Saturday, March 26, 2005


Back seat drivers, Merci and Buddy

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Buddy is bored. “Hey, Merci, do you want to have some fun?”

Merci, sitting in the back seat of the car with Buddy, knows him too well to automatically agree. “That depends. What do you have in mind?”

“Would you like to go to Miss Mother’s to play in her yard?”

“Yes, but Jan’s busy today. We can’t go.”

“No problem.” Buddy leaps into the front seat of the car and settles himself on Jan’s cushion behind the steering wheel. “Come on up front and keep me company.”

Merci isn’t sure what Buddy has in mind, but she also leaps into the front seat, where she can barely see anything other than the sky over the dashboard.

“Do you think if we blow the horn Jan will bring us the car keys?” Buddy asks.

Merci snorts. “I think if you blow the horn Jan will come outside, but she won’t be carrying any keys.”

“I don’t suppose you know how to hot wire a car, do you?”

“I don’t know what that means, Buddy.”

“It means freedom. If we can figure out how to start the car, we can drive to Miss Mother’s house any time we want to go.”

“I don’t know about that, Buddy. Don’t you need a driver’s license in order to drive?”

“Well, I can get a driver’s license. All I have to do is start driving, fill out a form, and a driver’s license will come in the mail.”

“And what will Jan do if a driver’s license comes in the mail? She’ll think it’s a joke and throw it away.” Merci, ever the practical one, is relieved to end the conversation.

But Buddy isn’t deterred. “You’re right, of course. We’ll use Mr. Doug’s address. Do you know what it is?”

“No, and I don’t think I would tell you if I knew it,” Merci says. “We can get in a lot of trouble.”

“That’s all right. I’ll just email him this afternoon and ask him. He’ll think Jan sent the message and email it to her.”

“I think he’ll get suspicious. Why would Jan be asking him for his address? She sends a birthday card to his house two or three times a year, so she knows his address.”

“Because,” Buddy says, “she’s forgetful. Everybody knows that. She would forget us if we didn’t keep reminding her we’re here.”

“And how are you planning to get the license if it goes to Mr. Doug’s house? He isn’t going to give it to you either.”

“Hmmmm. I know, Merci, we’ll just drive over there every day until it arrives, and take it out of his mailbox. Then I’ll have a license and Jan will have to allow us to borrow her car to visit Miss Mother. And Mr. Doug,” Buddy adds. “He keeps those big peanut butter biscuits for us. We have to visit him more often.”

Merci is still unconvinced this is a good idea. “But you can’t drive, Buddy. And you can’t start the car either, because you don’t have the keys.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll figure out something. Meanwhile, let’s practice.”

“How do you practice driving a car without the engine running?” Merci asks.

Buddy laughs. “That’s easy.” He raises his body and places both paws on the steering wheel, one at five o’clock and one at 7 o’clock. “See, I’m steering.”

“What if you want to make a left turn?”

“I’ll just turn on the turn signal.” He looks around. “Where is the turn signal? Never mind. I’ll just stick my left ear out the window and wave it.”

“Don’t you have to open the window all the way first?”

“Oh, yeah. Where’s the button for the window?”

“I’ve watched Jan drive,” Merci says. “There is no button for the window. You have to crank it down by hand.”

Buddy winds the window down the rest of the way. “Jan should have electric windows. Everybody has electric windows nowadays. She should have considered our needs when she got this car!”

“Jan didn’t have us when she got this car,” Merci tells Buddy. “Now what do you do if you want to make a right turn? And don’t tell me to stick my right ear out the passenger side window.”

“You’re right. That wouldn’t work. Your ears are too small. I know,” Buddy exclaims triumphantly, turning to face the back of the driver’s seat, “I’ll just turn around and wave my right ear out the window. Do you think we would be noticeable if I drive the car backwards whenever I need to make a right turn?”

Merci’s voice rises. She stands and places her front paws on the dashboard so she can see the lawn ahead. “But you’ll crash the car! You can’t drive backwards. What kind of idiot driver are you?”

Buddy stands up on the seat cushion and looks out the back window over the headrest. “Yes, I guess this would only work if we were traveling in reverse. We need a one-seater car. That way I can sit in the front and wave an ear out either window and you can sit on the floor working the brake and the gas pedal when we need them.”

Merci reaches for the passenger door handle. “I’m getting out of here!”

“But,” Buddy protests, “this could work. We’re a team.”

“No, Buddy,” Merci says, "I have a better idea. Let’s walk to Miss Mother’s. Your brain needs the exercise.”

