While Priscilla the pug chatted with a butterfly (one might interpret her snapping jaws as trying to eat the butterfly, but really, it was an animated conversation), Mitzie paced back and forth on the scientist’s porch. On the stroke of two, she rapped on the wood. The door flung open. If possible, the scientists’ hair was even wilder. A laptop was tapped under one arm and a cat squirmed under the other. Mitzie raised her eyebrow. ”What are you doing?”
“Ordering Mr. Boots some boots. His paws get cold.” Herr Vempkauff’s eyebrows crowded together like fuzzy caterpillars huddling for warmth. ”What are you doing?”
She scowled and pointed to the folded clippings clenched in his fingers. ”Are you ordering boots with the coupons I gave you?”
“No.” Herr Vempkauff’s cheeks reddened. He was a terrible liar. Mitzie waited until he sputtered, all the air blustering out of his cheeks in one puff. ”Fine! I’ll order Mr. Boots’ boots later– even though a cold front is coming and he won’t be able to roam outdoors in comfort, thanks to your impatience.”
“A cold front means an influx of spiders, and Priscilla hates spiders,” Mitzie informed him, sweeping inside with Priscilla, who was perhaps the only pug who did not hate spiders. She gazed inside the messy living room, where papers were stacked on top of papers and books on top of books. In fact, a stack of books made up the wobbly coffee table, the stiff looking chairs and filled several cardboard boxes that pressed together, served as a couch. She squinted toward the kitchen and shuddered. The only thing Mitzie hated more than spiders was messes, and this house was making her skin crawl more than a tarantula. ”Shall we get started?” she asked Herr Vempkauff, delicately perching on one stack of books that was high enough to serve as a stool.
“No need.” He patted his lab coat pockets until he located a small vial. With a flourish, he presented it to her. ”Here you are. Three drops in a bucket is all you need. It’s Spider Hiroshima– it’ll take them all out.”
Mitzie crinkled her nose. ”Is it pug proof?”
“Is it Mr. Boots proof?”
“Oh, heavens no!” Herr Vempkauff was so horrified he scooped up his cat and pressed his cheek to the feline’s whiskers.
“Then I suppose you better get back to work,” Mitzie drawled, smoothing her skirts. ”And I’d like it to smell good, if you don’t mind. Vanilla or honeysuckle, something of that nature.”
“You want it to smell good?” Herr Vempkauff repeated. His caterpillar brows were about to vibrate off his creased forehead.
“Of course! I despise spiders! If I’ll be splashing this about, I want it to smell lovely. It must be pug safe, human safe and butterfly safe.” At Herr Vempkauff’s puzzled look, Mitzie explained, “Priscilla loves butterflies.”
“Of course.” Herr Vempkauff shook his head. Grumbling under his breath, he started downstairs toward his lab. ”Why do you hate spiders so much anyway?”
Mitzie drew in a deep breath. ”That’s a long story.” Before Herr Vempkauff could protest, she began. ”It all started when I was three…”
To be continued, Invisible Friends!
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