"Willow's Tail" 17
“How do you know where I live?” Perfidia asked the purple suited, delivery man with venom in her tone.
“The poor delivery man’s eyes widened with fear and he took a giant step back.
“I didn’t know this was your address, I wouldn’t have accepted this package to deliver if I’d known.”
“Good, then you can forget this address exists when you leave,” she warned stepping back to close the door.
“But I have a delivery for Martha,” he said it quickly before the door was completely closed.
“Who would know I was here?” Martha asked, stepping around Perfidia and opening the door wider.
“I don’t know; I just deliver,” he said taking a flat letter size envelope out of his jacket and then producing his pad and quill from the other side of that slim jacket.
He held the envelope out to her.
Martha looked down at it; it didn’t look threatening. What could be inside the slim unassuming envelope? Another twist in the game of course.
“Don’t take it; make him bring it back. This isn’t your address Martha; you don’t live here, return it to sender,” Perfidia suggested while giving the delivery man a contemplative look.
Her speculative look made him nervous and he looked down for any rings of fire that may be starting to form.
“It’s addressed to me Perfidia; I may as well take it. Something in there is intended for me to know.”
“Yes, but do you want to know?” Perfidia whispered.
No, Martha didn’t want to know, but ignoring things didn’t make them go away, it just delayed the revelation.
She reached out and took the envelope from the jittery delivery man’s hand and signed the pad with the purple quill.
“Thank you Martha,” he nodded placing the pad and quill back into his jacket, “Now I want to leave here without a burning end, if you understand my meaning.”
“Yes, of course. We will not deter you,” Martha promised and turned to Perfidia to support that agreement, “I think we can keep our fiery dispositions in check, can’t we Perfidia?”
“Sure, fire’s old hat anyway.”
“What? What does that mean?” The delivery man asked with concern; it didn't sound as if that troublesome person had agreed to let him go unscathed.
“Maybe, you should go now,” Martha suggested stepping back into the house.
Perfidia gave him a little wave and a wicked smiled as she stood rubbing her long magenta painted fingernails over her amber amulet before stepping back and closing the door.
The delivery man stood a moment, undecided. Should he fly away quickly or cautiously?
He chose the first, turning into the magnificent bird of orange and purple plumage and beat his little wings gaining speed and distance. When he felt he was at a safe distance away, he twittered happily with relief just as the skies opened up to a full blown storm of thunder, lightning and torrential winds.
The winds blew him off course and into a small bolt of crackling lightning; it was enough to ignite his little tail feathers and the poor bird twisted and turned to put it out as a cloud above burst. Rain waters drenched him, the rain put out the flames but dampened his spirit as he became a fast flying dot in the ever darkening, threatening skies.
Martha watched the delivery man’s plight through the window and admonished her host.
“Perfidia, why did you do that; he is only doing his job?”
“I didn’t create that storm. I may manipulate fire and electricity but those powers are nature’s alone.”
Martha continued to give her a knowing look.
“Okay, maybe I took advantage of a small, stray lightning bolt, gave it a little push of direction.”
“You need to be kinder, your desire for retribution can boomerang,” Martha warned her.
“Okay, I’ll think about it, but why not hold your opinion until you’ve opened up that envelope. Then tell me if you’re sorry I discouraged that birdman from making any future deliveries?”
Martha slit the top of the envelope open and slid out a thick vellum sheet of paper. She scanned the document and her brow rose in surprise.
“So what is it? Has a relative left you a fortune? Are you the winner of a lottery?” Perfidia teased as she waited for Martha to enlighten her.
“None of the above, I’ve been entered into the homegrown, tea leaves brewing contest.”
“What?” Perfidia asked with open amusement.
“Don’t say it.”
“Hah, why not? We're glad to have join in, you know misery loves company and I think Willow and I agree we do.”
Willow sat up but gave no opinion. Perfidia didn’t need her to, she was happy enough for both of them that Martha found herself in the same pickle, or she should say bundle of tea leaves with them.
“Martha, don’t fret about it, you’ll win easy and I think now, with all three of us entered, the fun is about to begin.”
Martha wasn’t pleased by this new turn of events, even though she knew she’d have no issue with brewing the perfect blend of tea leaves, she didn’t think it was about that. There had to be a twist in these contests, something they weren’t seeing, just yet.
The festival parking lot was nearly full but they’d managed to find a space close to the vendor’s entrance.
Perfidia lifted her boxed Orchid from the back seat and stared at its impossible beauty.
“This is such a unique Orchid; I’m still not sure I should enter it."
“Don’t worry Perfidia, it’s not a delicate species, trust me. It will survive.”
“I hope so, I’d feel terrible if anything happened to it and we don’t know what that mischief maker might do. What if they try to kidnap this plant too?”
“This Orchid can protect itself.”
“It can?” Perfidia asked in awe and her eyes lit with deeper respect.
“Yes, so stop fretting over it and let’s go enter your amazing Orchid into the contest.”
“Right…and you can enter your amazing cat into her contest too.”
Willow gave a loud uncomfortable meow and, from her position walking between them, she looked up with glowing angry eyes at Perfidia.
Perfidia felt an unusual touch of sympathy for the cat and gentled her words.
“Don’t get your feelings all twisted; you’ll win.”
Willow continued to grumble even as she accepted the compliment; it was true she’d win but it didn’t lesser her annoyance at having to perform on demand.
The food stands and games of chance were still being set up but the building that housed the arena for the horse show was open and the riders were walking their entrees in to the stables next to the arena.
