In Loving Memory Of Pooper Nash
Written by Consta Jenkins
Reprinted by permission of the author
Eatbugs was strolling through the grassy plains of the Rainbow Fields. He looked out over the horizon, at the same perfect sky that was always there. He turned his whiskers into the same gentle breeze that always blew. He pondered, as he was sometimes wont to do, how nothing ever seemed to change. Each night the stars twinkled in a clear sky and on Tuesdays there was a gentle rain in the field past the willows, for those who wished to savor it. The kibble bowls were always full and the catnip always in season. He wondered why he wasn't bored.
These ponderous thoughts were interrupted by a squeal of delight to his left. Miss Pepper and Mister were telling a group of peepers the story of the Boogie cat and the brave little peepers (probably for the eighty-third time....the peepers always squealed when the Boogie Cat appeard).
To his right a wild game of hockey was in session. Puppie and Picnic were whisker to whisker on the puck with Rocky and Kiki in hot pursuit.
Eatbugs laughed. No wonder he was never bored. How could any kidden be bored in the Company. The sky might always be the perfect shade of blue and the wind might always be just the perfect breeze from over the Bridge, but the activities were as varied as the kiddens that lived here. You had only to pad a few feet in any direction to find something wonder and fun.
Eatbugs padded along and stopped briefly to watch Picnic and Max wrestling under the willow. "Hey, old man, I forgot to ask...are head kicks allowed" laughed Picnic.
"Yes....and watch who you call an old man", laughed Max and grabbed for Picnic.
"I don't care. I ain't gonna do it. I reawwy reawwy ain't". Eatbugs padded around the willow to see Nickie standing his ground looking as defiant as Nickie could look.
"Now, Nickie, dear. It ISN'T good manners to stomp your paw paws." said Miss Kitty in her calmest voice, "Now I want you to take Tiny Bubbles' paw and let's practice again".
"No...I don't wanna".
"What seems to be the problem", asked Eatbugs, trying to suppress a laugh.
"Oh dear. I am trying to teach the youngsters how to dance...and well...Nickie seems to object".
"I am not touching a girw", said Nickie.
Eatbugs chuckled, "Well you are going to look a little siwwy, er, silly, dancing with boys".
Nickie pondered that for a second. "Weww, why do I have to dance in the first place?".
"Well", said Eatbugs, "because it's fun?".
Miss Kitty shook her head at the boy kiddens, "Dancing is one of the social graces and ALL kiddens should know the social graces!".
"Weww, if it means howding paw paws wif a girw, you can forget it", said Nickie.
Miss Kitty was about to argue the point when her face grew suddenly somber. Sweetie Greymother and Sweetie Yellowmother came running to her side, their faces a mask of sorrow. Eatbugs had begun to feel the too familiar tingling in his whiskers and extended a paw to his furriend. "Oh no", Miss Kitty sighed, "Oh, my humans!".
Eatbugs and Nickie took her by the paws and walked with her to the Gate. SGM and SYM walked beside them. R2D2 and Rocky fell quietly in step. One by one each of the Company joined the procession.
The Welcoming Song, with its bittersweet refrain sang in the wind, and the kiddens joined the song with their purrs. As they formed their circle before the Gate, they joined paws and linked tails and waited to welcome another.
As the Song reached its peak, the flash of blue light played across the opening, and in it's wake sat Pooper. He looked around at the kiddens assembled before him...his eyes scanning the group, looking for a particular face. Miss Kitty stepped forward and threw her paws around him. "Oh brother, welcome home", she purred into his fur. SGM and SGM licked his ears and head-butted him, " Welcome" they purred, too.
When they had exchanged their greetings, Miss Kitty turned and introduced her brother to the Company. Each kidden offered their nose in greeting and offered games of hockey and naps in the sun. As the last of the kiddens touched noses and they turned to lean him home, Pooper stopped and looked out over the Bridge. "I'll be with you in just a minute", he said. The kiddens nodded. They understood.
Pooper walked to the edge of the Bridge and looked out over the Earth. He pursed his whiskers and felt Miss Kitty and his sisters beside him. He heard their purrs join his as he sent his thoughts dancing out on the wind. "I love you Mom and Dad. I am here. I am safe. I am home". As he opened his eyes, he heard the thoughts of his siblings drift down.
"We are waiting".
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