Hello furry feline friends and human pets,
I was quite surprised when Phil showed up at my house early this morning informing me that The Amazing Zeus was still going to continue. I personally had thought it was over, but Phil told me that sometimes, it works in the station's favor to have cliffhangers and such. He said the suspense of what was going to happen in Florida with Manx Mnews probably had people on the edge of their seats.
I wasn't too sure I believed Phil, but he was, after all, the expert on good television for homo sapiens. As we were on our way out, Phil waved to my human pet, Marina, and said, "I'll make sure he picks you up a souvenir or two. You have a great day, Marina."
"Phil, no!" I screamed.
But once again, we heard the thump and knew that the human pet was on the floor, passed out from "star anxiety".
"I'm beginning to think you do that on purpose, Phil," I muttered.
The flight out to Florida was beautiful: sunny skies, big, puffy clouds, and lots of great scenery. I love being able to see the ocean as well with its big blue waves. If I was partial to water, I might have actually loved it more!
By taxi (Thank you production crew once again for your help!), I made my way to Abby and the gang. I was very excited to meet all of them! I had never met a feline without a tail so I was a bit intrigued. What was it like? Did it hurt? Did she ever wish she had a tail so she could chase it?
Once I got to the house, I walked up the path, knocked on the door, and waited patiently. Miss Debbie opened the door and looked right and left, but she didn't see me. She closed the door on me, and I was right there! I jumped up again and rang the doorbell. This time, she opened it with a scouring eye, but I meowed loud and clear! She looked down, said excitedly, "Oh Zeus!", and then called the others to come and say hello.
Everyone came dashing around the corner, and I felt as if I was about to get ran over! I was terrrified to be honest.
"Zeus! Unbelievable! You're finally here!" screamed Abby.
"I told you he would be coming soon. You just had to take a lot of naps to make it happen sooner is all," said Boo.
"Dude, there was never any doubt," said Jinx looking at Boo.
"Admit it: You doubted it," said Ping to Jinx.
"I never did personally," said Gracie quietly from the back of the main group.
"Zeus, what do you think we will be doing? There sure is a lot of us, but no haunted houses! We heard about that, and that's just not for us," said Abby definitively.
"I'm not sure, sweet Abby. I suspect we'll find out soon though."
And though you will think I am kidding, that is when the doorbell rang.
"Woohoo!" screamed Jinx.
"That Phil guy is really prompt. He doesn't waste time," said Boo to Ping.
Miss Debbie opened the door, and sure enough it was Phil. He looked down at us with his announcer eyes, staring right into our inner souls. "Zeus, Abby, Boo, Ping, Jinx, and Gracie: I hold in my hand two envelopes. Please choose which envelope you would like."
We all turned to look at one another. "Zeus," said Gracie cautiously, "It never happens like this. What is this guy doing?"
"I don't know," I said, turning to look back at Phil to see if I could read his features. He was as intense as stone. "Which one do you think we should pick?"
"Left! I saw this commercial about taking a trip and making all left turns. Those beans did neato things so it has to be left!" said Abby.
We all considered that for a moment, asking one another if we had seen the commercial. Most of us had, and we thought Abby's logic was quite sound. We told Phil our answer, and he said, "Very well. You have five hundred dollars for this leg of the race. Make sure to read your clue carefully, and be safe on your travels."
Our eyes bulged out of our skulls! Five hundred dollars?! Where would be going?
Opening the clue, we all huddled around and read it together:
Make your way to the Everglades.
"The swamp?! That's worse than a haunted house!" cried Ping.
"We could get eaten alive!" said Jinx.
"Or...we could be the bravest kitties ever!" said Boo. "I think we should try."
I nodded in agreement and said, "I think as long as we all stick together we will be fine. However, the swamp is a very icky place. Full of mosquitos, ticks, fleas, and lots of other buggies. Maybe we should douse ourselves in Revolution before we go."
Miss Debbie was only more than happy to oblige my idea. She made sure all of us were up to date with our medicine, and then one-by-one, we made our way to the car. (Miss Debbie, having already read of my journeys elsewhere, had suspected that she would be needed to drive. She was very on top of the game.)
Once we arrived at the swamp, we gathered together to come up with a plan. "I say we all link tails and then walk through the swamp in a straight line," said Jinx.
"AHEM!" said Abby, hitting Jinx with her big right paw.
"Oh yeah," said Jinx, "I forgot!"
"Perhaps we could just walk together and not hold tails," I said.
"Yes, perhaps we could," said Abby, who was clearly miffed at Jinx's comment.
There was a constant buzzing noise that surrounded us from the moment we entered the dense foliage. Every type of bug swarmed around us, and the thick, muddy ground beneath our paws made me want to take a bath immediately. The humidity alone was enough of a motivator to get wet...and we cats never get wet!
Every direction, you could see some sort of animal peeking out at you. We met a very nice Atlantic leatherback turtle named Shellie who told us of how she had come near the swamp to lay her eggs. She told us she was worried since most of her children never reach the ocean. Ping and Abby offered to watch the babies for a little bit, but the turtle laughed. "You two are very kind, but what will be will be. We turtles have lived a very long time, and we know this to be true," said Shellie wisely.
