh, he could still hear the tapping. Where was Mama when he needed her?
I’m not a scaredy cat! I’m not a scaredy cat! I’m not a scaredy cat! Max kept repeating that thought over and over. He wasn’t a scaredy cat. He was the King of Felines! Thanks to dumb doggies and their excellent PR, cats had a false reputation for being scaredy cats, but it wasn’t true. Max was a cousin to the ferocious lion. He was NOT a scaredy cat.
To prove it, he poked his head out from under the bed.
Tap … Tap … Tap …
Max saw movement outside the window. Somebody or something was on the patio.
He wanted to crawl back underneath the bed, but he was no wimp. It was his duty to protect his home and his Mama.
Staying low to the ground, he crept into the living room and cautiously approached the patio door at an angle. He didn’t see anything out of place, but he wanted the advantage of a sneak attack. He hadn’t spent all those hours watching ‘The Walking Dead’ with Mama for nothing. Max wasn’t cattle.
He sat still for a moment, gathered up all his courage, then pounced on the screen door and let out his biggest yowl, “MEEEEEEEEOOOOOOWWWWW!” I am MAX! Hear me roar!
Tap … Tap … Tap …
Max spotted his Mama, outside on the patio. But she had duck tape covering her mouth and her hands and feet were tied with rope. Max clawed at the screen door, trying to rip and tear it apart so he could rescue his Mama.
Why did Mama trim his nails? Didn’t she understand they served a valuable purpose? Who cared if he shredded her bench? Now he was helpless. And his Mama needed him!
Mama tapped the window again and was bobbing her head to the side. MaxE felt every hair on his body stand up when a black bird the size of a Rottweiler landed on their patio with a thud. Hugo was here and much, much larger in real life.
His feathers were coal black and looked scratchy and stiff, not baby soft like Yum Yum’s red feathers. His eyes glowed yellow and he cacawed shrilly. Max’s insides were jelly and he really needed to use the litter box, but his Mama needed him and he would not abandon her. No way!
“Meow! Meow! Meow!” You let my Mama go, you big mean birdie!
Hugo laughed. Max took a step back before charging at the screen door again. “Meow! Meow! MEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOWWW!” Get away from her, you birdie!
Max pounded on the screen door, putting his considerable 17 pounds of pure muscle to work and managed to pop the flimsy door out. The door fell over and Hugo flew back in surprise. And maybe a little fear. Max dashed outside and began swinging his paws at Hugo, trying to give him a nasty scratch. Max’s claws may have been trimmed, but he could still leave a mark.
Hugo flew high up in the sky, circled once, then dived down directly towards Max. Max refused to budge. He was a true King of Felines and would meet this evil birdie head on, even if it meant becoming bird food. Hugo was only inches away …
“MaxE? Max? Are you okay?” Max felt his Mama lightly run her hand over his back and give him a few comforting pats. “It’s just a dream. Mama’s here. Wake up, Max. I gotcha.”
Max opened his eyes and saw his Mama’s worried face staring back at him.
“You were dreaming, Max. Or at least your feet were kicking like they do when you have nightmares. What were you dreaming about?”
Max rolled over so Mama could rub his belly. She happily obliged and Max purred his satisfaction and relief. It was a nightmare. Only a dumb nightmare. He was still the King of Felines and not imminent bird food.
“It may have been a mistake to watch ‘The Birds’ last night.” Mama sighed. “It gave us both nightmares. I dreamt that I was foolish enough to buy you a Yum Yum birdie and then it pecked my eyes out! Birdies are lame-oh.”
Purring in agreement, Max let his Mama pick him up and give him a couple of smooches. She carried him into the kitchen and set him down. “I think we both had enough of our imagination playing tricks on us today and earned ourselves a treat. What do you think, Max Man?”
Max rushed to his dish and waited for his extra special Halloween treat and firmly reminded myself that Hugo was just a nasty figment of his imagination, but these treats, now those were the real deal. And honestly, he’d earned them.
This has been an original MaxE Tall Tail written by Tanya and approved by Max.
Copyright © 2014 by Eat Laugh Purr. All rights reserved.