Pepe and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 14: The Laundry’s Filthy Plan Stinks

Pepe romantic

 

Pepe has opened up and is talking about his past yet again. He left us hanging as he jumped out of the delivery van he had stealthily hidden away in. He found himself two blocks away from The Lost Sox Laundry. The very place that had been accepting loads of stolen diamonds, extracted from the very mine he had discovered in the labyrinth of passageways under ground on the very farm where he lived. He was good. I have translated our hero’s words here:

 

I found the address without any problem. I could see the steam rising from their ventilators from several blocks away. Someone had left the back door ajar, and I crept through silently and blended into a dark corner while my eyes adjusted to the dim light.

The front of the building was a legitimate laundry. Behemoth machines rattled and fought against their moorings. Filled with steam, it was difficult for me to make out the workers. Three humans battled with the machines shouting curses and orders to each other. Water streamed across the tiled floor, pouring into a filthy grate not inches from my feet. The stench was unbearable.

I left this room, exploring a hallway that went past several rooms that held desks and computers. One man sat behind a computer working on a spreadsheet. I crept as close as possible and my eyes struggled to read. A time line. April 11, 2015 was  highlighted in red. Before I could read more, I heard footsteps behind me. I hid in a filthy pile of unwashed diapers, and from the stinking mass I heard the conversation. The dialect told me the speaker was Squirrel. The topic stank worse than the pile I was in.

“The meeting has ended, and the Highest Poobah has made his declaration. The Highest of the High’s declaration will be written down now, as I tell you. The Supreme Poobah’s declaration will read as follows:”

It was difficult to hear under the stench that was invading my lungs, my eyes and my fur. How was I ever going to wash this off? Would he just get on with it and forget about all the insane formalities?

“Are you ready to record the Supreme One’s Words?”

“Yes, please continue.”

“The date has been changed. But only the Highest, Supreme Poobah will know the exact moment that the Squirrels will land. The place of the event has changed. But only the Highest, Supreme Poobah will know the exact location where the Squirrels will land. The hour…”

The keys of the computer clacked as the lackey kept up with the Squirrel’s dictation. I now realized that I knew nothing. Everything had changed.

“The Grand Poobah is moving our operation to the north, and will no longer be needing your assistance.”

The lackey looked up from the screen. With utmost respect he asked, “But what about the cat that has been gathering information? What about the band of spies that have been following your every move? What about the book that was stolen that gave the plans for the landing field?”

“Will no longer be a problem, that.” The Squirrel’s voice turned whiney. “The Great, Marvelous Poobah has included that in the plan. It is a marvelous plan, I tell you. You do not have to worry your senseless little brain with the work of the cat any longer.” He stopped to scratch himself. In the dim light I saw fleas spread out in all directions. Some of them ran into the pile of dirty rags where I lay.

“A certain family member, by the name of Orion, has been taken as insurance. Their paws have been effectively tied. Even the flea-bitten George can’t do anything now!”

My heart dropped. Orion in the clutches of the enemy. My brother. Somehow they had discovered my work. Somehow they knew about George. And I had been so haughty at my prowess and cunning. Orion. May God help you. May God help us all.

Stay tuned for further adventures with Pepe in Episode 15: The Squirrels Vamoose

 

 

Pepe and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 13: What’s Squirrels Got to do With It?

Pepe romantic

A diamond mine, worked by squirrels, moles and possums. A regional gang of squirrels, controlling an entire square mile area. A band of moles that kept the lines open between the diamond mine and an underground labyrinth system. A book, which described in detail the landing pad for alien squirrels, ETA April 11, 2015. The Lost Sox Laundry, taking possessions of tons of diamonds. Above all this information, one question raged in my mind.

What’s squirrels got to do with it?

New phone books had been delivered to the house, and George was pleased to be the first to find the new reading material. He had already begun to devour it. Luckily, he had stopped two pages shy of the listing I sought. There I found the address of Lost Sox. George agreed with me that should be my next step.

A short way down the block, I saw a delivery van parked at a neighbors house. I checked his delivery schedule hanging on a clipboard between the front seats and was pleased to see his next stop was only a mile away from the address burning a hole in my mind. It shouldn’t take me more than ten minutes to make that run. I jumped effortlessly into the back and curled up on a pile of boxes. I would catch a nap during the ride.

The bright sunlight woke me as the deliveryman raised the back door of the van. I screamed and ran out between his legs as he stupidly clutched his chest in surprise. I saw him sink to his knees as I rounded the corner. If I had been a lion, he would have been my lunch. How quickly men forget the rules of the jungle. A cat, on the other hand …

I found the address without any problem. I could see the steam rising from their ventilators from several blocks away. Someone had left the back door ajar, and I crept through silently and blended into a dark corner while my eyes adjusted to the dim light.

