Thursday, June 18, 2015
A Night at the Opera
(postponed from Monday)
It was going on 11 at night when Kevin Connor climbed onto the flat wall surrounding the Oldman house. He pulled his guitar up beside him. It was an old Western-style acoustic he'd found at a flea market, worn but much beloved and well cared for. He ran his fingers over the strings. Perfect.
Digging a hand into his Levi's pocket, he came up with a palmful of pebbles. It was a long toss from the fence to Brenda's window, but he knew he had an awesome throwing arm.
Three tries later he hit the target. The window opened almost at once and there she was—Brenda Oldman, the sweetest piece of cat-tail ever to sashay down the hallowed halls of Lawrence Talbot High. Rumor had it the Oldmans sported ocelot blood in their ancestry. That would account for the sexuality she oozed even though she was only a sophomore. Mmmrawr!
Kevin strummed a chord on his guitar, opened his mouth—and what the hairball, here came Ronnie Coulson, that kinktail spay of a senior, hefting his own guitar onto the wall. Kevin growled while he watched Ronnie set up. His butt tightened, lashing an invisible tail.
Ronnie raised his instrument, and only then noticed Kevin. The two juvenile toms hissed at each other across the length of the fence. "Beat it, kitty," Ronnie snarled. "You're only a junior. Seniors have dibs."
"Bite me," Kevin snapped right back. Both cats flexed their fingers.
"Boys," Brenda purred from the window. "No need to fight over me. Not that way, at least."
Damn straight. Why risk his strumming fingers punching Ronnie's lights out? Kevin cradled his guitar like a woman and started to sing, "Brenda, Brenda, be my friend-a, sit with me on the verenda, come and yowl with meeeeee … "
"Tastier than a tuna melt, plushest fur I've ever felt," Ronnie boomed from his end of the fence. "Eyes like jewels of purest green, whiskers like I've never seen, uh … " He hit a dischord when his voice faltered.
"You couldn't write a love song to save your life," Kevin sneered. "Stick around. You can play backup for me. 'Oh Brenda, how I love you, how you move me, how you groove me—'"
"'Groove me'?" Ronnie sputtered. "Your grandma write your songs?" He sang a snatch of polished lyric. After only two lines Kevin recognized it. "That's One Direction, you thief! You can't sing, you can't play guitar, you can't even be original!"
"Beats the scat out of 'groove me.'" Ronnie dispensed with words altogether and cut loose with a vicious lick. Ronnie matched him riff for riff. He stole several glances toward Brenda, but couldn't determine who she favored.
Time to up things a notch. Kevin undid the upper buttons on his shirt, exposing his scrawny chest. Not to be outdone, Ronnie shrugged out of his shirt completely. Kevin yowled with glee. "Where's your fur? Or are you one of those hairless breeds? Holy scat, that's it! And you've been telling everybody you shave your head to look cool."
Ronnie flushed a dark scarlet. "It's a condition, you mangy tabby!"
"Brenda, Brenda, sweet, sweet, Brenda, you don't want a baldo, no, you want a cat with fur. Let me lick your pretty ears, sweep away your baldy fears and make sweet love to youuuuuu—"
A bedroom slipper hit him in the back of the head. The kind with a hard leather sole. Kevin almost dropped his guitar. Ronnie did drop his axe when the slipper's partner clipped him behind the ear.
Both boys turned. Brenda's dad stood on the sidewalk, barefoot in a ratty bathrobe. Brenda's dad the construction worker, whose musclebound arms could bend an I-beam in half. Or so it was whispered in the hallways.
"I got a song for you pricks," he bellowed at them. "It's called Get the Hell Away From My Daughter Before I Rip Your Whiskers Out."
"Daaaaaaaaaaddyyyyyy!" Brenda wailed in a mortified coloratura.
"You get your ass back in your room!" Mr. Oldman yelled. Brenda ducked inside. The window slammed shut.
Kevin was already moving at top speed, off the fence and up the block. No telling what else Mr. Oldman had to throw at them. Rivets, maybe. He glanced back and got a final glimpse of Ronnie streaking to freedom in the opposite direction.
Three blocks away he dared to slow down. Mr. Oldman wasn't chasing him. He must have gone after Ronnie. Too bad for him. Kevin patted his guitar. "We won," he told it. "We're awesome." He checked the streets for Mr. Oldman one more time, then headed in a cocky strut for home.
# # #
Half a block up the street from the Oldman house, two bunnies crawled out from beneath an azalea bush. Now that the cats had all gone back inside, they could let their laughter loose. And did, loudly. "Oh. Oh my," Teena gasped, holding her stomach. "'Brenda Brenda be my friend'a.' Are you kidding me?"
"I love feline mating season," Burt said. "Better than going to the movies. I guess that's it for tonight. It's usually over when the fat cat yells. Hey, you want to come over to my house? Mom made carrot cake."