Scaredycat

by
Jo Ann McDonald

..follow-on to Hey Luigi, where Rocky and Spike go to fetch the apple pie together and plan their evening of fun

As Mz Possum and Ashley settled down for a good, girl-to-girl chat over dinner at Luigi's, Rocky found himself out in the dark, on the other side of the invisible door... alone! The door was really invisible now. Even if he wanted to go back in... which he did... there wasn't a chance, considering the way Luigi had treated him. Heck, he didn't even get to eat his dinner!

Rocky made his way, clumsily, to the log they'd floated up the creek in. He'd show everybody. He'd navigate the creek all by himself until he saw Spike, sneak up on his old scaredycat buddy, and talk Spike into getting into mischief with him... under the guise of fetching the apple pie. Heck, he knew Mz Possum was all silly and slurpy about Luigi, and she wouldn't want to go home for hours. There's be plenty of time to prowl Turtle Pond, at least. He might even talk Spike into raiding The Island with him, or go down to The Wishing Well. Boy, would he have a wish for the old rat snake that guarded the well tonight! And the catfish were spanning this time of the year. With the help of a clever cat, the two of them could teach those young catfish a thing or two. There's nothing that tastes as good as baby catfish for dinner!

Rocky paddled very, very quietly. He was pretty sure he saw Spike's telltale white markings that always gave him away, especially in the dark. On top Spike was pretty well camouflaged, but head on he looked like a darn penguin with his full white bib and boots. "The Dude's always dressed up! He should be a waiter at some fancy restaurant," Rocky muttered under his breath. Racoons are among the best camouflaged of the animals in the woods at Legacy Ranch. They pay for it by always being mistaken for bandits, which can have dire consequences for the ones that never do anything wrong. Rocky, however, tended to live up to his image. He could be a very naughty racoon at times, but mostly he was just talk. As he sneaked up on Spike, this became one of those naughty times.

"Errrr..... Err rr.... " twittered Rocky in a eery, scary voice.

Spike froze. He stood absolutely motionless for seconds that seemed like minutes. He didn't even twitch. Rocky made a couple tiny splashes. He was mid-stream and knew Spike wouldn't come in the water willingly. Cats are such cowards about water, thought Rocky, who regularly bathed and often ate from the pond. Silly old cats cleaned by rolling in the dust and licking themselves to death! Seemed like a lot of counterproductive work to Rocky. Spike continued his motionless stance, his eyes big as saucers and their piercing, deep amber-yellow color cut right through the black of the night. He slowly began to swivel his head, ever so slowly, in the direction of the muted splashes.... glaring.

"Err... Err...." Rocky waited a moment, then followed up with a "Kaaa... Kaaa..." that was a new sound he'd wanted to try. But that glaze of Spike's was getting to him. Rocky was getting nervous. At 15 pounds, if the guy leaped at him and hit, Rocky'd be a goner!

Spike was getting suspicious. "Grrr... Grrr... " he answered. He was pretty sure it was Rocky.

That was enough. Rocky broke the spell before he became history. "OK, buddy, he boldly squeaked. You guessed... It's me... Here I come, I'm headed over your way, Big Guy..." Rocky noisily paddled over to the shore where Spike simply sat, and patiently waited for his little friend. He had half expected Rocky anyway. In fact, Spike didn't really want to be alone up the creek any more than Rocky did. Spike had known the rowdy little racoon all Rocky's life, and he was actually a pretty good kid. He just liked acting tough. In a tough neighborhood, Rocky could come in handy.

"Thought you'd be along," said Spike in his usual, highly amicable manner. Spike was one of those really Nice Guy type people that everybody liked, once they got to know him. Sometimes the bigger they are, them more lovable. Spike had a good sense of humor and liked kids, too.

"So Luigi threw you out too, huh?" It hadn't been the first time Spike had missed out on a dinner at Luigi. That sometimes happens to bodyguards. But he and Jabbo could go up there anytime they pleased if they really want to go to dinner. They might even take Rocky when he's old enough. Luigi was always more fun when it was just a bunch of guys! Spike knew that Luigi liked to show off for the ladies. Who didn't... sometimes. But it was Luigi's guy stories that were really cool. The stories that old badger could tell about awful, horrible stuff. like about exotic animals and slimy icky stuff, about what vultures do and miserable maggots and fire ants. Luigi could tell about stories that made anybody's fur stand on end!

But sometimes Luigi could get carried away, and even Spike got nervous. That's why he thought kids shouldn't go to Luigi's when they're still too young to understand fact from fiction. Hunting, and eating ones kill was, unfortunately, an everyday occurred on Legacy Ranch. Cats, mice, bugs, birds... that's just the way the foodchain of animal and plant life works. The Earth would get all amuck otherwise. Mother Nature knew all about it. It was just... well life, although, for some people... short! But Luigi would tell about things that people at Legacy Ranch never dared dream of existing. Death was swift, and a matter of course at Legacy Ranch. The way Luigi told it, life and death could also be nightmares! Like how huge grizzly bears, tigers, and mighty pythons in foreign lands thought really hard about their dastardly deeds. And how the communities where those really scary animals lived would ban together and plan their vengeance.

Luigi scared everyone half to death with his tales of horror when he said that the people behind all the evil deeds were called "liars" ... or maybe the word was "lawyers..." Spike couldn't remember for sure. The way people say those two words in Texas, it could be either one. Nonetheless, they sounded real scary, and Spike didn't want any part of either one.

Spike shuddered with all his scary thoughts that obviously whooshed through his head all at once. "Enough of it. I'm only scaring myself, he said to himself." He looked over at little Rocky. It would be fun now that Rocky was here. Spike found himself calming down, taking big breaths, remembering that, except for the Bobcat, HE was the largest carnivore on the ranch. He relaxed even more, and started looking forward to a promising night of adventures in the woods where he knew just about everybody. His kind of neighborhood.

Rocky came to shore and disembarked, clumsily, from his little barge, and started to explain events from his perspective. "I didn't get thrown out. No more than you did. Mz Possum wants me to fetch one of the apple pies and bring it back. She even told me I could eat one." Rocky tied his log up beside the bank and joined Spike on foot, heading down the creek, to the relative safety of their mutual hunting grounds at The Park. He'd sparked Spike's interest when mentioning eating apple pie. That meant Rocky was headed to Mz Possum's cafe. Which was closed. Spike was hungry.

"Since I was the one responsible for counting the apple pies when she baked them, wanna come with me and eat one yourself," asked Rocky? "She'll never miss a couple, and I'm not a very good counter anyway."

"Sounds good to me, kid. Maybe we can scare up a little meat and potatoes along the way. After that, why not come with me back to Ashley's Inn, which is never closed, and which always has a fine selection of goodies to eat. In fact, I think the twins are cooking some supper, and they're very creative kittens!" Spike was starting to look forward to the evening enormously now that he started thinking about it and stopped thinking about scary stuff.

"Sounds like a Progressive Supper Night! Let's go!" Rocky led the way, scampering through The Park, over the dam on Turtle Pond, down the bank, past the Snoring Tree, to the edge of The Island... which actually was a peninsula... and over to the base of the huge old oak tree that housed, among other things, Mz Possum's Cafe. Spike was right on his heels. "Let the supper begin!"

©1998 by The Legacy Company

Legacy Ranch