The Sleepy Cat’s Treasure Hunt
by Don Nelson
Oreo the cat was fast asleep on the top half of my pillow. He awoke and looked straight into my eyes. I could tell he was in that magical place that lies just between sleepy-time and awake-ville. In only a moment I was transported into his warm land of gray and pink where everything had soft edges, there were lots of things to climb and tiny black footprints dotted the landscape.
Oreo was also transported to this make-believe land. He stretched and looked cautiously about before he scampered off. I followed him as he ran down to a stream, jumped into a small gray boat and began hoisting the pink cloth sails.
I called out to him, “Ahoy matey, permission to come aboard?”
Oreo nodded in my direction and with a flying leap I landed on the little boat. We floated up the stream until we began going almost straight up a gentle waterfall. The water leveled off and we were now on the edge of an immense ocean with some fifty other sailboats. As Oreo steered his boat into a sheltered harbor, felines of all colors and sizes were marching in a single file line towards a large open tent with many flags flying in the wind. The cats took the whistles hanging around their necks and began blowing them in unison. The combined single musical note created thousands of pink bubbles that rose high up into the gray sky. The sunlight bounced off the shiny bubble surfaces and created a pink rainbow that stretched far out to the ocean’s horizon.
The cats began jumping and cheering at the sight of the pink rainbow; I even caught myself jumping up and down and cheering as well. Everyone ran towards the boats; it was now a race to see who could be first to reach the end of the rainbow and retrieve the treasure hidden there.
Everyone jockeyed for position and because of Oreo’s sailing skills, he soon was in first place. Suddenly I heard the loud ringing of a warning bell. Oreo got out a carpet-covered telescope and put it up to the eye that was not covered with a black patch. He surveyed the situation, waved a large pink flag at the other sail boats and handed me the odd-looking instrument. I scanned the horizon and saw a giant wooden sailing ship heading for our little floating armada of ships. I spotted the words H.M.S. Bounty on the flag flying from the highest mast.
As I gave Oreo a questioning look, he spoke for the very first time. “Pirate Dogs,” he said.
The feline navy was obviously well prepared and immediately split down the middle, steering to the left and right of the approaching pirate ship.
“What do the Pirate Dogs want?” I asked.
“They don’t like us, they never have. They chase us but they never catch us. Our sail boats are much faster than their big ship and so we just outmaneuver them; it makes them angry and they bark at us.”
As the pirate ship approached I could see a combination of mixed and pure bred dogs, all standing on their hind legs and lined up on both sides of the ship’s railings. The ship’s captain, a Jack Russell Terrier wearing a black pirate hat, was barking out orders to his band of tail-wagging outlaw sailors.
The Dog Ship made erratic moves in an attempt to ram the small but fast cat boats. The booming of the gun port cannons firing sounded for several minutes and then stopped. Oreo told me the dogs had either run out of black powder, cannon balls or, more than likely, it was dangerously close to their nap time. The Pirate Dog ship turned hard into the wind and with their tails wagging, they sailed back towards the direction they had come.
I asked Oreo, “Where do they come from?”
He told me the short version of their strange story.
“They used to live on Dog Island, until they were run off by the local island natives; now they live on their own small island called, Pirate Dog Island. I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard many an odd story about what goes on there.”
I secretly wished Oreo had told me at least one of the Dog Pirate stories, but he didn’t. As quickly as the tiny sail boats had parted they all came back together and continued sailing towards the end of the elusive pink rainbow. The ocean’s surface now took on a substance and stillness I had never seen before, revealing a perfectly reflected image of the rainbow. The rainbow was gobbled up by the reflection and then the oddest thing happened. Every one of the boats lowered their sails and came to a floating stop. The cat sailors were all gazing up at a large group of low-flying seagulls. The cats reached into small plastic bags and began throwing tiny bits of breadcrumbs onto the ocean’s surface. The seagulls swooped down, grabbed bits of food and flew back up to their cruising altitude.
I marveled at the sight and asked Oreo, “Where did the cats get the bread crumbs?”
Oreo laughed out loud for the first time, he was so amused by my question.
“They brought the crumbs from home, where else would they get bread crumbs way out here.”
Yes, it was a dumb question and after the crumbs were all gone, both the seagulls and the cat boats turned towards the mainland and headed home. It was a warm and pleasant trip back as I stretched out on the sail boat’s sunlit deck and eventually fell into a deep sleep.
When I awoke, Oreo was still on my pillow staring at me straight in the eye. I thanked him for my sailing adventure and decided I would someday write a story about it. I knew it had really happened because there on the pillow next to him was a black eye patch, a whistle and a small plastic bag, half full of breadcrumbs.