Have a good day,

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Percy dons the writing hat for a good cause

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“I have called all the felines together while Jan is running our errands,” Percy begins, “because I made a very upsetting discovery while reading her email today.”

Crystal stretches and yawns. “Is it worth waking me from a nap in the only warm spot in the house?”

“Where’s that?” Cotton asks. “I haven’t been able to find a warm spot in two weeks.”

“I have something far more important to discuss,” Percy says impatiently.

“Can I collect the dues first?” Cameron asks.

“No!” Crystal snarls. “Don’t start with the dues. This isn’t even a Funny Farm Writing Club meeting.”

“What’s not a Funny Farm Writing Club meeting?” Buddy asks as he strolls into the living room and leaps onto the swivel rocker. He calls into the bedroom, “Merci, you better come join us. We’re having another meeting.”

“Well, at least this one is being held at a decent hour,” Merci says, sitting in the bedroom doorway.

“You canines aren’t allowed,” Percy tells him. “This is strictly for the feline family members.”

Buddy ignores him, settling comfortably into his favorite chair. “Go ahead, then. Merci and I can listen. We live here too.”

Percy decides not to argue. “I came across a news story about some place called Wisconsin.”

“Where’s that?” Cyndi asks.

“It’s probably near Atlanta,” Merci says. “Everywhere is near Atlanta.”

“Will you let me finish?” Percy complains. “It doesn’t matter where Wisconsin is. What matters is that the people there are going to vote on Question 62.”

“Do they already know the other 31 answers?” Cameron asks.

“Don’t pay any attention to him,” Cotton says. “He’s young. He can barely count past his toes.”

“Question 62 is important to us. Folks are going to vote on whether hunters can hunt and shoot cats.”

“Shoot cats? You mean vaccinate them, like for rabies, don’t you?”

“No, Buddy, I mean shoot them with a gun, to kill them.”

Buddy sits up, straight and tall. “Don’t worry, cat critters, We’ll protect you, won’t we, Merci?”

Merci nods her head energetically. “We sure will. But why would hunters want to shoot cats? I like cats. They make good dust mops.”

“We need to warn the other cats,” Percy declares, waving a paw in the air. “If we don’t, hunters could be shooting at us next. All cats don’t have Internet access, so we need to do what we can to warn them and get Question 62 voted down.”

Cyndi is puzzled. “You mean cats can vote on whether they’re hunted?”

“We need to unite. Hunt the hunters. Distribute slingshots to all felines, spring booby traps on lone hunters, steal their ammunition, make night forays into their camps…”

“Percy, have you lost your mind?” Jenny calls from her bed on the clothes dryer in the kitchen. “I’m a lot older than you and I can tell you that violence is not the answer. You need to convince people who are eligible to vote to get out and vote to kill the bill.”

“Jenny is right, Percy,” Cotton says. “We’re indoor cats, but we can help by emailing the information to our friends and they can tell their friends, and if you drop a hint to Jan, she can email to her friend and maybe to a few of her enemies… “

Cyndi searches Jan’s email program. “Which message is it?”

“The one from Don’t Shoot The Cat,” Percy says. “ is their web address.”

Cyndi jumps down from the chair and Percy, a nimble typist, takes her place. “Okay, Jenny,” he calls into the kitchen, “we’re going to take your advice and email all the cats we know and even some we don’t know. Buddy and Merci can email the message to their canine friends and we can type a message in Jan’s name for her friend.”

“Do you think Jan and her friend vote?” Crystal asks.

“They should. This is important. Everyone who lives in Wisconsin should vote.”

“But we don’t live in Wisconsin,” Cotton reminds them.

“That’s okay,” Buddy says. “If we just tell everyone we know, at least one of them is bound to live in Wisconsin. And the email says we don’t have to live in Wisconsin to vote.”

Percy finishes addressing the message and clicks the Send button. “There. Finished.”

“Uh, Percy,” Cameron says, hesitantly, “you forgot to write a message. You just sent a blank email to everyone in Jan’s address book.”

Percy realizes his enthusiasm carried him away.. “Don’t worry. I’ll just include an apology for the blank email in another message. Jan is so forgetful that everyone will believe she made the mistake. The important thing is to spread the word on Question 62.”

“Yes, it is.” Cyndi sighs. “I wonder what those hunters will come up with next.”

Cotton looks steadily at Cyndi. “What do you mean, what will they come up with next? Question 63, of course!”

