New to Karate Dottie? Start at the beginning
“Are you ready for practice?” Dottie asked Gordo breathlessly in the hallway.
“Not yet, we have to go pay our respects.” said Gordon.
“Our respects? Who died?”
“Suzy’s cat Fluffy passed away yesterday and theyare having the funeral right after school. We have to go to the Pet Cemetery.” Gordo said solemnly.
Although Dottie was more interested in going back to her house to get to the serious task of training for her career as a samurai, she did not want to be disrespectful. Even though Suzy had not been overly friendly towards Dottie, she was one of the nicer kids in school. Dottie felt sad for Suzy.
The Red Rover Pet Cemetery was located at the end of a gravel path behind the old church cemetery. The old church cemetery was never used anymore since there was a newer nicer cemetery closer to Sharptown. The ground was choked with weeds and thorns. There was already a small group of children moving down the path covered with leaves. As Dottie and Gordo began walking by the old church cemetery, Dottie couldn’t help but walk a little quicker. She found herself frightened and fascinated at the same time by theweathered tombstones. Some of the tombstoneswere toppled over on the ground while a few others leaned precariously on a neighboring tombstone as if for support.
Dottie usually had no problem going into the cemetery in thewarm sunlight but a storm was brewing which cast a cold grey light across the landscape, toning down the vibrant colors of fall. One of her favorite things to do was to look for the tombstones with a small metal locket attached to it. If you opened it, you could see a photo of the person who was buried there many years ago. Usually it was a photo of happier times but occasionally it was a photo taken after their death. She shivered and pulled her coat closer to her looking for warmth that it could not give her.
“So what happened to Fluffy?” Dottie asked Gordo.
Gordo looked at her and sighed.
“It was a terrible accident.” He seemed hesitant to continue.
“Her little brother decided to give Fluffy a bath…”
Dottie knew where this was going. Suzy’s little brother, Stevie, was a tyrant. He was only three years old but he was already banned from half the stores in town and there is not a babysitter in town willing to watch him.
“…in the washing machine.”
“That is terrible. Cats hate water!” Dottie said with conviction as she looked down at her hands. She imagined she could still see the scratches on her hands she suffered when she gave her own kitten, Magog, a bath. The scratches were gone but the memories were still fresh. She let Magog lick herself clean from then on.
Dottie and Gordo came to the Pet Cemetery where a small group had gathered around a shallow grave. It was the first time Dottie had seen Suzy that day.
“Why is Suzy’s hair sticking straight up?” she whispered to Gordo. Suzy usually wore her hair neatly behind a stylish headband but today it stuck straight out in every direction.
Suzy was dressed neatly in her school uniform although a black sweater showed she was in mourning. In her hands was a small shoebox. Dottie assumed it carried the earthly remains of Fluffy. Suzy did not look up or show any emotion.
“He didn’t use a dryer sheet.” Gordo continued.
“When Suzy opened the door to her room, she saw a green glow which was coming from Fluffy. When she touched Fluffy, the static electricity was so bad that it knocked Suzy out and caused her hair to stick up.”
Dottie looked at Suzy sympathetically. It wasn’t enough that Suzy lost her best friend, but she also had to suffer a bad hair day as well.
The gathering of children moved solemnly around the shallow gravesite. Dottie and Gordo hung near the back of the group. The first raindrop hit Suzy on her cheek, mingling with the tears streaming down her face.
Next week: Sparks Fly!
Words and pictures copyright 2016 SF Varney