The Chickenloaf Papers: Stories from the Kitten Room
2001 :: january :: february :: march :: april :: after april
Nini & Snooples

a holy river man

thursday, february 21, 2001

This is a picture of Nini and Snooples. See how Snooples has her arms stretched out to Nini, her toes spread into little fans? This is one of Snooples' ways of telling you she likes you lots-n-lots.

Well, gosh, everybody likes Nini.

Nini is our Florence Nightingale. She looks out for us! This tubby little cow-shaped cat with the squeaky mechanical voice is forever hurrying here and there, monitoring everybody's health and welfare. The slightest squeaking brings her bustling across the floorboards, calling nownow!

Nini is also our House Speaker. Her best deliveries occur in or near the bathtub. Mostly her pronouncements consist of advice, along with the occasional admonishment. Here are few recent instances...

* * * * *

I am emptying the kittens' drinking dish, in which food kibbles and bits of lint are suspended soggily in the cloudy water. I comment, they sure did dirty up their water last night.

Burn it! comes Nini's unequivocal advice from the bathtub. Busy as she is, she does not even look up from her faucet droplet batting work.

Do you really think that's necessary? I ask. Can't I just dump it down the toilet?

No! No! Never do that! she cries, rocketing out of the tub directly at my head.

* * * * *

For the second morning in a row, Chessie shrieks through the Kitten Room Door, We need a piano! NOW!

Nini warns, It won't do any good .

* * * * *

Early morning. The clock radio goes off like a rifle at the far end of the house, and NPR is inexplicably playing William Shatner's cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man." Snooples promptly begins weeping in the Kitten Room. This husky contralto sobbing causes Nini to look up from the faucet droplets sparkling around the drain, her pug face etched with professional concern.

Uh oh, she murmurs .

Chessie's soprano shrieks join in. Both kittens weep piteously.

Nini instructs: Better go feed 'em. They can't have a rubber nipple.

* * * * *

Yet another early morning. I open the Kitten Room door. Out waddles Pia! She has been eating greasy kitten food nuggets all night long and now is the size of a beach ball. I walk into the bathroom and report to Nini, G ood heavens; Pia spent the night in the Kitten Room .

It'll do her good! Nini replies. Turning her attention back to the bathtub drain, she mutters, She's a nicketty nick nick.

* * * * *

Another day I am scrubbing a multitude of pawprints off the bathroom mirror. I don't even notice that Nini has entered her lab to resume her water droplet study.

Suddenly I hear her balefully challenge, Better get ready to prove it!

I assume she's talking to me. What precisely do I have to prove, I wonder?

But when I look over at Nini, she is eyeing something ... or someone ... DOWN INSIDE THE DRAIN .

* * * * *

Easter Sunday. Nini glides plushy and Holstein-like across the dining room floor. She tells us in a voice mellow with wisdom: A holy river man.

Image: Nini and Snooples

More about Nini...
More about Snooples...

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