I woke up at 6:00 a.m. completely shaken with excitement! I could barely contain myself! I didn't want to eat, drink, or even use the litter box. I was on my way to downtown Houston to visit with Princess Mia, and that meant I was leaving The House for the very first time!
The night before, I had checked bus arrivals and departures in my area. I also looked up bus etiquette and typical routines found on the Metro. For example, it is important not to approach the bus until it comes to a complete stop. It's also considered rude if you get on the bus while people are trying to get off the bus. Oh, and no talking to the driver while the bus is in motion. I was slightly concerned about that one...
I said good-bye to Isis and my human pet, Marina, and strolled out onto the porch. The air was crisp and clean with the fresh scent of recent rainfall. The birds were chirping and frolicking in the branches of the large oak in the front yard. The neighborhood children were bicycling down the asphalt, yelling and screaming at one another. I took a huge breath of that beautiful, serene air and...
I felt a sharp kick to my furry buttocks! "Move it, Zeus. I have to close this door before bugs come inside. Have fun!" The human pet shut the front door on me, and it was then and only then that I realized I was truly in the City of Outside.
I walked a short way until I came to the bus stop. I jumped onto the bench underneath this cozy gazebo and waited patiently while some homo sapiens came along. They looked at me, and I looked at them, but neither of us said anything to one another. I was too taken aback by it all to be quite honest, and besides, the human pet had told me not to rub or purr against strangers.
The bus came, its metal doors flew open, and homo sapiens began exchanging positions as if they were in that N-A-S-C-A-R thing on tv. However, the driver did not even acknowledge me, and he tried closing the door on my tail! I could not believe this injustice!
"Excuse me, but I need to get on this bus. It's very important!" I said to the driver.
I don't know if he understood, but he looked at me and said, "Look, fatty: You're not getting in here so either get on the top of the bus or scram!"
I let out a deep sigh. I hadn't expected such rudeness and ignorance so early in my journey. Silently, I lept up to the rearview mirrors and then to the roof of the bus. I positioned myself close to the front, though, so I could read where the stops were so I knew when to get off.
I have to admit to you all that I did fall asleep on top of the bus. I guess the lack of sleep from the night before coupled with the anxiety and stress of the morning made for a perfect nap opportunity. It could also be that the ride was so smooth, but I somehow doubt that.
I did wake up just in time to see that Princess Mia's stop was fast approaching. I waited for the bus to come to a complete stop, and I hopped off, taking in the sights around me. Princess Mia lived near the University my human pet has planned on attending so I got to see it on my way to her house. I suppose it's ok as far as Universities go.
When I found Princess Mia's house, I knocked politely and waited. The door opened, and there she was! I literally was flabbergasted!
"Zeus! You're here!" she screamed.
"Mia! I-I-I-I-I...," I hadn't realized I had a stutter until that very moment.
We exchanged a rub of the nose and flicks of the tail upon my entering her lovely home. She then guided me into the living room so I could meet her human pets, and I told them hello and how excited I was to meet them. They seemed a little shocked that I was there as they exchanged some whispers to one another, but Princess Mia said they would get over it.
Princess Mia then said excitedly, "I have something to show you!" I hadn't known what to expect, but she flicked her tail in a motion to indicate that I follow her. We walked around a corner, and then I saw it: Her precious BOX! I nearly peed myself with joy! She hopped inside, and I began clawing away at the flaps. There is nothing in life more delightful than the feel of rough cardboard between one's claws.
I believe sometime between destro-...playing with the box and chit-chatting with Princess Mia concerning what was our favorite stinky goodness, there was a knock at the door. We both looked at one another curiously and then scampered to the noise to see who it was. When we opened it, it was none other than my friend, Phil!
Phil looked down at us with his classic straight-lipped, narrow eyed stare that I thought he only reserved for his host duties on The Amazing Race. "Zeus and Princess Mia, here is $100.00 for this leg of the race. Make sure to read your clue carefully, and be safe on your travels."
