Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky. Boy, am I glad I don't live where hurricanes can hit. Last week I told you they were watching out for Hurricane Betsy and I didn't think that was a very good name for a hurricane. Well, I guess it was because it blew into Florida and Louisiana and tore up stumps and flooded everything and made this storm surge that went over the levees in Louisiana. The papers said maybe as many at eighty people died. It was so bad that Dad says they'll never use the name Betsy for a hurricane again. The name will be dropped from the list.
Scary stuff but here in Hollyhill things just go on like always. I go to school. Zella types and pretends not to like Cat, but I know she slips him bits of bacon. Wes keeps the press running and watches baseball. Aunt Love lets the beans burn. Folks at church have potluck dinners. Things that seem so ordinary, but as Miss Sally tells me ordinary can be good.
Speaking of baseball - well, I wasn't, but Wes was. He said we might as well not worry ourselves to death over hurricanes and think about Bert Campaneris. He plays for the Kansas City A's, and Wes says the A's have been losing nearly every game. So to try to up attendance, the manager decided to play Campaneris at every position in one game. Pitcher, catcher, fielder, baseman. All nine positions. They did that last week. Wes couldn't wait to read about it in the city newspapers. And he told me all about it at least ten times. He said that's the way they play ball up on Jupiter. Switching positions all the time. Said it made him almost homesick, but since Bert was playing down here on Earth, he guessed he'd stick around to see how the World Series turns out. One thing sure, the A's won't be in the World Series. Not losing every game like that.
We've been playing softball in gym at high school. I'm the worst. Can't hit and can't catch. But I can run if I happen to get on with a walk or something. Did you ever play softball?
Guess I'd better share a few more pages of Bailey's Bug.
Bailey's Bug by Jocie Brooke
(Continued from last week - the beginning of the story can be found on the Bailey's Bug link above.)
When the sun slipped out of sight behind the buildings in front of them, Lucinda began to talk about soft cushions and beds. She never actually said they needed to go back to the Robinsons, but she did stop every few blocks to lick her paws and stare off into the distance as though she could see something Bailey couldn’t.
Bailey’s paws were sore too. That made him glad to plop down beside Lucinda while she worked on her feet.
Bailey looked around. Nothing looked right. People were there all right. Rushing everywhere like the sidewalk was too hot to stand still for more than a second. Now and again, a person smiled toward him, but more of them yelled as if they were afraid he might give them fleas or something.
Bailey didn’t care. He was used to people yelling at him, but Lucinda expected people to be respectful. The nasty voices made her fur spike up along her back and her tail kept getting stiffer as it shot up into the air.
Then a fat man came out of the store and spotted them behind a garbage can. He not only yelled, he picked up a rock and threw it at them. The rock bounced on the sidewalk and almost hit Lucinda. She sprang up with a yowl and snarled at the man. Bailey jumped in front of her as another rock whistled past. They raced around a corner away from the man and his rocks and stopped to catch their breath between two parked cars.
“He must have thought we were strays.” Bailey hoped that would make Lucinda feel less insulted.
“We are strays.” Lucinda’s voice was shrill. “It’s not safe to be a stray in the city. Even the dumbest dog should know that.”
Bailey didn’t say anything. He didn’t feel like a stray. He knew who he belonged to. Reid. Bailey peered under the dark, silent car next to him. There were a lot of cars clustered around a building where light spilled out of big windows. Inside, people were moving around. The door swung open and the noise practically hurt Bailey’s ears. It was that loud. But more entrancing was the smell of food.
A boy came through the door. If only that were Reid. But it wasn’t. The boy got into a car not far from Bailey and the car woke up and inched out of the parking lot and out to the street. Bailey didn’t know why he felt so disappointed, but he did.
After the car lights disappeared, he looked at Lucinda. “What are we going to do now?”
“Why ask me? I’m not the one with a bug in my ear.”
Cocking his ears, Bailey stood up and moved his head to the left and then to the right. His tail stuck out like a flag behind him as he sniffed the air. The hum was still in his ears. He’d come the right way, but he couldn’t tell how much farther it was to Reid.
“We haven’t gotten there yet,” Bailey said.
“Tell me something I don’t already know.” Lucinda’s mood wasn’t improving. But she didn’t say they should go back to the Robinsons. Instead she leaped up on the car beside them to look around.
“What do you see?
“A stupid dog and a crazy cat.” She slid down the hood to the bumper and jumped softly to the ground. “My feet hurt. I’m not going another step tonight.”
“Is it safe here?”
She didn’t bother answering as she limped to a huge metal bin. Bailey jumped up on the side of bin. Lovely smells came from inside it. Food smells. But he couldn’t reach the opening, no matter how he stretched.
“Get away from there before somebody starts throwing rocks again,” Lucinda ordered.
“But there’s food in there.”
“None you can get to.” Lucinda slid out of sight behind the bin. “You’ll just have to be hungry till morning.”
Morning seemed a long time away as Bailey followed the cat into the shadowy darkness behind the bin. Lucinda had already found a piece of foam to curl up on. Bailey lay down beside her and did his best not to think of bones and doggie treats and the wonderful whirr of Mrs. Robinson’s can opener. He wondered what would be different in the morning that would get them food. But there was no use worrying about that.
He needed to think good things. He had to be closer to Reid tonight than last night. He might not be miles closer, but he was closer. He wasn’t alone. Lucinda was with him and could be she knew something she wasn’t telling him about morning and food. Lucinda liked having secrets.
No, things weren’t all bad. Just before he went to sleep, his tail flapped back and forth.
(to be continued next week)