Stay tuned for further adventures with Pepe in Episode 14: The Laundry’s Filthy Plan Stinks

Pepe of Noswad and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 11: Mind Our Diamond Mine

Pepe romantic

The diamond-studded walls of the cave nearly blinded me. Bud nonchalantly rolled a smoke and lit it. Catnip. My blood danced with excitement. My paws moved with a mind of their own, and I snatched the nip-reefer from him and took a long drag. I held it for a long time. As I exhaled, I handed it back to the startled squirrel.

“All these diamonds! What are they for?”

He took another drag and settled himself. I think he truly thought I was going for his throat, not his toke. Perhaps he wasn’t as stupid as he looked.

“Some are shipped off to be used in the machinery and rockets for the landing party. Some will be sold for needed funds. The smallest will be crushed and used in the pavement of the landing pad itself. The reflected light from the diamonds embedded in the asphalt will help illuminate the spot for landing.”

I watched as thousands of squirrels chipped away at the massive wall. Some of the diamonds were so big that three or four squirrels couldn’t carry them. For this task, they hauled out heavily yoked possums. These poor beasts were made to pull the stones, some of them over a foot in width to a loading dock. The squirrels were tough taskmasters, and wielded their sticks when necessary to hurry the possums along. One possum fell during the loading process. Even though the squirrels prodded, poked and beat him with their sticks, I doubted he would ever rise again.

We walked past the loading dock, and along the route up and out of the cave. The filled wagon, pulled by a six-mole team, came along behind us, and we hugged the walls of the tunnel to allow its passage. When we reached the gate, the wagon was empty, and returned back down into the darkness. This continued, Bud explained, day and night. I saw a black SUV disappear down the gravel road through the woods. White letters identified it as ‘The Lost Sox Laundry.’

When I turned, Bud was gone. I caught the whiff of his joint, but he had disappeared back into the dark tunnel that was camouflaged in the tall grass.

I too disappeared, climbing high into a hemlock tree and kept watch all night. The wagon brought up loads 24 times. The SUV arrived, loaded and left 24 times.

Somehow I had a hard time believing that alien squirrels ran a laundry, or that they would ever find my lost socks.

Stay tuned for Episode 12: Creepster Surfs the Internet.

Pepe of Noswad and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 10: Pepe Descends into the Lowest Pit of Chaos

 

Pepe romantic

So. I was entrusted to ‘Bud,’ The Commander’s Second in Command. I was to be briefed on any and all information that I would request. The evening was getting interesting. All I had to do was keep my eyes and ears open, and appear to buy into their plan. The information would be safe with me…until I got it to George.

The path was descending sharply now, I had to use my claws to keep myself from slipping down the rocky slope. Even in the low light, I could see workers busy in the shadows. Desks were lined along the edges of the tunnel, papers were piled high, huge maps were nailed into the very rock that formed the walls. Maps that corresponded to the one we’d found in the book. I motioned for Bud to show them to me.

He sighed, anxious to hand me over to someone else, I assumed. He shuffled to the wall, and turned on the overhead light. “We are here,” he pointed with a stick. “These things are over there,” he pointed again to the other side of the map.

“What are those things?” I asked patiently, not wanting to push him beyond what his simple thoughts would allow.

He got up close to the map, and brought out a pair of reading glasses from his satchel. He fastened these around his ears and peered at the map again, reading carefully. At first, I thought he was truly dim-witted, then I saw it was a clever act. He was hoping to be rid of me and get on with whatever his original plan for the evening was. But I had information to gather, and he didn’t know how close he was coming to becoming a meal. I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and hauled him close to my face. I couldn’t help that I was drooling by the mere thought of the tasty meal he would provide. He assumed I was rabid.

“Don’t be foolish,” I hissed. “The commander wants me to know all there is to know. Don’t go acting like you know nothing, or we’ll go back and have a talk with him about your lack of enthusiasm!”

This caused a surprising response from Bud. His knees began shaking so hard that he had to sit down to recover. “I know you come with recommendations, but I don’t trust you,” he whispered, wringing his hands.

“We can go back…” I began.

“No! I hate to think what he’d do with me. Hail Father of Chaos!” He shouted this loud enough for the other squirrels in the tunnel to hear him, and shout, “Hail our Father,” in response. Soon not only was the map explained to me in detail, but I had a copy of it as well. We left the wall, and descended further into the darkness.

