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January 10, 2003

 

Chasing Chickens. Just as Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was planning to leave her office for the day, the phone rang. Now she had to make a decision. Should she answer the phone or just pretend she had already left? Both options had their pros and cons. Of course, it was probably Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball. He called more than any cat, probably because he was romantically interested in Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin, but also to offer her a variety of editorial options. Perhaps Ruffles Murdog was calling with a really juicy assignment to interview George Croonley, or a concert tour with Eltoon John-John, so maybe she'd better answer the phone this time. Of course, if Ruffles Murdog had another shopping trip to the mall planned with Mama Mothball, Furry Purrloin would just pretend that it was a wrong number, wrong state, and wrong country. The best thing to do was to answer the phone in Spanish just in case. Fortunately, she’d studied Spanish with El Puma, her Puerto Rico-based feline friend.

 

"Hola," came the voice on the other end of the phone.

 

There was just silence on the line. This was curious. Maybe she'd try answering in Hawaiian.

 

"Aloha."

 

"Is this the office of Furry Purrloin?" the voice on the other end asked a bit sheepishly.

 

Realizing that the voice didn't belong to Ruffles Murdog, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin replied, “Yes, this is Furry Purrloin. How may I help you?"

 

"This is Gizmo. I live in New York, and I'd like to report an incident here that should not go unrecognized. It's unfair, and my mom needs to be brought before some kind of council to make her change her ways."

 

"Hi, Giz, nice talking with you again. Can you explain in more detail exactly what injustice has occurred?" Furry Purrloin questioned.

 

"My mom told me that, for my birthday, I was to have chicken. Now, I just love chicken, so she hit on just the right delicacy to tempt me. Then she told me that, before I could have the chicken, I had to chase it down and bring it to her -- feathers, feet, and all. Can you imagine she expected me to go out in a winter storm and chase a chicken?" Gizmo complained to Furry Purrloin.

 

"This is appalling, Giz. I can't imagine what in the world your mom was thinking. Was she reading a book about cowboys and Indians at the time?" Furry Purrloin wondered out loud to Gizmo.

 

"And, to make matters even worse, it was snowing outside, Furry Purrloin. I don't even own a warm pair of snowshoes, nor am I tall enough to be seen in two-foot snow drifts. I peeked out all of the windows and couldn't even see a chicken in the yard. What do you think she had in mind?" Gizmo went on to say with a bit of worry in his voice.

 

"Giz, is there a chance she was just kidding you? Did you smell chicken cooking in the house?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

 

"As a matter of fact, Furry Purrloin, I did. I smelled chicken, and there was something cooking on the stove and, as it turned out, I did get chicken for my birthday dinner. What a great detective you are to think of these clues! But this still doesn't explain her request for me to chase a chicken," Giz pondered aloud while peeking back at his mom who was laughing in the room behind him.

 

"I think you that your mom was just pulling your leg. She has been known to kid around with you from time to time, hasn't she? Maybe she was just trying to bring some excitement and levity into her ordinary, dull routine. You can’t blame a human for doing that, since they lead such boring lives. If I were you, I wouldn't give it another thought." And with that, Furry Purrloin shut off her word processor. She must be on her way to find George Crooney before Mama Mothball scored an interview with him.

 

"Nice talking to you, Giz. Let's get together the next time I'm in New York and have lunch or tea. Maybe even chicken!." Now Furry Purrloin really was on her way out the door.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmqail.com.

January 3, 2003

Judge Moody Gets a Pay Raise . Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin had been looking forward to her special guest interview today for many weeks. Just think -- an interview with the famous Judge Moody! When she'd scheduled the interview, she had an idea that Judge Moody would have such exciting news to talk about. Furry Purrloin just knew that Judge Moody was really a sweet and demure lady human that only put on an act when she did her television show. Oh my, wouldn't Mama Mothball be jealous when she found out about this interview! And think of the look on her furry face! The interview would be worth doing for that reason alone, Furry Purrloin thought.

Arriving at Judge Moody's home, Furry Purrloin was welcomed by the petite judge herself.

"Judge Moody, it's such a pleasure to finally meet you. I see you're wearing your long black robe. Do you normally wear it around the house?" Furry Purrloin inquired of the tiny little judge.

"Yes, it impresses anyone who comes to the door, like the mail carrier and the package delivery man, and it gives my husband a good idea of who makes the rules around the house," Judge Moody explained.

"I see, Judge, but what I really wanted to talk about was the fact that you've just received some exciting news regarding your television show. Would you care to discuss this exciting news?" Furry Purrloin asked while she settled herself on the pink satin sofa that Judge Moody showed her to.

"I'd just love to discuss my pay raise and the renewal of my contract. It's all I can think about. I'll now be paid twenty-five million tunas a year to do my show. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that my contract has been renewed for three more years, and I'll be paid a higher salary than even Oppie Wintree paid herself. I'm just trying to think of ways to spend that amount every year," Judge Moody told Furry Purrloin while she poured two cups of catnip tea.

"What is it, exactly, that you do on your television show that would justify such a large amount of tunas?" Furry Purrloin couldn't help but ask. She was sure that only professional football players earned that amount of tunas, and they certainly deserved it by putting their bodies in jeopardy every week during football season.

"I'll explain this to you, Furry Purrloin, but you must not tell the whole world. My main job is to sit up on my bench and yell at humans and tell them how stupid they are. I guess that stupid humans are more entertaining than smart ones because they seem to be the only kind I come across during taping of my show," Judge Moody explained to Furry Purrloin.

"You get paid twenty-five million tunas to yell at stupid people?" Furry Purrloin couldn't help but express her amazement in a shrill voice. "Why, Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, does the same thing for practically nothing. Except he yells at furs, not humans."

"Well, my dear new friend Ruffles Murdog doesn't have a good agent. Nor does he have his own syndicated television show. And, when you get right down to it, he is a dog." And with this comment, Judge Moody laughed out loud.

Furry Purrloin took a sip of tea and continued to mumble, "Yelling at stupid humans pays twenty-five million tunas a year? Maybe I should investigate finding a new career after I write up this article for Ruffles Murdog."

"Judge Moody, I've enjoyed our chat so much but I have an appointment to get my claws manicured, so I'll have to run. My manicurist, Emery Board, just gets so frustrated when I'm late," Furry Purrloin said while packing up her voice recorder, laptop computer, and slipping the shoes back on her paws. She fully intended to let as many cats know about Judge Moody’s gigantic salary increase as she could and let them figure out why Judge Moody deserved it. Also, she wouldn’t mind getting some of those tunas herself. Hmmmm. Perhaps she should practice yelling at stupid humans, if she could find any. It was just too bad all the humans in her family were as smart and clever as she was. Maybe, for the time being,. Furry Purrloin could practice yelling at Mama Mothball.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmqail.com.

November 30, 2002

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

This morning, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin had to cancel her interview with Tom Turkey, which she had planned for weeks, to fly out to the West Coast for an interview with Sheriff John Wayne. She had been reading recent reports of a lot of movement in the Sam’s Clam Disco area and wanted to be the first to write about John Wayne's new residence. After all, if others in the Sam’s Clam Disco area were moving, then Sheriff John Wayne was moving, wasn't he? That was Furry Purrloin’s thinking, and she so hoped she'd gotten the report right.

Approaching Sheriff John Wayne's door, Furry Purrloin noticed that there was no moving van parked in the driveway. Also, there was no sound of humans packing anything. There was just a nice little rumbling under Furry’s paws while she stood on the porch, and Furry was grateful for thee very nice paw massage.

"Howdy there, Ms. Furry. We are all so happy you could visit. Did you notice that the awful witch was gone from the porch? Well, that don't matter a fig. You just bring yourself right inside and sit yourself down," Sheriff John Wayne said while holding open the door.

"John Wayne, I heard a rumor that you were moving, yet I don't see any evidence of a move in progress. Did I get my information all wrong?" Furry Purrloin asked while she curled up on the nearest sofa.

"You more than likely heard that the earth was moving," Sheriff John Wayne clarified for Furry Purrloin. "Sure ain't got no cause for a moving van with that kind of earth movement, 'cause I doubt there'd be a moving van big enough to fit the entire West Coast. Yep, you heard partly right, Ms. Furry. The West Coast – and, particularly, the Sam’s Clam Disco area – is moving. Can I get you a cup of catnip tea or a snack?" Sheriff John asked Furry Purrloin.

"No, thank you for your offer of tea or a snack, but I do have some questions for you, if you don't mind and you have the time," Furry Purrloin replied.

"Shoot. Just ask all the questions you'd like. I've got things under control here for the time being. Harley is upstairs holding down the bedroom floor so it don't go too far, and Scotty is hiding behind the curtain. He still has hopes of finding that bird he captured way back last year," Sheriff John replied, giving Furry Purrloin one of his typical John Wayne, sideways grins.

"Can you explain to me why the earth has suddenly decided to move, Sheriff John Wayne?" Furry inquired of the silver-furred sheriff.

"Yep, sure can, Ms. Furry. I heard all about it from my mommy, the lovely and talented Barbie. You see, the plates moved," Sheriff John Wayne explained.

"Plates? Do the cups and saucers move also? And how about the silverware? Sounds pretty scary to me, like an invasion by aliens from outer space or something. Are you sure we're safe here?" Furry Purrloin asked while she curled up into the fetal position on the sofa.

"Yep, we're perfectly safe," Sheriff John Wayne assured her. "It's not the plates in the kitchen or the dining room, Ms. Furry, it's the plates under the earth that are moving. But you're partially right, 'cause them plates under the earth do cause the plates in the kitchen to move around some, and the cups and saucers, too. Why, it isn't even unusual for the pictures to move around on the wall. At first, we thought our mommy, the lovely and talented Barbie, had blown up the microwave again or was taking hula lessons from Ms. Snowy. But we checked, and that wasn't happening. That there mommy – the lovely and talented Barbie -- is very big, you know, and she could cause things to move," Sheriff John Wayne tried to explain in his Southern drawl. "We glanced down at the scale in the bathroom the other day, since it's close to our eye level, and it said one hundred and twelve pounds. Can you imagine the shakes and rattles a critter of that size could cause?" Sheriff John Wayne added with a chuckle.

"Oh my gosh! The lovely and talented Barbie must be a giant! Why, it would take six to eight cats to equal that number of pounds. I can see where you suspected it might be your mommy moving the earth. Do the critters around this part of the country take any special precautions regarding this movement of the earth?" Furry Purrloin inquired of Sheriff John Wayne.

"Yep, they usually wear safety helmets when they're in the house. They hold tightly to the handrails when going up or down the stairs. Also, about once a week, they go out on a boat and walk around while it's on the water so they can get the hang of how to walk when the earth moves," Sheriff John Wayne explained to Furry Purrloin while examining his dew claws.

"John I'm trying to focus on all this, but everytime I ask you a question, I seem to move a few inches further down the sofa. In fact, the rocking chair you're sitting in has begun rocking all by itself. I think it's time for me to be going so I can get back to the MeowMail offices in one piece. I'm starting to feel dizzy," Furry Purrloin admitted as she staggered closer to the front door.

"You obviously haven’t taken precautions against seasickness the way Harley, Scotty, and I have. So maybe it’s better if you do leave now. Nice to have seen you again, Ms. Furry. You have a right nice holiday now, ya hear?" Sheriff John Wayne said. He waved out the door to Furry Purrloin as she jumped into her limo to head back to the airport.

Once Furry Purrloin arrived home safely, she wondered whether Sheriff John Wayne had been teasing her. All this nonsense about plates, cups and saucers. Maybe he'd been reading Alice in Wonderland again. Or maybe it was all a dream.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

November 25, 2002

Bart. Glancing down at her calendar, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin realized that today was the day she had marked down as her interview with Bartholomeow. This is curious, she thought, since she was told by Mama Mothball that Bart didn't give interviews. Well, it was probably just an oversight on Mama Mothball's part, so she decided that she better get moving in order to be there on time. She had heard that Bart was quite particular about cats’ and humans’ being late for anything.

Entering the front door, Furry Purrloin was greeted by John Wayne, who was an old friend, and they hugged with enthusiasm. "John, my interview is with Bart, so I thought he would be answering the door himself," Furry exclaimed.

"Bart never answers the door himself. He wouldn't lower himself to do such a menial task when he has us Maine Coons at his beck and call. He almost always stays upstairs until he's sure it's a visitor that he wants to entertain," John explained. "I'll just saunter up and get him for you. Make yourself comfortable, because this may take a few minutes."

In just a very few seconds, Bart decended the stairs looking quite royal, tail held high, with just the cutest question mark shape at the very end. Furry had never seen Bart up close and didn't realize how regally he carried himself. Now she wished she had brought her photographer, Snap Upshot, with her.

"Good afternoon, Ms. Purrloin. How charming you look today! I'm so happy to meet you at last. I've read almost everything you've written, which you should consider a compliment, because I had to fit it in between my Astronomy study and the Biophysics class I'm taking. Now what kind of information can I enlighten you with today?" Bart asked.

"Bart, just exactly what is it you do around here? The other guys, John, Harley, and Scotty seem to hold you in the highest esteem, but I'm not sure just what your job description is," Furry pondered with serious wonder.

"There are just too many job objectives to mention in one interview but I'll try to sum up a few for you. Let's see, hmmmmmmmmm, I have to open all the lower cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms every day. A totally thankless job, however, since my Mom comes right along behind me and shuts them each morning. I've told her that they need airing out, but does she listen? Humans can be so obstinate.

I always screen all the food that we eat. You know Mom will try to buy lots of one kind just because I express pleasure in one can. This goes back to being obstinate, one can does not a feast make you know."

"Do you ever have to cat-sit your younger brothers, Bart?" Furry asked, realizing that Bart was the eldest in the house.

"Cat-sit? Now that you mention it, my duties in that field are enormous. For years, my Mom has brought kittens into my house and fully expected me not only to cat-sit them but also to nurture them if they were very tiny, and this involves washing and lots of cuddling. I've had to show these silly Coons where everything in the house is when they were kittens, what they are allowed to play with and nap on that hasn't been claimed by me," Bart expounded with a silly Siamese grin on his face. "The teaching process is endless in this field. Why just the other day Scotty thought that he got the front row seat to view the birds through the window. I set him straight about that right away by laying down right on top of him. He's actually quite soft and nice to snuggle with," Bart explained.

"Do you give many interviews to other reporters?" Furry wanted to know since Mama Mothball had told her that Bart never gave interviews.

"You are the first to date, Ms. Purrloin," Bart informed Furry. I have too much to much to tend to and learn about to sit around giving interviews to reporters who are only interested in picking my brain for information. As a matter of fact, this is coming up on the hour I have reserved for holding down the sherpa pad on my Mom's bed. She will be so distressed if I don't show up on time. Then she'll whistle and expect be to show up immediately, which I usually do just to pacify her. It has been nice chatting with you and perhaps you would like to join my new language class. I'll be teaching ancient languages to a few choosen friends."

Furry saw John coming back to show her to the door and proceeded to put her notebook and pencil away. She could clearly see that Bart was finished with the interview and she certainly didn't want to sign up for any class in ancient languages. Next time though, next time she would be better prepared to delve into the Siamese mind and come up up with the answers to the secrets of the Universe.

Bartholomeow

1988 - 2002

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

October 24, 2002

What Time Was That Again? Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin's telephone started ringing right after lunch -- a delicious lunch of mousemeat stew, and she was sorry that she'd finished the last of it. She must make more sometime soon, Furry Purrloin reminded herself. She approached the ringing telephone cautiously in order to check the number on her caller I.D. Another call from Mama Mothball in order to berate her for the disaster (well, okay, Mama Mothball had all her lovely fur shaved off because of Furry Purrloin) resulting from their recent trip to the mall was not acceptable today. But no, it was a number Furry Purrloin hadn't seen before, so it was okay, unless…unless Mama Mothball was calling from a pay phone. Or maybe Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, had finally acquired a cell phone for Mama. Nah, never happen. Furry Purrloin would just take this call. She could always hang up if she wanted.

"Hello. Is this Furry Purrloin?" the caller inquired.

"Yes, may I ask who's calling?" Furry Purrloin responded.

"Furry, don't you recognize my voice? It's Snowy! Snowy from Hawaii," the sweet voice replied.

"Snowy! Of course, now I recognize your voice. How have you been?" Furry asked, stalling for time to pull down her window shades in case Mama Mothball was lurking outside trying to get a scoop.

"Furry, I have a favor to ask of you. I know you have a lot of sources and resources, and I need a question answered. I'm trying to catch John Wayne, MeowMail Town’s swaggering yet loveable sheriff, making his last post on the Meow Mail forum for the evening, and I can't figure out what time he does it. If I call, he might think I'm just being nosy but if you call, he'll consider it an honor to be asked such an insightful question," Snowy explained. "You know how those Maine coons are - especially handsome and dignified ones, like John Wayne."

"Of course, Snowy, I'd be more than happy to help. Let me just give my friend John a call and see what I can find out. I know this will be a simple question and yield a simple answer, so I'll call you right back." And with that, Furry put down the phone and started looking up John Wayne's telephone number.

"Hello, John? John Wayne? It's your old friend, Furry Purrloin. How have you been?" Furry asked, trying to remember the time difference between the west and east coasts to be sure she wasn't calling too early.

"Just fine and dandy, ma'am. Something I can help you with, or is this just a social call? I'd be much obliged to help out anyway I can," John replied in his southern drawl. (No cat knew why John Wayne had a southern drawl. He just did.)

"I'm just trying to figure out what time it is, exactly, that you make your last post for the night on the MeowMail forum, John. That’s just something I was curious about. It’s kind of silly really," Furry stated quite sweetly. She just loved talking to John.

"Ah, shucks, ma'am, that's an easy one. I make my last post right before bedtime. Yep, that's it, almost always the same time or there-a-bouts," John replied.

"And may I ask what time of night that is, John? Bedtimes can be any time at all, especially for felines, and I just don't recall what time your bedtime is."

"Bedtime around here is after the late news as a rule. Ms. Furry. Yep, always 'bout the same time as how I reckon," John answered. "Of course, after the news, we all get treats, or cookies, as our Mommy calls them. She don't like no critters a goin' to bed on empty tummies, she says."

"So John, let me figure this out. After the last news and treats would be about what, eleven thirty or eleven forty-five?" Furry asked, trying to pin John down to a specific time frame.

"Well, let's just see here. I also gotta watch Mommy and be sure she locks the doors before bedtime, and most of the doors are downstairs. That would take another few minutes. Especially if she stops to pick up some cat fur or hang up a coat or pick up a few cat toys," John mumbled, clearly thinking out loud.

"Then right after that, you make your last post on the MeowMail forum, correct?" Furry inquired, getting somewhat frustrated. Goodness! Didn't the sheriff even know what time he went to bed?

"Best as I can reckon, Ms. Furry, that'd be about right unless I mosey on into the bedroom and check to see if all my brothers are upstairs and getting settled for the night. Now this is a big responsibility since Scotty doesn't always respond when Mommy says, 'night, night boys' to us. He often lingers downstairs a huntin' out some vittles that might have escaped from the treat jar."

"Do you really have a definite time you make that post for the evening, John?" Furry asked, getting a little frustrated with John's 'if's, and's and buts' regarding the bedtime issue. At this point, Furry was just going to take eleven o'clock, add a few minutes here and there, subtract time for all cats being accounted for upon John's arrival upstairs, and call Ms. Snowy back.

"Oh, Ms. Furry, I almost forgot. If'n we have guests or our cousin, Moses, is visiting, then the time is all different," John added as a last minute thought.

"That's alright, John. I think I have this figured out. Thank you for your time and all the help you've provided. Bye, now." And with that, Furry hung up the telephone thinking this conversation was almost as frustrating as those little cards they put in magazines.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

September 27, 2002

Dodging the Mothball. Zoooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmm! Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin took off down the hallway between her office and Ruffles Murdog's office at about the speed of sound. Ruffles Murdog, of course, is the publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball. Ever since Furry Purrloin had done a tiny favor for Ruffles Murdog - which was to take Mama Mothball shopping for a new hat -- Mama Mothball had been out to get her. And Furry Purrloin hadn’t done anything to incite Mama Mothball’s wrath, either. All she’d done was simply decided to have all Mama Mothball’s fur shaved off so she’d no longer be interested in wearing one of her old-fashioned hats. It seemed like a good idea at the time, since no critters cared much for Mama Mothball’s hats, anyway, and the "Piglet Furless Do" was all the fashion in MeowMail Town.

When her limo picked her up for work at noon today, intrepid reporter Furry Purrloin noticed that the whole inside smelled like bat guano, and one of the tires had gone flat on the way to the Morning Hairball office, causing a delay while her driver changed the tire. Of course, the wait in the limo would have been most pleasurable if the air-conditioning had worked, but that was on the blink, too. Had her limo been sabotaged?

Once in the Morning Hairball offices, Furry Purrloin went straight to her office, walking behind her driver so no other employee could notice her. Plopping down in her new leather chair a loud, rather offensive noise ensued. Ah yes, a whoopie cushion in her chair! Well, good thing she was alone and no one but she had heard it.

Was that stamp pad ink on the keys on Furry Purrloin’s keyboard? Mama Mothball was up to her kittenish tricks again! Furry Purrloin thought to herself. Oh great, now Furry Purrloin would have to make an appointment to have her claws caticured all over again! She realized that she was unable to see the letters were on the keys, and since she only typed with two claws, she’d have to find some way to clean this off, or . . . perhaps get Ruffles to get her a new keyboard. Or, better yet, perhaps he’d buy her a whole new computer. It had been about 3 months since Ruffles Murdog had bought her an extravagent gift.

"Oh dear, I forgot about the computer," Furry Purrloin exclaimed aloud. "Now I'm afraid to turn it on. What could Mama Mothball possibly have done to her computer?" She'd just get a piece of paper out and write down all these mysterious occurrences and take them to Ruffles Murdog's office. After all, Ruffles Murdog simply loved Mama Mothball's new look and her wide variety of baldness-hiding sweaters, so he wouldn't see any reason for Mama Mothball to get even with Furry Purrloin.

Splish! Splat! While zooming down the hallway, Furry Purrloin started sliding and was unable to control her sliding self. Smack into the wall at the end of the hall she found herself. Was that salad oil all over her fur? No, it smelled more like skunk oil! Was that laughter she heard around the corner? It couldn't be. No, Mama Mothball would never be so underhanded. It must have been her hoodlum, teenaged daughters, Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball.

"Furry, what are you doing up against the wall? Why, dear, you're on the floor!" Ruffles Murdog shouted, looking down on Furry Purrloin in a state of complete disbelief.

"Ruffles, I suggest you help me up and we go into your office where it's safe," Furry Purrloin told Ruffles Murdog while using his paw to help herself up from the greasy floor. "I have a few things to discuss with you, and I just hope I can remember them all. If you ever ask me to do you a favor that involves Mama Mothball, I will never, never consider your marriage proposal in any of my nine lifetimes."

Holding Furry Purrloin close against his chest, and getting smelly grease on his fur, he proceeded into his office, kicked the door shut with his back paw, and placed Furry Purrloin down on the sofa in his office. Oh, oh, Furry Purrloin thought. This might have been a trap by Ruffles Murdog, and not Mama Mothball, to get her right where he wanted her. Now if only the phone would ring. . . .

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com

September 13, 2002

Purrcy Oh Purrcy. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin had been looking forward to this day all week. Well, she had been looking forward to this day ever since noon on Monday when she showed up in her office. Having re-negotiated her contract with Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, her new hours suited her just fine. Working from noon until two o'clock p.m. was just perfect. No work for her today though. Furry Purrloin was invited to lunch with her dear friend, Penny, and she wasn’t going to let mere work interfere with her lunch date.

"Penny, the house smells so wonderful. What have you prepared for lunch?" Furry Purrloin inquired, hoping that the wonderful smells weren't coming from some new herb Penny was experimenting with.

"Shrimp and lobster pot pies, some crab filled biscuits rolled in catnip. That's the menu for today. Purrcy won't be joining us though. I sent him upstairs to watch raindrops while we eat because it's Purrcy I wanted to discuss with you, " Penny explained while she took the pot pies out of the oven. "That’s the reason why I invited you to lunch today. Well, that and the fact that you’re one of my dearest friends in MeowMail Town, and I haven’t seen you for way too long."

"These are delicious, Penny. I've never tasted anything so delicate. I’ve missed you, too, my dear, and I’ve missed your fabulous cooking. Now tell me, what it is about Purrcy you need to talk about? Oh, I do so hope he isn't addicted to yet another herb," Furry Purrloin expounded while stuffing her furry face with a biscuit.

Penny daintily dabbed at her whiskers with her napkin and replied, "No, not another herb addiction for my dear, sweet Purrcy. Purrcy has a Grandmeow - yes, a human Grandmeow -- addiction!" And with that, Penny placed her front paws over her eyes in shame.

"There, there now, my dear," Furry Purrloin purred while giving Penny a much-needed hug, "it can't be all that bad. Just tell me, dear. How did this whole thing start?"

"Well, it started when we moved in with Grandmeow -- our human Grandmeow, of course. She just spoils Purrcy rotten with treats, pets, hugs, and brushing. Every time I look for Purrcy to clean my whiskers for me, he's with Grandmeow," Penny stated emphatically.

"Penny, I don't see anything wrong with this. Maybe you’d better tell me exactly what it is you resent, apart from not getting your whiskers cleaned," Furry Purrloin asked.

"Purrcy has gained so much weight from all the extra treats that he causes our bed to tilt to one side. Then I must spend the night -- and often the afternoons, too -- sleeping smack up against him," Penny explained, putting the cups out for catnip tea.

"That sounds nice and cuddly to me, Penny. I still don't see a problem here," Furry Purrloin said, enjoying the food but confused by the mixed messages she was receiving.

Sipping her catnip tea, Penny explained, "Well, cuddling with Purrcy would be delightful. However, it has its drawbacks. My beautiful fur gets rumpled. It stands up in little peaks making me look like some kind of human rock star. It takes me most of the day to get myself looking normal. Furry Purrloin, this has become a real chore," Penny continued.

"Penny, I really need an article topic for tomorrow. May I write that you are an aspiring rock star?" Furry Purrloin asked while picking up her bag in preparation for heading back to her office.

"Sure, Furry Purrloin, why not? Maybe this will win Purrcy back for me," Penny said while tucking away the leftover biscuits for Purrcy.

Furry Purrloin was beginning to think that Purrcy's weight wasn't related to his human Grandmeow after all. Then she had another idea. Oh Mama Mothball will be so jealous when she finds out that I'm writing about a rock star, Furry Purrloin thought to herself.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

August 30, 2002

Kittens? Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin's phone was ringing even before her alarm clock chimed in this morning. She really wanted to sleep in, but since she had no assignment for today, she thought she'd better answer the phone in case it was Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, needing her to cover an important story. Heaven only knows there is no way he could wake Mama Mothball, the regular Daily Scoop reporter, because she slept like a hibernating bear.

"Hello," Furry Purrloin said into the phone.

"Hello, darling, this is your mother, Catarina Purrloin. I'm calling with some wonderful news," blubbered the beautiful Catarina.

"Wonderful news, Mother Purrloin?" Furry Purrloin asked. Her mother almost never called her unless she needed or wanted something, so Furry Purrloin was curious as to what could be the reason for such an early morning phone call.

"Yes, yes. I just had a talk with your dear sister, Catatonia Purrloin. She hasn't been feeling too well lately, so I insisted that she see her catatrician. As it turns out, she isn't sick at all! Catatonia Purrloin is with kitten! Well, actually, she is with nine kittens, according to her catatrician. I'm going to be a grandcat!" Catarina Purrloin burst forth.

"My, my, my," Furry Purrloin mumbled. "I wasn't even aware that Catatonia Purrloin was even married, Mother Purrloin. When did all this happen? Was I out of town or out of the country?" Furry Purrloin questioned the beautiful Catarina Purrloin.

"Well, my dear, you know that your sister, Catatonia Purrloin, hasn't always made the wisest of decisions, and she certainly isn't married. Your father Purrloin and I were just hoping that you would like to adopt several of the kittens to help out, since Catatonia Purrloin has almost no source of income except for her part-time singing job, and she would have a difficult time tending to nine little ones. So let’s get right down to business. Wouldn't you like to hear the pitter patter of little paws around your penthouse?" Catarina Purrloin coaxed her lovely daughter.

"Actually, Mother Purrloin, I don't see any way that I can adopt Catatonia Purrloin's kittens, not even one. I spend a lot of time traveling all over the country, overseas, and I never know a day ahead where Ruffles Murdog may send me. But I do have an idea. How about if Catatonia Purrloin just marries the father of her kittens and settles down to be a good wifecat and Mother to her nine kittens?" Furry Purrloin asked while trying to boil some water for catnip tea, which she really needed today.

"Dear Furry Purrloin, I fear this would be almost impossible. You see, Catatonia Purrloin isn't quite sure which gentlemancat is the father of her kittens. Ever since she got that job singing at the Catnip Tavern she's become rather - well, we should just say unable to keep her fine upstanding morals in tact." Furry Purrloin's mother Purrloin explained.

"Mother, I have a great idea. Just take yourself down to Catatonia Purrloin's place of employment, and ferret out which of the gentlemencats has the characteristics you would like to see in your grandkittens. Which one you would choose to set a good example for those kittens? Find him, and just give him this wonderful news. Inform him that he is going to be a daddy, and I'm sure he'll be more than willing to help Catatonia Purrloin raise her litter of little ones." Furry Purrloin thought this sounded like a good plan and knew that she'd helped solve another dilemma for her mother.

"Great idea, Furry Purrloin," Catarina Purrloin said, "And by the way, when are you planning to settle down and raise a litter of your own?"

"The battery is dying on my phone, Mother Purrloin. I can't hear a thing, and I've got to run now. I'm late for a very important assignment," Furry Purrloin said, thereby avoiding the subject of settling down and kittens entirely as she looked longingly at her bed and decided to finish sleeping at least until the alarm clock went off and Ruffles Murdog called to bug her.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

 

August 23, 2002

Bobby Sells His Spots. While glancing through the ads in the morning issue of the Paws and Claws Gazette, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin noticed an interesting ad, that read: "Spots for Sale. Call Bobby da Bengal Booshay." Furry Purrloin was curious. Bobby da Bengal Booshay was a personal friend ofhers, and she knew he took pride in his spots.

What in the world could Bobby be selling his spots for? Furry wondered aloud, hoping that Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, wouldn't burst into her office and catch her reading the Paws and Claws Gazette. (Ruffles Murdog never could deal with the fact that the Gazette’s reporters nearly always won Mewlitzer prizes, doggone it all.) Noting that there was no pressing assignment on her calendar for today, Furry Purrloin decided to give Bobby da Bengal a call and check this out. If Bobby da Bengal really did want to sell his spots, perhaps Furry Purrloin had a potential buyer. Her friend, Chita, was always looking for a few extra spots.

"Hello, is this Bobby da Bengal?" Furry Purrloin inquired when a velvety-voiced male cat voice answered the phone.

"Yes, it is. And whom may I ask is calling at this undogly hour? I was right in the middle of my afternoon nap," Bobby da Bengal complained, yawning loudly.

"This is Furry Purrloin, your old friend and one of your staunchest supporters, and I'm sorry to disturb your nap, but I saw something of interest in the Paws and Claws Gazette, and I’m so curious I could just spit," the intrepid Special Guest Reporter explained to Bobby da Bengal Booshay.

"Oh, you mean my ad. Yes, that's me. I am selling some spots, since I have so many of them. You see, I thought if I gave away a spot for each and every vote for Kit Kat in the Cat of the Month Contest. That’s just my way of trying to stimulate some interest in voting," Bobby da Bengal Booshay explained, while nestling the phone under his head so he could recline and talk at the same time.

