“You know that just today, they’ve added a new sign. Not a word on it. Just a silhouette of a fairy on one of those yellow diamond signs. Indicates it’s a ‘fairy crossing.’ Ridiculous! As if they need the cross traffic to be alert. It’s only humans who could comprehend that sign. The dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, wild turkey, and deer may all travel on those sidewalks but they can’t comprehend that teensie, tiny, sign.”
“Are you sure Mr. Bellows?”
“Hmm. I guess I’m not 100% certain. A chimpanzee might comprehend. I’ve heard we share 99% of our DNA with them.”
“There are NO chimps in Point Richmond so there’s no need, I repeat, no need for fairies to put that sign up for chimps. It’s for us, the humans.
They’re durn fairies. They have wings. They don’t need to walk across the sidewalk, they can fly up and over any obstacle.”
“Maybe they get tired Mr. Bellows”
“Oh. No. Excuse me. I just get so worked up about all their antics.”
“Have you thought of taking a different route? Avoid them altogether?”
“Hah! That’s what they’d like. No. I won’t do that. Someone’s got to monitor what’s going on and that’s me. Has to be me as no one else is doing it. Half of this town, at least half, don’t even believe those overgrown bugs exist. Not here, not anywhere. Yes, that’s it, this duty of mine, the monitoring, the reporting, it’s all been left up to me whether I like it or not.”
“Have you seen their lending library?” asked Bellow.
“Oh yes, very neighborly of them.”
“Now, now, don’t be fooled.”
“I think they are in expansion mode again.”
“Probably getting ready to perform one of their overnight building tricks. No permits. Not for them. Illegal as all get out, not that they care. They don’t give a hoot.”
“Now Mr. Bellows…”
“Listen to me. I think they’re getting ready to build a library.”
“That sounds nice.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. They’ll be having all the wee ones over for story hour in the mornings. Book club at night. Guest authors giving readings on the weekends. The place will be a hubbub of activity. I’ve got to stop them somehow.”
“I just don’t see why Mr. Bellows.”
“Humph. You’re a bleeding heart, you are.”
“I like to think so.”
“Well, that’s the last thing I’d like to be.”
“Cat Bus Stop.”
I looked up from the road and Mr. Bellows was headed my way, mumbling. Oh dear, he’s lost his marbles, I thought to myself.
“What Mr. Bellows?”
“CAT-BUS-STOP!” he said loudly.
“I don’t understand.”
“Well neither do I but that is what has happened. There is now a cat bus stop in front of one of those fairy houses.
Cats have four legs. they can walk or climb or run. What the heck do they need with a bus stop? Maybe it’s an express shuttle bus that goes straight to the dump. The alley cats would appreciate that. Maybe the cat owners got tired of taking their pets to the vet. Now they just want to put them on a bus and let them find their own way. Whoever that bus driver is better be getting paid a lot. Spending all day in a bus full of cats! They will be meowing, there will be cat fights, and the affectionate ones will be rubbing against the driver’s leg while she’s trying to brake or hopping up on her lap begging to be petted when she’s trying to turn a corner. And all those cat hairs – ugh! I sure hope there’s a litter box or two so they can do their business.
“There might be another reason for the bus stop Mr. Bellows.”
“What would that be?”
“Remember that portrait of a cat in the fairy painter’s house?
“Remember how you said that there was no sign of the painter and what was the fairy painter thinking getting so close to a cat?”
“I think it’s a diversion.”
“They want the cats out of their neighborhood, for their own safety. The fairies probably arranged with a bus service to come and pick up the cats at the bus stop and take them far far away. So far that they can never find their way back.”
“That’s not right! If my cat, my Charlie, happens to meander near those fairy houses, they better not try to lure him onto a bus. I want a word with their so-called mayor but she’s never to be seen.”
“I just don’t know Mr. Bellows. I think you need to get more information.”
I walked down Washington Avenue to see that cat bus stop sign with my own eyes. Halfway down the hill, I spotted Sage. She had a passion for purple and I recognized her from a distance because that was the color of her hair. She was peering through her magnifying glass, she always kept it in her bag. She was a bit of a sleuth. When I got closer, I saw that she was inspecting the sign. On seeing me, she pointed at the sign and said “That cat has five legs. And hello to you.”
She handed me her glass and I looked for myself.