Secretary of the Funny Farm Writing Club

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Merci and Buddy dislay his talent

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

Hey, which one of you cat critters sneaked that “this house is guarded by an attack cat” mat into the picture? Merci and I are the guards in this house!

Well, it’s too late to change the picture. This is an emergency and I need my readers to support me in this bed making difference of opinion. If you remember, last week Jan forced me to apologize to Murphy and Merci and everyone who has been reading my bed making tips. She’s trying to teach me to be obedient (it should be the other way around) and I dutifully apologized so she wouldn’t send me to the Psycho Attic Farm. You know, where they send the crazy dogs.

But I have been thinking this over for the past week and I have come to the conclusion that she’s wrong in this instance. Just because dogs have higher bed making standards than people do doesn’t mean we should have to live down to one person’s standards. A few decorative touches, a wad or two, and a good stomp would greatly improve her own bed making habits.

Merci used to be my biggest critic but she has come to see the value of my skills and is giving me her full support. I know I could make a go of a bed making business, especially if Jan would let me advertise in my column. I could contribute to the household finances and she could buy even bigger bags of food so I could eat more and grow faster, so I could work harder and I could – Oh, I could be rich!

We dogs have to stick together, especially male dogs, Murphy. You were behind me for the Scruffy Award. Would you support me in this? Please, write to Jan at the funny farm email address and tell her what a good example I set for you and all your friends. Maybe you can convince Mr. Jimmy to write too. And all of your friends and Mr. Jimmy’s friends could write and she would have so much email to read she wouldn’t have time to criticize my talent or destroy my artistic designs.

I’m asking all you readers who enjoy my columns to please email Jan and explain to her the error of her decision. If you don’t enjoy my columns, please write to Jan anyway. You don’t have to be a fan of my writing to see the beauty in the beds I create.

Jan might not allow me to post any more stories for a while after this one. She says the other residents should have a turn. So, I’m going to thank all of you now, in advance, for your support.

Mr. Buddy, Journalist and professional bed maker wanna be, signing off for the day.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


"But Buddy is a great bed making teacher," Merci protests.

Copyright 2005 Janice Price

I want you to know, Murphy, I don’t see a thing wrong with my original bed making methods. My bed making skills are far superior to Jan’s. Besides, I won the Scruffy Award for my talent. I don’t know how old Jan is, but I’m three months old and she must be at least a month older than me, and she has never won a single award for anything, let alone for bed making.

I write this under duress - great duress! - but Jan insists. In fact, she is forcing me to apologize to you, Murphy, and to your servant Jimmy, for any problems my bed making methods might have caused in your home. And to apologize to any other household which might possibly have been affected by my last journal entry. (See “Buddy’s Advice for Perfect Bed Making.)

I also have to apologize to Merci, for being a … I can’t write this, Jan. I’m not bad. Okay, okay, I’ll finish it. I apologize, Merci, for being a bad influence on your naturally neat nature and for teaching you messy bed making habits. Jan says if we both don’t shape up and stop making messes (messes?) out of our bedding, she’s going to take away our bed and make us sleep in the bathtub. The bathtub is cold.

There, I’ve said everything I’m supposed to say. Jan said if I don’t apologize, she’ll remove me from the funny farm and send me to a psycho attic farm instead. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m not crazy. I’m just young and ambitious.

As you can tell from the photograph, Jan wasn’t happy with the bed Merci and I made today. I thought it was exceptionally good. I even added leftovers from the well-chewed front door mat and a battery-operated toothbrush. She really lectured us, both of us!

I tried to protect Merci because she’s so timid. This is the first time Jan has ever told her she has slovenly habits, and it has broken her heart, if not her spirit. And after she recently won the award for the neatest bed! She was so proud of that award.

I was happy Merci and I finally found some common ground in bed sharing. After our differences of opinion over how to make a neat bed, Merci began to recognize how artistic I am, and after my last column, she started taking lessons from me. Together, we’ve been experimenting with new visual effects. I guess Jan needs to trade in her drinking mugs for glasses, after all. Her eyesight must be going downhill.

So, Murphy, if Jimmy lets you read this entire column, please note this was written under duress. I would protest more adamantly but I don’t know anyone at the psycho attic farm. In order to stay here with my friends, I humbly apologize to all who have been influenced by my creative streak.

This is a temporary setback, so please don’t stop reading my column. Even though I make a mean bed, Jan served me with a Cease and Desist Order. I will, however, return soon with another money-making venture.

This is Mr. Buddy, the obedient and misunderstood journalist, signing off for the day.