"Oh, my goodness," Furry Purrloin exclaimed. "What a wonderful gesture. Kit Kat is turning 19 years old on his next birthday, and it would be so nice if he won that contest. I vote for him daily, and I’d probably vote for him twice a day if I were bribed to do so. There’s just one thing I don’t understand. How ever do you go about selling spots? Are they removable?"

"Some spots seem to remove themselves when I shed and, since August is a good shedding month, I thought I might as well make good use of the spots that are being shed. It will also eliminate the need to lick up all that loose fur and prevent hairballs," Bobby da Bengal pragmatically explained.

"So let me get this clear, Bobby da Bengal Booshay. You will give a spot away for each vote? Is that right? And do the cats voting get to choose which spots they want? Or do they just have to settle for whatever spot you're shedding at the time?" Furry Purrloin questioned, rapidly taking notes.

"This is how it works, Furry Purrloin. You see, some spots are more valuable than others. For instance, in order to earn a belly spot ,a cat would have to vote twenty times. The tail spots are only slightly less sought after, so they require twenty-five votes. If a cat wanted an ear spot, well, never mind, those are too valuable to even discuss --- there aren't enough days in the month to acquire an ear spot," Bobby da Bengal told Furry Purrloin while nestling down in his special blanket with his own ear spots plainly visible to any onlookers.

"I think that Piglet would want to get lots and lots of spots," Furry Purrloin offered as she tried to think of potential customers for Bobby da Bengal Booshay. "However, Chita already has quite a few, so she may not want anymore. And then Omar probably wouldn't want any black spots, since they wouldn't show up on his beautiful black fur. Plus, he’s going to the vet today to get his shots, and he’ll probably be in a bad mood when he comes home. Of course, cats of the Asian breeds, like Bart, Joey, Moses, and Frankie, shouldn’t acquire any of your spots since that would ruin their patterns. My goodness. Whether or not to buy your spots will be quite a big decision for some cats, won’t it?" Furry Purrloin asked Bobby da Bengal Booshay.

"I've had quite a few inquiries about my spots already," bragged Bobby da Bengal Booshay. "Would you believe I’ve had more than four hundred phone calls since this morning?

"Bobby, does Kit Kat know of this? Does he know that you are such a devoted fan that you are selling your spots to get him votes?" Furry Purrloin asked while typing up copious notes on her new laptop computer that Ruffles Murdog had given her.

"Of course not! Kit Kat wouldn't expect any cats to barter for votes. Please don't let him know I'm doing this. He is such an upstanding member of the MeowMail Community that he would never, ever stoop so low as to trade something for votes. You won't tell him, will you?" Bobby da Bengal pleaded.

"No, no of course not. My whiskers are sealed. I've got to hang up now, since I have an article to write and lots of ideas to explore. It was lovely talking with you, and I hope you still get your nap," Furry Purrloin told Bobby da Bengal Booshay just before she hung up the phone.

"Now let me see, where could I put a few spots so as to best enhance my lovely fur coat?" Furry Purrloin wondered while inspecting her exotic fur.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

August 16, 2002

Bobby Sells His Spots. While glancing through the ads in the morning issue of the Paws and Claws Gazette, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin noticed an interesting ad, that read: "Spots for Sale. Call Bobby da Bengal Booshay." Furry Purrloin was curious. Bobby da Bengal Booshay was a personal friend ofhers, and she knew he took pride in his spots.

What in the world could Bobby be selling his spots for? Furry wondered aloud, hoping that Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, wouldn't burst into her office and catch her reading the Paws and Claws Gazette. (Ruffles Murdog never could deal with the fact that the Gazette’s reporters nearly always won Mewlitzer prizes, doggone it all.) Noting that there was no pressing assignment on her calendar for today, Furry Purrloin decided to give Bobby da Bengal a call and check this out. If Bobby da Bengal really did want to sell his spots, perhaps Furry Purrloin had a potential buyer. Her friend, Chita, was always looking for a few extra spots.

"Hello, is this Bobby da Bengal?" Furry Purrloin inquired when a velvety-voiced male cat voice answered the phone.

"Yes, it is. And whom may I ask is calling at this undogly hour? I was right in the middle of my afternoon nap," Bobby da Bengal complained, yawning loudly.

"This is Furry Purrloin, your old friend and one of your staunchest supporters, and I'm sorry to disturb your nap, but I saw something of interest in the Paws and Claws Gazette, and I’m so curious I could just spit," the intrepid Special Guest Reporter explained to Bobby da Bengal Booshay.

"Oh, you mean my ad. Yes, that's me. I am selling some spots, since I have so many of them. You see, I thought if I gave away a spot for each and every vote for Kit Kat in the Cat of the Month Contest. That’s just my way of trying to stimulate some interest in voting," Bobby da Bengal Booshay explained, while nestling the phone under his head so he could recline and talk at the same time.

"Oh, my goodness," Furry Purrloin exclaimed. "What a wonderful gesture. Kit Kat is turning 19 years old on his next birthday, and it would be so nice if he won that contest. I vote for him daily, and I’d probably vote for him twice a day if I were bribed to do so. There’s just one thing I don’t understand. How ever do you go about selling spots? Are they removable?"

"Some spots seem to remove themselves when I shed and, since August is a good shedding month, I thought I might as well make good use of the spots that are being shed. It will also eliminate the need to lick up all that loose fur and prevent hairballs," Bobby da Bengal pragmatically explained.

"So let me get this clear, Bobby da Bengal Booshay. You will give a spot away for each vote? Is that right? And do the cats voting get to choose which spots they want? Or do they just have to settle for whatever spot you're shedding at the time?" Furry Purrloin questioned, rapidly taking notes.

"This is how it works, Furry Purrloin. You see, some spots are more valuable than others. For instance, in order to earn a belly spot ,a cat would have to vote twenty times. The tail spots are only slightly less sought after, so they require twenty-five votes. If a cat wanted an ear spot, well, never mind, those are too valuable to even discuss --- there aren't enough days in the month to acquire an ear spot," Bobby da Bengal told Furry Purrloin while nestling down in his special blanket with his own ear spots plainly visible to any onlookers.

"I think that Piglet would want to get lots and lots of spots," Furry Purrloin offered as she tried to think of potential customers for Bobby da Bengal Booshay. "However, Chita already has quite a few, so she may not want anymore. And then Omar probably wouldn't want any black spots, since they wouldn't show up on his beautiful black fur. Plus, he’s going to the vet today to get his shots, and he’ll probably be in a bad mood when he comes home. Of course, cats of the Asian breeds, like Bart, Joey, Moses, and Frankie, shouldn’t acquire any of your spots since that would ruin their patterns. My goodness. Whether or not to buy your spots will be quite a big decision for some cats, won’t it?" Furry Purrloin asked Bobby da Bengal Booshay.

"I've had quite a few inquiries about my spots already," bragged Bobby da Bengal Booshay. "Would you believe I’ve had more than four hundred phone calls since this morning?

"Bobby, does Kit Kat know of this? Does he know that you are such a devoted fan that you are selling your spots to get him votes?" Furry Purrloin asked while typing up copious notes on her new laptop computer that Ruffles Murdog had given her.

"Of course not! Kit Kat wouldn't expect any cats to barter for votes. Please don't let him know I'm doing this. He is such an upstanding member of the MeowMail Community that he would never, ever stoop so low as to trade something for votes. You won't tell him, will you?" Bobby da Bengal pleaded.

"No, no of course not. My whiskers are sealed. I've got to hang up now, since I have an article to write and lots of ideas to explore. It was lovely talking with you, and I hope you still get your nap," Furry Purrloin told Bobby da Bengal Booshay just before she hung up the phone.

"Now let me see, where could I put a few spots so as to best enhance my lovely fur coat?" Furry Purrloin wondered while inspecting her exotic fur.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

August 9, 2002

Purrfurr Fur and Fuzz Removal Service. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin’s special guest assignment today was an interview with Pilfer Purrfurr, whose slogan was: "Best Fur Removal and Lint Picking Service in the U.S." Thinking about her upcoming interview, Furry Purrloin was unable to understand why any cat or human would want to remove fur from anyplace or anything. However, she acknowledged, there were all kinds of strange critters in this world.

"Pilfer, can you tell me what method you use in your war against fur and lint removal?" Furry Purrloin inquired of Mr. Purrfurr. She was clearly trying to be open-minded.

"Ms. Purrloin, my preferred method is tape. Yes, tape, and lots of suction. The tape is no problem, and I buy it by the case. However, the suction is becoming a chore for me," Pilfer explained while unpacking a new case of two-inch-wide masking tape.

"I see you have plenty of tape, Pilfer, but why are you having a problem with suction? Can't you just use a vacuum cleaner for suction?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"Actually, no," Pilfer responded. "You see, most critters are scared out of their wits of vacuum cleaners. They run and hide immediately when they see one coming. Only cat I ever met who wasn't scared of vacuum cleaners was John Wayne, but then, he wasn't scared of anything. Nope, can't use a vacuum."

"Well, Pilfer, what have you been using up till now? If I may be so bold and nosy as to ask," Furry persisted, not being able to think of another source of suction.

"Up until now, I've been using anteaters. With their long snouts, they can just suck up the fur and lint. Only trouble is, they are such ornery critters, and they whine all the time about the fur and lint clogging up their works. You see, they aren't able to produce hairballs, so I fired the last one today," Mr. Purrfurr explained to Furry Purrloin.

"Does that mean you'll be going out of the fur, fuzz, and lint removal business?" Furry Purrloin asked, putting away her voice recorder and thinking this interview wasn't going anywhere.

"Absolutely not! I've just ordered thousands of one-inch plungers. Belly button lint seems to be the biggest concern, and I'm thoroughly convinced that these miniature plungers will do the job for all," Pilfer explained, looking for a picture of the tiny plungers to show Furry Purrloin.

Furry was so doubled over with laughter that she dropped her equipment and immediately headed for the nearest litter box area. While there, she was planning to have a look at her own belly button. It did seem rather furrier than usual these days. Perhaps this idea wasn't so crazy after all.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

July 19, 2002

The Complexity of Shopping. Furry Purrloin’s Special Guest Assignment today was to cover the opening of the new shopping complex located at the tri-corner intersection of Hiss, Purr, and Slurp boulevards near the Morning Hairball office complex. This was going to be exciting. Imagine -- Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, was sending Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin shopping! He must have had another falling out with Daily Scoop Reporter Mama Mothball, who would have just loved an assignment to go shopping. But no. The pleasure would be all Furry Purrloin’s today. That warmed Furry Purrloin’s cockles, or at least made her wish that she had some cockles to warm, since it was such a happy occasion and called out for a celebration.

Standing across from the new shopping complex, Furry Purrloin couldn't help but be distracted. What clever names she saw outside of the various shops!

First, located right on the corner, was the largest of all the new shops, "Tommy and Kato's Used Cars," with the slogan, "Special Orders Don't Upset Us." In small print, the sign read, "Most orders filled within twenty four hours. No credit necessary. Terms can be worked out." Furry Purrloin wasn’t at all surprised that Tommy and Kato’s used car dealership occupied the choicest real estate in the complex. "Very appropriate," she mused aloud. "And interesting, too."

The next sign that caught Furry Purrloin’s attention was: "Mama Mothball's Hat Boutique. New, Used, and Slightly Abused Hats for Every Occasion." Ha! So Mama Mothball was moonlighting when she wasn’t working on her columns. That figured! It also went a long way toward explaining why Ruffles Murdog had given Furry Purrloin the plumb writing assignment for the week.

Then, beside Mama Mothball’s shop, there was, "Penny and Purrcy's Photo Shop." And, right next door to that was "Barbara and Dorothy’s Art Gallery." Beside that, of course, was "Bobby de Bengal Booshay’s Bailbonds" with a rather catchy slogan: "We also sell airline tickets." And then there was "Scotty's Tea and Toilet Paper Shop," with the slogan, "Drink it or wipe it up, the choice is yours."

Glancing a little further down the shopping complex she spied "Sadie’s Fresh Berry Store: We personally slurp every berry for cleansing purposes." And Furry could see that Angel King had a storefront called, "Angel’s Bread You Bake Yourself. No Rye Sold Here." Furry Purrloin thought that sounded interesting. Ralphie had a florist shop called "Ralphie’s Red Roses, We always provide eleven to the dozen." Well, Ralphie never could count very well, Furry determined, muttering something under her breath.

There was "El Puma's Computer Repair and Travel Agency," and Furry Purrloin thought this an odd combination but she did think their slogan was catchy: "We only work on toy computers. No tech in residence." There was "Frankie's Pet and Reptile Emporium, Slither On In." The stately looking shop to the right of the pet emporium was "Nala La's Dentures, twenty-four hour service and soft food served while you wait." Oh yes, and beside that was, "Chita's Fortune Telling: If you don't like your fate, we'll make one up for you." Furry Purrloin wasn't sure she completely understood what was going on in there.

There was "Teensy's Baths of Distinction: half showers for the discriminating kitten," and of course, "Kit Kat's Advice and Hearing Aid" store. Tony had an interesting shop called "We're Just Horsing Around, River Trips Available." Snowy had an interesting shop, too, and Furry Purrloin planned to check it out when she had more time. It was called, "Learn to Hula in one Easy Lesson." And then there was PD and Molly's "Diapers and Room Deodorizers." Now that was an odd combination, Furry thought. There was "Boo and Riley's Smokeshop: We import directly from Canada," which was located on the corner. And, of course, there was Magellan's Waterfront Fresh Fish Market. It's slogan was: We specialize in Alaskan salmon.

Upstairs there was a cute little store with a blinking sign named, "Pixel's Eye Patches and Costumes," and right next door was "Clara's Riding Academy, Daily Tours Available." Joey's shop looked interesting: "Fresh Moles for the Particular Cat," and Scooter had a basement remodeling shop called "Scooter's Basement Repair and Tornado Supplies." Furry Purrloin laughed when she saw Wilson's store because it was something he would enjoy running himself most of the time. It was called "Wilson's Trapeze and Exercise," and it looked as if Wilson was interviewing a new employee, Moses, to help him out on the sales floor. Behind the car lot, owned by Tommy and Kato, the Whoda ladies had an impressive looking moving and storage company called "Furs on the Move, Relocation is our Specialty."

Furry was hoping to be able to visit each and every store in the new complex but, at the moment, she was hungry and it was lunch time. Glancing all the way to the end of the complex, she saw just what she was looking for: "Harley's Turkey Sandwich and Deli: Fresh turkey and mouseburgers served on homemade bread." Yes, Furry Purrloin’s tummy was grumbling. She headed right on over to the sandwich shop where, along with John Wayne, Scully, Bender, Sabrina, Freckles, Tigger, Piglet, Snookums, Cassie, Dickens, and other furs, she waited for the turkey to roast. In the meantime, Furry Purrloin and her friends enjoyed some fresh, iced catnip tea.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

July 12, 2002

Moses, Moses, Moses! Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was just delighted when she turned over her calendar page and saw that Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, had scheduled her to interview a kitten who was currently running the household of two human police officers. The kitten, naturally, was none other than the famous Moses. The intrepid Furry Purrloin had heard that Moses was as active as he was handsome, so she decided to don her paw sneakers in case this should turn into a sporting event. The brave reporter dug deep into her desk drawer looking for the sneakers with Velcro closures since the ones with laces looked somewhat like a cat toy, and she didn’t want to tempt the famous Moses.

When the intrepid reporter rang the doorbell, the famous Moses greeted Furry Purrloin with all four paws, wrapping himself around the lovely journalist with the enthusiasm of a miniature tornado. Then he started to talk in his cute, kitten’s style. "Hello, hello, hello, big kitty. Have you come to play with my toys? I gots lottsa new toys," the famous Moses said, dashing around the room and batting breakable things left and right with his furry paws.

"No, Moses," the intrepid special guest reporter told the famous kitten. "Slow down. I didn't come to play with your toys. I came to interview you for the Daily Scoop. My publisher and editor, Ruffles Murdog, is interested in doing an article about what it's like for a kitten to live with two police officers, and you're the only kitten in MeowMail Town who qualifies." Furry Purrloin was getting dizzy whipping her head back and forth trying to keep it pointed in Moses's direction.

"Okay, whatcha want to know?" the famous kitten asked. "Grandma brought me this mouse in the round-‘n-round thing, and it won't come out. Wanna see if you can get it out?" Moses said as he pulled the toy across the room for Furry Purrloin to inspect.

"Moses, you have to get your mind off of your toys because I have a couple of questions for you," Furry Purrloin explained getting exasperated and thinking she should have worn more than just sneakers. For example, maybe a jogging outfit would have been appropriate.

"Now are there any special rules for living in this house with human police officers? Have they imposed a curfew on you or anything like that?" Furry Purrloin asked as soon as she seemed to have Moses' attention for a brief moment.

"Curfew? What's a curfew? Is that a toy that I haven't got yet?" Moses asked, putting his furry white face close to Furry Purrloin’s face and crossing his eyes in an endearing manner.

"A curfew is a special time that you have to be inside or in a certain place," Furry Purrloin explained to the famous Moses. "It's like, well, let’s say that you are playing. Then your humans get tired, and they want to go to sleep. So you must go to sleep, too."

"Oh, I see. Sort of," Moses said, closing his eyes. Then his eyes popped open again. "Nope. I guess I don't have a curfew. But Mommy does give me something she calls ‘time outs’ that I don't like at all. She puts me in my room and shuts the door. Then she says I have to stay there until I learn not to fly at human legs with my claws out. That ain't no fun at all, even though I do have toys in my room, a nice warm bed, a litterbox, and toilet paper to unroll and jump in all over the floor. Oh, toilet paper is really cool, Ms. Furry," Moses said, quickly regaining his exuberance, "and I think humans invented it just for cats. See, they put it on a special wall thing so we can find it easy. Come on, and I'll show you!" And, with that, the famous Moses dashed off again, headed upstairs, and disappeared around a corner.

Furry Purrloin was getting more frustrated by the moment. Even Mama Mothball's kittens, Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball, weren't this full of energy. Sure, they were pains in the butts. But, when they got done chatting about trivial subjects, they more or less just laid around grooming their claws and browsing Cattywood magazines.

Furry Purrloin waited patiently for Moses to return. After a few minutes he did, bringing along with him a string of white paper that seemed to extend from upstairs all the way to his paws. "See, Ms. Furry, this is some of it, and it just goes on forever and ever. I've never even found the other end of it."

"Rules. We have to stay on the subject of the interview here. Rules. What are the special rules your humans have for you, Moses?" Furry Purrloin inquired, hoping to gain some information besides how long a roll of toilet paper was. She'd save that for another interview with a cat named Kimberly Klark.

"Rule number one around here is that, when the humans pick you up, you are not supposed to bat at their faces," the famous Moses recited. "I think there is a rule about not clinging to human skin, too, and not going up to real high places where I might fall and scare the humans. There is a rule that I get to sleep in my Daddy's hat and another one that I'm not supposed to wander into the refrigerator when it's open, even when it’s hot outside. Mommy doesn't like me to find the coolest spots in the house all by myself in case she doesn’t know about them." And Moses blabbed on and on, never stopping for a breath of air.

"I should think your Daddy would impose a speed limit on you just to keep things in the house safe," Furry Purrloin said, dashing after Moses who had exited the room chasing after a plastic ball.

"Speed limit? I don't gots no speed limits. But I can swing on the rungs of chairs like a parakeet. That's what my Mommy says I look like when I do that. I'm not sure what a parakeet is, but if we had one, I'd play with it as often as I play with my other toys. Come on, Ms. Furry. Come and play with my toys!. These interview things aren't too much fun, are they?" And, with that, the famous Moses dashed off again, leaving Furry Purrloin standing in the entryway, pen in paw, posed to write something -- but she couldn't think what.

Slowly opening the door and making her exit, an exhausted Furry Purrloin decided to stop and pick up a motor vehicle handbook to see if she couldn't copy some rules that Ruffles Murdog would accept in lieu of a substantive interview with the non-stop whirlwind of a kitten.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

July 5, 2002

Soggy Keyboard. "Mama Mothball, please come into my office immediately," Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, yelled out the door of his office.

Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin's head jerked up, her right paw zoomed across the desk knocking her water over into her keyboard. "Oh no, not again," she muttered in frustration. No time to switch keyboards with regular columnist, Mama Mothball, who no doubt had a dry keyboard, since she never used it. "I’ve got to get my ear to the wall and see what Ruffles has his britches in a bundle about now," she mumbled.

Placing her ear to the wall seperating her office from Ruffles Murdog’s office, while pretending to lean against the copy machine, Furry Purrloin overheard the following conversation:

"I have recently gotten wind of the fact, Mama Mothball, that you can't read. What do you have to say for yourself?" Ruffles asked in a rather loud voice.

"Well, er, uh, I don't understand what has gotten you so upset, Ruffles. Of course I can read. How could I write all my wonderful articles, and get all the important interviews I do if I couldn't read?" Mama Mothball inquired.

"I understand, since you do a lot of phone interviews, that it would be possible to tape them. Once the interviews are done, you could have your assistant type them up, hence no reading required," Ruffles barked at her. "Either that, or you don’t do any interviews. You simply make up your stories out of whole cloth."

"Why, Ruffles, I've nearly worn out the keys on my keyboard, I do so much typing. You can hardly tell the N’s from the M’s, since the lettering is all rubbed out. Also, just look at my once beautiful claws. They are worn down to stubs!" Mama Mothball went on to explain. Furry Purrloin could imagine Mama Mothball crossing her toes behind her back.

Furry Purrloin swiveled her head around toward her desk. "Yes, this is definitely the time to switch those keyboards," she whispered to herself as she dashed behind her desk to disconnect some wires. Once she was done, she immediately put her ear to the wall again so she could finish eavesdropping - that is, sleuthing.

"Then perhaps you can explain where this information about your lack of reading skills came from," Ruffles Murdog persisted, now merely panting.

"Yes, now that I've had a chance to think this over, I think I know where this all started," Mama Mothball explained, being the master of fiction and presumably uncrossing her claws so she could relax. "I recently interviewed a psychic. She asked if I could do a ‘reading’ for her. I, of course replied that I didn't read. Now, doesn't that explain everything?" Mama Mothball asked in her smug voice.

"Well, let's see here. How about if we just go check out your keyboard. If the letters really are worn off, perhaps we should order a new one for you," Ruffles Murdog suggested, standing up on two paws and heading for the door to catch Mama Mothball in a lie.

Mama Mothball nearly dropped her fangs. Thoughts raced through her brain. How was she going to divert Ruffles? She couldn't let him see her keyboard with the dust covered keys. Images of losing her job and supporting herself as a model pranced through her mind. It wasn’t such an unhappy thought, after all.

"Well, yes, my dear, I see your keyboard is quite worn and shabby and WET! These things don't grow, Mama Mothball. What did you do to the keyboard -- water it?" Ruffles Murdog barked, once again losing his composure. "But I can see you've told me the truth, and I will replace this keyboard."

Mama Mothball stood in wonder, shaking her furry head, paws on hips, thinking a miracle must have occurred and blessed her.

Furry Purrloin settled down at her desk, preparing to type her article, on her almost new, hardly used keyboard with a big grin between her whiskers. Tomorrow, she'd talk to Ruffles Murdog about getting her an assistant, too, so her lovely claws wouldn't look so shabby. In the meantime, Mama Mothball owed her a big favor. Let’s see…now what did Furry Purrloin need at the mall?

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

June 27, 2002

Shoot! Looking over her calendar, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin decided to skip the interview proposed with some world leaders. Mama Mothball could handle that one and would most likely fit right in with her unusual and unique hat. Furry Purrloin decided to take the day off and shop for something she needed for a gift when the phone rang.

"Furry, get right over to Kit Kat's house. This is the final day of the shoot," Ruffles Murdog ordered in his Publisher/Editor voice.

"Shoot? Why are they shooting Kit Kat?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"If I knew the answer to that, I wouldn't be sending you. I'd just write the story up myself and save paying you travel time, my little nosy parker," Ruffles explained.

"Oh my, well okay, Ruffles," Furry Purrloin murmured in her most demure voice, "if you're really sure you want me to cover this."

Arriving at Kit Kat's house, Furry Purrloin noticed all kinds and sorts of camera equipment, lights, f-stops, lenses, and photographers. "This must be something really important," she uttered to one of the cats standing around watching.

"Kit, may I ask you a few questions?" Furry Purrloin yelled over to Kit Kat who was sitting atop a velvet settee and posing.

"Let's take a break here guys," Kit said. "My friend, Furry, is here and this could help with the promotional aspects of the shoot."

"Kit, Ruffles Murdog told me to get right over here, that you were being shot. I was so worried that I didn't even stop to grab my voice recorder. What exactly is going on? This doesn't look like they are planning to shoot you; these guys look like photographers," Furry observed with her portable computer propped up on the back of a light stand.

"Furry Purrloin, this is a photo shoot. I've having quite a few photographs taken for a calendar I'm planning to publish next year. You know, sort of like the Playcat calendar, only this one will be all me so I'll be the Cat of the Year each and every month. I think I can make a lot of tunas with this, don't you agree?" Kit stated as he brushed his shiny black fur back.

"Kit, this is a wonderful idea! I'm quite sure that all the cats of the world will want a copy of your calendar. What are you planning to do with all the tunas you make from the sale of your calendar?" Furry Purrloin wondered aloud.

"First of all, I plan to buy Mama Mothball a new hat. Secondly, I plan to buy the MeowMail Twins a car of their choice, to share of course. Harley shall have unlimited turkey sandwiches, and I'm planning to buy a gym where Wilson and Moses can exercise to their heart’s content. I thought about getting a tail for Chita, since she's always stealing other cat's tails, and for Angel King, I'll get a headache specialist. I want to get Bobby the Bengal a Spanish book and Sabrina a diamond necklace so she'll quit bugging Ralphie for jewelry. That's just to start. The rest depends on how many tuna's I make from the calendar," Kit explained to Furry Purrloin. "Won't this be wonderful? Perhaps you can help me select things that my other friends need or want."

"Oh Kit, you are so wise and generous. To put yourself through all this just to buy nice things for your friends. I think you've left yourself out though. There must be something that you want for yourself," Furry Purrloin pleaded.

"Yes, but I don't know where to buy or attain such a thing so I just want to please others. What I really want and need is some peace and quiet from that little pest, Omar. He hasn't quite grown out of his kitten stage yet and often makes me crazy with his unrelenting energy and enthusiasm," Kit stated in his most thoughtful manner.

"Kit I think this is the most honorable, unselfish thing I have ever heard of. I'm going to take this story to the National Catquirer and see if they can't manage to get you some type of award, or at least a role in a hit movie in Cattywood. I see the photographer signaling to you so I'll let you get back to work and I'll just run this story over to MeowMail so Ruffles can put in his many typos and make complete and utter nonsense of the whole thing," Furry Purrloin yelled back as she headed out for the limo and possibly a side trip to the mall.

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

June 21, 2002

Bats! Just as Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin walked into her office at the Morning Hairball offices, the FAX machine was spitting out a message from United Purr International on her secret line. Good thing Regular Reporter Mama Mothball didn't know about this source, or Furry Purrloin would never get any scoops.

"Your secret source reports that Zazu has bats in her belfry," read the FAX.

Furry Purrloin knew she had to sit down, and she did so promptly, placing her cup of fresh catnip latte far out of reach of any machines that might take advantage of the liquid’s proximity to break themselves. Then, naturally, she called Zazu.

"Ding-a-ling-a-ling! Ding-a-ling-a-ling! Ding-a-ling-a-ling!" Furry Purrloin heard Zazu's phone ringing, and hoped he didn’t have an answering machine. Then Furry Purrloin would have to make a trip to Zazu's house to check out the story, and she could get out of the stuffy old office for awhile.

"Hello," came a voice from the other end of the telephone.

Harrumph, thought Furry Purrloin to herself. I guess I’ll have to stay here after all. Then she composed herself and responded, "Hello, Zazu. It's Furry Purrloin, Special Guest Reporter for the Morning Hairball. Or, as I like to say, the Only Real Reporter for the Morning Hairball, since Mama Mothball scarely counts. Have you got a minute for a couple of questions to confirm a rumor I just heard?"

"Sure, Furry Purrloin. My time is your time. I'm just waiting for the photographer to arrive," Zazu explained as he stretched the phone cord to be able to view the front drive.

"The photographer? Are you having your portrait taken today, Zazu?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Actually, no. The photographer is coming to take pictures of the bats before they're all gone. You did know that I had bats in my belfry, didn't you?" Zazu expounded while picking a piece of lint off of his handsome black tail.

"As a matter of fact, that's what I called about, Zazu. That was the rumor I just heard. Or, rather, that I read. Are you sure that it is a photographer you're expecting and not a human in a white coat bringing a new jacket for you?" Furry Purrloin asked in her sweetest, gentlest voice, in hopes she wouldn't offend Zazu or that, if she did, it wouldn’t cause trouble.

"Furry Purrloin, your imagination is running away with you. The bats are not in my personal belfry. They are in the attic of my house. You must have heard the rumor second-paw, and some of the information got changed. You know how these things are apt to happen." Zazu didn’t seem the least bit offended. Perhaps he completely missed the suggestion that he had a bit too much yardage between his goal posts.

"Zazu, are any of these bats vampire bats? Is there cause for alarm in that respect? Or are these the kind of bats that the Red Stockings baseball team uses?" Furry Purrloin asked, bubbling over with curiosity and still trying to find a scoop for the day.

"No, no, no. These are just your everyday, hanging-upside-down-flying-around-at-night kind of bats. No vampires, no wood involved, Furry," Zazu explained.

Furry Purrloin wouldn’t give up. "So tell me, Zazu: Why do you want pictures of these bats? Haven't you ever seen them? Maybe they really are 'all in your head,' so to speak, and your human has hired someone from the institution to pose as a photographer. Did you ever think of that?" Furry Purrloin fired off, so full of questions that she could hardly ask them fast enough.

"Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Buzzzzzzzzzzz," the doorbell sounded.

"Furry Purrloin, I have to go now," Zazu hastily said. "The photographer is here, and I must answer the door." And Zazu hung up the phone, tired of all of Furry's many questions even though he was too polite to show it.

Peering through the peekhole to be sure the visitor was a photographer and not some feline intruder - mastermind criminal Bobby da Bengal Booshay, for example -- Zazu noticed that the visitor was carrying a jacket -- a white one with all kinds of ties, clasps, and snaps. "Probably to keep the film clean," Zazu mused, opening the door. "Now that’s what I like to see: A true professional."

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

June 14, 2002

Penny’s Bloomers. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin put down her paw. It was not an angry paw, but rather a determined paw. No, she would not leave Great Britain without getting some kind of a story. Interviewing the Queen was not good enough by half. She wanted to really surprise and amaze Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball.

Mumbling to herself, Furry Purrloin mused, "What was that rumor about a mouse under a chair? A frightened mouse, at that?"

Using her very best source -- her imagination -- she pictured Ruffles Murdog, leaning back in his desk chair, back paws on his desk, saying, "Furry oh Furry, where have you been?" To which Furry would reply, in imagination only, "I've been to London to visit the Queen."

She must not tell Ruffles Murdog what really transpired there. Missing the anniversary of the Queen's coronation would be far too embarrassing. The fact that she was subsequently able to interview the Queen was of little consequence compared to that.

"Ruffles, I looked under every chair I could find. The palace just has no mice," Furry Purrloin said, swishing her tail aside in order to sit down.

"What! No mice in any of the hundreds of rooms? Wasn't there anything at all of interest under those chairs?" a disbelieving Ruffles Murdog questioned, leaning forward over his desk in frustration.