"You wouldn't have seen a clue in here, would you?" asked Boo.
"A clue? What do you mean, 'a clue'?" Shellie asked in reply.
"I don't think she knows what we're talking about," whispered Ping to Abby.
We said good-bye to Shellie, but as she was walking away, Gracie yelled, "Stop! Stop!" Shellie stopped in her tracks, and Gracie said, "Look!" There on Shellie's back was our next clue! I couldn't even believe it. We snagged the clue off of Shellie's shell and read it together:
You are getting warmer. Continue east to find your next clue.
Using the sun as a guide in the sky, we figured out which direction was east. As we walked through the nastiness that was the swamp, we came across a rather disturbing sight: an American Crocodile and her babies all swimming together in the murky waters.
"We are so going to die," said Jinx.
"Why? Do they really eat cat?" said Abby. "I've never heard of them eating cat before."
"That's because cats aren't stupid enough to come in here usually!" said Jinx in a rather urgent
I went to the front of our group and said, "Excuse me, kind Ma'am. Could you help us? We're a bit lost."
I hadn't heard the swamp be silent all day, but I believe it became quite quiet right then.
With a deep gurgle in the back of her throat, the old female crocodile strolled towards us. "Yes, you are quite, quite lost," she said, looking us up and down with her bulbous, yellow, slitted eyes. "Why did you come here, housepets?" she asked.
I almost corrected her, but I didn't have the nerve when I saw her huge mouth filled to the brim with incisors ready to take my fur off in a single bite. "Umm...we're looking for a clue that looks like this, Ma'am." Ping held up the clue to the crocodile, and the crocodile pondered it for a moment with a deep, reverberating, "Mmmmmhmmmmm."
"Yes, I think I have seen that. It is right over there about twenty or so flaps of the tail away. Not far at all," she said with the same horrible gurgle.
We all said thank you and then quickly, with our feline prowess, ran around her as fast as we could! We could hear the crocodile laughing and her babies high-pitched giggling. "Good-bye housepets! Perhaps next time you can come over for dinner!"
"I'm never coming over for dinner! Never!" cried Abby as we all continue to run ahead.
We found the clue not too far away as the crocodile had implied. Though we had to get our paws wet, it seemed we were all willing to brave it just to possibly get out of the swamp. Gracie held the clue up for us so we could read it together:
Congratulations! You have survived the Everglades! Make your way to Walt Disney World for the rest of the day.
We all cheered! To be out of the swamp was to be in heaven! Hurriedly, we made our way back to Miss Debbie who was sunning herself by the car. "Oh thank goodness!" she said when she spotted us appearing from the swamp. "I was so worried about my babies, and even you too, Zeus!"
"She had every reason to be worried," said Gracie affirmatively.
We made our way to Walt Disney World, and from there on, the day was a breeze. We visited with all of the characters, and I even got to meet Mickey Mouse! You know, it was amazing to find out how down to earth he was. He was so modest that he never said a word to me about his success. He just smiled at me continuously which just struck me as completely gracious and kind. However, we all took turns hissing at Dopey and Pluto. After all, they are woofies!
Abby even got to meet Winnie-the-Pooh, and we were able to get a nice picture of them together. Winnie seems like a very nice bear with a big heart. He offered us some of his honey and chuckled when we did not want it. He introduced us to his friends Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, and Kanga. They were all very nice people. In fact, everyone in Disney World was very nice!
When the sun was setting, the five of us agreed it was time to say good-bye. We walked back to the parking lot, smiling and laughing, talking about the day's excitement.
"You know, even though Disney World was nice, I would have liked to stay in the swamp I think," said Boo.
"I was just thinking that too," said Abby.
"Me too," said Jinx.
"Me four," said Ping.
"I don't know why, but I feel that way too," said Gracie.
"I think it is because we were in the presence of great history when we were in the swamp," said Zeus. "To me, to meet Shellie was awe-inspiring."
The gang all nodded. "We'll have to check up on her babies and make sure they make it to the ocean!" said Ping.
"Even the crocodile was fun, but I'm never going over for dinner! Never!" said Abby.
We all laughed. Miss Debbie was waiting for us in the parking lot, and she smiled warmly as we approached. "Time to take Zeus back to the airport. I hope you all had a great day!" We all looked at one another and nodded with big grins. It definitely had been a terrific day, even if at times it was scary.
Thank you, Manx Mnews, for having me visit you in Florida. I hope you had a terrific time with me as I did with you. Thank you, Miss Debbie, for driving us everywhere we needed to be. I don't think we could have done it without you! I cannot wait to see you again sometime in the future, but for now, I think I need to take a nap and catch up on some reading.
I understand I am going back to Virginia it would seem. Hmm...
P.S. If any of you would like to become involved with helping The Everglades, please visit The Everglades Conservationist Network. Support our ecosystems: Not only for the present, but for the future!