“Fairies have cats? I haven’t heard of that.”
“Yes. Yes. I have heard that before. They have very tiny cats.”
Sage was an authority on many subjects so I trusted her knowledge of the tiny cats.
I pictured the tiny cats with five legs. Wouldn’t their walk be a wobble? And where was the extra leg? attached to their tummy? This explained a lot. The cat portrait by the fairy painter was of one of the tiny cats. That’s why the painter had no fear. The fairy was much bigger than the itsy bitsy five legged tiny cat.
I had been all wrong about the reason for that cat bus stop. It was for the wobbling tiny cats not the large ones that us humans had for pets.
“Excuse me,” I said to Sage,“it’s nice to see you but I must be off.”
I rushed back up the hill to Mr. Bellows’s door.
When Mr. Bellows opened the door I blurted out “Charlie’s safe!”
His eyes grew wide and he said “What in tarnation are you talking about? Of course Charlie’s safe. he’s right here, in the house, with me.”
“No, no. I mean safe from the fairies.”
“That had better be the case as otherwise, I’d have to teach those fairies a lesson or two.”
“Mr. Bellows, I found out they have their own cats but they’re small. You’ve heard of a miniature poodle right? Well they have teensie tiny cats. And that’s not all, their cats have five legs.
“Five legs! Gracious, how do those creatures even get about?”
“That’s why they have the bus stop. And the buses. They must wobble about and the fairies wanted to help them out by having a bus stop, maybe even arranged for the buses.”
“Aw, you think so? You think those pea-brained fairies might feel for those tiny cats, might help them out?”
“If that’s the case, I just might have to change my mind about the fairies.”
“Maybe they have done one good deed. Now that’s not enough to get me to overlook everything – the restricted parking spaces, the building without permits, the electing of their own mayor and the nerve to name their piece of earth Little Point Richmond. I won’t be overlooking all that but it is a step in the right direction. Yes, I do believe I must give them credit for their kindness toward their teeny tiny cats.”
Mr. Bellows had a big smile on his face. He said to me
“They’ve taken care of the tiny dogs.”
“What tiny dogs?”
“If those fairies have teensy tiny cats, there’s bound to be tiny dogs too.”
“Well. I suppose. Just how have they been taken care of?”
He walked me to the corner and pointed at a tiny yellow fire hydrant.
“It’s so they know where to go.”
“It is odd what with the thank you note and the Home Depot flag and Mr. Bellows, why is it here, way up the block from the tiny houses?”
“That is of no matter. This piece of land between the sidewalk and the street, that belongs to the city. That sort of makes all us residents a part owner of it, so I suppose any one of us can do as we care to as long as no one else gets disturbed about it.”
“I don’t know about that.”
“Well, that hydrant’s been there for days and no one’s moved it or taken it away. It’s untouched.”
“I can see why. I sure wouldn’t touch it, I mean in case you are correct about the tiny dogs. And it is quite a climb up the hill for them to get here.”
“I’m sure the tiny dogs have wings just like the fairies.”
“Is that so?”
“I’m fairly certain.”
“and the teensy tiny cats?”
“I think not. Why would they bother with the cat bus stop if the things had wings?”
I spotted Mr. Bellows from a distance. He was holding his head in his hands and looked like he was moaning. When I got closer, I heard him talking to himself.
“I should have known. I should have known.”
“Are you alright Mr. Bellows?”
“It was just the start. It was just the infrastructure. I should have known.”
“You’re referring to the corner?”
“Yes. Yes. The hydrant. The yellow fire hydrant. That was part of them extending the water pipes. I hope you haven’t spotted infrastructure popping up anywhere else?”
“I haven’t been looking but I think the new fairy house on the corner is just adorable. It looks like a cornucopia”
“Adorable! That is not what I want in my neighborhood. I just knew there was something odd about that hydrant. First off, that it was yellow. We don’t have yellow hydrants here in Point Richmond.
Secondly, that those fairies would want to walk their four legged tiny dogs with tiny paws and no wings by the way, such a far distance for relief. And that City Hall. City Hall does absolutely nothing about any of this. So where can I go to complain? Maybe the county. Maybe the c-o-u-n-t-y. I’m going to look into that. “
He started walking away then turned back and said with a wave and a smile “Ta Ta my dear.”
TO BE CONTINUED