"I did see a lizard, but it dashed out through a crack in the cobblestones. There were a few dust bunnies, under beds, and in the rooms upstairs, but they wouldn't hop. There was lots of dog hair under the sofas. Oh, and some bloomers," Furry Purrloin expounded while straightening her new jumper she'd bought on the way back to the airport.

"Bloomers!!" Ruffles Murdog barked while standing on his paws and leaning almost completely over the desk toward Furry Purrloin. "Now that could be the story of the century. Tell me more about these bloomers. This is much better than any mice under chairs."

"Let me think here a moment and gather my thoughts,." Furry Purrloin said, closing her eyes to think back over her recent adventure. All she could picture was the quaint shops, the friendly humans, and the delicious crab scones.

"Pink! Yes, they were pink. Oh, and some were lavender, too, I believe." Furry Purrloin blurted out. "Penny would just love them!"

Pacing back and forth now, in deep thought, Ruffles Murdog asked, "So you think these were Penny's bloomers? I didn't realize she was going to the coronation. Why were her bloomers in Buckinghorse Castle?"

"No, no, no. You're being foolish. You're making up facts, Ruffles," Furry Purrloin reproved him, planting her right hip on Ruffles desk and crossing her paws. "The bloomers were pansies, not undergarments!"

"So you've returned with no story. No article for the Daily Scoop. I'll call Mama Mothball and see what she's come up with," Ruffles Murdog told Furry Purrloin with a grimace on his face. "I’d do almost anything to avoid this, since Mama Mothball is the stinkiest reporter on the planet, but you’ve left me no choice."

Just at that moment, the flight attendant began shaking Furry Purrloin to wake her. "Please be sure your seat belt is buckled and your tray table is in an upright and locked position. Did you have a nice nap, ma’am?"

Furry Purrloin realized that it had all been a dream. Ruffles Murdog loved her better than Mama Mothball after all. Whew! What a relief.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

June 7, 2002

A Royal Treat. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin had just arrived back in Jolly Ole England (she frequently travels to Europe on assignment), having received an invitation to the anniversary of the coronation of Queen Lizzy Beth. Fifty years was a long time to rule a country, but of course, she didn't run for this position -- she sort of inherited it. There had been three invitations on the desk of Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, and a very close personal friend as well as her employer. Furry Purrloin felt sure that this was an event that Ruffles Murdog would not miss. However, she wondered if Ruffles had given the third invitation to Mama Mothball, the reporter whom most staff members at the Morning Hairball didn’t like to think about. No, probably not, Furry Purrloin decided. Mama Mothball would probably find the whole trip boring compared with shopping at the mall. Hmmm. Furry Purrloin was betting that Ruffles Murdog had given the third invitation to Sadie, on whom he currently had a crush, even though she was already promised to another.

Furry Purrloin tried desperately to get the attention of the Royal Guard standing at the palace gate. To whom should she give her invitation? Also, would room and board would be provided, or did she have to deal with that on her own? The streets of London weren’t terribly comfortable for sleeping purposes. Try as she might, Furry Purrloin couldn’t get the attention of any members of the Royal Guard, although she talked right into their faces. For reasons unknown to her, all of the cats were staring straight ahead. Maybe she should just wave the invitation in their faces and walk right on past. Yes, that just might work.

"Furry Purrloin, by special invitation, entering the palace now for the big celebration," the intrepid Special Guest Reporter announced. Yes, that worked as she strolled right past the Royal Guard. Guess these cats weren’t allowed to converse with reporters or didn't speak the language, Furry Purrloin intuited. Walking cautiously down the long stone hall, Furry Purrloin wondered when she would meet the next critter of whom she might ask a question. Oh look! There was a critter. Now who could that be? Furry Purrloin wondered.

"Sir, aren't you Prince Charlie?" Furry Purrloin asked the tall dignified gentleman, who was wearing what looked like polo clothes.

"Yes, ma’am, I am Prince Charlie. May I ask who and what you are?" the Prince inquired of Furry.

"I'm Furry Purrloin, Special Guest Reporter for the Morning Hairball. I have an invitation here for the anniversary of the coronation of Queen Lizzy Beth. Do you know where my room is and what time lunch will be served? Is there room service, or do we dine in a mutual dining room?" Furry Purrloin asked while holding out her engraved invitation so that Prince Charlie could see it.

"High tea will be at four o'clock, but I believe it is at Windsome Castle, not here at Buckinghorse," the Prince informed Furry Purrloin. He still hadn't answered her question about her room.

"I need to know where to put my suitcase and where to change clothes. Sir, can you direct me to someone who can provide this information?" Furry Purrloin asked while putting her invitation back into her large travel satchel.

"I know nothing more than the time of the High Tea, and I really must run. I’m late for my polo match, you see. Ta-ta now, Furry friend!" And off the Prince dashed, leaving Furry Purrloin still standing in the long hall with not a critter in sight.

"Oh, look," Furry Purrloin said, talking entirely to herself. "I think that's Elton James coming down the hall. He'll know where we're supposed to go and where our rooms are. "Hi, Elton. Are you singing for the Queen?" Furry Purrloin inquired of Elton who was wearing the most outrageous outfit she had ever seen, right down to matching earrings.

"Do I know you, ma’am?" Elton inquired. "Are you part of the Royal staff? Are you a char woman or a greeter?"

"Mr. James, I'm Furry Purrloin. I'm a reporter here for the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. Aren't you here for the same reason?" Furry Purrloin blabbered on, suddenly in a state of nervous confusion.

"No, I'm here to be Knighted. Just plan to drop in on Lizzy for a spot of tea, then off on a whirlwind tour of Scotland. I think the coronation party was last night and that the Queen as left for Windsome Castle," Elton said as he strolled right on past, apparently knowing exactly where he was going.

Getting her invitation out, Furry Purrloin examined it more closely. No wonder she hadn't run into Ruffles or Sadie. The party was last night! Furry hung her head, feeling that she'd really missed the opportunity of her nine lives to see Queen Lizzy Beth in person. To make matters even worse, she had a burning question that she had been wondering about since almost forever.

"Why was Queen Lizzy Beth never seen without her purse?" Furry Purrloin uttered to the wall. There just had to be some secret contents in that purse. Oh, well, back for another go at getting that Royal Guard members to talk, move their eyes, show any sign of life. Must be some kind of story there….

And, just then, who should happen by except Queen Lizzy Beth? Furry Purrloin hugged her with all four of her paws. This was the happiest day of Furry Purrloin’s nine lives, barring none!

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

May 31, 2002

Could It Be…? Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin arrived at the Wayne residence early for her luncheon date with Sheriff John Wayne and his brothers, all prominent residents of MeowMail Town, and was hoping to get information to do an article about how much shedding was going on, considering the fact that three Maine coons were experiencing warmer weather. The door was open, and John Wayne yelled through the screen for the intrepid Furry Purrloin to come in. Furry Purrloin found John, Harley, Scotty, and Bart sitting in a circle pondering something that must have been important since all their furry foreheads were furrowed.

"What’s up, guys," Furry Purrloin asked, hoping they were deciding where to go for lunch. Furry Purrloin was hungry, as always, since she’d worked up a good appetite on her last investigative assignment.

"Our human mommy put a surprise in the bathroom and shut the door. We are all trying to figure out what she put in there," Scotty informed Furry, since he was the talkative - albeit the youngest -- one in the family.

"What did it look like," Furry Purrloin inquired. "I'm sure we can figure out what it is if we have a good description."

"Didn't look like much that we could see," Harley offered. "Maybe about the size of a baseball."

"Perhaps it was a baseball," Furry Purrloin mused. "Does your Mom usually keep baseballs in the bathroom?"

"No, we've never even known Mommy to own a baseball," John explained. "She’s more of a football fan. Plus, she would need a bat if she was planning to play baseball in the bathroom, wouldn't she? And we didn’t see any bats flying around in there." John Wayne, of course, was the intellectual in the family.

"I know purrfectly well what Mommy put in the bathroom," said Bart, the eldest and most experienced cat in the Wayne clan. "I've seen them before, years ago, when mommy used to bring them into the house from under the redwood deck." During his speech, Bart calmly cleaned his left front paw while his brothers took turns licking his three other paws.

"There, you see, there isn't a mystery after all," Furry Purrloin informed the group. "Bart knows what the surprise is, and I'm sure he'll tell us. Right, Bart?"

"No, he won't tell any of us anything," Scotty countered. "He wants us to learn things on our own. Here’s my guess. I think the surprise is a dust rag that mommy is going to use to clean up the bathroom."

"Scotty, hush," Harley admonished with a swish of his red tail across his little brother’s whiskers. "You’re still such a kitten sometimes. Mom wouldn’t keep a dust rag behind a closed door. Don't you have an imaginary bird to chase or something?"

"Bart," a frustrated Furry Purrloin asked, "would you be so kind as to tell your brothers and me what is in the bathroom so we can go to lunch? The limo is waiting, and I don't know if Ruffles Murdog is planning to let me have his driver for the whole day."

"I've already had my lunch," Bart responded. "It was delicious chicken, and I wasn't planning to join you furs for lunch, but I will tell you what mommy put in the bathroom, anyway. It was Moses," Bart said smugly.

"Yeah, right! Like we're going to believe that," John Wayne uttered under his breath. "Moses is a character from the Bible, and there is no way mom would be putting him in the bathroom."

"Did you see the litterbox go into the bathroom?" Bart asked the group. "Did you see a water dish, a food dish, and a furry little bed? Those are things Moses needs when he comes to visit here. Soon the rest of you will be able to see him. I've already washed his tiny little face."

Furry Purrloin, who always reserved judgment until she had all the facts, wasn’t convinced that Moses was actually in the Wayne’s bathroom. However, whatever was in the bathroom was probably alive. And wouldn’t it be amazing if Moses actually were alive and well and living in Sam’s Clam Disco? Furry Purrloin quickly excused herself from the lunch her interviewees had been planning, explaining, "I'm going to grab some lunch on the run and get back to the Morning Hairball offices to write this up before Mama Mothball gets wind of it. Have a nice lunch, boys." And with that, Furry Purrloin dashed out the door into the waiting limo to head back to work.

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

May 24, 2002

Shopping Spree. As Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin entered the world-renowned office supply store, Ink Don't Stink, she heard two very familiar feline voices having a slight altercation about something. Peering around a stack of file folders, the intrepid reporter was able to see Nala La McChew and Chita McChew pulling two different ways at a shopping cart.

"Oh, dear," Furry Purrloin muttered under her breath, "those two are at it again." Digging in her purse, she pulled out her portable voice recorder to get this disagreement down for later submission to Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball. It might do for a column if she could find some flunky, such as Mama Mothball, to transcribe it for her. Here’s what Furry Purrloin captured on her tape:

Chita: "You pushed the cart last time, Nala. It's my turn!"

Nala: "Did not. You can't remember where your own spots are half of the time."

Chita: "Let me push the cart, and I'll let you ride in the kiddy seat."

Nala: "What are you trying to do, make me look foolish?"

Chita: "Oh, alright, push the stupid cart. At least that will leave my paws free to pick up the items we need for our human."

Nala: "Well, I have the list, so you only pick up what I tell you, okay?"

Chita: "I can make decisions. I don't need a list. I know what the human needs At least she talks to me!"

Nala: "The first item on the list is paper clips. They are in aisle sixteen, so let's go." And Nala pushed off with her back paws to send the card zooming toward aisle sixteen.

Chita: "If you plan to drive this cart through the store like a maniac, we will both get thrown out of here by the dog who owns the place. Slow down!"

Nala: "Let’s see here, our human wants colorful plastic paper clips. I like colorful paper clips, too." And, with that, she tossed one dozen boxes of colored paper clips into the cart.

Chita: "Our human never buys the expensive plastic paper clips," and she calmly put all one dozen boxes back on the shelf.

Nala: "Alright, Miss Know-It-All, which paper clips would you suggest?" She placed her furry body in front of all the selections except the plastic clips.

Chita: "Our human wants plain paper clips, not bumpy ones and not colorful ones. She wants to go the practical route. So there!"

Nala: " Okay, you gpt to choose the paper clips, so I get to choose the file folders. and they certainly won't be plain ones."

Chita: "I know where the file folders are, so I'll push the cart, slowly, so we won’t draw any more attention to ourselves than we already have, thanks to you."

Furry Purrloin was having trouble staying out of sight while she remained within close enough range to capture the humorous dialogue on the recorder. She nearly knocked over a whole stack of binders just keeping up with the McChew girls.

Nala: "Here we are! I want these folders that are all different colors of the rainbow. Aren't they beautiful?"

Chita: "Those are for humans who are capable of organizing their files, and our human isn’t, so she won't want those. I think our human uses the vanilla ones."

Nala: "Vanilla? What are you, crazy? File folders don't come in flavors, they come in colors, you nitwit."

Chita: "I am not a nitwit. Our human calls me her precious girl, and I can do no wrong. We are getting these vanilla ones, and that's that."

Nala: "Fine. Have it your way. I know Mommy would rather have the colors. So when it comes time to exchange them, you'll be coming here by yourself, smart aleck. And you’ll have to face the wrath of the canineowner all alone."

Chita: "I’ll ignore that uninformed comment. Now, I'll let you choose the paper, but we're not even considering anything except plain copy paper, okay?"

Nala: "You only let me choose the stinky paper because you know that Snowy already chose the nice paper and sent it to Mommy. See, our human even crossed paper off of the list." Nala pointed a pointy claw at the wrinkled list.

Chita: "I'm heading for the check-out counter. We're done here. Come along, and get our human’s credit card out."

Nala: "Credit card? I don't have the credit card. I thought you had it."

Chita: "I can't believe you sometimes. How do you think we are going to pay for these items. We'll have to put everything back."

Nala: "I'll put the ugly paper clips back. I don't like them, anyway."

Chita: "Nala, look over there. Is that Furry Purrloin? Looks like she's carrying a large purse. Let's go borrow some money from her, and we won't have to put anything back."

Furry Purrloin turned off the voice recorder at that point and headed speedily for the door. She realized that she'd been seen and strongly suspected why the McChew girls wanted so much to see her. And she didn’t want any part of it, since her expense account didn't allow for any such foolishness.

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

May 17, 2002

The Lure of the Drums. The morning hours found Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin getting ready to make a sick call. She had heard through the jungle drums that her friends, Holly and Willow, were sick with the flu, or a virus, or something like that. She'd just packaged up a container of her homemade shrimp-and-fly soup to take to her dear friends in hopes it would make them feel better. She didn't have a worry in the world about catching the flu or virus because she faithfully got her flu shot each and every fall.

Arriving at Holly and Willow's house, the first thing she noticed -- or rather, heard -- was piano music. Must be some soothing music their Mommy was playing to make them feel better and help them get well, Furry Purrloin thought. But wait! The door was open, and peeking in through the screen, the intrepid Special Guest Reporter could see Willow playing the piano. What could this mean, Furry Purrloin wondered. Looking more closely, she saw Holly jumping and dancing around the room to the music. Could her source, the Jungle Drums, be wrong? Could Holly and Willow be well after all? And, if so, then why did the Jungle Drums lie? Of course, it also occurred to Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin that Holly and Willow might be faking.

Knock, knock. "Hello, I'm here to call on Holly and Willow," Furry Purrloin yelled out.

The piano music stopped, and both Holly and Willow came to the door themselves with open paws to greet their old friend, Furry Purrloin. "Hold on a minute, girls," Furry Purrloin begged while backing up a bit. "I don't know if we should be hugging like this since you two have the flu."

"We don't have the flu," Willow said. "We're perfectly fine and enjoying the lovely weather through an open door, while dancing to the piano music."

"But, but, but…" Furry Purrloin stammered, "I heard that you two were sick. I'm bringing you some of my homemade soup to help you feel better. Maybe we should just have it for lunch and decide where this rumor got started," the intrepid Special Guest Reporter said while putting the soup down on the kitchen counter.

"We had a worm," Holly blurted out, looking rather sheepish.

"You mean to tell me you've already had lunch?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"No, Furry, we had a worm in our computer, and it was eating up all of our words and numbers and pictures and other stuff," Willow explained, getting bowls out for the soup.

"You two should have called me. I know just the person to talk to about worms. He's an old fishing buddy of mine, Mr. Norton, and I think he can cure viruses, too, although I've never had any personal experience with these things," Furry Purrloin explained, getting some spoons out of a drawer.

"That's okay, Furry," Willow said.

"Yes, our the monitor blew a fuse, so we have given up on even getting a chance to see what the worm looked like. We were hoping to capture it and send it to Penny’s husband, Purrcy, because we know how much he likes to go fishing. Might have been good bait," Holly added.

"Let's just enjoy your homemade soup and think up some games we can play after lunch, since we can’t use our computer," Willow said, getting crackers out of the pantry.

"Girls, I'd love to stay and play games after lunch, but I've got to get back to my office and see whether my new computer has been installed. Then I've got to track down my source on this rumor and see how the facts got so garbled. But the most important thing is that you’re well, and you’re willing to eat my homemade soup. When you’re finished, I’ll let you know what the secret ingredient is." And with that, Furry Purrloin, Holly, and Willow all put their napkins in their laps and prepared to enjoy the homemade soup. Ah, it was nice to have trusting friends, thought Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin. Sadie would have insisted on knowing what the special ingredient was.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

May 10, 2002

Technophobia. Arriving in her office, Special Guest Reporter for the Daily Scoop, Furry Purrloin, turned on her computer to find that she had a hairball. Now Furry herself didn't have the hairball. Her computer mouse had the hairball, and it refused to move any which way.

"I can fix this problem myself," Furry Purrloin stated aloud as she started examining the different keys on the keyboard. Hmmmm, she thought after checking out all the keys. Not a single one was marked, "hairball removal from mouse." Well maybe she'd just start pushing some of the keys and see what happened.

Furry Purrloin was annoyed that she had to go to this trouble. She was sure that Mama Mothball's two kittens, Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball, had been playing in her office again, and she was determined to speak to Ruffles Murdog, Editor/Publisher of the Morning Hairball, just as soon as he came in to work.

"Let's see," Furry Purrloin mused. "F-1 says ‘Help,’ so I'll try that one first. Surely the help section will cover hairballs in the mouse," Furry Purrloin thought aloud while pressing down on F-1.

"Nope, nothing there about hairballs or mice," Furry mumbled as she looked through the gibberish on the monitor.

"Let’s try Pause/Break. That should break the hairball free. It certainly doesn’t do anything else," said Furry Purrloin, and she once again pressed another key.

"Egad! The whole screen has turned purple now. Must not be the one I'm looking for. "I know, I know!" Furry Purrloin said, in a burst of inspiration, "Delete! That should do it. I'll just delete that silly hairball right out of that mouse's belly." And, with that, she pushed the button while dancing around, knowing this would solve the problem.

"Nope," Furry Purrloin announced with disappointment. She was dejected but not defeated. "Let me just look up the phone number of my friend, Bill Slates, here in my directory. I’ll just ask him. Surely he'll know how to dislodge a hairball, since he works with enough of them." And Furry Purrloin dumped the whole Rolodexter over onto the keyboard.

This was an old-fashioned Rolodexter that contained about 10 pounds of cards. All of the cards fell out of the Rolodexter and hit the keyboard at once.

Lights flashed, various colors flew across the screen, then everything went black.

"Well, this just isn't making my day," Furry Purrloin exclaimed with frustration. "Now the whole computer has gone haywire, and I'll never get my article typed for this week. Unless. . . unless, yes, just let me tiptoe into Mama Mothball’s office and see if I can get her computer to work. It’s a good thing she’s at the mall today."

Upon entering Mama Mothball's office, Furry Purrloin couldn't locate the computer. She opened drawers and cabinets, and looked under the desk, and all she could come up with was a rusty old typewriter and a bunch of parking tickets -- unpaid by the way -- for the Mall parking lot. "What a wonderful discovery," Furry Purrloin said with glee. "No wonder Mama Mothball’s columns are so bad. She doesn’t even own a computer, and she’s living in the Dark Ages. Oh, just wait until word of this gets around. Not that I'd tell a single cat, but you just never know. Cats have a way of finding things out."

And, with that, Furry Purrloin settled down in her own office to write this week’s Special Guest column. Mama Mothball’s office smelled too bad to hang around there for very long.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

May 3, 2002

Scooter’s Story Goes On. This Morning Hairball reporter woke up in a wonderful mood. "Today is the day I get to interview Scooter, hero of the great Tornado of 2002!" she told herself. She scampered to the Morning Hairball offices where she was met by Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball.

"Good morning, Mama Mothball," said Ruffles Murdog. "I’m glad I caught you before you settled in to work. You may go to the mall and enjoy yourself today. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin is handling the Scooter story, and your services are not needed."

This Morning Hairball reporter would have been upset. But, hey, Furry Purrloin can handle the Scooter story. And the mall really is a wonderful place to be, especially if you’re in the market for a new hat.

Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was not at the mall. She was hard at work, peering through what appeared to be a blown out window at the Bunchies house. She was preparing to knock on the door, only she couldn't find it, when she heard from inside a conversation that made her forget all about the door.

Sauntering up the basement stairs came Princess Scooter, her regal bearing apparent even though her tiara was slightly askew. "Okay, which one of you two guys re-routed the train and let it come through the house?" asked Princess Scooter. "I was trying to hold court in the basement when I heard the most ferocious noise, and it shook the whole house."

"I didn't do it, nope, I sure didn't do it," Wilson chimed in.

"It wasn't a train, dear Scooter," Joey tried to explain. "It was a tornado. A real honest to goodness tornado, and it came right through our house."

"Joey, your imagination has run away with you," Scooter told Joey with her paw placed daintily on her hip. "This isn't Kansas, Auntie Em doesn't live here, and I see no sign of a yellow brick road. It’s Maryland, for dogs’ sakes!"

"I didn't cause the tornado! I didn't re-route no trains! Don't blame me," Wilson added, poking his little pink nose in front of Joey's face.

"Will you just hush, Wilson," Princess Scooter said while trying to straighten her tiara. "Look at this mess. Do you two realize that it will take days, or maybe weeks, to put things back in order? That’s what you get for letting a train come through the house!"

"Princess Scooter, it wasn't a train. I keep telling you: it was a tornado, and you won't listen to me," Joey tried once again to explain. "It nearly scared the fur right off of me and Wilson, and it stole all of our beautiful trees, our woods, our walls, and even our windows."

"You two will make up any kind of an excuse for this mess. The only tornado I've heard about was in Kansas, and this is Maryland. Were you trying to run the vacuum cleaner again?" Princess Scooter asked while trying to pick some pine needles off of the climbing toy.

"I didn't do no tornado, and I don't know nothing about any vacuum cleaners!" Wilson insisted, now looking dejected since Scooter and Joey weren't paying him any attention at all.

"I thought I told you to hush, Wilson," Scooter said once again, shaking her head with all the dignity and regalness she could muster. "Now you two had best help me get this house back in order before Mommy gets here and cries when she sees all of her lovely things in such disarray. This is starting to look more and more like you two were trying some kind of a science experiment, and it just blew up."

"Princess Scooter, I'm telling you the truth," Joey once again tried to explain. "I was so scared, and Wilson was so scared. We thought we even saw a little dog named Toto go flying by the window. It was just whirling and twirling and spinning and blowing and making giant things move. It wasn't a train. We could tell, because there was no engineer, and it didn't leave any tracks." And, with that, Joey put his paws up over his eyes so as not to see Scooter’s reaction.

"I'm going upstairs to hold court in the bedroom and get some belly loves," Scooter told both of the boycats, "and when I get back, I want this mess to be all cleaned up. Do you think you two can do that? Please don't try to sell Mommy on any ideas of Kansas or yellow brick roads, or flying dogs. Being the Princess of this house, I know exactly who is responsible." And Scooter fluffed up her tail, held it high in the air, and proceeded to mount the stairway to the bedroom, looking just as regal as a Princess should.

This article, by Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin, is not meant to make light of the awful situation that has befallen the Bunchies family, only to bring a bit of levity into a situation that could have been much worse. The people and animals lives that we care about the most were saved, and that is certainly cause for a smile.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

April 26, 2002

The Wilson Miracle. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin had heard a rumor that was so good, she just had to check it out. Believing that the best way to check something out was to go straight to the "cat’s mouth", so to speak, she dialed the Bunchies’ house.

"Hello," Furry Purrloin said. "Hello. Is somecat there?" The silence made her wonder whether she had dialed the right number. Better hang up and try again.

"Hello, is this the Bunchies’ house?" Furry Purrloin asked, still not hearing another sound after the click of some cat picking up the telephone.

Finally, a voice came over the line. "Hello, my name is Wilson, and I'm getting a phone call. Yep, my very own phone call. Who are you?" Wilson said with a lot of pride in his voice.

"My name is Furry Purrloin, and I sometimes write an article for the Daily Scoop. In fact, my official title is Special Guest Reporter of the Daily Scoop. That’s what it says on my office door. Isn’t that impressive? I heard a rumor about you, Wilson, so I'm so happy that you answered the phone yourself," Furry Purrloin explained to Wilson, realizing that he was still mostly kitten and probably didn't know all of this.

"Well, I'm a big boy now and I can answer the phone. I can even clear off whole tables, including the lamps. Did you call to talk to me, personally, or do you want to speak to Princess Scooter, who we call P.S. for short, or did you want to talk to King Joey, who is taking his afternoon nap?" Wilson inquired in his sweetest kitten voice.

"Wilson, I'm calling to speak to you because I heard a rumor that maybe you can set straight for me. I heard that you had become a chimney sweep and had started your first job by cleaning out the chimney at your house. Is this true?" Furry Purrloin inquired of Wilson.

"Nope, not true, Ms. Purrloin. I made a miracle, yeppers, that's what I did, a real miracle, all by myself." Wilson sounded so cute that Furry Purrloin had to turn on her voice recorder.

"A miracle! That's quite an accomplishment. Miracles are really important things, and I thought you had to be a Saint or something to create a miracle," Furry Purrloin explained to Wilson.

"Nope. Mommy said the other day that she had always wanted a black cat. You understand that I'm about as far from black as a cat can get, being all white with two different colored eyes and pink paddy paws. Sooooooooo, I found this really neat opening in the house that was filled with this soft black stuff. It smelled pretty much okay, so I decided to turn myself into a black cat by rolling in it. It got to be fun after a while, and I rolled and frolicked and just completely covered my own self with the black stuff. Once done, I still wasn't sure that Mommy would notice that I was now the black cat she’d been wanting, so I went into the bedroom and rolled all over the white bedspread. She was sure to notice the contrast of a black cat on a white bedspread. And see that a miracle had taken place." Wilson was almost breathless from his long explanation.

"And now you are black?" Furry Purrloin asked. "Forever?"

"I just gotta tell you, mommy was so pleased to see a black cat on her white bedspread that she just screeched with glee. She even knew it was me because several times she yelled, ‘Wilson, Wilson, what have you done?’ I told her that I had made a miracle for her by becoming a black cat, but she didn't understand a word I said. She's still learning to speak ‘cat,’ you see, Ms. Purrloin."

"Wilson," Furry Purrloin gently explained, "I don't think this will qualify as a miracle. I think a better name for this antic would be mischief, and I doubt your mommy was pleased, to say the least. Did you have to get a bath after your mommy calmed down?" Furry Purrloin wondered aloud.

"Yeppers, sure did," Wilson replied. "She shut up that hole in the house, too. I think that she decided that she didn't really want a black cat, after all. But I still don't think it was mischief. I was just trying to make my mommy happy, and good deeds are never mischief," Wilson rambled on faster than Furry Purrloin could write. Good thing she'd turned on the voice recorder.

"Wilson, I once heard about a spotted cat that upset three hundred sheets of manuscript with just a flick of her claw. Now that is mischief. You might think about that naughty cat and how you can be better than that when you're a bit older," Furry Purrloin explained to Wilson, trying to minimize the seriousness of his trip into the fireplace so the kitten’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt.

"Oh, I don't think we have any of those manuscript things here, but I could manage to spill something onto the computer keyboard. Would that qualify as mischief or as a miracle?" Wilson was just overflowing with enthusiasm.

"Wilson, I'm beginning to feel like I'm giving you the wrong idea. I don't want to help you create mischief, I just want to get my facts straight. Is your mommy home right now?" Furry Purrloin was thinking that she'd better get off the phone before Mrs. Bunchies thought she was planting ideas in Wilson’s head.

"You just hang on, Ms. Purrloin, and I'll just put the phone down and go check and see if mommy is home from work, okay?"

Click. Furry Purrloin had hung up, turned off the voice recorder, turned quickly, and managed to knock her whole cup of catnip tea onto her desk. She sat back and had a good laugh while picturing Wilson and his fireplace escapade.

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

April 19, 2002

Party On. The great MeowMail Town Birthday Bash, celebrating the birthdays of Frankie, Tony, Bobby, Pooh, and Frankie’s sister, whose name currently escapes this Special Guest Reporter - who is filling in for Regular Daily Scoop reporter Mama Mothball this weekend -- was over. And, even though most of the guests were worn out from all the fun and games, they were eagerly awaiting Mama Mothball's departure so they could really get down to the best part of the party. Maje's human's were out of town visiting Las Bengals so, of course, with five whole days to make merry, they were prepared to start in on the fun.

"Maje, have Mama Mothball and her kittens gone?" Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Yes, she was a bit of a ‘party pooper.’ Plus, all she could think about was getting a free lunch. We've saved the really good food until now," Maje gloated while she dashed around to get out the silly string, catnip surprises, and tuna and shrimp balls. "Do you think any of the guests will like the catnip flavored bubbles that I bought?" Maje asked Furry Purrloin.

"Well, let’s just start the bubble machine and see what happens," Furry Purrloin suggested as she poured the whole bottle of catnip bubbles into the bubble blowing machine.

Just then the MeowMail Town busload arrived, and cats were dashing into Maje’s house from every available entrance.

Boo and Riley got busy right away making snowballs which were laced, of course, with catnip. The MeowMail Town twins, Tommy and Kato, were dishing up Tuna and Sauce into individual serving dishes for the buffet table. Snookums was busy pulling all of the sofa cushions off to look for the tooth that the vet had removed from him. Ralphie, of course, was setting up a bowling game, complete with mouse balls and candles. Penny was hard at work taking all the flower arrangements off of the tables and placing them in the floor for a salad bar, and Purrcy was tasting all of the food that was prepared as soon as it was put out. P.D. and Rudy had set up a kiosk in the closet to make sure that all cats were comfortable and well groomed, while Scotty was making a very large batch of catnip tea. Harley was busy counting the sandwiches and making sure that there would be enough turkey to go around. The other Harley, Bobby da Bengal Booshay’s brother, was busy counting his spots. Zazu was ripping pages out of a text book she found on the bookshelves. Casper and Pumpkin had spied beautiful Persian cat dolls on the top of the bookshelves and were trying to knock them down. KitKat was giving advice to any cat who asked while trying to figure out where they should post a guard in case Maje’s humans came home early, and Miss Sabrina was strutting around giving orders to all who would listen. Omar was just content to sit in the floor and see how much mischief was afoot. Magellan was busy filling the bathtub in hopes that in one of the children's rooms he would find a boat to float.

