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Stephen Benson

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Member Since: May, 2011

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Idiots and Children
by Diana Estill

Family and observational humor from award-winning author Diana Estill...  
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Books by Stephen Benson
Tommy's Escape
By Stephen Benson
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A lonely wanderer returns home.

I was tired of my family. The old man was always griping about stuff and the old lady just smothered me, you know? It was like I was suffocating there, so I left. Does that make me bad? Oh, well. I’m old enough to make my own decisions and I have the skills required to take care of myself, or thought I did. Sure, I like being taken care of by a doting woman or even a grouchy old fart. But ya know, sometimes too much is too much. So, there I was, looking for a new place to live.

The first place I found looked promising, but the shrill laughter of children gave me visions of unwanted attention and a complete lack of peace and quiet. Don’t get me wrong, I like kids well enough... from a distance and in limited doses. Anything more than that and they get on my nerves. Sorry, just being honest.

I checked a few more places but they were either too close to busy streets with cars and trucks constantly rolling by, or there were dogs barking noisily in the background.

Cars are great transportation, but that doesn’t mean I want to hear them zooming by all day. And what is it about holding a steering wheel that turns people into idiots? Give me a home well away from the street, thank you very much.

And I hate dogs, too. I mean, what do people see in those slobbering, butt-sniffing flea sacks, anyway? I’ve heard people say how smart they are, but of the several I’ve had the displeasure to meet, every last one was just plain stupid. And my goodness how they stink. Yeah, I really hate dogs. Honesty again.

Finally, after weeks of diligent searching, I found the ideal room mate. Her house was a pleasant cottage down a nice, long driveway and not a single dog within earshot. I dusted myself off, approached the comely, older lady and introduced myself. Widow Jones, as she was known, was very kind and invited me in for a snack. We visited for a while and got to know each other and soon it was mutually agreed that I could move in with reasonable room and board.

Our living arrangement went well for the first couple weeks, but then things started getting kind of creepy. I was relaxing on the couch one day when Widow Jones showed me this lacy sort of hat and asked me to wear it. Come on, I’m the male of the species around here. Lace? Really? Well, she was pretty insistent and next thing you know I’ve got this ridiculous lace hat on my head. I was tempted to move on right then but Widow Jones made the best meals and my bed was so darned comfortable. I figured as long as I didn’t have to wear anything too silly in public, I could put up with an indignity or two.

But guess what? Widow Jones turned out to be one sick puppy. One day she dressed me in a new lacy hat and, get this, a lacy dress! That’s right, remember what I said about things getting creepy? And it gets worse. About as soon as she forced me into this get-up, there was a knock at the door and a bunch of other older ladies came streaming in. They all laughed and smiled at my fancy outfit and I had never been so humiliated in my life. So I determined to myself right then and there that it was time to move on.

Later that night I could hear Widow Jones lightly snoring in her bedroom. Just to make sure, I slipped into her room and sure enough, she was out like a light. I suppose causing extreme embarrassment must be very tiring. So I found a way out, which by the way wasn’t easy. The old gal had the place locked up like some kind of prison. Fortunately, she made the mistake of leaving a window open upstairs, so I literally clawed my way through the screen and carefully hopped onto the roof. From there I made my way to a nearby tree, climbed down, and headed into the darkness of night.

I’m not ashamed to say that I wandered the streets for several days after my bold escape, eating where I could and even taking handouts from kind strangers. At times I was so hungry that I actually resorted to picking out of garbage cans. Don’t judge me, I’m sure you’d have done the same in my predicament.

One day, as I was working on finding my next meal, I heard something familiar. It was the sound of my family’s car. The beat up old chevy had it’s own distinct tone and boy did it make me homesick. I knew it wasn’t far to the old house, so I followed that car the best I could. I lost it after a minute or so but now I was in familiar territory. I trotted down the street and suddenly, there it was; the old house.

I paused there for a long time, unsure of what to do. It seemed ages since I’d been there. I was so weak and hungry, but did I really want to go back? Would they even want me back? I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was going to do next; slink away or go right up to the front door, but I no longer had to decide. A voice called out, "Tommy! Tommy’s back!"

Two wonderful people came pouring out of the house with excited glee. They picked me up and rushed me back inside with complete, unquestioning acceptance. They could see that I’d had a rough way to go and after supplying me with all the delightful food and drink I could handle, they cleaned me up and let me take a load off on the couch, right back in my old favorite spot.

As I drifted off in blissful slumber I felt a warm hand stroking my head. It felt so good that for the first time in a long time, an involuntary purr formed in my throat.

It was good to be home.

 


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Reviewed by Michael Kersting 12/28/2011
Well wriiten. I always love prodigal stories. Keep it up !
Reviewed by Morgan McFinn 11/10/2011

Yeah, I like this story, too. Didn't realize you were talking about a cat, though. Amazing how dense I can be at times.

Reviewed by Jeff Gafford 9/5/2011
I like this story. You drop little hints about who Tommy is, but you stay consistently inside his head through the narrative. And I can cetainly imagine that a cat would have these very thoughts and reactions to the events you wrote him into. Funny and enjoyable.

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