My eyes are good. Cat eyes are incredible with the amount of light they can wring out of the darkness. I saw things Bud couldn’t see, and I saw things I didn’t want to see. Stairways leading to other tunnels, signs scratched into the rock depicting executions, calendars with expected goals written onto them. I demanded copies of those. The landing of the alien squirrels was scheduled for April 11, 2015, still quite a ways into the future, but there was no time to waste. We descended further.

We went down a long stairway that had been carved from stone. This passageway was long; I could hear noises ahead of us, and they echoed along the corridor. As we turned a sharp corner, the light blinded me, and I had to grab Bud to keep myself from falling. We had entered a huge open room, filled with lights that were wired into a ceiling 50 feet above our heads. Fifty feet below us was the floor of the chamber. At least 500 feet across, the walls shone with a brilliance I had never seen before. Reflecting the light from above and below was a wall covered with crystalized formations. Diamonds the size of footballs.

Pepe of Noswad and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 9: The Ugly, Furry Faces of Chaos

Pepe romantic

In the previous Episodes, Pepe of Noswad bravely accepted the mission to infiltrate the ranks of the enemy: The infamous Squirrels of Chaos. He fearlessly stole the book with their evil secret plans and delivered it to his Chief Officer, George in his bunker, ‘The Concrete Palace.’ Inside the book was a map and a detailed plan for Area 31. The landing pad for Alien Squirrels, scheduled to overtake the USA.

We left our hero, Pepe, in the center of the squirrel underground, sitting at the Commander’s table, raising a glass of whiskey in salute. And now, we return…

 

“Hail to the Squirrels of Chaos,” I shouted. All the while, my eyes memorized their faces, matching them to the names on their stinking badges.

The whiskey felt hot as it coursed down my throat. My blood was boiling. It took every ounce of strength to keep my claws hidden. They ached to rip out the Commander’s throat. His words, and the blind allegiance these dimwitted squirrels offered him astounded me. They were rabid in their enthusiastic support.

He worked their emotions with his words and actions, whipping them into new heights of fevered loyalty.

“A new day has dawned!” The Commanding Squirrel opened his arms as though lovingly embracing his congregation. Some of these soldiers of chaos had seen heavy battle, their wounds still raw. Some were missing ears, others paws. Several wore eye patches made of leaves. One poor fellow had lost both hind legs, and was hauled around by his mates on a child’s discarded skate. A few sat at the edges of the crowd staring blankly into space.

“Heil!” Yelled the crowd.

“A new day for the Squirrels of Chaos!”

“Heil!” Screamed the crowd.

“We shall be ready!”

A few of the squirrels began to dance maniacally. “Heil!”

“We shall welcome our Saviors from afar!”

“Heil!” One of the dancers swooned.

“A landing pad.” The crowd cheered. “A landing pad where our future will land!”

“Father!” The squirrels chorused. “Our Father of Chaos!”

Music began to play through the speakers overhead. The room filled with patriotic fervor and song.

His attention turned to me. “I know nothing about you, but you come with Ralph’s highest commendations. So trust you, I must. A most important document has been stolen by the filth that opposes us. The guards that allowed our most prized book to be taken have paid the price with their lives. Their livers have seasoned our meal. But the book that contains these secrets of the base must be found. It cannot fall into enemy hands. Ralph says that you’re the Cat to do it. Do I have your allegiance?”

I felt like vomiting as I looked around the room. But my mission, entrusted to me by my leader, George, called for me to go as deep into this depraved mind as I could. I raised my paw, my claws carefully sheathed in salute.

“Tell me more.”

He nodded to his Second in Command who swaggered to the table. His badge, I saw, was crafted out of a gold beer bottle cap. Scrawled over the top was the name, ‘Bud.’

“Bud, take this cat down to the lower level. Answer all his questions, show him everything. We own him now.”

Stay tuned for the next episode in which Pepe descends into the lowest pit of Chaos.

Pepe of Noswad, and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 8: The Alarm Sounds Over Dove Breakfast

Pepe romantic

 

Some say that dove tastes like chicken. I say chicken tastes like dove. Luckily, I brought two into Ralph’s den, as the chairs around his table were full. His wife, girlfriend and both broods were there, nine in all. I threw the birds on the table, and the raccoons lit into them.

Over the din of the snarling, growling and belching, I became aware of a sudden cacophony of squawking that became louder and louder. A squadron of Blue jays lit in the upper branches of the den tree sounding the alarm. Although I knew within a shadow of a doubt what precipitated the alarm, I had to pretend I didn’t. While the jays persisted in continuing the alarm, one of the squirrel sentries I had watched the night before came crawling in. Blood was oozing from a cut over his eye, a large bite made one leg unusable, and he dragged it behind him.