The afternoon found Miss Snowy flipping channels on the television set hoping to see some sports event while she kept Sweetie and Stripes out of the cabinets. El Puma wasn't quite sure what was going on because, with his crossed eyes, he was distracted and overwhelmed. Miss Frankie and her sister, Pixel, were putting little hermit crabs on the kitchen counter for a race and bets would be taken later in the day to see who the winner would be. Nala La was sitting very quietly and being such a lady on the loveseat with her new husband, John Wayne. Chita was strutting about trying to tell all that her spots were originals and that no other cat could wear them with such pomp and circumstance as she. Tony, Precious, Sammy, and Frankie were chasing chickens all over the house and the feathers were flying. Holly and Willow were busy trying to keep Clara on a leash since, if any human heard her bark, they were sure to be alerted that something out of the ordinary was going on. "Wild Willy" Wilson was on top of a very high china cabinet trying to bat at mosquitoes that had come in through the open windows and doors, and Joey Boy was trying to figure out how in the world he had gotten up there. Princess Scooter had claimed the top of the curtain rod and was getting ready to see if backing down by using her claws and the drapes would work. The cavy clan were busy washing vegetables in the kitchen sink knowing full well that no cat would want them so they'd have their own feast. Porch Kitty was trying to mingle and get to know her new friends. Angel King, Freckles, and Tigger were busy downloading computer games for any cat who wanted something tamer to occupy their time. Belle and Sissy were dragging streamers all over the house to make things look festive and hoping beyond hope that their humans would appreciate all their hard work when they returned.

Trying to take this all in, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was just exhausted and was shaking her head in awe of the activity and chaos that was afoot. "Even Sheriff John Wayne and his little brother, Deputy Prescott Seville, can’t keep law and order at this party. I think I'll take my leave while the getting is good," she told Bart, who was quietly reading the current issue of Catsweek. "If any of these revelers get caught in the act, there are going to be a lot of cats in deep trouble before the week is over."

Forget the bus. Furry Purrloin was leaving in her own limo which Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, had provided just for this occasion. She yelled back to the crowd, "I'm like so outta here, gang. Better keep the noise down."

 

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

April 12, 2002

Party On. The great MeowMail Town Birthday Bash, celebrating the birthdays of Frankie, Tony, Bobby, Pooh, and Frankie’s sister, whose name currently escapes this Special Guest Reporter - who is filling in for Regular Daily Scoop reporter Mama Mothball this weekend -- was over. And, even though most of the guests were worn out from all the fun and games, they were eagerly awaiting Mama Mothball's departure so they could really get down to the best part of the party. Maje's human's were out of town visiting Las Bengals so, of course, with five whole days to make merry, they were prepared to start in on the fun.

"Maje, have Mama Mothball and her kittens gone?" Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Yes, she was a bit of a ‘party pooper.’ Plus, all she could think about was getting a free lunch. We've saved the really good food until now," Maje gloated while she dashed around to get out the silly string, catnip surprises, and tuna and shrimp balls. "Do you think any of the guests will like the catnip flavored bubbles that I bought?" Maje asked Furry Purrloin.

"Well, let’s just start the bubble machine and see what happens," Furry Purrloin suggested as she poured the whole bottle of catnip bubbles into the bubble blowing machine.

Just then the MeowMail Town busload arrived, and cats were dashing into Maje’s house from every available entrance.

Boo and Riley got busy right away making snowballs which were laced, of course, with catnip. The MeowMail Town twins, Tommy and Kato, were dishing up Tuna and Sauce into individual serving dishes for the buffet table. Snookums was busy pulling all of the sofa cushions off to look for the tooth that the vet had removed from him. Ralphie, of course, was setting up a bowling game, complete with mouse balls and candles. Penny was hard at work taking all the flower arrangements off of the tables and placing them in the floor for a salad bar, and Purrcy was tasting all of the food that was prepared as soon as it was put out. P.D. and Rudy had set up a kiosk in the closet to make sure that all cats were comfortable and well groomed, while Scotty was making a very large batch of catnip tea. Harley was busy counting the sandwiches and making sure that there would be enough turkey to go around. The other Harley, Bobby da Bengal Booshay’s brother, was busy counting his spots. Zazu was ripping pages out of a text book she found on the bookshelves. Casper and Pumpkin had spied beautiful Persian cat dolls on the top of the bookshelves and were trying to knock them down. KitKat was giving advice to any cat who asked while trying to figure out where they should post a guard in case Maje’s humans came home early, and Miss Sabrina was strutting around giving orders to all who would listen. Omar was just content to sit in the floor and see how much mischief was afoot. Magellan was busy filling the bathtub in hopes that in one of the children's rooms he would find a boat to float.

The afternoon found Miss Snowy flipping channels on the television set hoping to see some sports event while she kept Sweetie and Stripes out of the cabinets. El Puma wasn't quite sure what was going on because, with his crossed eyes, he was distracted and overwhelmed. Miss Frankie and her sister, Pixel, were putting little hermit crabs on the kitchen counter for a race and bets would be taken later in the day to see who the winner would be. Nala La was sitting very quietly and being such a lady on the loveseat with her new husband, John Wayne. Chita was strutting about trying to tell all that her spots were originals and that no other cat could wear them with such pomp and circumstance as she. Tony, Precious, Sammy, and Frankie were chasing chickens all over the house and the feathers were flying. Holly and Willow were busy trying to keep Clara on a leash since, if any human heard her bark, they were sure to be alerted that something out of the ordinary was going on. "Wild Willy" Wilson was on top of a very high china cabinet trying to bat at mosquitoes that had come in through the open windows and doors, and Joey Boy was trying to figure out how in the world he had gotten up there. Princess Scooter had claimed the top of the curtain rod and was getting ready to see if backing down by using her claws and the drapes would work. The cavy clan were busy washing vegetables in the kitchen sink knowing full well that no cat would want them so they'd have their own feast. Porch Kitty was trying to mingle and get to know her new friends. Angel King, Freckles, and Tigger were busy downloading computer games for any cat who wanted something tamer to occupy their time. Belle and Sissy were dragging streamers all over the house to make things look festive and hoping beyond hope that their humans would appreciate all their hard work when they returned.

Trying to take this all in, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was just exhausted and was shaking her head in awe of the activity and chaos that was afoot. "Even Sheriff John Wayne and his little brother, Deputy Prescott Seville, can’t keep law and order at this party. I think I'll take my leave while the getting is good," she told Bart, who was quietly reading the current issue of Catsweek. "If any of these revelers get caught in the act, there are going to be a lot of cats in deep trouble before the week is over."

Forget the bus. Furry Purrloin was leaving in her own limo which Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, had provided just for this occasion. She yelled back to the crowd, "I'm like so outta here, gang. Better keep the noise down."

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

March 28, 2002

Could It Be…? Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin arrived at the Wayne residence early for her luncheon date with Sheriff John Wayne and his brothers, all prominent residents of MeowMail Town, and was hoping to get information to do an article about how much shedding was going on, considering the fact that three Maine coons were experiencing warmer weather. The door was open, and John Wayne yelled through the screen for the intrepid Furry Purrloin to come in. Furry Purrloin found John, Harley, Scotty, and Bart sitting in a circle pondering something that must have been important since all their furry foreheads were furrowed.

"What’s up, guys," Furry Purrloin asked, hoping they were deciding where to go for lunch. Furry Purrloin was hungry, as always, since she’d worked up a good appetite on her last investigative assignment.

"Our human mommy put a surprise in the bathroom and shut the door. We are all trying to figure out what she put in there," Scotty informed Furry, since he was the talkative - albeit the youngest -- one in the family.

"What did it look like," Furry Purrloin inquired. "I'm sure we can figure out what it is if we have a good description."

"Didn't look like much that we could see," Harley offered. "Maybe about the size of a baseball."

"Perhaps it was a baseball," Furry Purrloin mused. "Does your Mom usually keep baseballs in the bathroom?"

"No, we've never even known Mommy to own a baseball," John explained. "She’s more of a football fan. Plus, she would need a bat if she was planning to play baseball in the bathroom, wouldn't she? And we didn’t see any bats flying around in there." John Wayne, of course, was the intellectual in the family.

"I know purrfectly well what Mommy put in the bathroom," said Bart, the eldest and most experienced cat in the Wayne clan. "I've seen them before, years ago, when mommy used to bring them into the house from under the redwood deck." During his speech, Bart calmly cleaned his left front paw while his brothers took turns licking his three other paws.

"There, you see, there isn't a mystery after all," Furry Purrloin informed the group. "Bart knows what the surprise is, and I'm sure he'll tell us. Right, Bart?"

"No, he won't tell any of us anything," Scotty countered. "He wants us to learn things on our own. Here’s my guess. I think the surprise is a dust rag that mommy is going to use to clean up the bathroom."

"Scotty, hush," Harley admonished with a swish of his red tail across his little brother’s whiskers. "You’re still such a kitten sometimes. Mom wouldn’t keep a dust rag behind a closed door. Don't you have an imaginary bird to chase or something?"

"Bart," a frustrated Furry Purrloin asked, "would you be so kind as to tell your brothers and me what is in the bathroom so we can go to lunch? The limo is waiting, and I don't know if Ruffles Murdog is planning to let me have his driver for the whole day."

"I've already had my lunch," Bart responded. "It was delicious chicken, and I wasn't planning to join you furs for lunch, but I will tell you what mommy put in the bathroom, anyway. It was Moses," Bart said smugly.

"Yeah, right! Like we're going to believe that," John Wayne uttered under his breath. "Moses is a character from the Bible, and there is no way mom would be putting him in the bathroom."

"Did you see the litterbox go into the bathroom?" Bart asked the group. "Did you see a water dish, a food dish, and a furry little bed? Those are things Moses needs when he comes to visit here. Soon the rest of you will be able to see him. I've already washed his tiny little face."

Furry Purrloin, who always reserved judgment until she had all the facts, wasn’t convinced that Moses was actually in the Wayne’s bathroom. However, whatever was in the bathroom was probably alive. And wouldn’t it be amazing if Moses actually were alive and well and living in Sam’s Clam Disco? Furry Purrloin quickly excused herself from the lunch her interviewees had been planning, explaining, "I'm going to grab some lunch on the run and get back to the Morning Hairball offices to write this up before Mama Mothball gets wind of it. Have a nice lunch, boys." And with that, Furry Purrloin dashed out the door into the waiting limo to head back to work.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

March 8, 2002

King of the Jungle. Pacing outside of the gates of the San Diego Zoo, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin could hardly contain her excitement. She had waited months for this interview with the King of Beasts. He was one of the largest critters of all the cat Kingdom. He was the lion.

The day, Furry Purrloin had received the memo from Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball. She had scribbled it down immediately on her calendar while sipping a cup of Furbuck's catnip tea. All of her equipment, which was state of the art, was fully charged and ready to record her interview. She'd brought along her digital camera in the event that the King would allow photos.

She saw the zookeeper coming at last. Much to her surprise, the zookeeper was a friend of hers, Pack E. Derm, whom she'd interviewed once in reference to an African Safari.

"Pack, how good to run into you again. I had no idea you ran the San Diego Zoo. This is quite a responsibility, although I’m sure you’re up to the challenge. Will you be taking me to interview Dan?"

"Dan? Dan who?" zookeeper Derm asked.

"I'm sure you have more than one Dan in a zoo this size," Furry Purrloin acknowledged, "but the Dan I'm here to chat with is Dan D. Lion."

This reply produced a large smile on zookeeper Derm's face. He covered his mouth with his trunk to hide his smug grin, and so that he wouldn’t laugh in Furry Purrloin’s face.

"Alrighty, Ms. Purrloin. I'll just have our tour guide, Chimp Ann Zee, take you to the botanical gardens," Pack E. Derm explained. "I’m a bit busy with my other zookeeping-type responsibilities today. I’m sure you understand. Chimp Ann, this is my old friend, Furry Purrloin. Furry, I’d like you to meet Chimp Ann."

"How do you do," asked Chimp Ann, holding out a paw.

"Fine thanks and you," Furry Purrloin mumbled, a bit distracted, shaking the chimp’s paw absentmindedly. The botanical gardens? We cats like to nibble wheat grass, and that must be what Dan was doing in the botanical garden. Nibbling wheat grass. Yes, that was it, she decided.

"Would you like to take the path to the botanical garden?" Chimp Ann asked, "or would you rather take a shortcut?"

"What does the shortcut consist of?" Furry Purrloin asked Chimp Ann.

"Just swinging from tree to tree, throughout the zoo grounds," Chimp Ann replied. "It saves about ten minutes, but it's not nearly as scenic."

"Sounds like fun, my friend, but I'm just not dressed for trees today. Let's take the path. Okay?"

Arriving at the botanical garden, Furry Purrloin looked around with wonder at the magnificent organization of the place. Every plant was labeled, and there was so much to see. However, she didn't see a lion. Not a lion, by any name, was in sight. Could Pack E. Derm have been mistaken about the lion’s location?

"Right over here, Ms. Purrloin," Chimp Ann said, as she pointed to a small plot of greenery with bright yellow flowers. "How fortunate that you have visited while they're in bloom."

"Bloom? Whatever is wrong with you, Chimp Ann? Lions don't bloom," Furry Purrloin informed Chimp Ann, wondering if this tour guide needed glasses or perhaps some basic education.

"Your appointment is with the dandelions, Ms. Purrloin. See? These are dandelions," Chimp Ann explained to Furry Purrloin, pointing out the beautiful yellow flowers.

"But, but, but these are weeds, Chimp Ann," Furry Purrloin declared. "I came to interview the King of the Jungle, Dan D. Lion, not a bunch of weeds. Why, weeds can't even talk."

Slowly, a dastardly thought wiggled its way into Furry Purrloin's mind. Could Ruffles Murdog have set her up, knowing how embarrassed she would be when she discovered the true identity of Dan D. Lion? Was this a payback for her large expense account submission surrounding the trip to the Olympics? Could she just crawl under one of the beautiful bushes and become invisible? The quickest way out of this seemed like a trip through the trees after all.

"Bye, bye Chimp Ann. Please thank zookeeper Derm for me," Furry Purrloin yelled back as she scampered up the nearest tree. And to think: Ruffles Murdog had once asked for Furry Purrloin’s paw in marriage. After this, Ruffles Murdog would be lucky if Furry Purrloin agreed to go out to lunch with him!

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 25, 2002

On to Dublin. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin felt as though she'd slept for days. The flight from Salt Lake to Dublin, Ireland was long -- too long. Three meals and two movies too long. She'd gotten on the plane in time for dinner, had a late night snack aboard the plane, and enjoyed breakfast just before deplaning. Ah, those tuna pancakes with mouse butter and salmon syrup were delicious.

Staring out the window to check the weather, Furry Purrloin was thrilled to see no white stuff. No snow at all, just green as far as the eye could see. Okay, back to the Salt Mines. Time for Furry Purrloin to check her schedule and see who she was here to interview.

Hmmmmm, interesting. A Mr. McGillacaudy was on the FAX that Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, had sent her. Who could this be, Furry Purrloin wondered.

Tap, tap, tap.

Tap, tap, tap.

Tap, tap, tap.

Cocking her head to one side, Furry Purrloin tried to locate the source of this noise. It seemed to be coming from the area of the bed. Approaching the bed and preparing to kneel down, Furry Purrloin jumped back three feet when a tiny man, less than two feet tall, appeared from underneath the bed. He was dressed entirely in green, wore a red beard, which matched his hair perfectly. He resembled an elf and had on really high shoes with turned up toes and pointed ears.

Once she had recovered her composure, Furry Purrloin had to ask, "Who or what are you, little creature?" She had asked from a distance, though, because she still didn't dare get too close.

"I am not a little creature, ma'am. I am a leprechaun. Name’s McGillacaudy, if you please."

Furry Purrloin replied by asking, "Could you please explain something to me, Leprechaun McGillacaudy? You appear to be an elf. Is a leprechaun the same thing as an elf, only from a different country?"

"I am not an elf!" McGillacaudy shouted at Furry Purrloin. Of course, since he was just a little guy, he couldn’t shout very loudly. But he tried. "The word ‘leprechaun’ comes from the Irish word 'luchorpan,' which means 'little body,' and you'll be sorry you called me an elf because now I’m not telling you about my pot of gold. I know you're here to interview me, but if you call me an elf again, I can just blink my eyes and disappear. Yes, I will just vanish if you look away, you impudent furry creature."

This leprechaun seemed rather grumpy, Furry Purrloin determined, but the pot of gold did sound interesting. Perhaps he'd tell her more if she tried a softer approach. "Mr. McGillacaudy, I'd be pleased if you'd be so kind as to tell me more, especially about the pot of gold," Furry Purrloin prompted the little mean with her most charming smile, reaching out to touch the leprechaun's shoulder.

"My crock of gold is hidden, and I'll only reveal the location if you capture me, which you won't because I am quite adept at escape. I can get through locks, so change the subject, fuzzy face, or I'm out of here. Got that?" McGillacaudy rattled off at Furry, stamping his tiny foot.

Okay, okay, Furry Purrloin decided. She'd had enough of this cantankerous little man. She was going to terminate this interview immediately.

However, at that moment, Furry Purrloin happened to catch a glimpse of the beautiful view out the window. Yes, it was truly a magnificent view, and it calmed her completely. Turning back to McGillacaudy, she sweetly asked, "Can you please…. "

But he was gone. Poof, just gone. Would Ruffles Murdog know if she spent the rest of her time in Dublin sight seeing? Surely not. She could always invent a fascinating dialogue with a leprechaun that would please Ruffles Murdog. He wasn’t choosy about the accuracy of his reporters’s articles, anyway.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 15, 2002

Furry in Space. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was enjoying the Winter Olympics up to a point. She decided that as long as she stayed in the Olympic Village, where the athletes hang out, she could stay warm and perhaps meet up with some of the celebrities that seem to flock to events such as these. Glancing across the room, she thought she spotted Glenn John, the astronaut and now senator. Yes, that was Mr. John, Furry Purrloin verified with great delight as she decided to scurry right over before he left.

"Excuse me Mr. John, you are Mr. Glenn John the astronaut and Senator aren't you?" Furry Purrloin inquired of the distinguished looking human gentleman.

"Yes, yes I am. I'm surprised that you would recognize me. May I ask who you are?" Mr. John inquired of Furry Purrloin.

"My name is Furry Purrloin, and I’m the Special Guest Reporter for the Daily Scoop. My publisher/editor, Ruffles Murdog, sent me here to report on the Olympics, but I really wanted to visit New Orleans and the Mardi Gras. Would you mind if I interviewed you this afternoon, Mr. John? It might help me overcome my disappointment," Furry Purrloin suggested with her most charming smile lighting up her face.

"Not at all. I love to give interviews. Would you like to talk about my job as a Senator or my previous experience as an astronaut?" Mr. John asked, wrinkling up his bald head.

"I'd really like to know what it was like in outer space. Wasn't it the most thrilling experience of your lifetime, Mr. John? Furry Purrloin asked with her pencil posed to write since she had left her tape recorder back in her room and her laptop was in the shop being fixed.

"I must tell you, Ms. Purrloin, that the juice they served on those flights was awful. You did know that I went into space twice, don't you? All of the food came in little plastic packages and had the consistency of library paste. Being weightless was fun, and gave us quite a thrill to watch the earth pass by out the hatch. That's what we call a window in space talk, in case you didn't know. Apart from that, it was thrilling, and I highly recommend it to any human that can pass the tests," Mr. John elaborated with a voice of experience.

"Is there a space event here at the Olympics? Is that why you're here?" Furry Purrloin again had that question mark pasted on her forehead so that she appeared interested.

"No, I'm here as a participant in the opening of the Olympics and just thought I'd hang around for the free buffet. I understand that they have food from all over the world, and I usually have to eat in the Senate cafeteria. This will be a nice change, and I'm anxious to try the eggplant parmesan from Massachusetts. Doesn't that sound good?" Mr. John asked, pointing toward a buffet table across the chalet.

"Are you telling me that the Senate cafeteria doesn't serve good food, Mr. John? I'd always heard that they import chefs from all over the world and that the food is strictly gourmet," Furry Purrloin said, putting down her notepad and reaching for the cheese puffs that were being passed.

"I don't think I'm allowed to talk about the food in the Senate cafeteria, Ms. Purrloin, but I can talk about the Senate itself. Is there anything you'd like to know about our government?" Mr. John asked with his most serious, senator-like smile.

"No, I already went to the White House and had an interview with President Dubya, and he told me everything I needed to know. Mr. John, do you see who I see across the room? Is that -- can that be -- Steve Youngster? The ex-quarterback for the Sam's Clam Disco Forty Miners?" Furry Purrloin asked while trying to edge closer to the area of the room where the human was standing.

"Yes, I believe that is Mr. Youngster, Ms. Purrloin. Would you like me to take you over and introduce you? I'd be more than happy to do that, and we could all sit at lunch together," Mr. John helpfully offered.

"No, thank you. I’d better handle this interview myself, because I prefer to do one-on-one interviews rather than make it a social event, but I thank you for your kind offer, anyway." And with that, Furry Purrloin scampered across the room toward Steve Youngster for a look into those beautiful blue eyes and hoping to arrange a quiet table for two in a corner of the chalet.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 8, 2002

A New Assignment. As Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin dashed to answer the phone, she tripped over books, puzzles, and her houseguest, Penny. "Oops, sorry Penny. Have you seen the telephone?" Furry Purrloin asked apologetically.

"No, but I can hear it, since it’s currently ringing. Look under the recipe book," Penny suggested, smiling broadly.

Yes, the phone was, in fact, underneath the recipe book, and Furry Purrloin picked up the phone hoping that the caller was still there. She was expecting a call from Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, to get her next assignment. She was so hoping that Ruffles Murdog would be sending her to cover Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and she was excited about the big party there.

"Furry Purrloin, I almost gave up on your answering the phone," Ruffles Murdog said. "I have your next assignment, and I think you're going to be more than pleased with where you'll be going." The excitement was evident in his voice. "The Olympics! The Winter Olympics in Utah! Isn't that just wonderful? I knew you'd be pleased, and we have to keep this under our hats so that Mama Mothball doesn't find out. I know she'd want to drag, er, bring along those two kittens of hers, and we can't afford that much air fare in our travel budget."

"Utah?" Furry Purrloin repeated, dropping down to sit on the sofa in amazement. "This isn't really what I had in mind, Ruffles," Furry Purrloin whined into the phone. "I was hoping to be heading for New Orleans and Mardi Gras where it's sunny and maybe warm -- not flying to Utah where the temperatures never get above thirty degrees this time of year. But, if you say I have to go to Utah, I’ll go. However, I will need a few things, on the expense account of course, for such a cold climate."

"Furry Purrloin, I'm sure that we can afford to get you a nice warm coat if you think that the one you have won't be warm enough. Of course, we wouldn't want you to remove the labels or tags in case we should want to return it once you get back," Ruffles Murdog told his ace reporter in no uncertain terms.

"Well, Ruffles, I'll be needing more than just a new coat. A lot more than just a new coat. I'll need some nice warm thermal boots -- maybe two pairs, in fact, since I'll be outside a lot, and wooly tights to keep my paws warm, of course. Then, let's see, oh yes, a complete ski outfit in case I decide to take some lessons from a good looking teacher, skis, mittens and warm gloves, two mufflers, ear muffs, and a couple of outfits for sitting around the lodge after the Olympic events to warm up and perhaps have some hot catnip juice while interviewing the athletes," Furry Purrloin told Ruffles Murdog. "I'll also need new makeup, of course, to go with the new outfits, a weatherproof voice recorder, and, naturally, my hairdresser will have to come along since a good hairdresser is so hard to find away from home. There are probably more things, but this came as such a shock, er, a surprise that I haven't had time to gather my thoughts," Furry Purrloin explained.

"Furry Purrloin, this is going to cost a fortune. Can't you just pack a small bag and fly out there tonight?" Ruffles Murdog inquired, trying to add up all the dollar signs he had whirling around in his head."

"Of course not! Do you want the Olympic Athletics to think we're a budget publication? When I'm on camera, do you want to see me shivering in my patent leather pumps? Do you know what an important event this is? There will be reporters and cameras there from all over the world," Furry Purrloin tried to explain to Ruffles Murdog, secretly hoping he would cancel the assignment, send Mama Mothball, and let her proceed to New Orleans.

"Okay, okay, head for the mall and pick up the things you'll need, but stop by the consignment store first to see if you can save some money by getting the ski equipment used, at least," Ruffles Murdog pleaded. "Your flight is late tonight, and I'm going to book your hotel reservation after I hang up the phone, so you'd better scoot."

Furry Purrloin flew out the door leaving Penny sitting and wondering what this emergency was all about. Penny was also wondering how she was going to get to the airport for her flight home. Furry Purrloin, of course, was heading straight for the mall. There’d be no consignment stores for her. She was planning to go to the Olympics "first class."

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 1, 2001

 

How Does Her Garden Grow? Since Mama Mothball is shopping at the mall, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin will be filling in for her today.

Molly Colleen was so angry. Her friend, John Wayne, would probably say she had her pantaloons in a pile. How could her Mom make this appointment for her without consulting her first -- and with an animal behaviorist, no less! She thought the so-called animal behaviorist was probably only a cat psychologist who’d try to get into her head and see what her motives were for doing just what she thought was right.

When Molly arrived, the office looked okay: lots of lovely chairs and climbing things with floral prints. Oh, the very sight of floral prints made her want to... well, er--it was probably best to not think about that now, because she had a feeling that the floral prints had something to do with why she was here. She decided, instead, to read the diplomas on the wall and see if this doctor was really qualified to even treat her problem -- on the off chance that there was a problem.

"Good morning, Molly. My name is Dr. P. P. Pottywell. Would you like to step into my inner office and make yourself comfortable?" the doctor said after he had nearly scared her fur off opening the door so quickly.

"Good morning, doctor. I'm already quite comfortable, thank you. I really resent the fact that I'm even here in view of the fact that I have no problems to discuss with you. I think it's my Mom who has the problem," Molly said.

"Hmmmmm, let me see here," Dr. Pottywell muttered under his breath. "It looks like you are having a problelm. Your Mom has stated here that she keeps finding wet spots on her bed and she believes you are responsible. Do you deny responsibility for these wet spots?"

"No, doctor, I take full responsibility for the wet spots. You see, there is a comforter on that bed that has such beautiful flowers on it. They are various colors with leaves, and there is even soil under the leaves. It is really so much like a real garden that when I see it I just get the urge to, well, er, to put it in a delicate manner, make a wet spot there. I just haven't found a way to dig a hole in the comforter and to cover the wet spot up. So you see there is no problem. May I go now?" Molly asked quite politely.

"No, no, no, Molly. We have to find out why you have this desire to use this almost lifelike flower garden rather than your litterbox," Dr. Pottywell explained. "You do have a litterbox, don't you?"

"Yes, quite a lovely litterbox, if I do say so myself. It has heat and air-conditioning, and a nice shag carpet in a soft green color. It cleans itself so I never have to worry about finding it soiled, but it just doesn't have any flowers," Molly confessed to the doctor.

"Ah ha! I think we have gotten to the root of your problem. You want flowers! I am so smart that sometimes I just have to stand up and pat myself on the back. Don't you agree I'm the smartest doctor you've ever met?" Dr. Pottywell chanted while prancing around his desk.

"Doctor, may I go now that we've solved my so-called problem?" Molly asked, becoming quite impatient with Dr. Pottywell and his over inflated ego.

"No, of course not. Your Mom is paying me quite handsomely for my time. If I solve your problem in just the few minutes, you've been here it will cut into my revenue source severely. Let's just see if you don't have another small problem that I can solve for you," the doctor suggested, still prancing around his desk.

Dr. Pottywell was so engrossed in patting himself on the back that he didn't notice Molly silently opening the door and inching out only to dash like crazy once she reached the outer office. She'd fix her Mom good once she got home, because she had a feeling that those flowers on the comforter needed lots of watering, yes, lots and lots of watering.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

January 25, 2001

Interview with Bart. Glancing down at her calendar, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin realized that today was the day she had marked down for her interview with Bartholomeow. This was curious she thought, since she was told by Mama Mothball that Bart didn't give interviews. Well, it was probably just an oversight on Mama Mothball's part so she decided that she better get moving in order to be there on time. She had heard that Bart was quite particular about cats and humans being late for anything.

Entering the front door Furry Purrloin was greeted by John Wayne, who was an old friend, and they hugged enthusiastically. "John, my interview is with Bart, so I thought he would be answering the door himself," Furry Purrloin exclaimed.

"Bart never answers the door himself. He wouldn't lower himself to do such a menial task when he has us Maine Coons at his beck and call. He almost always stays upstairs until he's sure it's a visitor that he wants to entertain," John explained. "I'll just saunter up and get him for you. Make yourself comfortable, because this may take a few minutes."

In just a very few seconds, Bart descended the stairs looking quite royal, his tail held high with just the cutest question mark shape at the very end. Furry Purrloin had never seen Bart up close and didn't realize how regally he carried himself. Now she wished she had brought her photographer, Snap Upshot, with her.

"Good afternoon, Ms. Purrloin. How charming you look today. I'm so happy to meet you at last. I've read almost everything you've written, which you should consider a compliment, because I had to fit it in between my Astronomy study and the Biophysics class I'm taking. Now what kind of information can I enlighten you with today?" Bart queried the reporter.

"Bart, just exactly what is it you do around here? The other guys -- John, Harley, and Scotty -- seem to hold you in the highest esteem, but I'm not sure just what you're job description is," Furry Purrloin pondered with serious wonder.

"There are just too many job objectives to mention in one interview, but I'll try to sum up a few for you. Let's see, hmmmmmmmmm, I have to open all the lower cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms every day. A totally thankless job, however, since my Mom comes right along behind me and shuts them each morning. I've told her that they need airing out but does she listen? Human's can be so obstinate. I always screen all the food that we eat. You know Mom will try to buy lots of one kind just because I express pleasure in one can. This goes back to being obstinate; one can does not a feast make you know."

"Do you ever have to cat-sit your younger brothers, Bart?" Furry Purrloin asked, realizing that Bart was the eldest in the house.

"Cat-sit? Now that you mention it, my duties in that field are enormous. For years, my Mom has brought kittens into my house and fully expected me not only to cat-sit them, but also to nurture them if they were very tiny, and this involves washing and lots of cuddling. I've had to show these silly Coons where everything in the house is when they were kittens, what they are allowed to play with and nap on that hasn't been claimed by me," Bart expounded with a silly Siamese grin on his face. "The teaching process is endless in this field. Why, just the other day, Scotty thought that he got the front row seat to view the birds through the window. I set him straight about that right away by laying down right on top of him. He's actually quite soft and nice to snuggle with," Bart explained.

"Do you give many interviews to other reporters?" Furry Purrloin wanted to know since Mama Mothball had told her that Bart never gave interviews.

"You are the first to date, Ms. Purrloin," Bart informed Furry Purrloin. "I have much too much to tend to and learn about to sit around giving interviews to reporters who are only interested in picking my brain for information. As a matter of fact, this is coming up on the hour I have reserved for holding down the sherpa pad on my Mom's bed. She will be so distressed if I don't show up on time. Then she'll whistle and expect me to show up immediately, which I usually do just to pacify her. It has been nice chatting with you, and perhaps you would like to join my new language class. I'll be teaching ancient languages to a few choosen friends."

Furry Purrloin saw John coming back to show her to the door and proceeded to put her notebook and pencil away. She could clearly see that Bart was finished with the interview, and she certainly didn't want to sign up for any class in ancient languages. Next time though…next time she would be better prepared to delve into the Siamese mind and come up up with the answers to the secrets of the Universe.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

January 18, 2001

Gone With the Whining. Mama Mothball is on assignment at the mall today, so Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin is filling in for her. Here is Furry Purrloin’s column:

MeowMail Town’s own Belle made her entrance at the top of the long spiral, velvet covered staircase. She was wearing a fashionable hoop skirt made of green velvet and was in perfect costume for the part she was trying out for the role of Scarlett O'Hairy. At the bottom of the spiral staircase stood Magellan wearing a black mourning coat with long tails and looking quite handsome and debonair. Magellan was trying out for the part of Rhett Scuttlebutt in the upcoming production of "Gone With the Whining." What a lovely couple they made!