There were smaller buildings that housed the cooking contests but those were still closed.
The festival worker at the gate had given them a map and they followed it to the tent that was set up for the flower contest, it had a clear circular roof to let in the sun and keep out the rain.
The tent was filled with contestants setting up their special sun boxes for their entries and Perfidia hesitated at the entrance.
“What’s wrong?” Martha asked her.
“Gloria is here setting up her entry. Let’s enter Willow in her event first and see where your contest is, then I'll can come back.”
Willow was not happy with Perfidia’s plan but Martha conceded and they walked away from the tent towards the building that housed the pet contests.
They walked past food stands and merchandise vendors setting out their displays and Martha got a chill when she noticed one of the vendors.
The silver circles glinted in the sunlight and Martha wanted to stop and speak with that vendor but not with Perfidia along to hear the conversation, she’d have to come back later.
The building that housed the pet talent was divided into two separate contest areas and it had two marked entrances, one for canines and one for felines.
Willow sauntered in through the feline entrance and was immediately stopped by a uniformed man.
“Whoa, little cat you can’t just walk in here, you need to be in a carrier,” the man said looking around for the cat’s owner.
The cat was not amused, having no owner and needing no carrier. Willow gave him a warning meow and continued into the venue.
“Are you that cat’s owner?”
The uniformed man demanded of Perfidia as she walked into the room just ahead of Martha.
“Heaven forbid,” she said with a laugh and walked past him.
“Are you?” He then demanded of Martha.
“Am I what?”
“That cat’s-,” the man began as he turned to point out the roaming feline but he didn’t see where it had gone.
“What cat?” Martha asked innocently.
The man gave her an exasperated look and walked off determine to find the wayward animal.
Willow wandered around the caged cats and with a slight flick of her tick-tocking tail all the cage doors opened at once, freeing the cats and upsetting the owners.
The frantic uniformed man now had his attention diverted having to chase down dozens of furry performers, instead of stalking Willow.
Willow snickered and wandered over to the food storage to see if there were any edible treats that might interest her but suddenly her fur stood on end and she knew that troublemaker of a cat was nearby. She turned and saw it watching her from across the room.
Her tail lifted to send that meddlesome cat a message just as she was snatched up by that unformed man and placed into a carrier.
“Now I’ve got you,” said the man.
Willow saw the laughter in the green eyes of that ear flicking cat and she did flick her tail in return, disrupting a woman walking with a large, fully filled, water cooler bottle. The woman was about to place the bottled upside down on the cooler but the large bottle jumped from her hands with the open side down, somehow the water stayed inside the bottle as it appeared to sail over to a black cat and then it dumped its entire contents on the poor animal.
Willow flicker her tail again and she was out of the container and the drenched cat was now inside it.
The caged black cat was wet, and furious.
Willow found her way to the back of the building and out to the yard, where the ‘free to roam’ area was set up and she stretched out under the shade of a tall oak tree, waiting for that green-eyed problem to find her.
The chaos inside the building with owner’s trying to corral their pets was fun to watch and Perfidia leaned against a wall laughing at the comedy of errors as cats eluded their captors, until she saw one cat challenging Willow, and Willow was swept up into a carrier by that security guard.
Perfiida went to find to Martha to tell her.
Martha was helping a woman trying to coax her two Siamese cats out from under a long table. The cats were scared of the noise and commotion and wouldn't come out.
“Martha, you need to see this,” Perfidia said taking her by the arm and dragging her to the spot she’d seen the unusual cat, but the cat wasn’t there anymore.
Perfidia looked around, trying to find the cat in the room of people and animals all running amuck.
There was a cat, it looked almost like Willow but bigger; a male cat. I saw it flick its ears and Willow ended up in a cat carrier, and that uniformed man is holding her.
Martha walked over to the security guard and inquired.
“May I see the cat you’ve caught?”
“Certainly, this is the feral cat I saw walk in before you, and I caught it,” he told her proudly as he turned the carrier around for her see.
“Is it an invisible cat then?’ Martha asked him, with a twinkle of laughter in her eyes.
The man tilted the carrier up and looked inside. His eyes grew wide in disbelief.
It was empty, but he knew he'd snapped the lock closed and it was still locked. How could that cat have gotten out?
The man shook his head. "This doesn't make sense, I know I trapped that cat."
“I guess that cat was smarter than you thought,” she said softly, leaving him to puzzle over the dilemma as she went to find Willow.
Max had easily escaped that box and dried his wet fur and he was way ahead of Martha in his search to find that tricky cat.
He stepped out into the yard and saw her sitting content in the shade of an oak tree. He heard footsteps behind him, coming from the building, and quickly ran under a low ragged shrub to stay out of sight, but his eyes remained locked on that bothersome cat.
Max thought about all the leaves he could have fall from that tree and was timing the moment of impact when he heard his name called. His human wanted him to return and he gauged the distance to where he was. Although he’d like to stay and teach that cat a lesson, he had to go, but this was not over.
Max slipped out from under the bush and was about to leave when that cat's human stepped outside.
“Willow,” Martha called, happy to see she was unharmed and lounging under a tree. "You had me worried," she said as she began to walk over to her.
Max watched the human and his senses picked up on something she had that belonged to him, something he’d lost.
He slid back behind the shrub unseen by the woman and her meddling cat and flicked his ears in that direction.
The shinny, silver tag was back around Max’s neck, glittered in the sunlight as he slipped through the side gate and out to the parking area to the waiting, low slung, sports car.