“We’ve come to ask your help, sir.” He lifted a flask of whiskey to his mouth. I supposed that was all that was keeping the vermin moving. “The book. The book has been taken.”

Ralph squinted his eyes as he looked at me. “The book is taken, the map is gone. The plan forsaken, it would be wrong.”

“So wrong,” I said.

Luckily he didn’t get my meaning. His paw patted my back. I felt his claws. A warning?

He said to me, “Take this squirrel back to headquarters. They will heal him if he matters.”

To the squirrel he purred, “I trust Pepe. Tell the Commander he is on loan from me. He’ll get to the bottom of this atrocity!”

I gathered up the broken squirrel and helped him climb on my back. With a shudder, I could feel the fleas abandon his drab fur for mine. My cover was secure, my mission safe. I moved further into the enemy territory. By lunchtime, I was sitting at the Commander’s table, raising a glass of whiskey in salute. “Hail to the Squirrels of Chaos,” I shouted. All the while my eyes memorized their faces, matching them to the names on their stinking badges.

Stay tuned next Thursday for Episode 9: The Ugly, Furry Faces of Chaos

 

Pepe of Noswad and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 6: Pepe Relays Important Information to George

Pepe romantic

The information that the poor robin sang in vain echoed in my ears. “Area 31. The landing pad of alien squirrels.”

Holy Catnip. What was I to do? I quickly gathered control over my whiskers. The tingling sensation was making them twitch, and I noticed a sly look crossing the furry features of the raccoon that stood beside me.

“What is wrong? It’s only a song. Made by one that is not so strong.”

I nosed around the sacrificial feathers then nonchalantly preened, cleaning my whiskers of imagined blood. Silly bird. He would have found no mercy by my fangs either. But his words haunted me with their implications. I must get word back to George as soon as possible.

Opening my mouth as widely as possible, I feigned a yawn. “I’ve heard these rumors before,” I sighed. “These superstitious creatures misinterpret everything they see. Perhaps all he saw was the new driveway going in down the street and nothing more.”

The seriousness of the situation was brought home to me when I realized Ralph had stopped rhyming.

“You are wrong, my friend. And I have proof. The proof is in a book. And I will show you.”

We left the same way we came in. Soon I found myself splashing through deep water on our way back into the darkening woods. The air was still and silent here. Even the frogs made no noise whatsoever, although we passed many as we circumvented the swamp.

I began looking around me, constantly looking back on the path. My fur felt electric, the hair on the tips of my ears standing straight up. Suddenly, the chirping of a squirrel broke the silence. Within seconds, the most ungodly sound filled the woods. Squirrels chirping, barking and growling. We were surrounded.

“Do whatever I do,” commanded Ralph. He stood with his head down, his paws covering the black mask, which framed his beady eyes.

Although it took every ounce of coordination to sit on my haunches and cover my eyes, I did the same. I could feel a small paw guide me along the path and soon we were escorted into a damp, close space. When I opened my eyes, I discovered we were inside the hollow of a large tree. There, on a table was a book. I took one look at it and nearly passed out. There, on page 31 was a map, and it was a map of the open field that I called home. The squirrels were building a landing pad here!

The leader of the Squirrels was out on a raid, and wasn’t there to meet us, but I discovered they just called him Commander. A picture of him sat next to the book. In the picture, hundreds of squirrels were lined up military style in front of him. They were wearing helmets made of what looked like walnut shells. They stood in salute as he rode past. That was the most terrifying of all, for he rode upon a fox whose tail was missing.

I nodded to Ralph, we paid our respects and were given an appointment for the next morning at 7:30. We were led out the way we came in.

It was dark as we left the woods. I agreed to meet Ralph in the morning for dove breakfast. I would supply the dove. He went happily on his way; he said he had a date.

I kept to the edge of the woods, my paws making no sound as I slipped through the tall grass. I only found one vole on my way, and he went where secrets are kept. Permanently. I reached the door of the Concrete Palace and the door opened silently. George and Creepster had been waiting for me.

George took the news stoically, but Creepster hissed with rage. I told George about the book and the map on page 31. “You go in tonight.” He said, “And you go in together! Bring the book to me!”

catbed

 

Stay tuned next Thursday for Episode 7: Pepe and Creepster Deal in Used Books

Pepe of Noswad and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 4: Pepe and Ralph Raid the House and Find More Than Bling

Pepe romantic

 

I knew from observation that the people of the house always left a window open upstairs. I shimmied up the post of the wrap around porch, and scrambled across the roof. The raccoon was old, and I could hear him wheezing as he followed closely. We came in through the bathroom window.