With a slam and a bang, a door flew open and in dashed Sabrina from stage left. Poor Sabrina did look a sight. Her fur was standing on end, her sneakers were unlaced, and her sweat clothes full of lint and miscellaneous holes. She appeared to have some kind of purple goop in her fur, but that was perhaps intentional or in style right now. "What may I ask are you doing in my costume, Belle?" Sabrina shrieked in a not-too-ladylike voice.

"This is not your costume," Belle replied quite modestly. "I was the first one here for the tryouts, so I naturally got into costume for the part of Scarlett O'Hairy. If you hadn't stayed out so late partying with Snookums, we could have drawn straws or some such thing for dibs on the costume." And with that comment, Belle swished around billowing the hoop skirt out even more.

"Ladies, ladies, please calm down," Purrcy yelled, banging his shoe on the back of one of the theater seats. "All will have a turn at the tryouts for this part, and there are other roles that I'm casting today. Maybe one of you will play the part of Melody. Melody is just as lovely as Scarlett O’Hairy and so demure."

"I don't want to be Melody," Sabrina yelled back at Purrcy. "I want to play opposite Magellan. We all know that Scarlett O'Hairy is the real star of the play, and I don't want to be second cat here."

"If you two, especially you Sabrina, don't quiet things down, Mama Mothball will hear all of this and she'll come in here dragging her two daughters, Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball, or whatever their names are, and she'll demand a part for them. We all know that they are spoiled brats, and I won't be able to work with them. They can't take any kind of direction and never show up on time," Purrcy explained to the two hopeful stars of the play.

"You wanted Snowy for the part all along, and I know that's true," bellowed Sabrina. "You are just so upset because she missed her flight from Hawaii that you are casting Belle in the part to show Snowy who's boss. This is not fair."

"I'll be quite happy to let Sabrina try out first," Belle stated, "but I really think we'll have to have this costume altered some because Sabrina is a bit more fluffy around the middle than I am. Is there a dressmaker in the theater?"

With that, Sabrina picked up a candlestick and tossed it up the long, spiral staircase, nearly hitting Magellan. She turned on her paw and quite emphatically stated, "Purrsonally, Belle, I don't give a darn," and slammed out of the theater.

Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin's alarm clock went off at exactly the same time as the candlestick hit the banister on the stairway. Thank goodness this was only a bad dream -- a really bad dream -- and Furry Purrloin got up and dashed for the shower.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

January 12, 2002

Whoda Dancers. The big gold invitation was right in the middle of Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin's desk. How curious, Furry Purrloin thought. The return address said, "Les Chateau Femme Chats." What in the world was Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin invited to? A wedding? The best way - no, the only - way to find out was to open it, so that's just what she did.

"Les Chateau Femme Chats proudly, and with great pleasure, invites you to attend a dance recital performed by none other than the Whoda ladies: Chantilly, Lacey, Isabella, and Tazmaine," the invitation stated.

Furry Purrloin did a happy cat dance. This was surely the event of the season, and how in the world could she be so lucky as to receive an invitation? She was sure that neither Mama Mothball nor Ruffles Murdog had gotten one. They would have mentioned it, and Mama Mothball certainly would have been at the mall shopping for a new outfit to wear.

Furthermore, in her kittenhood, Furry Purrloin had studied to be a prima ballerina. She only gave up the dream of dancing professionally when she realized she looked positively silly with her upswept hairdo. But she had never lost her great love for the ballet and jumped at any chance she could find to attend shows and interview ballerinas.

Therefore, Furry Purrloin decided that she had best dash right over to Les Chateau Femme Chats and see if she could get an interview with the Whodas before the show started.

Furry Purrloin entered the grand old Chateau and saw all four of the Whoda girls on stage getting ready for their performance. Chantilly was attired in a beautiful sable and ivory costume, pearls and blue topaz that made her eyes an even more piercingly blue. Lacey wore completely black, quite elegant and sleek, with a simple diamond around her neck. Isabella was attired entirely in white, and looked as pure as the driven snow. Miss Tazmaine was wearing Fall colors, quite tasteful and no jewelry at all.

"Miss Isabella, may I ask you a few questions about the recital this evening?" Furry Purrloin put forth.

"Oh, hi, Furry. Sure, just as soon as I chase down my sister, Tazmaine, and see if we can't get her to stop playing jokes on those of us who want to rehearse," Isabella replied, standing back and just fondly shaking her head over Tazmaine's antics.

Furry Purrloin took this opportunity to have a word, and perhaps ask a few questions, of Miss Lacey. "I see you are all dressed in black for the performance. Is there a special character you wish to portray?" Furry inquired.

"Hello, Ms. Purrloin. I was sort of hoping that by being dressed black, I wouldn't stand out too much. I'd really like to get in a nap before the performance," Lacey explained. "I also heard that there will be a pre-show buffet offered, so I'd like to keep my eyes and ears alert to that situation. I'll be dancing the Samba for the performance and it takes a lot of energy," Lacey informed Furry Purrloin. " I've brought my basket to the Chateau just for the purpose of napping, if I can ever get some peace and quiet."

In the meantime, Furry Purrloin skipped over to Miss Chantilly since she appeared to be the most calm and in control of the situation. "Miss Chantilly, I have never seen you look more elegant. What dance will you be performing tonight? Furry Purrloin asked.

"Oh, hello dear. I'll be dancing the waltz. These fast dances seem to ruffle my fur in the wrong direction and are not as graceful as I would like. Have you noticed the way my sister, Tazmaine, is flitting all over the stage? Every time I ask her to settle down, she just opens her mouth and gapes at me without saying a word. I think she'll be dancing some kind of jitterbug or something just as rowdy," Chantilly gracefully and quite tastefully elaborated to Furry Purrloin.

"Maybe I can help all of you with your sister, Tazmaine," Furry Purrloin offered, dashing across the stage to where Miss Tazmaine was enjoying peering at herself in the mirror and making funny faces.

"Miss Tazmain,e may I have a few seconds of your time? I'd really like to know how this all came about? How long have you and your sisters been dancing? And where did you acquire that beautiful, multicolored costume?" Furry Purrloin fired away at Tazmaine to divert her attention away from the mirror.

"Oh, I just love to talk, but I can't remember all those questions. Could you repeat them for me, please? I only have a few minutes because Chantilly and I have an appointment to do each other’s makeup for the recital." And, with that, Tazmaine continued to stare into the mirror and make those silly faces. Furry Purrloin got the impression that Taz hadn't heard a word she had said, and she could see that all the Whoda girls were quite busy in their own way. Perhaps she would just come back at the appointed time on the invitation and enjoy the recital, and write her article afterward.

As Furry Purrloin was about to exit the theater, heading for the rear doors to the auditorium, she heard a familiar voice. Could that be? Could it? Yes, it was Mama Mothball asking directions to the local hat store. Sneaking quietly around to the fire exit, Furry Purrloin hurried to the Morning Hairball offices to start her article before Mama Mothball found out what was really going on in that magnificent theater.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

January 4, 2001

Coming Out Party. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was just as pleased as punch to be invited to the Bunchies’s house for an interview with Ms. Scooter. Of course, Furry Purrloin had interviewed Ms. Scooter before, but that had to do with decorations, and it was via telephone. Now she was invited to Ms. Scooter’s "coming out" party, and she’d heard that Ms. Scooter was making biscuits. Making biscuits? How does a cat do that?

After being admitted to Ms. Scooter’s lovely home, the observant Furry Purrloin noticed that Ms. Scooter answered the door herself. Last interview, Ms. Scooter was still living in her private palace in the lower reaches of the castle.

"Ms. Scooter, I see you are upstairs now. What a lovely surprise! Is this because of your "coming out" party?" Furry Purrloin inquired of Ms. Scooter.

"Actually, I have decided to make my main quarters upstairs because I love to sneak up behind my mommy when she's calling downstairs to give me treats and she doesn't know that I'm right behind her. I just love keeping the house safe from bugs, spiders, and various critters during the night, but I've decided to switch to the day shift for a while. Also, I've heard that there is whipped cream available at times for little Wilson, so I want to be upstairs to be sure to get my share," Scooter elaborated in her most wonderful feminine voice.

Furry Purrloin was impressed. "Ms. Scooter, I heard that you were making biscuits. Please tell me about this, because I just love mousie biscuits and I could make them for the whole Morning Hairball office. Well, maybe not for Mama Mothball, since she could stand a bit of a low fat diet for a while after the holidays. And not for Ruffles Murdog, since once he starts eating, he can’t stop. But I’d be glad to make them for my other Morning Hairball colleagues," Furry Purrloin said with a giggle in her voice.

"I'll tell you how it is, Ms. Purrloin," Scooter explained. "I have not been making biscuits at all. I prefer to lay on my back and knead my paws in the air to wave at all the cat fairies up on the ceiling. My mommy says she thinks that I'm making biscuits. She just loves it when I do this. Also, sometimes I chirp for her, because I know she loves to hear me do that. I learned that from the birdies outside," Ms. Scooter uttered in her very feminine, feline voice.

"Ms. Scooter, on another topic, please tell me how you like having a little brother. I hear that he was named Wilson after the bridge he was discovered hiding on," Furry Purrloin put forth.

"Ms. Purrloin, I just don't know what we Bunchies are going to do with that little mischief man -- who, by the way, isn't so little anymore. He just loves to wrestle with my other brother, Joey. And Joey doesn't care for this at all. Joey is a Siamese, you know, and quite dignified, so wrestling isn't his cup of tea. Oh, speaking of tea, would you like to have a cup of catnip tea with me while we chat? I'm trying to get the hang of this entertaining business, " Scooter so graciously asked.

"I'd love to some other time, Ms. Scooter, but right now I have to get back to my office and clarify this biscuit thing. Plus, I sorta got hungry for biscuits, so I'm going to see if Nala has any in the oven. My friend, John Wayne, has been bragging recently about his domestic life with his wife, Nala." And with this, Furry Purrloin started for the door and was tackled by a magnificent white cat who just wanted to give her a parting hug.

"And who are you, Mr. Magnificent White Cat?" asked Furry Purrloin, temporarily disengaging herself from the bouncing feline.

Mr. Magnificent White Cat giggled, and his voice suddenly sounded familiar.

"Why it isn’t -- could it be -- are you the Bunchies’s own little Wilson?" asked Furry Purrloin.

At that, Mr. Magnificent White Cat gleefully bounced into Furry Purrloin’s extended paws. The two friends hugged each other so warmly, and for so long, that Furry Purrloin nearly missed her Daily Scoop deadline.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

December 28, 2001

North Pole. The plane was making a landing at the North Pole for refueling, and Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was staring out the window daydreaming about her most recent vacation. She dreaded returning to work since she didn't know how ornery Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball (and, by extension, the Daily Scoop), was going to feel about her since she had turned down his marriage proposal.

All at once, in Furry Purrloin's line of sight appeared a whole herd of reindeer. How interesting, Furry Purrloin thought. Reindeer really do live at the North Pole. Upon closer observation, she noticed that a jolly, fat, bearded person, dressed all in red, was putting out food for the reindeer. My goodness, she told herself, this was the same person that she had spoken with at the mall. Yes, she was sure it was. And, that being the case, these reindeer must be the ones who "supposedly" pulled his sleigh.

Furry Purrloin knocked on the plane’s cockpit door. She was sure that her friend, Mr. Woodstock, was the pilot. And, since they were such close friends, perhaps she could talk him into letting her get off the plane just long enough to interview the reindeer. What an interesting article this would make, and Mama Mothball would never be able to top it!

"Yes," came a voice from the cockpit in response to the knock.

"Mr. Woodstock, it's me, Furry, Furry Purrloin, Special Guest Reporter from the Daily Scoop. I was wondering if I could have just a minute of your time," Furry Purrloin begged.

Mr. Woodstock, in his bright yellow uniform, greeted Furry Purrloin with a very big hug as soon as he had opened the cockpit door. "Furry, I wasn't aware you were on the plane. How nice to see you. Can I help you with something? Maybe some extra catnip or roasted furry mice? That's what they're serving in first class today."

"Yes, I know," Furry Purrloin acknowledge, rubbing her pleasantly full belly. "The furry mice were especially good today. Actually, I was really hoping that you could open the plane’s door just long enough for me to scoot over and ask those reindeer a few questions. I really need an article to get me started my first day back at work," Furry Purrloin pleaded with a twinkle in her eyes.

"Certainly, no problem. But please only take a few minutes," Mr. Woodstock said, "since we have to take off again just as soon as they finish refueling the plane."

Furry Purrloin needed no further encouragement. Dashing up to the reindeer, Furry's first question was, "Excuse me, Mr. Reindeer, but may I ask you how you got your name?"

"My name is Dancer, and it's pretty self explanatory. When I'm not moonlighting for Santa Claws, I'm a dancer on Broadway. Last play I was in was ‘Cats,’ and I played the part of a dancing tree," the reindeer stated while he pranced all over the field.

The next reindeer Furry Purrloin encountered was asked the same question. "And your name is Dasher, so are you a dancer also?" Furry Purrloin asked taking her tape recorder out of her jacket.

"Of course I'm not a dancer. I run relay races, and I'm the fastest reindeer in the United States today. That's why Santa likes to use me for his sleigh -- I'm fast, really fast."

"And Vixen, that's an interesting name," Furry Purrloin murmured under her breath. "Where did you acquire such an unusual name?"

"I'm nothing but a big flirt. Ask the others. I'm the only female reindeer here, and I like to flirt with all the others. It keeps them paying attention, since I get to live here at the North Pole year round, and most of the others don't."

"Comet, I bet I can guess the origin of your name. Are you always cleaning bathrooms or something?" Furry Purrloin giggled her way through this question.

"Of course not. I'm an astrologer. How do you think Santa finds his way around the earth. He can hardly see anything with that fuzzy face of his," the reindeer said.

"Cupid! I bet you are a real sweetie or a matchmaker, right?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"Almost, Ms. Purrloin. I'm not really into matchmaking, but I was born on St. Valentine’s Day. Guess that's how I got my name, but I'm not really sure."

Only two more reindeer to go, and Furry Purrloin had to hurry. It sounded to her like the plane was starting its engines.

"And, sir, your name is….?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Blitzen. That's my name, Wolf Blitzen. I acquired that name during the Golf War to go undercover, since it sound rather rakish. I've always wanted to be a reporter, like you," Wolf Blitzen admitted.

Just one more reindeer that Furry Purrloin could spot, and it wasn’t the one with the red nose. Apparently, Rudolph wasn't here.

"And your name is Donder? I believe that's what I heard," Furry Purrloin stated.

"No, my name is actually Donner, but it seems that the others like to call me Donder head, so it sort of stuck with me. I'm mostly totally clueless about what we're doing here, but if it's fun, I'll go along," said the reindeer.

Furry Purrloin turned just in time to see the jet engines revving up full blast and the plane starting to roll down the runway. Making a fast turn, she started chasing the plane hoping that Mr. Woodstock would see her racing behind and stop the plane to pick her up. Oh my goodness, she so didn't want to spend the night at the North Pole. There were no five star hotels there that served furry mice.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

December 7, 2001

 

Twins’s No-No Tree. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was sitting and admiring the new executive desk that Ruffles Murdog had just had delivered for her personal use when the telephone rang. "Oh, drat," she thought. "I did so want to get my new executive desk organized before I wrote my next article. Well, I suppose it will have to wait a few minutes." Furry Purrloin reluctantly picked up the telephone and curtly identified herself: "Purrloin."

"Hi, is this Furry Purrloin?" the caller inquired.

Furry Purrloin sighed. "No. It’s Mama Mothball. Of course it’s Furry Purrloin. Now what can I do for you?"

"This is Tommy, one of the MeowMail Twins, and I'm calling you with a hot news item for your next article. My brother, Kato, was too shy to call, but that's okay, because he usually forgets what he was supposed to call about, anyway."

"Well, Tommy Twin, I really appreciate this," Furry Purrloin gushed. "May I ask what the hot item is?"

"Get ready, Furry Purrloin, because it’s big. Real big. We have our very first Christmas tree at our place! At least that's what our Mom said it was. But we strongly suspect it’s not a Christmas tree at all. We think it might be a ‘no, no’ tree. Have you ever heard of those?" Tommy Twin ran on breathlessly.

"I can't say that I have, Tommy Twin, unless it’s a character from the new Howard Pawzer and the Enchanted Goldfish movie. Could you explain it in more detail so that I can get a mental picture of a ‘no, no’ tree?" Furry Purrloin pleaded, a question mark beginning to form between her blue eyes.

"Well," Tommy Twin went on, "our mom put up this really neat little tree. It has lights and all kinds of cat toys hanging on it. They are just dangling there for us, and clearly, we’re supposed to bat at and play with them. But every time we get anywhere close to the little tree, mom yells, ‘no, no.’ Kato and I are beginning to think that the tree is for the little human who sometimes comes here to visit and not for us at all. We're waiting for the little human’s next visit to see if she also tells him ‘no, no.’ Well, I'm waiting. Kato is sleeping in the bathtub. But, when he’s finished sleeping in the bathtub, he’ll wait, too." Here, Tommy Twin had to pause for breath.

"How do you two propose to ever enjoy this so-called "Christmas Tree" if you can't get anywhere near it," Furry Purrloin wondered aloud.

"This is the plan, Ms. Purrloin, but you must not write about it until after we’ve accomplished the deed, okay?" Tommy Twin asked.

"Okay, Tommy Twin," Furry Purrloin promised, sliding out her keyboard in preparation for writing the article about the "no, no" tree.

"The next time mom has to go out to do some business or shopping, or pursue her social life, Kato and I plan to remove the dangling toys so we can get a better look at the tree and see just what makes it such a taboo item. Kato will unplug the wire thing first to be sure that no one can see us while we do this. Then we'll put the things back on the tree where we want them, and when mom gets near it, we'll just meow ‘no, no’ at her. That will make it truly our tree, don't you think?" Tommy Twin eagerly asked.

"Sounds like a plan to me, Tommy Twin," Furry Purrloin agreed, trying to hide her giggles. She had a feeling that Tommy Twin and Kato Twin were going to be in very big trouble after this escapade. In fact, perhaps it would be a public service if she tried to hurry and get that article out to warn their mom.

"Thanks for the phone call, Tommy Twin. Any time you come across another hot item like this, I would really appreciate your sharing it with me. I especially appreciate the opportunity to find out about things before my competitor - that is, my colleague - Mama Mothball gets her grubby paws on the information. Happy holidays, and thanks again," Furry Purrloin concluded.

Oh boy, this was juicy. Furry Purrloin spent a few minutes debating whether to call the MeowMail Twins’s mom or just write the article. She decided to go with the article so she could straighten out her new desk. Ah, life was good.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

November 29, 2001

Furry Meets a Troll. Strolling through the mall wasn't Special Guest reporter Furry Purrloin's idea of a good time, but she really needed to get a holiday gift for Mama Mothball, and she was leaning toward buying her a new hat. Furry Purrloin had all kinds of pictures in her head of the kind of hat she was shopping for, but almost anything was better than what Mama Mothball was wearing at present.

As she turned the corner to head toward the hat shop, she noticed a whole long line of little trolls. They seemed to be lined up in front of some kind of a holiday village and were disappearing one at a time into the small doorway.

Hmmmm, Furry Purrloin said to herself. What could be going on here? Could these trolls be the elves that she had heard so much about? Were these the critters who made toys for children during the holiday season? She decided she’d better check it out.

Approaching one troll who stood in the middle of the line, Furry Purrloin began, "Excuse me, little troll. May I ask you a question?"

"I am not a troll, whatever that is, and you may ask a question, but I doubt I'll know the answer. I'm only six years old," the small troll said in a rather squeaky voice.

Furry Purrloin was not to be thwarted. "Are you one of the elves that Santa Claws hires to make toys during the holiday season for small humans?" she asked.

"I am not an elf. Can't you see that I am a small human?" the troll replied.

"But I don't understand. Why are there so many of you all lined up in a row, waiting to enter that little holiday village. Isn't that the workshop where the toys are made?" Furry Purrloin inquired with a perplexed look on her furry face.

"We are standing here in line waiting to talk to Santa Claws, ma'am. We are not planning to make any toys. We are planning to ask Santa Claws to bring us toys, lots of toys," the troll explained with a rather indignant smirk on his face.

"Then please tell me what you do to deserve toys at this time of year. I always thought that special things like toys had to be earned or purchased," Furry Purrloin wondered aloud in her most patient voice.

"We don't gotta do nothin'," the little troll replied. We just get toys from Santa Claws because we're human children. We are not trolls, We are not elves. We are children. And, being children, we deserve toys. Our parents could never buy all the toys we want, so we wait until the holiday season and ask Santa Claws for new toys," the troll informed Furry Purrloin impatiently.

"Do you always get everything that you ask Santa Claws for?" Furry Purrloin asked, hoping that the little troll didn't get inside the door of the village before he could answer.

"Well, this year, I'm only asking Santa Claws for a kitten. I want a kitten of my very own to play with and love and take for walks and teach tricks and all that stuff. Now do you get it?" At this point, the little troll was becoming a bit surly, and Furry Purrloin decided she best continue with her hat shopping and leave the troll to whatever duties he had in mind.

So she walked away, musing about her conversation with the troll. Now who would believe that you could just ask Santa Claws for toys and such, and he delivers? Furry Purrloin found that quite difficult to believe. But she knew it must be true, because the little troll had said so.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

November 16, 2001

Welcome to Puerto Rico. As the plane circled over beautiful Puerto Rico, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was amazed that the island was only one hundred miles long and thirty miles wide.  She was able to see the whole island from the air. How exciting!  She was wishing that she had been able to reach the great El Puma, a native of Puerto Rico, before she had taken though, because El Puma wasn't expecting her and she did hate to just show up unannounced to check on the progress of the MeowMail Mommies who were visiting him.  Oh well. Even if Furry Purrloin didn’t get to meet with the great El Puma himself, at least she would enjoy some sun and get to see some new places to write about.

Arriving at the door of the great El Puma's house, Furry Purrloin knocked and prayed that her visit wouldn't be taken the wrong way.  She didn't want the great El Puma to think she was just being nosy or trying to get an all-expenses-paid vacation. She was, of course. But she didn’t want the great El Puma to think so.

"El, how wonderful to see you,"  Furry Purrloin gushed, hoping to overwhelm him with friendliness and familiarity.

"Excuse me, do I know you?" the great El Puma asked with furrowed brow and crinkled whiskers.

"I'm Furry Purrloin, Special Guest reporter for the Morning Hairball, and I'm here to track the MeowMail mommies for our vast number of interested furry readers," Furry Purrloin explained.

"I was just having my afternoon siesta, but I can point you in the right direction to locate them, I think.  Puerto Rico is where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet, so they should be somewhere in that location," the great El Puma said with a yawn.

"El, could you be a little bit more specific?  I do need to catch a plane back to the Morning Hairball offices tonight to get this article written," Furry Purrloin pleaded with her biggest smile overflowing to her wavering whiskers.

"You could try one of the city's beaches. Let's see. There’s Condado, Ocean Park, or Isla Verde.  There's windsurfing, Hobie Cats, paddleball, and usually a barbecue going on with lots of Salsa and Merengue music," the great El Puma suggested, scratching his chocolate colored ear.

"I was thinking that being MeowMail Mommies, they would be more interested in some museums and culture," Furry Purrloin replied. "Can you direct me to anyplace like that?"

"Okay, go across the lagoon.  There is Santurce which is the home of the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, which is brand new.  It has a sculpture garden that traces the remarkable 500 year history of Puerto Rico," the great El Puma elaborated with another very large yawn.

"Any idea how I can get there?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"Well, mi amiga, I’ve never actually been there myself. Also, I’ve never been to any of those other places we’ve been chatting about. I’m far too busy being great to travel. But I understand there is an excellent expressway system that makes it possible to circumnavigate the island in a matter of hours.  Also, you might want to stop in Bayamon and Caguas, which are reputedly some of the best shopping centers on the island.  Also Plaza las Americas, which is a large shopping mall.  If you go there, take the urban train, which we like to call ‘Tren Urbano,’ or urban train," the great El Puma so graciously furthered his explanation.

"Okay, I'm off to track them down.  This should be an exciting article for all our avid readers.  Would you like to come with me?  You could sort of act as a tour guide, since I don't speak Spanish,"  Furry Purrloin explained, halfway pleading with El Puma. “Plus, I have a tendency to get lost a lot.”

"Sorry to say no, Ms. Purrloin, but you have interrupted my siesta. And if I don't get my nap, I'll be one grouchy Siamese, and I do have to abide all these talkative humans later.  You just run along now, and I'm sure you'll be fine.  Adios."

Furry Purrloin dashed off to locate a local taxi cab and hoped that the driver could take her to all the places in her notes and that she'd get some interesting items to pick up as gifts for Mama Mothball and her kittens, Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball.  They would most likely be green with envy over this assignment. Alas. Only the most talented reporters get the coveted assignments in MeowMail Town.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

October 19, 2001

Decoration Committee. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin had just got wind of a rumor that Miss Scooter was elected to do the decorating for the MeowMail Town Halloween party. Either that, or she was downwind from Mama Mothball, and she couldn't decide which.  One phone call would solve this curious question that was dancing around in her mind.

"Hello, may I speak to Miss Scooter, please? " Furry asked when Wilson answered the phone at the Bunch house.

"Sure, just a second. I have to go get her.  She's down in the basement right now taking inventory, I believe," Wilson replied in his cute little kitten voice.

"Hello," Miss Scooter said into the phone in her soothing voice. "I'm really busy.  I hope that you aren't selling something over the phone.  I have to get my decorations together for a party."
 
"No, no Miss Scooter. I'm not selling anything. This is Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin, and I heard that you were elected to do the decorating for the Halloween Party in MeowMail Town.  Is this a rumor, or is it true?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Yes, that's quite true, Ms. Purrloin.  I've just brought up a carton full of decorations.  Let's see. I have some silver bells, red bows, holly, artificial snow, and some red and green candles," Miss Scooter said, going through the carton as she was talking.

"But I thought it was a Halloween party, Miss Scooter.  Those sound a lot like Christmas decorations to me. Are you just bringing them up from the basement early?"  Furry Purrloin asked with wonder in her voice.

"Halloween?  Oh, my dear goodness!  Yes, you are right!" Miss Scooter exclaimed. "These will never do.  I'll just go down and replace them with another carton of the correct decorations.  Can you hang on for a few minutes?"  she asked.

"Sure, happy to do so," Furry Purrloin replied. Privately, she thought perhaps she had interrupted Miss Scooter's decoration gathering and confused her with the phone call.

"Here we go.  I've got the right ones this time.  Let's just check to be sure.  I've got little paper doilies, some red hearts with arrows going through them, a couple of cute little cupid dolls, and some candy Red Hots,"  Miss Scooter mused, once again seeming to take inventory while talking.

"Ah, Miss Scooter, may I ask if you've ever been to a Halloween Party?"  Furry Purrloin asked.

"No, I don't attend many parties.  I have so much work to do keeping the basement rodent-free, organizing all of the decorations, dusting, and trying to find a way to sneak up the stairs without being noticed.  I just can't fit parties into my schedule, it seems," Miss Scooter explained to Furry Purrloin.

"I think if you'll go back down there, you might find another carton with decorations painted in Fall colors.  Why not try one more time?"  Furry Purrloin hinted, not wanting to seem insistent.

"Okay, this one's it!" Miss Scooter enthused, when she returned once again from the basement. "Whew, I never realized when I got elected to this job that the cats were going to be so particular about which decorations we used.  Now I have here some shamrocks, some little elf looking creatures, and…."

"Miss Scooter, stop!  Those decorations are for another holiday.  I think it's called St. Patrick's Day.  Those aren't Fall colors, they are almost all green," Furry Purrloin insisted.  "Oh, this visual telephone that Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, had installed for her was wonderful.  She was able to accomplish more and more of her work from her desk. Perhaps, one day, she'd never have to leave it to chase a story out in the field."

"This is the last trip, and the last carton, Ms. Purrloin.  I hope these will do for the party, because I'm not going back down to the basement again today.  There are some pumpkins, black cats, witches, a bale of hay, spider webs and spiders, just to name a few things.  Can I get these things put up and arranged, or do you have more questions for me?"  Miss Scooter asked with exasperation.

"Miss Scooter, you've solved my dilema and yes, I'll leave you to get started on the decorations.  Those are perfect, and I strongly suggest that you attend the party yourself.  I guarantee you'll have a wonderful time."  And, on that note Furry Purrloin hung up the phone and headed over to Ruffles Murdog's desk to thank him for her new phone.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

October 12, 2001

Season of the Witch. Passing by the local Pet Emporium, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin overheard a conversation between Joey Boy and Baby Girl who were there to buy a toy mouse for their little brother, Wilson.  It seemed like Joey was saying something about the Sheriff and a witch. Now Furry knew that the Sheriff's Mommy could be a witch when dealing with A. Flea and Flea, but why would the Sheriff be involved in this?  It seemed like a few questions were in order.

"Excuse me, Joey, but may I ask what is going on with the Sheriff and a witch?" Furry Purrloin asked, trying not to appear nosy.

"Hello, Ms. Purrloin.  We were just discussing the fact that we heard a rumor that the Sheriff was having a problem with a witch.  Since the Sheriff is always so stodgy, we couldn't imagine his getting involved with a witch," Joey explained.

"Well, I can certainly imagine it," Baby Girl countered.  "I have a long memory, and I know that he had the same problem with the same witch at this time last year."

"Do you two know what the problem with the witch is?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Personally, I think that the Sheriff is afraid of the witch that his Mommy put on his porch.  The Sheriff has explained that the witch is really ugly,"  Joey Boy added.

Furry Purrloin just had to ask.  "Do either of you know what this witch looks like?  Do you know if it's a real witch, perhaps a human, or just a decoration of some kind?"  Furry sounded greatly interested.

"Well, not to spread rumors," Baby Girl elaborated, "but the Sheriff was heard to say that the witch had skinny little legs, pointy black shoes, a black cape with gold stars on it, an orange skirt that also had gold stars, and some kind of straw stuff sticking out of her sleeve openings."

Joey added, "And it seems that, when the witch is on the porch, she blocks the sunshine that normally comes in through the screen door, thereby making the image of a witch in the entryway."

"Is the Sheriff really afraid of this witch, or does he just resent the fact that the sunshine isn't coming in because of the witch?" Furry Purrloin further queried.

"We just don't know," Baby Girl said.  "We were going to ask around and try to find out where the Sheriff lives so we could go check this out in person.  Do you think that El Puma would have the Sheriff's address?"

Furry Purrloin thought this over quickly and thought that, if Joey and Baby Girl got to the Sheriff's house first, they would get the real story and she's miss out.  "No, I doubt that El Puma would know the whereabouts of the Sheriff.  El Puma is a computer nerd, not directory assistance," Furry explained to Joey and Baby Girl.

"After we buy this toy for Wilson, we're planning to call Mama Mothball, or perhaps Miss Penny, and see what they know. Shall we keep you advised, Ms. Purrloin?" Joey wanted to know.

"Tell you what," Furry Purrloin suggested.  "I'm a resourceful reporter, and you're not, so I'll track down the location. Then I'll check out the location and let you two know what I discover.  We can all meet up there and check this witch story out for ourselves."

With that, Furry Purrloin hurried off to her office to look up the Sheriff's address on her computer.  The first site she planned to check was with A. Flea and Flea's directory assistance site.  Surely A. Flea and Flea knew where the Sheriff lived.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

October 6, 2001

Dogs, Cats and Music. Having always been intrigued by animals' response to music, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin thought of another question for Dr. Barkley Wolf just after she's hung up the telephone.  Barkley was a old and good friend, so he wouldn't mind if she just called him back, Furry Purrloin decided.  She was hoping that she wouldn't embarrass herself again, and she chuckled at the thought.  The very thought of Great Danes' climbing drapes always started her giggling.