I looked to Princess Mia. Princess Mia looked to me. It seemed we both were more than slightly confused. I nabbed the clue from Phil's hands, ripped it open, and pulled out the clue with my teeth. Princess Mia and I read it together:
Forbidden Gardens? I had no idea where that was and neither did Princess Mia. However, we both wondered why we would be allowed to go to the Forbidden Gardens if they were indeed forbidden. It seemed very mysterious, and yet, we gathered our courage to discover where we needed to go by looking it up on Princess Mia's computer.
"Katy, Texas! I thought Katy was just a girl's name!" I said.
"Apparently not! We'd better get moving though. My bean mom said I need to be back before 7:00 p.m. She doesn't want me out after dark," Princess Mia said.
We made our way back to the bus stop, and together, we waited for the bus. This time, though, because of our money, we were allowed to sit inside the bus. I suppose money does make a difference.
It seemed like forever, but finally, we reached the Forbidden Gardens in Katy, Texas. At first, I had no idea what to make of it all. Were we still in Texas, or were we somehow in another country?
We strolled through the entrance, looking into the ponds and examining all of the tasty goldfish. I know they are supposed to be for good luck, but I wondered how much luck one got if you actually ate them. It would have to be more, yes?
The Forbidden Gardens didn't seem to be too forbidden. There were actually many homo sapiens running about, taking pictures, "Ooo"ing and "Ahh"ing. Several humans pointed and whispered when Princess Mia and I walked by, but I assumed it was because they knew about The Amazing Zeus. Princess Mia waved and purred for the homo sapiens which sent them into a snap-flash frenzy of photography while I lingered in the background, a bit camera-shy.
Our favorite spot of the Gardens was a huge field covered by thousands of terra-cotta Chinese soldiers. Each one had been handmade by artisans with extreme attention to detail. Unfortunately for the homo sapiens, they couldn't appreciate this from the walkways they were confined to, but Princess Mia and I were able to get a close-up look thanks to the beauty of being feline.
With the sun beginning to set, Princess Mia looked at me and said, "I think it's time to go back home. Our bean moms probably miss us." I nodded, and we both turned to make our way out. As we were just about to walk through the entrance to exit though, a pair of tourists saw us and exclaimed, "Wow! This place even has entertaining cats! We have to get a picture!" Princess Mia and I looked at one another, shrugged, and then leapt into what we thought were pretty photogenic positions.
The tourists were nice enough to give us a copy of the photograph so you decide:
The two of us then caught the Metro for the second time, rode all the way back to Princess Mia's bus stop, and I walked her home. Her human pet came running out when she saw us approaching, scooped Mia into her arms, and hugged her tightly. I must admit I felt slightly dejected initially, but then she rubbed my ears and scratched under my chin so I did not feel too left out.
"Good-bye Zeus! I had a lot of fun today!" Princess Mia said.
"Me too! We should do it again soon! I need to go, though, so I can catch the bus to go back home!"
Princess Mia and her human pet waved as I walked back down the path to the sidewalk. I waved to them and flicked my tail happily then made my way to the bus stop to go back home.
When I returned in the evening, the human pet was sitting on the front stair on the porch. She looked worried, and her eyes were scanning the landscape for, what I took to be, any sign of your's truly. When she saw me coming up the driveway, she jumped off of the porch, ran to me, threw me into her arms, and held me very closely to her chest. I could feel her heart thumping loudly so I purred just as vigorously.
"I missed you, Zeusie-poo. I'm glad you came back home," she said softly.
"Bah! As if I wouldn't come back! Someone has to take care of you, human pet!" I replied.
So overall, it was a fantastic day! Thank you, Princess Mia for your hospitality! Thank you, Princess Mia's human pet for letting us out and about today!
Who knows where I will go tomorrow, or which fabulous felines I will be meeting? However, I am so pooped I think it is definitely time for crunchies and a nap.