Kathryn Henry, 2011
The Trip Around the Block
Socks Henry watched out the window as Kathryn nailed a sign to the front door:
We will watch your pets!
Call us now!
“Uh oh,” she thought. “Trixie ain’t gonna like this!” she raced down the hallway and into Sarah’s and Kathryn’s bedroom. Trixie was lying on the top bunk of the girl’s bunk bed.
“Hey Trix,” she said. “Guess what?” Trixie didn’t move. “Trixie? You alive?”
“What is it? You’re disturbing my nap!” she growled.
“The Henry’s just put up a pet sitting sign!” Socks exclaimed. Trixie leaped up.
“What? Without consulting me? How dare they!” she cried, jumping down onto the dresser.
“They will not bring strange animals that may have diseases into my household!” She stormed out of the room. Socks shook her head. Suddenly a loud honking rang through her ears. She hopped up onto the desk and onto the windowsill. A silver car was parked behind the Henry’s van. A girl carrying a cat got out. The girl knocked on the door.
Socks cautiously walked into the living room. Kathryn let the girl come in.
“Hi, Elizbeth!” she said. Beth set down the cat.
“Here’s Purl,” she said. “Thanks for watching her while we go on our trip!” She left the house and got back in the car. It then drove down the street.
Socks and Trixie stared at the strange cat. Trixie circled her.
“As long as you have to stay, you better get the rules now. The first and most important rule is this: I am the Alpha pet, and everyone else does what I say. Understood?” she asked.
“I think so,” the cat said. “My name is Purl. What’s yours?” she asked.
“I’m Trixie. This is Socks.” Just then, a dark blue van pulled up.
“Oh no, not another one!” Trixie groaned. Socks laughed. She didn’t mind the visitors.
A girl named Ana came to the door and gave Kathryn a bird.
“Thanks for watching Dove for me!” she said. Ana then walked back down the sidewalk and hopped into the van.
A white dove flapped his wings and went over to where the cats were talking. “Hi! I’m Dove,” he said.
“Hi, I’m Socks. This is Purl and Trixie,” Socks greeted.
“Trixie Belle Henry, thank you very much!” Trixie snapped.
Later that evening, Socks was giving the new guests a tour of the house and backyard. They were standing on the back porch.
“Well, this is the porch. There’s the shed.” She said. “Oh, and this is Max,” Socks said, showing them the rabbit who sat motionless in his cage.
“Max? Max! You hear me?” Socks yelled. Then she whispered to the others, “He sometimes has hearing problems.” Max jerked.
“Somebody say something?” he asked. Trixie rolled her eyes. Purl laughed.
“Yes, Socks was introducing us. I’m Purl and this is Dove. We’re here to stay for a while,” she said.
“Oh, hi!” he said, twitching his whiskers. He bounced up and down. “I love visitors!” Purl turned toward the back door.
“I thought that was open,” she said. Socks’ eyes grew big.
“Uh oh.” She whispered. Socks ran to the door and scratched on it. She looked through the glass window.
“Uh, guys? I think we’re locked out!” she cried. Trixie groaned.
“Didn’t this happen last week? Now we have to sleep out here, again. All because of your lengthy tour,” she glared at Socks.
“Oh, I got to get a picture of this,” Dove exclaimed. They all turned toward him. He was holding a cellphone. Purl’s mouth fell open.
“What?” Dove asked, looking around. “What?”
“Where-where did you get THAT?” Purl asked.
“What? Oh, this? It’s my cellphone. I couldn’t live without it!” he replied.
“How did you get a cellphone?” Trixie asked, her face full of jealousy.
“I just got one, that’s all.”
“Where do you order stuff like that? I’ve been wanting to get a computer,” Max said. “So I can email Lauren when I want an another blanket.” Trixie laughed.
“Boy, that would come in handy, wouldn’t it Socks? Socks?” she looked around. Socks was nowhere in sight!
“Where’d she go?” Purl asked.
“I don’t know! Let’s go find her,” Trixie said. They headed out into the blackness of the night.
“Uh, hello?” they heard Max call. “You gonna leave me here?”
“Oh, I guess I’ll have to go unlock the rabbit’s cage, since he can’t get out himself,” Trixie complained. She walked up to his cage and fumbled with the latch. She couldn’t get it open.
“Oh! Will someone help me?” she exclaimed. Purl came over and helped her unlock the door.
“I wish I had thumbs!” Trixie whined. Max hopped out. The team of animals headed out into the yard. The bright moon shone down on them. The night breeze ruffled their fur. And feathers. Up above, the leaves in the trees rustled. Suddenly, a large object fell down right on top of Purl’s head. She fell to the ground, dazed.
“Are you ok?” Trixie asked. “I wonder what hit her?” she said.
“I’ll find it! I’ll find it!” Max exclaimed. He put his nose on the ground and ran all over the shadowy yard. Purl sat up and rubbed the bump on her head.
“I think it was a walnut,” she said.
“Don’t panic! Don’t panic! I’m looking up ‘what to do if you get hit on the head with a walnut’!” Dove exclaimed, typing away.
“I’m okay, Dove!” Purl insisted. She stood up, and they continued through the dark yard.
“Come on, Max! “ Trixie yelled. The rabbit came running.
“It could have been a squirrel that was sick and fell out of a tree,” he said. “Or a bird that couldn’t fly.”
“It was a walnut,” Dove explained.
“Oh,” was Max’s simple reply.
The group of pets headed down the dark alley, calling out Socks’ name. Dogs howled in the distance as they cautiously walked on. They walked past driveways and sheds. Trash lined the gravel pavement. Suddenly, a loud chomping sound rang through the quiet night. Purl turned around.
“Max? Where are you?” she asked.
“Here!” he yelled. His voice echoed. They turned to see Max inside an over-turned trash can, munching away.
“That is absolutely disgusting! What on earth are you eating?” Trixie asked.
“I’m not exactly sure,” Max replied, his mouth full.
“Rule # 32 of pet etiquette. Absolutely NO eating out of garbage cans!” Trixie exclaimed.
“She’s right, you know,” Dove said. “That’s pretty gross.” Max climbed out.
“Well, I was hungry! Does anyone have any carrots or bananas?” he asked.
“Sorry, no.” Purl laughed. “But the sooner we find Socks, the sooner we can go back to the porch,” she sighed.