"Hi, Barkley. Long time, no hear," Furry said with laughter into the telephone.

"Furry, I thought we'd just settled the query you had with obedience school relating to dogs and cats.  What can I help you with now?  I have a ton of work piled up on my desk," Dr. Wolf explained to his good friend with good humor.

"Barkley, I had another question, and I started laughing so hard when you gave me the previous answers that I completely forgot it.  It has to do with animals and music.  Since I only listen to classical music, I was wondering how dogs and cats perceive, say, Rap or Sinatraman," Furry Purrloin explained.

"Well, my friend, dogs seem largely indifferent to Rap and Sinatraman, but they do recognize themes.  They will come when I whistle the theme of Hebrides Cave Overture by Mendelssohn.  Studies have shown that they also perk up their ears when they hear it on the radio," Dr. Wolf elaborated.

"Does this mean they can generalize from the sound of one instrument to another?" Furry Purrloin asked. "I find this remarkable!"

"Ms. Purrloin, dogs and other animals have incredible hearing, so nothing would surprise me about their ability to distinguish between different sounds.  I would also expect creatures that live in such a noisy world to be infatuated with different kinds of music.  Cats, on the other hand, can't handle Rock music. It keeps waking them up.  They prefer to nap to something classical with lots of strings," Dr. Wolf informed Furry Purrloin.

"That must be why I enjoy classical music so much although, with my schedule, I rarely have time for a good night's sleep, let alone napping during the day.  Do you think that if I were to listen to Rock music, it would help me stay awake on long flights so that I could get some work done, Barkley?"

"Furry, speaking of work, I have to get back to mine. You just listen to whatever kind of music you like.  Our tests in this field are not complete, so perhaps cats in different parts of the world like different kinds of music.  Take El Puma, my friend and associate, who lives in Puerto Rico. He likes Salsa music.  And that's just one example. Unfortunately, I don't have time for more right now. It's been real nice chatting with you twice in one day, but if you have anymore questions, please send them to my email account, and I'll answer when I finish getting rid of the clutter on my desk."

"Thank you again, Barkley.  I'll email any further questions.  Right now, I'm off to pick up a gift for Mama Mothball at the mall.  I think she has a birthday coming up soon." And so Furry Purrloin, who felt her friend was trying to get rid of her, saved face by pretending SHE wanted to hang up on HIM.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

September 28, 2001 

Obedience School. As Special Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin, perused the daily newspaper, she noticed an ad for an obedience school.  What in the world would a cat need with an obedience school, she wondered.  Obey?  Whom or what would the cat obey?  Cats always know the right thing to do, at the right time.  So Furry Purrloin decided she'd better read the ad again.

Dogs!  Now Furry Purrloin got the point of the ad.  Dogs don't come into the world knowing the right thing to do.  She found it hard to believe, but dogs didn't even know how to use litter boxes!  They had to be trained to go outside, and then they don't even cover up their unmentionables.  Wow, what an eye opener!  Furry Purrloin decided to call her friend, Dr. Barkley Wolf, an animal behaviorist, to peruse the matter.

"Hello, Barkley.  How have you been?" Furry Purrloin inquired, being careful to sound conversational. She didn't want to be rude like some reporters she knew and jump right into her questions.

"Just fine and dandy, Furry Purrloin.  What can I do for you?" Dr. Barkley Wolf inquired.

Furry Purrloin was pleased that Dr. Barkley Wolf recognized her voice. "I just read an ad for obedience school for dogs.  Is it true that dogs know nothing when they arrive at birth?" Naturally, Furry Purrloin didn't want to demean dogs. But she just couldn't understand how dogs could be so different from cats.

"That's almost exactly right, Furry Purrloin," Dr. Barkley Wolf responded. "Well, they do know how to eat and sleep and leak wherever they please.  They can also wag their tails and lick a human hand, if they please," he elaborated.

"Barkley, can't they create a different genetic make-up that would make dogs more like cats?  I don't mean they should meow or purr, but can't dogs be designed to do just the simple, everyday things cats know at birth that makes them superior?" Furry Purrloin asked with earnest interest.

"Furry Purrloin, I'm afraid not," Dr. Barkley Wolf told her.  "You wouldn't really want a dog, let's say the size of a German Shepherd, jumping up on the kitchen counter, now would you?  Or, say, a Great Dane climbing up the draperies?" Dr. Barkley Wolf inquired with a silly smile on his face.

"Oh, my goodness, Barkley, I hadn't thought of that," Furry Purrloin admitted.  "That would be a tad inconvenient now, wouldn't it?" She chuckled at the thought.  "Perhaps we should just leave 'well enough' alone.  Just let dogs be dogs, with all their bad habits, and let cats be cats, with all their superior traits,"  Furry said, now feeling a bit foolish.  "When I saw the ad, I was just taken aback by the thought that a species that is reputed to be so smart needed so much schooling."

Dr. Barkley Wolf said he understood, and the two friends arranged to meet for lunch sometime soon. Then Dr. Barkley Wolf hung up the phone so he could get back to his work.

Furry Purrloin closed the paper and grinned. "I must share this juicy bit of news with Mama Mothball. Then again, she probably knows all about it anyway, since she professes to know everything else."

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

September 21, 2001

Kittens Will Play. Special Guest Columnist Furry Purrloin was just leaving the Grooming Emporium when she noticed that there was a "Grand Opening" of a new store right next door.  "There might be something exciting going on here," Furry Purrloin thought, "because famous people often attend these kinds of things." So she headed for the door. Then she noticed that the name of the new store was F. A. O. Schwartenberry's. Furry Purrloin frowned. "I've never heard of this store before. Perhaps I ought to check it out."

Upon entering, Furry Purrloin noticed that the new store seemed to be filled with kittens.  The second thing she noticed was her friend, Wilson, swinging from a trapeze and heading for the Pinto Bean Babies they had on display.  Wilson was certainly acting like a wild man and jumping from item to item. "Perhaps he's trying to find his favorite," Furry Purrloin mused.

When she looked to her left, Furry Purrloin saw Casper and Pumpkin dolls.  "Wait, those aren't dolls. They are the real Casper and Pumpkin!" Furry Purrloin realized. Casper was trying to chase the hands on a big Sesame Seed Clock.  Pumpkin was patiently waiting for his turn.

On her right, Furry Purrloin spied Omar.  Omar was looking at boxing gloves.  Now why in the world would a kitten need boxing gloves, Furry Purrloin wondered.

"Omar, I see you are looking at boxing gloves.  Are you thinking of taking up the sport?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"I need some protection from my older sister, Sabrina.  She tries to bat at my ears every time I walk by her.  I thought that, if I had some boxing gloves, it just might scare her off," Omar replied, trying on a pair of boxing gloves that were much too big for his paws.

"Frankie, I see you are looking at dolls," Furry Purrloin pointed out to another MeowMail Town resident she spotted in the new store. "Do you want a talking doll or a rag doll?" Furry Purrloin fully expected that Frankie would ask her to help pick one out.

"I just want a cuddly doll that does nothing," Frankie replied. "They don't seem to have any that meow, so maybe I'm looking in the wrong department." And, with that comment, Frankie scampered off to seek a doll that met her specifications.

Crash!  The sound was heard throughout the store.  Running to investigate Furry again, saw Wilson tossing rubber balls out of the bin in every direction.

"I'll help.  I'll help," exclaimed young Scotty. The kitten gleefully ran around the store and batted the balls down the aisles, over the displays, and out the door. Furry Purrloin wondered where Scotty's older brothers, Bart, John Wayne, and Harley were. "Those cats really ought to keep a closer eye on their little brother," she thought.

The place was pure havoc, and Furry wondered just what kind of a store she'd gotten herself into.  There didn't seem to be any story here that she could write and submit to Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball.

However, just then, she heard sirens. And they were apparently headed for the new store.

Dashing out the door, Furry decided she'd better look up and see just what kind of a store she'd gotten herself into.  Oh, a toy store, she mused.  Of course! That's why all the kittens are running wild.  Thank goodness she'd left her kitten, Fuzzy Purrloin, at the office with Ruffles Murdog.

Thank Furry Purrloin experienced a pang of guilt. "It's been far too long since I've bought Fuzzy Purrloin a catnip mouse," she recalled, and walked back into the new store. "I guess it's about time I spent some time in the toy store, on behalf of my daughter." Furry Purrloin then found a ball of yarn and began to chase it. Which proves that even a Special Guest Columnist can act like a kitten, under the right circumstances.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

September 8, 2001

Meet Shirlee MacCatlaine. Standing before two of the most beautiful front doors of her mansion, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was so excited about this interview that she could hardly bring herself to ring the doorbell. Goodness, she must have made this appointment months ago, and was hoping there would be no cancellations before it arrived. Just think: she was going to come face to face with her idol, Shirlee MacCatlaine!

Oh, my gosh, Furry Purrloin fretted as she answered the door herself. Will she be there? Will I make a good impression on her? It took all her courage to turn the doorknob.

The door opened, and there was Shirlee MacCatlaine herself. Furry Purrloin was almost speechless, a rare commodity for her.

"Ms. MacCatlaine, I am so very happy to meet you," Furry said in an uncharacteristically nervous, squeaky voice.

"Please come in.  I was just getting ready to meditate.  Would you like to join in?" Shirlee MacCatlaine inquired.

"From what I understand, Ms. MacCatlaine, that requires being pretty quiet for a prolonged period and wouldn't give me much chance to interview your for my Special Guest Column. Our appointment was only for a half hour."

"That's a regular feature of the Daily Scoop? Oh, I just love that column.  Is Mama Mothball still up to her old tricks?" Shirlee MacCatlaine asked with a big smile on her face.

"Yes, she never changes, although I do wish she would change her hat now and then.  It is becoming somewhat dated," was Furry's reply. With that, Furry Purrloin got out her notebook and pen and began the interview.

"If you don't mind, Ms. MacCatlaine, I'd really like to talk about meditation.  What do you hope to achieve with this?"

"Please call me Shirlee, Furry. In my mind, meditation is about looking inward.  It's about healing depression, worry, and fear, and reducing stress.  It's very easy to do. You just go into a room and sit in a lotus position with your back straight.  Don't lie down, because you could fall asleep. It's so easy to succumb to a catnap! You take in a deep, slow breath and exhale slowly. You can clean your mind by concentrating on your breathing," Shirlee explained to Furry.

"My goodness, that sounds easy enough. I'm not really sure I need to clean my mind though, although I do know some cats who do," Furry Purrloin replied, laughing.

Then Furry Purrloin gazed over at a small table near the entryway that contained many interesting objects. "I see you are also into arts and crafts," she commented. "What are you planning to create with these things?"

"I will explain, Furry.  These items are the things I put in my purse each day before I go out.  They are not for an arts and crafts project.  Heavens, I'm too busy with my web site and my writing to even think about arts and crafts." And, with that, Shirlee walked over to the table and began putting the items into her purse. Furry Purrloin had a chance to see each object as Shirlee talked about it.

"I have a toothpick to remind me to pick out the good qualities in other people.  I have a rubber band to remind me to be flexible. Things may not always go the way I want, but they always work out.  I have a bandage to remind me to heal hurt feelings -- mine or someone else's.  I have a pencil to remind me to list my blessings. I have an eraser to remind me that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay.  I have glue to remind me to stick with it, for if I do, I can accomplish anything.  I have two candies: one to remind me that I'm worth a mint, and one to remind me that every critter needs a kiss (or a hug) every day, especially kittens and children. And lastly, I have a tea bag to remind me to take time for myself, because I've earned it."

"These are all such simple things that any cat can have, Shirlee.  Your insight has made me stop and think. And I think that now I'll join you in that meditation," Furry Purrloin concluded.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

September 1, 2001

A Better Repellant. This assignment found Special Guest Columnist Furry Purrloin conducting an interview with Dr. Slap U. Wrists at a research laboratory in an undisclosed location.  The location must be kept secret due to the highly secret experiments that they are conducting.  She might give away the weather in the area, which at the present moment has neither rain, snow, sleet or whirly canes.

"Dr. Wrists, can you tell me what you are working on at this time?" Furry Purrloin inquired, pulling out her voice recorder and notepad.

"Ms. Purrloin, I am not allowed to discuss our research for fear that the whole world will know of it before we are ready to release the results.  However, I can tell you that it has to do with mosquitoes," Dr. Wrists replied while trying to cover up the papers he was looking at when Furry entered the room.

"But when I set up this interview by phone, you stated that you were working on something that would be of interest to cats.  I can't seem to find any reason that cats would be interested in mosquitoes.  Can't you give me just a teensy hint?  I promise to tell only what you want me to tell in my article," Furry whined, although this method rarely works for her.

"Okay, but you may print only what I approve.  If you can agree to that, then I can tell you the whole story and perhaps even provide you with a sample."  Dr. Wrists began opening a locked desk drawer and pulling out a large notebook of research notes.

"To begin with, I am sure you have heard of mosquito repellent.  I don't know of any cat who hasn't, since mosquitoes are such pesky little critters.  Humans especially hate them and slap them dead whenever possible.  They have even been known to carry some very dangerous diseases," Dr. Wrist explained, trying to give Furry some background into the research.

"Yes, of course Dr. Wrists. Every living thing has heard of insect repellent.  I personally don't use it because my fur protects me and it seems to clash with my perfume, but do go on.  Have you invented a better smelling repellent?"

"I do believe that cats will think so, even if no mosquito problem exists within their environment," Dr. Wrists elaborated.

"Dr. Wrists, I believe that the most effective repellent on the market today contains something called De Eat.  Can your repellent be more effective than that ingredient?" Furry asked, placing her furry paw on her hip.

"Ms. Purrloin, we have done extensive tests and have found something that repels mosquitoes ten times better than De Eat.  You would never guess the ingredient if you stayed her asking me questions for another year.  Even that would not be long enough, and it's something that you and your associates are probably quite familiar with," Dr. Wrists stated, throwing out the bait for another important question.

"Are you planning to tell me just what this ingredient is?" Furry asked.

"If you promise that you will only let this information be available to your cat friends and associates.  You see, we haven't found the proper way to package and market out product yet," Dr. Wrists informed Furry.

"I promise.  I will keep my mouth completely silent except to certified cats.  Will that do for a promise?" Furry was thinking that no cat or human would be able to identify this special ingredient even if the name were to be spread over all the newspapers in the country.

"The ingredient that is ten times more potent at repelling mosquitoes is catnip, my dear friend.  I know you will find this hard to believe, but it's true."  At this point, Dr. Wrists put his research notes back into the desk drawer and locked it.

"Catnip?  Catnip?  You have decided not to tell me and you are just throwing that out there hoping I'll believe you.  Right?"  Furry was getting frustrated and beginning to think that her trip to see Dr. Wrists had been a waste of time.

"Wrong.  Ms. Purrloin this discovery is the result of extensive research.  The problem is that, since catnip is so readily available and inexpensive, the manufacturers of De Eat will try to keep us from putting it on the market.  Do you see the reason for all the secretly locked doors and drawers now?  We now have to find a way to charge large sums of money for this product.  That would only be fair, right?"

Furry now began backing out of the room, toward the door she had come in through, hoping it wasn't already locked, and thinking that perhaps since she now had this information Dr. Wrists might try to lock her up also.  Turning the knob, Furry slowly continued to back out of the room.

"Ms. Purrloin, may I ask where you are going?" Dr. Wrists inquired.

"Must go locate the restroom now, Dr. Wrists.  I had lots to drink with my lunch and this is somewhat of an emergency."  And with that, Furry took off running down the stairs to the outer entrance, heading straight for her office and her computer.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

August 24, 2001

The Fishercats Return. During a recent Morning Hairball assignment to cover a fishing trip, intrepid reporter Furry Purrloin grew tired of spying on the fishercats.  Hanging onto a tree limb for hours at a time was no fun at all.  Watching John Wayne and Purrcy fish, and watching Harley, sleep was about as much fun as watching paint dry.  Playful Scotty seemed to be the only source of entertainment available, and Furry was cold and hungry.  She wasn't even able to snag one of the fish that John and Purrcy had caught without giving away her presence at the wooded location.

Suddenly, scrambling through the trees beneath her, Furry spotted Scotty tearing straight for Purrcy.  "Purrcy, Purrcy, look at what I caught! Can we eat it?"

"Scotty, that's a banana slug, and a rather large one at that.  No, don't eat it.  It's not a fish, and we can't use it for bait, either," Purrcy responded.  "Go see if you can find some nice big worms."

"I know where there are worms," Scotty said.  "John has a whole bunch of 'em."

"Scotty, those are John's worms.  These are my worms right here in this can," Purrcy patiently explained, pointing down towards the half-filled can by his paws.  "If you want to fish, you have to fetch your own worms." 

"Worms, worms, gotta go find some worms," Scotty happily chanted, scampering off into the woods.  His bushy tail had trapped so many leaves that he appeared to be a small, mobile tree.

"How many fish you got, Purrcy?" John inquired.  "My basket is full. Even got enough to feed Harley, although he hasn't fished a lick, and shouldn't be rewarded for sleeping in the sun all day."

"I've got plenty.  Penny is going to be happy to see me get home with all these trout.  And I'll be glad to get home, too. I do miss Penny.  The quiet is driving me crazy," Purrcy responded.

The two agreed to start packing up for their return trip home.  Furry was happy to hear this news, since her discomfort level had peaked and she was dozing off now and then.

"Harley, please get up and help us load the car." John requested of his brother.  "Your reward will be one trout from each of us.  That okay with you, Purrcy?"

"Yep, just fine by me.  We better round up that little brother of yours, though, John."

"Boy, Purrcy, finding Scotty will be a real challenge.  Where do we start?" John asked, shaking his silver head.

"John, just perk up your ears," Purrcy explained.  "Listen for the noise."

About that time Scotty, came flying past Purrcy and John, soaking wet, with the largest trout either of them had ever seen hanging from his tail.  Scotty was screaming at the tip of his lungs: "It's caught me!  It's biting me!  Grab it!  Help me!"

Furry Purrloin, the intrepid Morning Hairball reporter, took advantage of the distraction to drop to the ground and scamper off.  She promised herself to never again spy on fishercats. And she fantasized about grooming herself for days, or until the stench of fish was completely gone from her fur.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

August 10, 2001

Coming out of the sporting goods store where she had purchased some fishing line to tie up her plants, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin ran into John Wayne, the Sheriff of MeowMail Town and Purrcy, a close friend. The two felines were loaded down with buckets, fishing line, reels, a picnic basket, tents, herbs, and all other sorts of equipment. Tagging along behind them came Scotty, John Wayne's little brother. He was running to catch up. The three cats were quite a sight, and Furry Purrloin had to stop and check out the meaning of all this. She smelled a news story.

"Excuse me, but it looks like you two are planning some kind of a trip, and Scotty may be coming with you. May I ask what is going on?"Furry questioned, examining all of the piles of stuff the others had accumulated.

"Howdy there, Miss Furry. Purrcy and I are taking a little trip to snag some fish and teach Scotty here how to survive in the wild. You see, Purrcy has developed this addiction to valerian, and he needs to get away and clean up his act," John replied to Furry.

Purrcy had to put his two cents in and defend himself at this point. "I do not have an addiction, I just kinda, sorta like the stuff, yeah, and lavender too, Ms. Purrloin."

"What kind of fishing are you planning?" Furry had to ask, since she'd recently had an ordeal with fish ponds.

"Don't rightly know yet, since we haven't got there. Have to wait and see what's biting besides fleas," John explained to a puzzled Furry Purrloin.

"Well, how do your wives feel about you two taking off for a week?" Furry wondered aloud.

"My wife, Nala, and Purrcy's wife, Penny, are okay with it since we're taking Scotty along. Harley will be around, too, to oversee the trip. Although he'll probably be useless," John told Furry Purrloin. "And that Scotty will probably keep us busier than one-armed paper hangers, since this is all so new to him. Can you imagine: he wanted to pack some tea bags?"

"So this is sort of a guys' vacation rather than a fishing trip, right?" Furry Purrloin asked with interest, although she was getting bored with the whole subject of fishing just for the fun of it.

"No, no," Purrcy protested. "This is real work -- work that us guycats have to do, since our wives love fresh fish."

"May I ask you, John, what MeowMail Town is planning to do for a Sheriff while the four of you are off at your fishing camp?"

"Why, I have Miss Taz Whoda, my deputy, to cover for me. She is excellent at the job and full of enthusiasm to see that the town is safe. I have complete faith in her to get the job done, even if Ralphie and Snowy get to actin' wild."

"You four have a nice trip, catch lots of fish, and try to keep Scotty out of trouble. By the way, can Scotty swim?"

The guycats had already pulled out and didn't hear the question. Furry Purrloin decided she'd most likely get a better side to this story by talking with Nala and Penny -- unless, of course, they were planning a little "get away" of their own. But that interview would have to wait for another time.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

August 3, 2001

Lobsters, Blueberries, or Nail Diamondscratcher. Special Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin, put down the telephone and couldn't believe what she had heard from her secret tipster, Rona Barretclaw, in Maine.  She'd best get her furry buns on an airplane and go check it out.  Lobsters running wild in Maine, and blueberries!  The very idea.  How could this kind of thing happen?  She thought it best to head straight to Orono, Maine, the home of the University, where the most learned professors could no doubt clear up this mystery surrounding lobsters.

"Professor Fishwiggle, I understand that you are the expert around the University on marine and ocean life.  Can you tell me something about the rumor I heard regarding lobsters running wild in this state?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"Ms. Purrloin, it's true. There are so many lobsters this year, that they are now serving lobster at Old Donald's with the yellow arches.  Yesiree!  They have lobster burgers, lobster salad, and lobster with mustard on a hotdog bun -- and you can order blueberries on the side."

"Blueberries on the side?" Furry Purrloin queried with her eyes wider open than usual.

"Yesiree!  Seems the folks around these parts that grow blueberries use the shells of the lobsters for fertilizer.  Those lobster shells have produced a whopping huge crop of luscious, large blueberries.  Can't think of naught else to do with them, so the growers have donated plenty to Old Donald's.  Reckon as how they want folks around these parts to eat more blueberries.  Must be a health thing."

"But let's get back to the lobsters, Professor Fishwiggle.  Are they running rampant down the streets in the larger cities?  Is Bangor being carried away by the lobsters?"

"Well, Ms. Purrloin, I wouldn't go so far as to say that.  They have restaurant owners on alert to clean up the streets in the large cities at the very crack of dawn each day.  They claw their way around towns to see who can get the most.  Then they serve them as menu items or keep them in tanks on display to entertain the young kittens.  Young kittens are easily entertained, you know, and will watch these critters for hours."

"Have you learned professors here at the University figured out a way to stop the influx of lobsters into the cities?" Furry queried, having trouble keeping Professor Fishwiggle on the subject of lobsters.  It seemed that he was much more interested in eating the bucket full of blueberries he carried as a lunch pail than in granting her an in-depth interview.

"I think we have the problem solved.  Only problem now is locating Nail Diamondscratcher," Professor Fishwiggle explained.

"Nail Diamondscratcher, the famous singer?  What in the world would he have to do with lobsters in Maine?  Are you trying to pull my paw?"  Furry wondered aloud.

"Nope, I'm sure not, ma'am.  It seems, through research here at the University, we have discovered that lobsters love to listen to songs by Nail Diamondscratcher.  They will do anything, within reason, to hear him sing.  We are planning to put Nail Diamondscratcher way out yonder in a boat and have him start his singing, using loudspeakers, of course.  We figure that way the lobsters will swim out toward him to get good seats for the concert and will abandon the streets of Maine," Professor Fishwiggle further stated to Furry.

"And may I ask, Professor: has he agreed to do this?" Furry questioned with hope in her heart that it was true.

"Yesiree!  Plans to be here later this evening.  Concert should start about six and will be five miles out in the ocean," Professor Fishwiggle confirmed, pointing his furry paw to the East over Furry's head.

"Professor, would you excuse me now?  I really must find a boat or a ship so that I can get a good place to hear Nail Diamondscratcher.  I thank you for all your information and help," Furry said, smiling, as she dashed off toward the docks.

 

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

July 27, 2001

Snowy in Hawaii. Some reporters get great assignments, and some don't. Strolling along the beautiful beach at Waikiki, Furry Purrloin decided that she was the luckiest Special Guest Columnist in the world, and she was sad to see her assignment end.  "It was so nice of Ruffles Murdog to send me to the Hawaiian Islands," Furry Purrloin told herself. "He isn't half as bad as cats who work for the Morning Hairball seem to think he is. Maybe if Mama Mothball were a little bit better at her job, Ruffles Murdog would send her to Hawaii on assignment, too."

The Hawaiian Islands include some of the most beautiful places in all the United States, but Furry Purrloin's work there was through. Now, she had to get her furry self off of this beach or fry.  There was no option to remove any of her fur, and the sun was beating down fiercely.  Her next stop, before leaving, would be on the island of Maui where she planned to visit Haleakalia, the world's largest dormant volcano, at 10,000 feet above sea level.  She was told that the road there was bumpy, winding and not well maintained, but it well worth the trip to see in person the Silversword plant that grows no place else on earth.  Plus, she had told Ruffles Murdog she would write a column all about the Silversword plant. So off to the airplane Furry Purrloin scampered for the short hop to Maui.

She stopped by her room at the Turtle Bay Hilton, on Oahu, to pack, after a beautiful drive along the coast, and she regretted having to leave this paradise on earth.

Late afternoon had arrived, and Furry was finally atop the mountain, gazing at Haleakalia, taking notes as fast as her little paws could write so she'd have descriptions for all the beautiful photographs she planned to show friends.  Turning to her left, she spotted another tourist, it appeared. But no, it was none other than Snowy, her long-time Hawaiian friend.

"Snowy, this world just keep getting smaller and smaller.  I never hoped to see you way up here.  I know you love sunbathing, but aren't the beaches at Waikiki better for that?" Furry remarked.

"Furry, here's a quick hug but lets duck under this visitor's sign.  I don't want to be spotted and hounded by autograph hunters."  And Snowy dashed behind a large redwood sign telling the history of Haleakalia.

"Autograph hunters?  I'm confused.  Why would autograph hunters be hounding you?" Furry questioned shaking her head.

"Because I'm an Hawaiian Sun Goddess.  You know how the tourists want to collect autographs from Sun Goddess's.  I came up here to get away and do some sunbathing but I never seem to be able to find a place that is secluded enough."

"Hmmmmm, I wasn't aware you were a Sun Goddess." Furry stated thinking that Snowy was pulling her paw.

"Yes, I'm sort of self appointed." Snowy explained, feeling quite confident.

"Are you still doing graphic design on the rocks along the roads?" Furry queried.

"You mean the "tagging," don't you?"

"Well, I did see a few places on the drive up that were once pristine and now had words to the effect that 'Snowy was here' written on them in spray paint." Furry remarked.

"Nope, no more tagging. Since I've become a Sun Goddess, I just don't have time for messing with spray paint and it really messes up my manicure.  I'm planning to attend a luau tonight. Would you like to come along?" Snowy offered.

"I have a limited wardrobe, Snowy.  What would I need to wear?"

"What you have on will be just fine, Furry. Perhaps you can also wear a grass skirt, which you can probably pick up in the gift shop in Lahina."

"Why don't we drive back down the mountain together, and we can catch up on old times," Furry suggested to Snowy.

"Can't right now. Gotta run, Furry, I came up here by plane, and my pilot is getting ready to leave.  I have a photo shoot to attend before joining you at the luau.  Aloha!  See you there."  And off Snowy dashed to a small plane waiting at the other edge of the volcano.

Oh no!  Furry started shaking her head.  She had forgotten to ask Snowy where the luau was!  Best hurry down the mountain and call 1-800-luau for directions.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

July 20, 2001

Read My Mind. For a change, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin ended up exactly where she was supposed to be, interviewing the scheduled expert she had waited so long to chat with. She had tried for many months to get this interview with telepathic human communicator, Xtrah Sensory.

"Tell me, Xtrah, can any cat communicate with humans using telepathy?" Furry Purrloin inquired. She had more than a passing interest, because it occurred to her that  she might be able to use telepathy in her work.

"Most cats suppress the ability to do this when other cats are around, not wanting to appear obedient.  Humans "talk" in a different way, and we cats have to learn how to hear what they really mean," Xtrah explained.

"Xtarah, by obedient, do you mean something like coming when we're called, or eating food we really love but pretend to disdain just to show our independence?"

"Well, Furry, those things too, but I was talking about emotions."

"Do you mean humans have emotions, Xtrah?  I just never realized that," Furry commented with what appeared to be a question mark between her eyes.

"Furry, there are actually classes cats can take to learn how to communicate with humans telepathically.  Just think: when you want food, new toys, or new blankets, you can just send humans a message without getting off your sunny napping place or vocalizing.  The possibilities are endless.  You could share your experiences with humans, or even let them know you've just used your litterbox and want it cleaned."

"Xtrah, I'm finding this quite motivational.  Do you suppose I could quit writing and just send my articles to Ruffles Murdog -- publisher/editor of The Morning Hairball -- mentally?"

"Not necessarily, Furry. See, there is a rumor afloat that Ruffles Murdog may be a dog. This method won't work with dogs, only humans," Xtrah explained.  "Dogs, although quite intelligent, are only interested in things that matter to them."

"This sounds like a worthwhile project, Xtrah. Where do I sign up for a class?" Furry Purrloin eagerly inquired.

"Do you have a human to practice with, Furry?"

"Oh goodness, no.  But that's a challenge I can overcome easily enough. Thank you for the interview, Xtrah.  I'm going right out and shopping for a human of my very own."

"Hmmmmmmm," Furry mumbled to herself. "Now, where would I find a decent human to train and communicate with telepathically?" Then Furry Purrloin did what most reporters do when they need inspiration. She hurried over to the mall.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.


July 13, 2001

Dinner With Purrcy and Penny. Brrrrrrrrring! Brrrrrrrring!

Furry Purrloin, Special Guest Reporter for the Morning Hairball, ran to answer her telephone, and the book she was reading crashed to the floor. "Hello?"

"Furry, it's Purrcy. Penny told me she had a lovely visit with you the other day at the Mint. Since I haven't had a chance to visit, I'd like to invite you to have dinner with Penny and me."

"That would be so nice, Purrcy. When are we talking about?"

"How about now? By the time you get here, dinner will be almost ready."

"I'll be right over. Can I bring something?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Let me think," Purrcy mused. "Maybe some tape for Penny's mouth," he said, roaring with laughter. "She never seems to stop talking. " Then he relented. "You can bring some potato sticks, if you want."

"Why, Purrcy, that's one of the many things I find so endearing about Penny. You guycats just need to verbalize more." Purrcy, naturally, didn't say a word as he waited for his dinner guest to arrive.

The first thing Purrcy wanted to show Furry Purrloin, when she finally did show up, was the basement where he keeps his prized Bumper Car. And, since Furry Purrloin had never heard of a Bumper Car that was located in a private home, she was eager to visit the basement and check out the function of this unusual basement item.

"Purrcy, indeed you do have a Bumper Car down here. It looks antique, and quite interesting. And it even has built-in spiders for snacking. Is it of any use, way down here?"

"Furry, Furry, Furry. Open your eyes, dear. It's my favorite place to nap. Nap and nosh. Yes, siree."

"What better combination, Purrcy, than food and comfort. Speaking of food, is dinner ready?"

"Yes, let's go back upstairs and see what Penny has whipped up. I can tell you it won't be Black Bean Soup. Yes, I had a very bad experience with that.  Careful there, Furry, watch your step. That's my favorite stuffed carrot, and the stuffing's almost nonexistent. Wouldn't want anything to happen to it."

