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“The Cat and the Ice Cream Parlour” (an Adult Fable)

A cat eating ice cream

(Audio reading at end of text.)

In a small town, there lived a group of stray cats. The cats walked around at night and had fun until morning. They got along splendidly, for they were all decent, nice cats that liked each other’s company. They liked the same music that people played on the street in the evening. They liked finding the same scraps and would share them. They liked going to the same hill with flowers, which in the middle of night, smelled with soft beauty from the fading day.

There was a tabby cat, a cat with blotches, a gray cat and a cat named Speckles, who looked as her name described.

At night, when they talked cat talk under the moon, they could see the town from their view on the hill. They saw a fancy group of cats go every night into the ice cream parlour. They would sneak into a small hole on the side of the building and smush their way in its walls.

Gray Cat would say, “I bet they drink the milk. I heard the ice cream-selling humans worried because their bottles had been turned over, and they were empty.”

Speckles, however, looked upon the fancy cats in awe — and wanted to be their friend instead. There was a fluffy white cat with a gold collar, a smooth-haired black cat and one that looked sort of like a lion.

One evening, Speckles got brave and went up to Furry White Cat. “I like your collar,” said Speckles.

Furry White Cat sat and licked her paws. “My human got it for me. You probably don’t get to see gold collars at your house. Why don’t you come with us tonight, and you’ll see how real cats live?”

So Speckles did not go back to her old true friends on the hill. From that moment on, she vowed to be friends only with the fancy cats. They stole milk from the humans and said the milk outside wasn’t enough. They even put their heads in the ice cream tubs at the parlour and licked it up.

“This one’s bubble gum,” said Smooth-Haired Cat, of some blue ice cream. “It’s flavor of the month — and it is the cat’s pajamas.”

And as you can imagine, a cat saying “it’s the cat’s pajamas” is the highest compliment a cat can give (because they did not wear pajamas and coveted them in winter).

Eventually, the fancy cats got bored with Speckles and suddenly said she needs to find “cats of her own kind,” accusing Speckles of being boring.

Speckles walked back to the flowery hill with her head down. She saw only the flowers and the moon all night — she knew not that her old and true friends had all started gathering on a different hill.

Thus it happened that Speckles lost her old and true friends.

Moral: Be leery of those who befriend based on “flavor of the month.”