I carefully levered myself down into the sink, then down to the carpet. Ralph hesitated and grabbed the faucet lever for support as he swung down into the sink. This turned the water on, and a few minutes were wasted with his jubilant frolic in the water. Boring quickly, he left the water running and joined me on the floor, shaking vigorously to dry his fur. What I didn’t know at that time, was that somehow he had closed the drain.

The jewelry cabinet was standing in the corner of the bedroom. It was about four feet tall, and held seven drawers. Together, we rocked it until it fell over. Ralph made short work of collecting all the pieces that were sparkly and shiny. We filled a pillowcase with his treasures and went back to the bathroom to leave the way we came.

To my dismay, water was cascading from the full sink down the front of the cabinets and pooling in the soft pink carpet. There was no escape that way.

We exited out the bedroom door into the hall. There, we could hear something. Voices in the language of my people. They were behind a closed door at the end of the hall.

The search for bling had changed to a rescue operation. I ran halfway up the door, trying my best to turn the knob with my body. When Ralph saw what I was trying to do, he yelled, “Stand back!”

Then he did the most remarkable thing. Standing on his hind legs, he stretched until his front paws reached the doorknob. Looking straight up at the ceiling, he gently felt all around the brass knob until it turned and the door swung open.

Five small black and white tuxedo kittens exploded out of the room and were gone. They resembled my siblings and I so much, I instantly knew they had to be my mother’s next litter. But I didn’t want their recognition yet; Ralph must not know the connection. George would be happy to hear this bit of information.

I ran down the stairs while Ralph slid down the banister, leaving deep scratch marks in the wood with his claws. As we turned the corner into the kitchen, his nose went into the air. The smell of salmon thawing on the kitchen counter enticed both of us. Together, we wrestled the package onto the tile floor and unwrapped it. A not-so-friendly game of tug-of-war ensued, and the salmon was soon ripped in half.

Ralph disappeared as I was digging into my piece. When I heard a loud splash, I looked around the cabinet into the family room. There, in a small alcove was a hot tub. In the middle of the hot tub sat Ralph, washing his pilfered salmon before devouring it.

I could hear a car coming down the driveway, and I struggled alone to open the window. Some of Ralph’s bling had settled on the bottom of the hot tub, the bones of the salmon floated on top. Ralph grabbed what bling he could, and we squeezed through the window and ran like hell down the hill into the woods.

From the house we could hear the scream, “Bad kittens!” We didn’t turn back.

 

Next Thursday, watch for Episode 5, in which Pepe Witnesses a Weasel Interrogation

Pepe of Noswad, and the Squirrels of Chaos, Episode 1: I Accept my Inevitable Role

Pepe of Noswad, and the Squirrels of Chaos

Episode 1: I accept my inevitable role

I am alone, I know that now. All others are blissfully unaware of their danger, and ignorant of the role I am offered. I could refuse, but I understand the consequences if I don’t succeed. I am no longer a young cat, and I have learned so much in my journey.

The enemy is all around. I hear them ridicule me in their ugly chatter. But I recognize it for the bravado it is. I’ve heard them threaten the squirrelings, “Eat those chestnuts and become strong, or The Fur Dragon of Noswad will eat you while you sleep!” I see the young ones as they learn their battle stances. I see the moves they practice on Moxie, my adopted sibling. Poor beast. She is but a dog. She meekly takes her station daily under the tree and bears the abuse bravely so she might tell me what she learns of their Plan. For this tree, this 100 year old willow is their Headquarters. All their diabolical decisions are made here, and I fear …

But first, we will break for a word from our sponsor:
Fai is putting the finishing touches on her manuscript, LeMarais. To hear about this novel and her journey to be published, please follow her blog: www.faimarie.com, like her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/faimariedawson and follow her on Twitter: @Faidrah. Thank you. We now return to our hero, Pepe.

… I fear the repercussions of their plan will reach so far into the future that it will change the evolution of all the planet earth species forever. For this plan is the evil, despicable, hateful plan of the Squirrels of Chaos.

I can’t bear to say this name out loud. Even as a kitten, these flea-bitten creatures were the things of nightmare, myth and horror. Looking back I can see that I was groomed for this role. It was my destiny. Written in the stars, my birth chart foresaw that I was the one chosen. Yes, I must accept. The Fur Dragon of Noswad will never back down. I write this now in the event of something happening to me, and I will hide this missive in the confines of the hallowed shelf within the chimney. By tooth and claw, Pepe

Watch for Episode 2, in which Pepe Reveals the Squirrels of Chaos’ evil Plan: What He Knows.