"How about if I send you a new carrot, Purrcy? All I brought was potato sticks, and that isn't much of a hostess gift."

"Nope, this one's just fine. It smells like lavender, and that's my very favorite to cuddle with while I'm watching television. Well, when I'm not cuddling with my wife, Penny, that is."

"You enjoy television, Purrcy? What are your favorite shows?"

"The screen saver. Yesiree, that's my favorite."

Furry Purrloin could hardly contain her giggles as the made their way into the dining room.

"Purrcy, you're not coming to the table until you've washed," Penny stated, planting her paws firmly on her hips. "Here, let me hold you down and make sure your paws are clean."

"Oh, Penny, this is so embarrassing in front of our guest. Furry, I'm so humiliated," Purry lamented.

Furry Purrloin asked to be excused right after dinner since she had some research to do about Bumper Cars. She concluded that Penny and Purrcy were a wonderful, fun-loving couple whom she enjoyed a great deal.

"Yes," she thought to herself. "I should have them over for dinner soon. I hope they bring me something better than potato sticks, though. Maybe I'll request a bottle of catnip wine."
  

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 July 4, 2001

Where's Ralphie? Mama Mothball is taking the day off to hide under furniture, because she understands there will be fireworks displays in her neighborhood today. Some of you furry readers may want to do the same. However, for all you brave furry readers - Tony, for example -- who are not hiding today, Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin has a special Fourth of July Story.

Preparing for the big celebration, surrounding the Independence Day holiday, across the country, Furry Purrloin found herself in Boston, Massachusetts.  She really wanted to be in Philadelphia, but all planes were filled to capacity, so Boston it would have to be.  She decided to make the best of things and perhaps even attend a tea party.  I mean, after all, isn't that what Boston is famous for?

She looked up Tea Parties in the phone directory and found nothing but Tea Shops that were closed for the holiday.  No luck there.  Standing on the street and gazing around at the historic architecture, she was lucky enough to overhear a conversation about some tea dumping.  Hmmmmmm.  Now, how could she find out the location of this place?  Aha, she'd just ask!

"Excuse me. I overheard you mention a 'tea dumping' somewhere.  I'd love to attend.  Could you give me directions?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Ah, yeah," Paul Revereware replied.  "It's going to be held out at Tony's fish farm.  They grow catfish in the pond and are planning to dump a bunch of catnip tea there in about fifteen minutes."

Scurrying off to Tony's Fish Farm, Furry Purrloin wondered why they would be dumping catnip tea to fish.  Sounded like a kind of "fishy story" to her.

"Tony, how nice to see you!  What's going on with the catnip tea dumping into the fish pond?  Won't that make the fish kind of 'loopy'?

"Furry, the fish are already sort of loopy, I mean they are 'catfish,' complete with whiskers.  We figure, once we get them sort of 'loopy' on the catnip tea, Ralphie will show up, catch a bunch of them for us, and we can have a big fish fry."

"Why aren't you holding this event in Boston Harbor?  Isn't that the historic site that is mentioned in history books?" Furry wondered aloud.

"They don't allow any tea dumping there anymore, Furry.  According to the mayor, it puts too much caffeine into the water and the fish can't get any sleep."

"Are you sure that's what the mayor said?" probed Furry.

"Well, it's kind of hard to be sure, since he mumbles, but I think that's what he said."

"So Tony, will there be fireworks at the Fish Pond?" Furry Purrloin wanted to know.

"Nope, no fireworks. Just catnip tea to dump in the water, fish to catch, and fish to fry and eat if Ralphie ever shows up."

"Tony, I heard Ralphie was having his own party on the Left Coast and quite a few of the cats from that area were planning to attend.  Even some from the Right Coast will be there."

"Furry, Ralphie has fallen head over paws for a cat in Hawaii (her name, oddly enough, is Snowy), so there's no telling where he'll end up.  If he doesn't show up, I'm sure that the talented fishermen twins, Tommy and Kato, will be able to catch the loopy fish."

"Good plan, Tony.  Will Chita and Nala be attending the fish fry?  Also Mama Mothball?  I don't think the shopping malls are open today, so Mama can't be taking her daughters  shopping."

"We're hoping to see them all, but we fear that many cats will be hiding under furniture to protect themselves from the fireworks displays. They are not as brave as I am. I am not hiding. I am organizing this party. Most important right now is locating Ralphie, since he is bringing the catnip tea.  Please help me look for him," Tony pleaded.

"Shouldn't be too hard to spot a cat with a head the size of a bowling ball," Furry mumbled to herself.  "Wonder if he'll be in drag with those glitzy sunglasses and red lips?"

"Here I am, here I am," exclaimed Miss Penny, skipping and toting a large pillowcase.

"Penny, how nice to see you in Boston, Massachusetts. What, may I ask, have you got there?" inquired Furry.  "Looks like you've been picking weeds."

"Nope, got the catnip!" And Penny dashed toward the pond, dragging the pillowcase behind.

KER SPLASH!  The whole bag went into the pond, scattering droplets of water on Penny, Tony, and Furry.

The fish began leaping out of the water, landing on the banks of the fish pond, by droves.  The three ladycats began tossing them back in. The ground was becoming littered with 'loopy' fish, and Furry, Tony, and Penny were getting the most exercise they had enjoyed in weeks.  Furry hadn't had so much fun in quite a while and decided that the cats in Philadelphia - and journalists in general - didn't have had nearly as much fun.

Needless to say, Ralphie never showed up and Furry determined that he was most likely off at another cat show winning more ribbons.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

June 30, 2001

A Jewel of a Story. Regular Daily Scoop Columnist Mama Mothball is taking the day off today. Furry Purrloin, Special Guest Reporter, is filling in for her.

Coming across Joey while strolling through the woods, Furry Purrloin was astounded by the fact that Joey had his nose down a hole. He was quite intent on his work, and Furry couldn't even get his attention.

"Joey!" No answer.

Furry Purrloin tried again. "Hello, Joey!"

No answer.

What in the world could be down that hole that held Joey's interest so that he couldn't even hear? Out of desperation, Furry tossed a pine cone in Joey's direction.

That got his attention. "You nearly scared me to death. Why are you in the woods throwing pine cones at me?" Joey asked, quite perplexed.

"Joey, I didn't throw the pine cone at you. I just tossed it to get your attention." Furry replied.

"I'm busy right now, Furry. Can you come back later? Maybe next week?"

"Sure, no problem, Joey," Furry Purrloin agreed. "But, before I leave, can I ask a question?" Furry's curious nature just couldn't be held in check.

"Shoot!" Joey offered. Then he realized he was in the woods and amended that to: "Just ask, and then go."

"Joey, what are you looking for down that hole?  I'd guess it's a mole, right?" Furry Purrloin ventured.

"You are most certainly wrong, Furry. While I am a great hunter, I am after something much more precious than live critters."

"Pray tell, Joey, what else could be down there?"

"Coals. Just very precious coals. Besides being a great hunter, I dig for  coals," Joey responded with a very wide grin from whisker to whisker.

"What would a cat need coals for, if I may be so bold as to ask?" Furry persisted, suspecting that she had heard wrong.

"Are you aware that diamonds are made from coal, Furry? Are you also aware that I am in love with Miss Tony and may need a diamond in the near future?" Joey smugly replied.

"Joey, I believe I've seen pictures of the moles you've caught. They certainly didn't look like diamonds to me," was Furry Purrloin's retort.

"Those moles are my miners. I bring them out of the hole from time to time to give them a break. They are so tired, they nap the whole time they're above ground," Joey replied.

"Have you found the diamond you want to give Miss Tony?" Furry wondered aloud, feeling she had really stumbled on a jewel of a story.

"Not yet, but I will soon, I hope. Gotta get back to work now, before I get called in for dinner. There are always special treats with dinner, and I have to be on time, or else my siblings, Baby Girl and Scooter the Brave, will eat them all."

"Can I stop and chat with you on my next stroll through the woods, Joey?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

No answer.

"Joey!"

"Hello, Joey!"

But Joey had returned to his hunting expedition and couldn't be roused. Furry continued her walk, wondering if she should start shopping for a wedding gift. But it crossed her mind that Joey had so many friends in MeowMail Town that she might not even get an invitation to the wedding.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.


 

June 15, 2001

Amazing Discovery. Closet cleaning day had finally arrived, and Furry Purrloin - Special Guest Columnist who is filling in for Mama Mothball -- really dreaded this chore. However, her young friend, Scotty, was about to turn a year old, and she wanted everything to be perfect for his party. So, upon opening her closet door, she espied her twenty-two Cabbage Thatch Dolls.

But what was the sleek, black object wedged between two of the dolls? Furry's curiosity outweighed her fear when she picked up a fuzzy slipper and nudged the black object.

"Ouch!"

Furry Purrloin developed springs on her paws and jumped four feet straight up toward the ceiling. Upon coming down, she cautiously took a closer look at the yowling object.

"Who are you, and what are you doing in my closet?" Furry Purrloin inquired with a slight grimace on her face.

"My name is Kit Kat, and I'm reconnoitering."

"But why, for heaven's sake, in my closet?" And with this, Furry Purrloin formed a question mark between her brows.

"I needed a quiet place to meditate, and these Cabbage Thatch Dolls don't talk much. Plus, they're nice and soft to cuddle up with."

"Well, sir, reconnoitering and meditating are your prerogative, but I don't understand why it's necessary,"  Furry Purrloin commented.

"Furry, I am the Eldest Wise Cat," Kit Kat responded. "I'm seventeen years old. I am wiser than any president, swami, or prophet around."

"Mr. Kit Kat, you seem to have an unexplained sense of invincibility. How have you acquired all this knowledge?" Furry Purrloin wanted to know.

"Ms. Purrloin, I nap a lot and keep my mouth shut, for the most part, so I can hear what others are saying. I do the New York Chimes Crossword puzzle daily, and I listen to foreign language tapes. That's before breakfast. The rest of the day, I watch educational programs on television like, "The Young and the Useless," "The Bold and the Ugly," and "Days of our Wives. My favorite network, of course, is FIBS, the Feline Interactive Broadcasting Service, which I watch right on the MeowMail home page."

"I'm impressed, Mr. Kit Kat. Very impressed. But that still doesn't tell me why you chose my closet as a haven. What can you learn from the Cabbage Thatch Kids?"

"I've learned that this is an excellent spot to get away from Sabrina, my sister. She talks way too much, and I can't get any meditating done around her. The twins let me into your house. I guess they had a key."

"Do you mean Tommy and Kato, the MeowMail Twins, let you in?" Furry Purrloin clarified.

"Oh, goodness, no, those two would never really break the law," Kit Kat explained.

"Then I'm in the dark, Kit. What twins are you referring to?"

"Jenna and Barbara let me in. They needed their drivers' licenses replaced, because they lost theirs. I offered to try to get them replaced if they'd break into your house."

"Why not just let Dubya do it, Kit Kat?"

"Didn't you just hear me tell you I was smarter than he is? Now I have to get back to my nap, you can clean the closet tomorrow."

And with that comment, Kit Kat shut the door and went back to meditating.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

June 1, 2001

Meeting the King. Furry Purrloin, the intrepid Daily Scoop guest reporter who frequently fills in for Mama Mothball, consulted her agenda and realized that, out of Desperation to find a great story, she had set up an interview with "The King." Why had she penciled in just those words? She didn't remember if her interview was with Elvis or the "Prince of Darkness," Stephen Fling. Must be Stephen Fling, she decided. Elvis hadn't been seen in a while -- well, at least not that anycat had reported.

Flying off to Florida, where Mr. Fling was purchasing a small, four hundred room summer home, Furry Purrloin outlined her questions. Once there, she would be too intimidated by Fling's stature to remember her own name, let alone any questions. When the big interview opportunity came, Furry Purrloin was more than prepared.

"Mr. Fling, is your wife's name Carrie?"

"No, it's Dolores. Her maiden name was Claiborne."

Not wanting to get too personal, Furry asked, "Do you have a daughter named Christine?"

"No, my car's name is Christine. My dog's name is Cujo."

"Hmmmm," Furry mumbled, thinking she had heard these names someplace else. "May I ask where you get all the ideas for your stories?"

"Ms. Purrloin, they mostly come from my Dark Half. When I have Insomnia and can't sleep, I often go to The Dark Tower and write."

"I'm curious, Mr. Fling. Why are you moving from the state of Maine to Florida?"

"Several reasons," answered Stephen Fling. "First, because I want an ocean view."

"But, Mr. Fling, there is no ocean view from Orlando." And Furry nearly doubled over with laughter.

"Wrong, Ms. Fuzzbrain. I looked at the map. Florida is a very skinny state. I should be able to see the ocean no matter what part of the state I relocate in."

"So It is purely the ocean view that brings you here?" Furry wondered.

"Actually, there are many Needful Things here, my dear."

"Please enlighten me, Mr. Fling. My curiosity is piqued."

"I can't release my ideas to just anyone, Ms. Purrloin, although I will post a few hints on my website."

"By the way, I'm glad you mentioned your website. I was reading one of your  'Books on Line,' and it was discontinued. I'm sure a lot of your fans that would like an explanation. What do you have to say about that?"

"Fuhgeddaboudit," Fling responded, licking his whiskers. Obviously, his mind was already on his next meal.

"Are you planning to do some writing while you're here?" Furry prodded still further.

"Course I am. I don't use a computer or a typewriter. All of my books are written by paw, and I never give away the subject matter or title before the book comes out, so don't even ask."

Furry felt the mood of the interview changing and decided to head for the beach for some sun before heading home to beat Mama Mothball's next article to press.

Of course, before she hit the beach, Furry Purrloin stopped to have a picture taken of herself to replace the last one on the MeowMail home page. In this picture, Furry Purrloin made sure she was smiling. And she remembered to wear her favorite beret.


Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

May 25, 2001

Furry Gets What Furry Wants. Mama Mothball told her good friend, Furry Purrloin, that she wanted to spend the long holiday weekend at the mall. Furry Purrloin was nice enough to write a guest column for the occasion. However, she was not without an ulterior motive. And a plan.

The intrepid Furry was at last able to secure an interview with the nationally famous Twins, Tommy and Kato, sometimes known as "The MeowMail Twins." This was fortunate, because achieving her goal depended on it.

"Gentlecats, may I ask how you've earned your reputation?" Furry queried during an in-person visit to the MeowMail Twins' abode. "You are well known and loved from coast to coast, and some foreign countries. My furry readers would like to know why."

"Oh, many reasons," Tommy, the first MeowMail Twin, replied.

"Yeah, we make the best pizza in Massachusetts," Kato, the other MeowMail Twin, added.

"My goodness! You two invent video games?" Furry asked.

"No way!" they both chimed in. "We just watch our Mommy play them.  When she isn't running in and out the door, she plays video games."

This Special Guest Columnist didn't want to pry, but she was curious about something. "Why does she run in and out the door so often?"

"See, she goes to the dumpster a lot to get out the bread machine parts.  She can't remember not to throw them away," the twins tattled.

"Very interesting," Furry Purrloin mused.  But it wasn't enough yet to get her a special icon the MeowMail home page, so Furry Purrloin kept digging. "Do the two of you have stage names?  Or are 'Tommy' and 'Kato' your aliases?"

"Our stage names are Falafel and Pinky Gigglehead," Tommy contributed. "Yep, those names look better on a marquee and take up more room, don't they, Kato?" Twin Kato nodded his furry, orange head.

"I was wondering," Furry couldn't help asking, "why you are always running away.  Does your Mommy mistreat you?"

"We don't run away," Tommy said. "Famous cats have to go on the road from time to time.  Besides, Kato is such a 'mama's' boy that he could never run away.  He even wants to look and dress like Mommy!"

"That sounds very interesting," Furry said with a grin on her face. This was just the type of scoop that could get Furry special recognition on MeowMail's home page. "Tell me more."

"Kato has a skirt and a purse.  Mommy has pictures to prove it," Tommy said, with a slight smirk.

"Tommy, stop it.  You know you are always confused," Kato interjected.

"Did I hear you two also have a car rental agency?" Furry asked.

"No, we just sometimes 'borrow' cars or motorcycles.  We then find their rightful owners.  There is sometimes a reward," Tommy replied.

"Yeah, but we have to test drive them first to make sure they run real good," Kato added.

Crash! !

"Oh, my.  I hear glass breaking," Furry said in a startled voice.

"Not to worry.  That's just Mommy in the kitchen, stocking our cupboard.  We have our own cupboard for our personal food.  She's probably also cooking again and breaking all the glasses. She usually does that, when she cooks," Tommy revealed.

"Before I leave, may I get your pawographs for my celebrity scrapbook?" asked Furry.

"The pawographs are twenty-five mousies each," the Twins said in unison.

Furry thought this over and decided she'd hold out and save her mousies for Robert Redfurr's pawograph. Unless, of course, Ruffles Murdog, Publisher/Editor of the Morning Hairball, ended up liking her Special Guest Column and giving her some mousies PLUS her own icon on MeowMail's home page.

This Special Guest Columnist is going to turn in her column now. Maybe she'll get lucky, and Ruffles Murdog will give her everything she's always wanted. Won't Mama Mothball be jealous!!!

Editor's note: See Furry Purrloin's new icon on the MeowMail Home Page. Welcome to the fold, Furry Purrloin! Soon the best of your Special Guest Columns will have a home there. But this Morning Hairball Editor is sort of busy right now, so it may have to wait a few days.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

May 11, 2001

The weekend found Furry Purrloin, Special Guest Reporter who once again is graciously pinch-hitting for Mama Mothball, fulfilling her promise to house- and pet-sit for her friend, Martha Stewprune.  Of course, this was the perfect opportunity for Furry Purrloin to check out Martha's house.  Martha is reputed to be the Queen of Homemakers, and the authority on anything around the house.

"Martha, you have a lovely home.  It looks exactly like a model home.  You must enjoy it a great deal," Furry Purrloin commented.

"Furry, I must tell you, I only get three hours sleep a night because of all the cleaning, cooking, and organizing I must do, but it's a good thing."

"Martha, when do you relax and enjoy all this luxury?"

"I find it very relaxing when I spend the evening folding each sheet of toilet paper into little origami animals."

"Excuse me, Martha. You do what?"

"Oh Furry, the little origami animals are so charming all lined up on the bathroom counter.  You should try it." Martha Stewprune went on to say, "My relaxation in the morning, when I get up at three a.m., is ironing each sheet of the newspaper.  Reading a paper with folds and wringles can be so crass."

"Ah, Martha, do you expect me to do this over the weekend?" Furry Purrloin wanted to know.

"Oh goodness, no, Furry.  I'd just like you to relax, enjoy, and care for Mumblypig, my pot belly pig.  He's such a good thing."

"Okay, what does he require?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"He gets 493 pieces of dry pig kibble every morning.  It must be counted, or he'll gain too much weight."

"Do you have it pre-counted?" Furry was thinking that she surely must, since Martha Stewprune is so organized.

"No dear, he likes it freshly counted."

"Drat," Furry was thinking. "How do I get out of this?"

"He also needs his diaper changed several times a day.  Must not have any messes about."

"Martha, I'm not feeling well.  May I use the restroom?"

Heading toward the back of the house, toward the bathroom, Furry was planning her escape.  Upon arrival, she found there was no bathroom window -- just lots of little origami animals.  Now what?

With her newly invented excuse of feeling ill, Furry headed back to the kitchen where she found her friend, Martha, had gone and left the following note.

"Dear Furry,

The canned goods are alphabetized.  Please make sure they don't get out of order.  And tomorrow morning is the day to overhaul the lawnmower, but you can do it after you finish ironing the paper.  Thanks so much.

Love,
Martha"

Furry Purrloin then did what every competent reporter would do. She turned her Guest Daily Scoop into her editor, Ruffles Murdog, and began searching for any homemade food Martha Stewprune may have left behind. "I hope there's a freshly-frosted mousecake in this house somewhere," Furry Purrloin thought to herself. "That will make this whole adventure worth it."

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

May 4, 2001

Meet the Chefs. Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin was nice enough to give Mama Mothball a much-needed day off today. Mama Mothball salutes Furry Purrloin, whose interview today is with the world famous gourmets  -- the so-called "Galloping Gormaines" -- Chef Harley Escalade and Chef-in-Training, Prescott Seville (some of his fans call him . Scotty. ). These world-famous epicures have been touted throughout the country to be the best in the business, and Furry Purrloin couldn. t wait to get free samples of their food . that is, she couldn. t wait to meet them.

"Chef Harley. May I call you that? I suppose I can, since I. m getting to be rather famous in my own right. What is your speciality, Chef Harley?"

"Ms. Purrloin, right now, my speciality is high fiber, low-fat cooking. But whatever I prepare must also be delicious."

"Are you training Chef Prescott . or Scotty -- to cook in the same manner?"

"At the present time, I am having a hard time training Chef Prescott to set the table correctly."

"What seems to be the problem, Chef Harley?"

"He has this infatuation with the little tabs that dangle from tea bags. Furthermore, he seems to have no interest in getting anywhere near the stove, oven, or a mixing bowl."

"Could it be he only has an interest in foods that are served cold? Most food for felines is served cold, isn't it?"

"Perhaps, but not in my establishment, Ma'am. Cats deserve warm food just the same as the human beans."

While Furry Purrloin mulled this over, the 18-pound orange Chef Harley continued, "I told Prescott an easy way to remember how to set the table. Just remember, I said, that the word . knife. and the word . spoon. both have five letters in them. The word . right. also has five letters, so those utensils belong on the right. The word . fork. only has four letters, as does the word . left. . hence, these utensils belong on the left. Isn't that easy enough, Ms. Purrloin? Wouldn't you think he could remember? No, he just wraps the utensils up in a napkin shaped like some kind of flowery poof ball and places them in the middle of the plate. I don't know what kind of design he will come up with next. The other day, he had all the napkins and utensils standing at attention like little toy soldiers."

"I can certainly see your frustration, Chef Harley,. Furry Purrloin commiserated. This Guest Columnist NEVER has a problem with questions of etiquette, and has little patience for furry readers and furry eaters who do.  However, you meet all types when you. re an investigative journalist, and you must not let anything shock you, ever. . May I ask how you acquired the name 'Galloping Gormaines'? It's quite original."

"Of course, Ms. Purrloin. About six times a day, I have to chase my student, Prescott, around the kitchen to get him to settle down. He's into eating the avocados rather than mashing them for a dip. He thinks the shredded carrots are for tossing up in the air . hence, we sort of gallop about until I wear him out enough to get a lesson across."

"What, may I ask, are your specialities for today, Chef Harley?"

"Today, we are starting with Romaine with chilled sardine tails. The soup will be Maine lobster puree. The Maine course is Alaskan Salmon flakes covered with a broth of pureed tuna filets. For dessert, we will be having candied mouse ears shaped into small flowers, sprinkled with fresh catnip from the garden."

"Sounds delicious. Am I invited to stay and sample all these epicurian delights?"

"You are, you certainly are. Let me first go check on my Chef-in-Training. He has a tendency to fall asleep on the job."

At this point, Furry Purrloin left for the main dining room where the lines were already beginning to form for seating, and took the closest table to the door just in case the food wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and she needed to make a quick escape. Furry Purrloin could hardly wait for her meal to begin. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

April 27, 2001

Feeling Herby. Spring is in the air, trees and flowers are blooming, the earth is warm and special guest Morning Hairball reporter, Furry Purrloin, is making a trip to the local garden center. Of course she's not home enough to plant a real garden, but perhaps a few herbs for her window sill would be nice.

After passing the parsley, Furry ran smack dab into her good friend, Pete Moss. Wham!

"Ouch!" yelled Pete. "Watch where you're going, lady!"

"Pete!"

"Furry!"

While the two potential gardeners hugged their hello's, the other customers looked on and smiled.

"Pete, I really need your advice about what herbs to buy."

"I'd suggest parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme."

"No, Pete. I've heard those attract too many beetles."

Pete interceded, "I think you're confusing beetles with Paul and Art."

Furry Purrloin blushed. "Usually I don't make such mistakes. But at least I had the right decade. Anyway, were talking about herbs."

"How about marjoram? Marjoram is nice," Pete said, glad to change the subject.

"I only like real butter, Pete. Forget the marjoram."

Pete was now beginning to wonder if Furry was, at one time, a blonde.

"Garlic is useful and has lovely flowers, Furry."

"What color are the flowers, Pete?"

"Usually purple, or lavender. Why do you ask?"

"I must think of my kitchen decor," Furry explained. "Occasionally, my friend, Martha, visits. She would be appalled if my window herbs didn't match the potholders and kitchen towels."

"Furry, did you know you can dry herbs in your microwave oven? Craig Clayfeet, the famous gourmand, highly recommends it."

"Tell me how, Pete. With my limited time this sounds ideal for me."

"Okay. Rinse the fresh herbs, and pat them dry with a paper towel. Then place them between fresh paper towels, and put them on a paper plate. Use the lowest cooking level, heat the herbs for one-minute intervals, checking after each interval. Continue until the herbs are dried and brittle, then just store them in tightly sealed containers."

"Oh Pete, you always enrich my life in some way. I'm so glad I ran into you. By the way, would you like a bandage for that shin I ran my cart into?"

"No, thanks, Furry. I'll just go put some of this Aloe Vera on it and sniff a tad of catnip."

** Note, the method for drying fresh herbs in this article is authentic and also works well for flower petals if you plan to make your own potpourri. However, if you're a kitten, get permission from an older cat before you use the microwave.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

April 20, 2001

 Furry Purrloin in Disguise. Oh, no. Trying to sneak into Microslop as a male was presenting more of a problem than what Furry Purrloin, this Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter, first imagined. She thought perhaps the costume shop in the mall could help her, and prayed she didn't run into Mama Mothball, who always seems to be at the mall. Running into Mama Mothball sometimes takes more time than Furry has available, since Mama likes to brag on and on about her Cattywood career and her daughters, Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball. Which is surprising, considering Merry Mothball and Mimi Mothball are essentially worthless creatures. And we know that Mama Mothball has barely put a paw in Cattywood to establish her credibility there.

"Good afternoon. Can I help you with something?" the clerk in the costume store asked.

"Yes, my dear. I have a real dilemma. I must find a costume that will convince anyone who sees me that I am a male. This is sort of an undercover venture that I'm trying to participate in."

"I think I have just the thing for you my dear. Walk this way."

Furry took one look at the clerk and prayed that she never, in all her nine lives, walked . that. way.

"I have a nice three-piece suit here, in stripes. If we dress this up with a white shirt and tie, it will look perfect. No one will be able to see your curves, and that will eliminate your feminine look."

Furry decided that the suit was probably not the look she was hoping for, and she also decided that the clerk had all her taste in her mouth.

"I was hoping for something a bit more casual, and something not quite so severe. How about a 'period costume' of some sort?"

"We have a nice Abraham Lincoln. I don't think it will work for you, though. You're just too short. How about Alexander Graham Bell? Now, I think that would just spectacular on you."

"Er, uh, what does it look like?. Furry asked.

"It. s just a pillow stuffed under the vest, and we can glue on some gray hair, a beard, and yes, yes I'm liking this a lot. Here, can you put these glasses sort of down low on your nose?"

"Perfect! You have done a wonderful job, " Furry uttered, changing her opinion of the clerk in an instant.  . Can I keep these things for at least a month? I'm not sure when the scheduled event will be held."

"Certainly. In fact, you can just buy them outright if you'd like. This costume really isn't in big demand right now. I can give you a very good price."

Furry felt like she was all set now to join the group taking the tour of Microslop, and she looked forward getting some free software, learning a few pointers, and having a wonderful disguise for future interviews.

And the best part was that she didn. t even run into Mama Mothball at the mall!

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

April 11, 2001

The Apology. As you may have heard by now, President Dubya has apologized to a country called China. Either that, or it was a China plate. I've forgotten which it was. But, more importantly, that got this Morning Hairball reporter thinking. All of us cats should say we're sorry whenever we do something wrong. And, sometimes, even when we haven't done anything wrong. For example, here are just some of the things for which Mama Mothball is sincerely sorry:

· She didn't buy her daughter, Merry Mothball, a new dress for the pom-pom. Therefore, Merry Mothball looked like something the dog dragged in at her pom-pom. Even though her date, Gabriel, was gracious about it, Merry Mothball really did look horrible, and it was all this Morning Hairball reporter's fault.
· She hasn't been nicer to her employer, Ruffles Murdog. Month after month, Ruffles Murdog rewards this Morning Hairball reporter's awful work habits by doubling her salary. However, this Morning Hairball reporter has never once told Ruffles Murdog how sweet and generous he is, and she's really sorry about that.
· She planted lies in her last 175 columns. Furthermore, she's still not willing to come clean with her furry readers and tell them which details were fabricated, and she's not proud of that at all.
· She stole Fat Cat's cigar once. This Morning Hairball reporter just wanted to get rid of that foul-smelling thing for one day.
· She deleted Furry Purrloin's byline from a column and submitted it as her own work. Thankfully, Furry Purrloin never noticed, but this Morning Hairball reporter is sincerely sorry about that, too.
· She missed a sale at the mall yesterday, because she had to work. This Morning Hairball reporter apologizes to all the sales cats and store owners whose revenues suffered from her absence.

Well, those are just sample reasons why Mama Mothball feels she should say she's sorry. And this Morning Hairball reporter would like to thank President Dubya, here and now, for inspiring this column. It's so hard to fill space nowadays, and if it hadn't been for President Dubya's apology, this Morning Hairball reporter doesn't know what she would have written about today. Maybe dandelions, since Tony has said it's Dandelions Day. However, this Morning Hairball reporter has serious doubts about whether or not she could have written a whole column about that.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

April 5, 2001

Angry Cows. Oh, no! Special Guest Reporter Furry Purrloin has found herself on the wrong airplane! Instead of heading for Washington, D.C. to do her interview with President G. W. Dubya, she is heading for Jolly Ole England.

"Well, tally ho, might as well make the best of this," she muttered to herself.

"Would you like some tea and crumpets?" the flight attendant asked.

"No, thank you, on the crumpets. I will have a spot of tea, though, and some information."

"What information can I help you with, Ma'am?"

"What would be a good story to dig up while I'm in Great Britain?  Anything juicy going on with the Queen Mother?"

"No, the Queen Mother has been working toward becoming more popular with her subjects.  There is a terrible disease going around with the cows, though, I think," the flight attendant suggested. That was good enough for Furry Purrloin. She set about getting all the facts, because - unlike Mama Mothball, who doesn't care about the facts, and squanders all her time at the mall - this Special Guest Reporter doesn't dare turn in a story until she's checked it out from top to bottom.

Upon landing at Heathrow Airport, Furry Purrloin immediately flagged down one of their famous red double decker buses and proceeded on a jaunt into the countryside.  She got off the bus at the first business establishment she saw, which happened to be a tavern.

"Can I help you, Ma'am?" asked the innkeeper.

"I'm trying to run down some information for a story about this crazy cow disease that is going around.  Is it just a rumor, or is it true?"

"I think I can help you," replied Rumple Grumpuss, the innkeeper.

"What I need to know is, are the cows mad as in angry, or are they mad as in insane?"

"Actually, both,"  Rumple murmured out of the side of his mouth.

"Both?"

"Yes. You see, originally, they were just angry because of their jeans."

"Don't you mean genes?"

"No, I mean jeans.  They were furnished with only the "no name" variety and found out that the cows in the States had designer jeans.  They had no fancy stitching, no little labels on their back pockets.  They soon became so angry that they all went mad, as in crazy.  Head shakin', stumble footed crazy."

"That is no reason that they should have to destroy them," Ms. Purrloin replied. "Can't they get them some help?  Perhaps rehab?"

"There are just not enough psychologists in this country for such a large quantity of cows."

"What is the solution to this problem, if there is one?" asked Furry.

"The farmers are planning a 'fundraiser' to generate money for more designer jeans for the cows.  That should be a start.  They are planning a tea party at Windsor Castle in the next few months.  Thousands will want to attend and see the Castle and the Queen Mother's private rooms.

"What will be the cost of this tea party, fundraiser thing?" Ms. Purrloin was eager to buy a ticket to help out the poor cows, and perhaps it would lead to yet another story once inside Windsor Castle.

"I believe it is about one hundred pounds per cup," Rumple was happy to inform her.

"Quite expensive," Furry decided, doing some quick calculatons. "That's about one hundred and sixty American dollars, Mr. Grumpuss. But it's for a good cause.  Let me call my editor to see about for funding, and I'll get back to you.  Tally Ho!"

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

March 23, 2001

Meet Ms. Dim Bulb. The Morning Hairball. s own Special Guest Reporter Ms. Furry Purrloin, exhausted with all the wet, cold weather on the East Coast, was spending a few days in sunny California when she was granted an interview with the current head of utility affairs, Ms. Dim Bulb. Ms. Furry Purrloin offered to send the information she gleaned to Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball. Which was fortunate, because regular Morning Hairball reporter, Mama Mothball, had to make an urgent trip to the mall on that very same day. Her favorite store, after all, was having a sale on hats. So Ms. Furry Purrloin. s interview with Ms. Dim Bulb, which is reprinted here in its entirety, could not have been timed any better.

"Ms. Bulb, I heard a rumor that this state is thinking of advancing the clocks two hours rather than one when Daylight Savings time begins. Can this be true?"

"It certainly is, Ms. Purrloin. We're doing it to conserve energy."

"Do clocks really use that much energy?" Furry Purrloin inquired.

"Clocks hardly use any electricity at all, but we want to give the state even more daylight then they have now. If they have more daylight, then they won't have to use as many electric lights in their homes."

"Then will you be banning candlelight dinners when this occurs?"

"Of course not. We will sell, at a nominal fee, room darkening shades for these occasions."

Hmmm. Furry Purrloin had so many questions running through her head and not enough interview time to ask them all.

"What is the real source of the energy crisis in this state, Ms. Bulb?"

"Oh, that's easy. The plants that produce the energy are cutting back on their production."

Furry Purrloin was really in the dark now.

"Ms. Bulb, if the plants were to produce more energy, would there still be a crisis?"

"No, Ms. Purrloin, but the plan as of today is to reserve the extra energy until the price goes up. This way, we can get more money for the same energy we are selling now."

"But, Ms. Bulb, isn't this illegal?"

"Not until the investigation is complete. Then we may have to pay a fine which will amount to a lot less than what we will make from the higher prices," a smiling Dim Bulb replied.

"Is this fair to the consumers?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"Not really, but they pay more for gasoline and haven't stopped buying it, so why shouldn't we get a piece of the pie?"

Furry Purrloin was in such a state of frustration and confusion and bewilderment that she didn't know which way this interview should go next. So she took a shot in the dark.

"Ms. Bulb, when the state experiences its so-called 'rolling blackouts,' doesn't that ruin computers and other electrical devices that depend on having electricity to operate? Similarly, what about curling irons, ovens, timers, and the like?"

"Ms. Purrloin, that is really not any of my concern. The economy in the state can only be helped if consumers purchase new appliances and computers, so this should help everyone."

Having gleaned all the information she could from Ms. Dim Bulb, Furry Purrloin took off for the airport at that point to see if she could get an interview with the new president, Mr. G.W. Dubya, in hopes that he would find a solution to the underhanded way in which the utility companies in the state were manipulating the consumers. Ms. Furry Purrloin promises to keep her furry readers updated.

Do you have any concerns about energy? Or would you like to support Ms. Furry Purrloin in her attempts to score an interview with the president? You may write to Ms. Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.

March 16, 2001

Guest Reporter Eats Her Words. Tuesday, while trying to track down Mama Mothball at the mall, Furry Purrloin ran smack dab into an old friend, Mr. Rat Funk, who was having a rather heated conversation with his crony, Mr. Tailless Wagnalls. Furry thought, perchance, she would eavesdrop and pick up a juicy article. And she was right. So here, in place of Mama Mothball. s Daily Scoop, is Furry Purrloin. s Guest Daily Scoop. And Mama Mothball thanks Furry Purrloin for a much-needed vacation day.

Here is what Furry Purrloin overhead:

Mr. Funk exclaimed, . It's rather aerie in this mall."

"I believe that's airy," Wagnalls replied.

"Well, this is going to cause me to ale."

"Don't you mean ail?"

"My Ante told me I should stay away from drafts."

"Your what? You mean Auntie?"

"Wagnalls, why do you keep correcting me?"

"Because you keep spelling words wrong, or using the wrong word, Funk."

"Oh give me a brake, Wagnalls."

"There, see, you did it again, it's break, Funk."

Fury couldn't stand it anymore and had to interject herself between the two.

"Why don't you two write this all down?" she suggested.

"Because madam, Mr. Funk can't spell worth spit," replied Wagnalls.

"You could say the words Mr. Funk, and Mr. Wagnalls could write them down. Maybe in the form of a

book."

"Right them down," Funk muttered.

"See, this is hopeless, it's write Funk, not right."

"Sounds the same to me." said Funk.

"What would we call this book Ms. Purrloin?", Wagnalls asked.

"How about a spellionary," suggested Furry.

"Nope, too hard to spell," said Funk.

"I must paws and think this over," Mr. Funk added.

"Pause, pause, pause," uttered Wagnalls, throwing up his hands.

Furry was doubled over with laughter, thinking this the best entertainment the mall had experienced in

months.

"I've got it," Wagnalls shrieked.

"We'll call it a dictionary!"

"Their, their," said Mr. Funk, "control yourself."

"It's there, there, you nitwit."

Furry Purrloin, at this point, had to leave to continue her pursuit of Mama Mothball, leaving Funk and Wagnalls to work out their spelling and diction problems.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

March 8, 2001

Peas-A-Palace. Mama Mothball is going to the mall today to celebrate Tar and Feather Day. Plus, she just wants a break from the daily grind of reporting. To prevent a tar and feathering by her boss, Ruffles Murdog, Mama Mothball asked Furry Purrloin to write a guest column. Furry Purrloin, whose close associates include John Wayne, Bart, Harley, and Scotty, was only too happy to oblige. Here then, in Furry Purrloin. s own words, is today. s top news story.

Well, no, it. s not exactly today. s top news story. It. s more a slice of life. Or, well, it. s a glimpse into the inner recesses of Furry Purrloin. s furry mind. Yeah, that. s it.

Mama Mothball hopes all you furry readers enjoy it. And, now, she really is off to the mall.

Recently, Furry Purrloin was visiting her dear friend, Catalina Giggles, in Vermont. The two best friends decided they needed to get away from all the snow and cold, and get out for some evening entertainment.

"Where shall we go?" Furry asked Catalina.

"How about a new place I've just found? It's called "Peas-A-Palace."

"No, I just had pizza last night. I don't feel like having it again tonight," replied Furry.

"I didn't say anything about pizza. you furrball. I said, "Peas-A-Palace."

"Well it certainly sounds like pizza to me. What do they serve?" Furry queried.

"It's just very hard to explain, but a lot of fun. Grab your muffler, and let. s go," said Catalina.

After slipping and sliding down snow-covered walkways and across several streets, the two best friends arrived at what appeared to be a large arena. Upon entering and buying their tickets, they were ushered into a large oval area that was a converted skating rink.

"What in the world has skating got to do with pizza?" asked Furry Purrloin.

"Just get off the pizza thing, and look around, you nitwit," Catalina remarked.

"But what are those tiny green things covering the entire arena, and why are cats running around like fools and idiots? They are chasing, jumping, sliding, and dashing all over the arena. What is that green stuff they are after?" Furry wondered out loud.

"Those are frozen peas, my dear," replied Catalina. "They throw millions of them into the arena, and we cats can chase, roll, stomp, or do anything we like with them for an entire hour."

"Look, there are several red cats stashing them up into the corner. They have piles started. What are they planning to do with all those peas?" Furry Purrloin asked.

"Well, my dear, once the peas defrost, you are allowed to eat all you want. Some of the red cats like "mushy peas," which are served in England, so they are scarfing up all they can."

"Over there, Catalina, quick, look. There is a fountain running over with frozen peas, and cats are batting them everywhere. Let. s go try that," Furry Purrloin suggested, as she dashed off across the arena, leaving Catalina slipping and sliding behind her on the peas.

"Oh, I don't believe that my new outfit will survive this," Furry Purrloin commented.

"Well, I didn't know if you really wanted to participate, so I didn't suggest changing," Catalina commented with a smirk. Her friend Furry Purrloin was always trying to out-dress her, and now she was getting green peas all over herself.

"What do they do with all these frozen peas after this session ends?" Furry Purrloin asked the attendant who was monitoring the activities.

"They turn some heat on under the arena and clear all the cats out. After about an hour, we have a lovely batch of pea soup. There is a big market for it in Sam Clams Disco, out West."

The two friends decided to leave early, as they were tired, hungry, and so slopped up with green peas that they didn't want to be seen in public until after a bath, manicure, and massage. They did promise to visit the Peas-A-Palace again when they were wearing the proper attire.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at paws4purrs@meowmail.com.

 February 28, 2001

Eenie, Meenie, Soybeanie. Did you know you can use soybean oil to fill your motorbike. s gas tank? Tommy and Kato, the MeowMail Twins, have been doing it for years.

. Where have you been, Mama Mothball?. asked the MeowMail Twins, when this Morning Hairball reporter interviewed them late last night. . We. ve been filling our motorbike. s with soybean oil for years..

. But that. s fascinating!. rejoined this Morning Hairball reporter. . Why didn. t you ever tell me that? You know I. m always on the lookout for news tips for my column..

Tommy, the more vocal of the MeowMail Twins, replied, . There are so many fascinating stories that we think you should report. For example, the other day, we told you that a rich cat in China is using a 24-carat gold litterbox. Did you follow up on that lead? No, you did not. So we don. t always tell you things. Sometimes, we save our news tips for your competition?.

This Morning Hairball reporter was furious. . Competition? And exactly which felines do you consider to be my competition?.

. Well, there are the special guest reporters, Furry Purrloin and Frank. Then there are the respected television reporters, like Doody Rather, Sammy Donald Duck, and Peter Pumpkin Jennikens. They. re so good, they actually research their stories personally. Can you say the same?. asked Tommy.

Mama Mothball hissed at Tommy, and then she asked his twin, . You. re a mama. s boy, Kato. Do you support Tommy. s scheme to undermine my credibility by leaking the really important news stories to lesser reporters, who don. t have a tenth of my experience?.

Kato looked at Tommy, and then he looked at this Morning Hairball reporter. . Food,. he requested.

This Morning Hairball reporter slipped Kato a liver treat.

. Okay, then, I. ll tell you all about the soybean oil that Tommy and I use to power our motorbikes. We pour it into our gas tanks, and then we ride our bikes. See?. Kato asked.

Mama Mothball saw. Okay, so the MeowMail Twins give the really good news tips to this Morning Hairball. s competitors, and Mama Mothball has to make do with whatever scrapings are left on the bottom of the barrel. Still, it could always be worse. Mama Mothball still has almost an entire container of liver treats left. She will eat them now, and drown her sorrows in the excess calories.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 19, 2001

 

A Chat With Our President. In honor of Presidents Day, this Morning Hairball reporter interviewed Joey Boy. For those of you furry readers who don. t know, Joey Boy is the president of MeowMail Town.

Mama Mothball: It. s an honor to speak with you, Mr. President.

Joey Boy: Naturally. I mean, uh, the privilege is all mine.

Mama Mothball: How did you get to be president, Mr. President?
Joey Boy: It wasn't easy. First, I had to post my picture on MeowMail's chat board a few dozen times. Once fellow MeowMail Town residents had fallen head-over-paws in love with my good looks, I made sure we held an election. Based on my startlingly blue eyes, I won by a landslide, and the rest is history.

Mama Mothball: Mr. President, has your administration endured a scandal yet?

Joey Boy: Well, yes. When I wasn. t looking, my human posted a picture of me chasing a mouse in our back yard. Intrepid guest Daily Scoop reporter, Furry Purrloin, asked whether I. d caught and killed the mouse. Of course, I denied it. But then that other intrepid guest Daily Scoop reporter, Frank, interviewed my siblings, Baby Girl and Scooter, and found out the truth. I bit the mouse. s head off and ate it. Intrepid guest Daily Scoop reporter, Frank, ratted me out, and I was impeached. But, thankfully, I wasn. t removed from office, and my administration goes on.

Mama Mothball: Is there a new law you. re planning to pass today, in honor of Presidents Day?

Joey Boy: Now that I think of it, there is. All felines must give their humans at least two nose rubs within the next 24 hours, or else.

Mama Mothball: Or else what?

Joey Boy: I. ll think of something.

Mama Mothball: In closing, Mr. President, is there anything else you. d like to say?

Joey Boy: Yes. Good luck to my friend, Pumpkin, who is going to the vet. s today to be n-e-u-t-e-r-e-d. I can. t say the word, because it would upset him. But, Pumpkin, we. re all very proud of you and wish you well. Also, I. d like to invite every cat to send me a congratulatory note or card. My email address is joeyboy@meowmail.com. How many felines out there can say they. ve actually emailed a sitting president?

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 12, 2001

 

A Mall Story. What do you do when you. re looking for a news story? Furry Purrloin, a Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter and a close associate of MeowMail Town. s own John Wayne, goes to the Mall.

While strolling through a local Mall, Ms. Furry Purrloin saw Mama Mothball. . What a coincidence!. this intrepid Special Guest Reporter exclaimed.  . Are you looking for a news story, too?.

. No, I am taking the day off.  You will not find a news story at the Mall,. retorted Mama Mothball. . That is a very stupid idea, and one that only an untalented and inexperienced journalist would come up with..

This intrepid Special Guest Reporter was determined to prove Mama Mothball wrong, and prove her wrong she did.

Almost as soon as Mama Mothball and Ms. Furry Purrloin parted company, this intrepid Special Guest Reporter noticed a sign on one of the store fronts that read CATASTROPHY CAT GROOMING. She checked, and sure enough, she decided that she, this intrepid Special Guest Reporter, could use a little perking up, even though the salon did look a bit ostentatious. Upon entering the salon, our intrepid Special Guest Reporter encountered the owner, Ms. Flearid Sudsface.

"Ms. Sudsface," began an exuberant Ms. Purrloin, who was sure she had found her news story, "some of our furry readers believe that cats never have to be bathed. They say cats lick themselves clean. They also say that cats have a special enzyme of some sort in their saliva that works like Tide, dislodging the dirt where it hides. Are you saying that. s not true?"

"Why Ms. Purrloin, of course it. s true. Tide is a wonderful product,. responded Flearid Sudface.

This intrepid reporter pointed out that she didn. t care about Tide. She was out to get a news story and prove that Mama Mothball was an idiot. The topic at hand was cat spit, and she suggested that Flearid Sudface stick to it if she wanted to make today. s edition of the Daily Scoop and further this intrepid Special Guest Reporter. s career in journalism.

. I'm surprised you would think that cats can lick themselves clean,. rejoined Flearid Sudface, who desperately wanted to see her name in print, although she didn. t appear to care much about Ms. Purrloin. s career aspirations. . There comes a time when cats must face reality. Have you ever heard a human announce, . This cat smells like a port-a-potty on a hot day in Florida?. "

"No, I can't say that I have, Ms. Sudsface. But then, I don't travel in that kind of company, " replied Ms. Purrloin. "Can you explain to me just how you go about performing your service?"

"First of all, Ms. Purrloin, we don't try to perform our service in an open area where we are likely to be chased. We prefer a very small bathing area, less than four feet square. We like to use what the humans refer to as a tub enclosure with the glass doors closed . you know, as if a human were about to take a shower.. Here Flearid Sudface paused to take a breath.  . We never use shower curtains since a berserk cat can shred a three-ply-rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions. A cat has claws and can remove the skin from a human body quite quickly. Our bathers wear canvas overalls tucked into high-top-construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face mask and a long-sleeve flak jacket."

"But Ms. Sudsface, this sounds like torture rather than a relaxing experience," opined Ms. Purrloin.

"I must tell you, Ms. Purrloin, there is no time to go out for a towel when you have a cat digging a hole in your flak jacket,. Flearid Sudface defended herself. . We put the water in the tub, a bottle of kitty shampoo inside the glass enclosure, and we make sure the towel can be reached, even if we are lying on our back in tepid water."

Ms. Purrloin turned to leave the establishment in disgust, now that she had uncovered a scandal that would shock her furry readers AND make a terrific news story. "Ms. Sudsface, I am determined to warn my furry readers about the evils you are perpetrating in your seemingly innocuous establishment..

"Hold on, Ms. Purrloin, you haven't heard the best parts yet!. Flearid Sudface shouted. . We pick up the cats nonchalantly, as if to simply carry them to their food dish. Our customers don't usually notice our strange attire. If they do inquire, we just tell them that they are taking part in a product testing experiment. Once we are inside the enclosure, speed is of the essence. In a single motion, we shut the door, dip the customer in the water, and squirt him or her with shampoo. This can be the most enjoyable forty-five seconds of your life! Our customers have no handles when they are wet, so we can't support them for more than two or three seconds."


This intrepid Special Guest Reporter couldn. t resist asking, "How much do you charge for all this?"

"Depends on the customer," replied Ms. Sudsface. "The more fur we have to hang onto, the less the charge will be. Short hair is much more costly in this case."


"What is the end result, Ms. Sudsface?" inquired Ms. Purrloin, who always likes to wrap up her assignments, no matter how dangerous they become.

"Customers usually stay a few days to recover and relax enough to be removed from the bather. s leg. Some customers develop the habit of staring like figurines. They are not angry, they are simply plotting a way not to return to this establishment, even though they do smell a lot better," Ms. Sudsface explained.

This intrepid Special Guest Reporter was afraid for her own fur, and besides, she had more than enough ammunition to prove that Mama Mothball was an insufferable and unimaginative bore. The best stories in the world are to be found at the Mall. However, for today, it was time for Ms. Purrloin to end the interview and write up her story for submission to her editor. "Well, I really have to be going now, Ms. Sudsface. I have enjoyed our little chat. I have a few things to pick up at the Mall before I come back. And I do want to find Mama Mothball so I can taunt her with my success before she escapes from my clutches." And, with that, Ms. Purrloin hurried to her vehicle, never to be seen at the CATASTROPHY SALON again.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

February 5, 2001

 

Calling Tech Support. This is the latest report just in from Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin. Mama Mothball, the regular Daily Scoop columnist, is taking the day off and thanks Furry Purrloin, who is a very close associate of MeowMail Town. s own John Wayne, for today. s story.

At the moment this reporter is investigating the nescience surrounding the lack of e-mail servers not serving e-mail lately.  She decided that this is something that she simply must investigate. First of all, because she is expecting important mail from Ruffles Murdog regarding her appointment to the literary enhancement of computer language.

She, at first, decided to e-mail the e-mail servers across the nation to see what input they would have regarding the most recent problem.

The e-mail didn. t reach them, but returned to her via the e-mail demon. She has gone fur-to-fur with the e-mail demon before, and knows that she doesn. t want to go there again.

She next tried calling, by telephone, a computer Tech in the Silicone Valley. He was just too busy to chat with her as he was working on a high priority project regarding enhancement of certain body parts for humans.


At this point, she was thoroughly exasperated and decided to use her computer to pull up a web site called: "What in the world do you want and why don. t you already know the answer."

She has used this site before and always came away knowing the answer whether she wanted to or not.


Web site: What is your question?

Ms. Purrloin: What is wrong with the e-mail servers throughout the U.S.?

Web site: I don. t know, but I. ll look it up. Hold on.

Ms. Purrloin does as told and stays on hold through the computer for seventy-three minutes, surfing around to some really cool cat sites while waiting.

Web site: Ms. Purrloin are you still there?

Ms. Purrloin: Why, yes, I am.


Web site: Oh, drat! Well, I think I have found the problem. Have you been using a mouse to access your e-mail?


Ms. Purrloin: Why, yes, I have. Is that incorrect?


Web site: No, not normally, but you see the mousies have gone on strike until they all get new pads.

Ms. Purrloin: You mean to tell me that simply buying a new mouse pad will solve all of these problems? I can run right out and get one.

Web site: Well, not exactly, Ms. Purrloin. The mousies want their own condos. They say that the regular mouse pads that you buy at he office supply store are outdated and a thing of the past. They want hot tubs, sun porches, and hot and cold running electricity, without interruption. They want their own clothes, and special ones for holidays, feathers, boas and rabbit ears, maybe even a tutu.

Ms. Purrloin: Oh, my goodness! How much do these things cost? 

Web site: Well, the cost just went up, and now it averages around two thousand dollars per use. Of course, this does not include the service, just the equipment.

Ms. Purrloin: Well, that is quite expensive. Maybe I should just go back to using "snail mail" or the telephone. By the way, how much is the service?


Web site: Well, I really hate to tell you this, but that just went up, too. The service will be exactly the same as postal rates. You will pay one cent more and get 20% less for your money.


Ms. Purrloin: I can. t afford all this "high tech" equipment just to access my e-mail. Is there an alternative?


Web site: Just use the keyboard. Send no unnecessary e-mail, and do not open any e-mail unless you know it is coming from someone who is not using a mouse. A good investment at this time would be mouse condos, as they are the up and coming thing for computer users. Excuse me, Ma. am. I have another question waiting, so will have to sign off.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

January 29, 2001

 

Meet MeowMail. s Moms. This is the latest report just in from Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin. Mama Mothball, the regular Daily Scoop columnist, is taking the day off and thanks Furry Purrloin, who is a very close associate of MeowMail Town. s own John Wayne, for today. s story.

Have you ever attended a cat show? Furry Purrloin did. While looking for weekend divertissement, the somewhat eccentric Ms. Purrloin attended the gathering of humans flocked with fur which was advertised as the International Cat Show put on by the Fog City Cat Club in Pleasanton, California.

Upon her arrival, Furry Purrloin noticed that hundreds of felines were in cages and being taken to different judging stations. They were held up, stretched out, fondled, then put back into the cages. Ms. Purrloin couldn't imagine what the humans were up to. Were they trying to decide which feline to take home? Were they trying to determine if any dogs had slipped into the building?

While staring in awe at all the beautiful cats and their odd humans, Furry Purrloin heard a woman ask a mysterious question: "Are you Frankie's Mom?"

The person replied that she was not.

Ms. Purrloin became interested in who or what a Frankie was, since she is always looking for the latest scoop to further her career in journalism. She therefore began to follow the woman around to see if she could learn the definition of a Frankie.

Again the woman stopped and asked the same question: "Are you Frankie's Mom?"

"No, I am not," was the reply. "Why? Did you find Frankie?"

The curious woman said that no, she didn. t think Frankie was even lost.

Now Ms. Purrloin was more confused than ever. So she listened closely to the conversation between humans.

"Well, what does Frankie's mom look like? I'll be happy to keep my eyes open."

"I have no idea." replied Curious Woman.

Now Ms. Purrloin really had her curiosity roused, so she continued to follow Curious Woman, who she was now ready to believe, had escaped from one of the other show buildings, or perhaps from a remedial course in memory enhancement.

Again and again, over and over the Curious Woman would walk up to complete strangers and ask the same question. She did receive some very interesting replies such as, "Are you looking for the snack bar," "Is Frankie a cat," and "Has Frankie gotten out of one of the cages?"

The only question to which the Curious Woman replied "yes" was to the question about whether Frankie was, in fact, a cat.

But why was the Curious Woman looking for Frankie's mom? Ms. Purrloin had a real mystery on her paws and was determined to get to the bottom of it.

At last, the Curious Woman took a chair near one of the places where they were examining cats, and naturally Ms. Purrloin thought she had given up her quest to locate a "Frankie's mom." Alas, she was wrong, because the Curious Woman turned to the woman on her left and asked the by now familiar question: "Are you Frankie's mom?"

The woman responded with, "No, but that is the second time you've asked me."

Ms. Purrloin had, at that point, determined that the Curious Woman was not only demented but was losing her eyesight also.

About that time, the woman on the Curious Woman's right poked the Curious Woman and said, "I'm Frankie's mom."

Well, this reporter must tell you that is when all hugging broke out. Aha! This Curious Woman was looking for a hug! Who would ever have thought that was her quest with the questions she was asking.

Then the group of humans, which included not only Frankie's mom, but also included Frankie's daddy, and Frankie's Uncle C., started taking pictures of each other. Ms. Purrloin believes that this is because they want to remember what each other looks like, and they won't have to suffer the embarrassment of attending another gathering and having to ask that so-trite question, "Are you Frankie's Mom?"

This is a true story. It occurred on January 27, 2001, and it marked the first-ever meeting of two MeowMail moms which included John Wayne's mom, (a.k.a., Curious Woman), Frankie's mom, Frankie's daddy, and Frankie's Uncle C. The last two, of course, weren. t moms, but they were glad to meet each other, anyway. The knew so much about each other from their cats, John Wayne and Frankie, who chat with each other regularly on the MeowMail Forum.

Ms. Purrloin would also like to mention that Frankie's Uncle C. is quite a nice looking human who was kind enough to take pictures. Although she is a bit puzzled by the fact that he doesn. t have all that much fur on his head, and that he was wearing clothes. Feline photographers NEVER wear clothes, in this Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter. s experience.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

January 20, 2001

 

Finding Energy. Mama Mothball has the day off today, so Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter, the intrepid Furry Purrloin, is once again filling in for her. Furry Purrloin, as you may remember, is a very close associate. . . of MeowMail Town's own John Wayne.

This news bulletin came directly to Furry Purrloin. s desk at the API. That's "All Purrsion International" if you are wondering.

"Humans in the Pacific Northwest are without power and soon will be without gas!"

Intrepid Morning Hairball Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin, believes this will soon create a population explosion of the human race in that area. She states, "After all, what do humans do when they are forced to have candlelight dinners, can't watch television, and are cold? They snuggle under warm blankets, which has been known to cause the birth of small humans."

This intrepid Morning Hairball Guest Reporter interviewed the governor of that area, the Honorable Silver Davidson. "Governor Davidson, your state is in big trouble here. What are you planning to do about this?"

Silver Davidson replied, "I plan to buy more hairspray so that, when reporters come around, I won't look like some of those windblown interviewers that have been bugging me lately. Secondly, I plan to remind the people that this was once a pioneer state, settled by gold miners who arrived in covered wagons. They had no electricity, and no gas, and they survived just fine. The governor's mansion is exempt from any "rolling blackouts," because we're doing some real important stuff here, so why should I worry?"

Furry was not content with Silver Davidson. s to the Pacific Northwest. s energy crisis, so she contacted Mr. Ampere Volt, the head official of the electric and gas companies. "Mr. Volt, do you have a solution to the crisis that. s currently affecting the Pacific Northwest?"

Mr. Volt replied, "Well, we just paid our investors large dividends, in the millions of dollars, so we just don't have the money now to buy and provide businesses and homeowners with something they have been wasting anyway. We think the solution to the problem is to declare bankruptcy, and let someone else handle the problem."

Ms. Purrloin, still not believing the apathy over such a dire situation, went straight to the new U.S. president, Mr. Georgie Porgie Puddin' 'n Pie. "Mr. Puddin' 'n Pie, seeing as how you have just taken over the running of this great country, what is your solution to the energy crisis in the Pacific Northwest? They are almost living in the dark ages. Computers are crashing right and left. There are no longer little light bulbs over the heads of characters in the cartoon strips. The candle makers cannot keep up with the demand for candles. What do you think should be done about this?"

President Puddin' 'n Pie replied, "Well thar Miss Purrloin, I don't reckon as how I know where the Pacific Northwest is. I have never been to that country. I say, if they didn't support me in the past election, then I will not consider that to be part of the United States. Where I come from, we have plenty of everything we need. If the people there don't like their situation, they can just move to Texas. I would also strongly suggest that they buy stock in candles, since campfires are banned in that area. They don't need computers and cartoons. They have paper and pencils, and they can just walk their communications to wherever they need to go. Why do they need email? Excuse me now, I have to go unpack. I just made a big move, in case you haven. t heard."

Totally exasperated with the lack of interest in this dire situation, Ms. Purrloin stated, for the record, "Well, on the up side, we know that cats living in the Pacific Northwest will not suffer. Their food requires no cooking. It is mostly served cold from cans or bags, so we have no need to worry on that point."

The intrepid Furry Purrloin is now off to cover the Inaugural Feline Ball, where it is reported they will be having a square dance and lots of barbequed ribs. It. s party time!

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

January 12, 2001

 

Mama Mothball has the day off today, so Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin, is filling in for her. Furry Purrloin is a very close associate of MeowMail Town's own John Wayne.

In the small town of Countless, Florida, the Daily Gazetteer reported that there was a crowd picketing department stores. Intrepid Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter, Furry Purrloin, decided to followup with an early morning interview.

"Why are you picketing?" Furry Purrloin asked the crowd.

The crowd replied, "We are picketing the killing of Polar Fleece, which has become the latest fashion trend in leisure wear."

"Why is that?" this intrepid Morning Hairball Guest Report persisted.

"We believe they are an endangered species," the crowd responded.

Furry Purrloin then contacted Admiral Byrddog and suggested a trip to the Polar Region to check out this remarkable disclosure. This intrepid Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter really wanted to impress Ruffles Murdog, publisher/editor of the Morning Hairball, with the extra effort he put into his Special Guest Column.

Admiral Byrddog thought Furry Purrloin's idea was a fine one. Plus, he was sort of bored and couldn't think of anything else to do except what Furry Purrloin had suggested.

Upon Admiral Byrddog's arrival in South Polar, he could find no trace of the Polar Fleece. The only establishment in the area was operated and run by Sleddog McFur and Shepherd Wolfe. It was called the Klondog Saloon. So Admiral Bryddog made tracks to speak with the proprietors.

Both Sleddog and Shepherd said they had once seen tracks of the Polar Fleece and believed the entire herd had moved further South. Not fully trusting their judgment, Admiral Bryddog set out once again in search of the Polar Fleece.

He finally found very plush tracks which led into a multi-colored cavern disguised as a fortune cookie factory. Apparently, the factory was owned and operated by Poly Litterwell and Ester Scooping, who were nice enough to speak with Admiral Bryddog. Poly and Ester said the Polar Fleece was being manufactured in the cavern and being imported to the United States in very small amounts as fortunes in fortune cookies.

Furthermore, much to Admiral Byrddog's shock, Poly and Ester claimed that the Polar Fleece was not only NOT an endangered species, but was NOT A SPECIES AT ALL!

When Admiral Byrddog once again contacted Furry Purrloin, the intrepid Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter was similarly surprised and chagrined. Upon further research, Furry Purrloin discovered that the town of Countless, Florida had, in fact, miscounted the Polar Fleece items that were being sold and had already had enough publicity regarding counting and fuzzy results. Furry Purrloin was therefore thrilled that she hadn't printed the story without first checking it out. And a valuable lesson was learned by all.

This intrepid Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter has since moved onto her next news research project. She will not tell her furry readers what it is, however she will drop a hint. It has something to do with a new model automobile being manufactured in Washington D. C. called the GWB. This is reputed to be the first automobile with no engine, uses no gas, and has to be pushed. We're sure all our furry readers will eagerly await this intreprid Morning Hairball Special Guest Reporter's next story.

Talk back to Furry Purrloin at pause4purrs@meowmail.com.

 

 


 

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