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January 06, 2004

Ngnat's Bedtime Story: Version 3.0

Getting closer, I think. You can see the original draft here, and version 2.0 here, though why anyone would wish to is beyond me.


Ngnat had been a little girl all of her life. She was a little girl when she got out of bed in the morning, and a little girl when she went to bed at night. She was a little girl when she chased her three cats up and down the stairs, and a little girl when she went to Miss Twiggly’s afternoon classes on tea and deportment. Ngnat liked being a little girl, most of the time.

But sometimes she didn't like being a little girl. Ngnat didn’t like being a little girl when Mommy made her sit in time-out for fifteen whole minutes after coloring her little brother Scotty, or the night Daddy made her go to bed early because she wouldn't eat her yogurt.

When Ngnat stomped her foot and said that she hated yucky yogurt, or cried because it wasn't fair that she had to sit in time-out, her parents would look at her and say;

"You are our little girl, and as long as you are our little girl, what we say goes."

This made Ngnat stomp her foot and cry at the same time. "You just wait!" she would shout. "One day I won't be a little girl anymore, and then I'll show you!"

"We know," said her parents. "Believe us, we know." Then they would giggle, just a little.

The giggle! The GIGGLE! Oh, how Ngnat hated the giggle! She would stomp up the stairs and lay face down on the bed in her room with her arms at her side and her hands balled into fists.

"One day!" she would holler into her pillow, kicking the bed as hard as she could. "One day, one day, one day, one day, ONE DAY!"

And so, inevitably, the day came when Ngnat was no longer a little girl. When she woke up on that day, instead of hands, Ngnat had a pair of paws. Where Ngnat once had feet, there were another pair of paws. Instead of a bottom, Ngnat had a tail, and it swished back and forth, back and forth as she watched it. It took Ngnat a moment to realize what had happened, because she thought she was still dreaming. But Ngnat was not dreaming, and she was no longer a little girl.

Ngnat was a cat.

"Mommy, Daddy," Ngnat tried to call out. But the only thing that came out of her mouth was "Me-ow, Me-ow."

It was early in the morning, so Ngnat's Mommy and Daddy were still asleep. They never got up before Ngnat, the lazy things.

She went into Mommy and Daddy's bedroom to wake them up, but when Ngnat tried to say "Mommy, come downstairs with me!" the only thing that came out of her mouth was "Me-ow, Me-ow."

"Oo-oo, oo-oo!" said Ngnat's mommy, without opening her eyes. She rolled over.

"MOMMY, GET UP!" yelled Ngnat. But the only thing that came out of her mouth was an extra loud "ME-OWWWWW!"

"Oo-oo, ooo-OO!" said her father, without opening his eyes. Then he threw a pillow at Ngnat.

The pillow missed, but Ngnat ran out of the room anyway. How dare her father throw a pillow at her! She was very sad. Then she was very surprised, for as she ran around the corner and out of the bedroom she ran right into…!

Hissy, Toby and Grey, who had been eating first breakfast when they heard Ngnat trying to wake up her mommy and daddy. A strange cat meowing in their house was much more important than any food could ever be.

"Who are you," hissed Hissy, the youngest and smallest of Ngnat's kitties, pulling at the carpet with her claws. "Don't you know any better than come into a person's house without asking?"

Now, when Hissy talked, it sounded like "Me-ow, Me-ow!" But since Ngnat was a kitty, she understood Hissy better than when she was still a little girl.

"I'm Ngnat," wailed Ngnat.

"You're not Ngnat," said Hissy. "Ngnat is the little girl who chases me up and down the stairs all day." Hissy sat down and started to lick her tail. "Besides, you can talk, and she can't. She just makes monkey noises. 'Oo-oo, oo-oo' all day long.”

"But I am Ngnat, " insisted Ngnat.

"You're not Ngnat," said Grey, the next biggest and oldest cat "Ngnat is the little girl who pulls my tail when I try to take a nap on the ottoman." Grey yawned, showing her white teeth. "Beside, you smell like a cat. Ngnat smells like crayons and peanut butter."

"Hush," said Toby, the biggest and oldest cat of all. He was almost as big as Ngnat back when she was a little girl, and he was certainly older than Ngnat. "There are more things on heaven and earth than you could possibly know, sisters, and little girls who turn into cats are quite the least of them. In any case, it is simplicity itself to find out." He looked at Ngnat, running a pink tongue over his black whiskers. "What do you do when I am outside and want to get in?"

"I...I open the door?" asked Ngnat.

"And what do you do when I am inside and want to go out?" Toby continued.

"I open the door!" said Ngnat.

"That's a lie!" hissed Hissy. "There's no cat in the world can open a door."

"But there are plenty of little girls in the world who can open a door," said Toby. "So this must be one after all."

"Well," said Grey. "You do smell a little peanut-buttery. Maybe I should bite you for all the times you pulled my tail."

"And you certainly sound something like a monkey," sniffed Hissy. "I'd like to see you try and chase me up and down the stairs now! I'd give you a swat you wouldn't soon forget!"

This was the last straw, for Ngnat was already upset. She couldn't talk to her Mommy, her Daddy had thrown a pillow at her, and now her kitties were mad at her. "I don't want to be bitten," she wailed, "and I don't want to be swatted!"

"Shush, kitten, " said Toby. "No one is going to do either. The important thing," he continued, looking at the other two cats, "is that you turn back into a little girl as soon as possible. Otherwise your parents will spend all morning looking for you, and there will be no one to give us second breakfast."

"Oh, no!" said Hissy and Grey.

"And we shall have to share the sunny spot on the couch," Toby continued.

"Oh, dear!" moaned Hissy and Grey.

"And," Toby paused for effect, for cats are naturally dramatic, "we shall have to let her go to the bathroom in our litter box."

"The horror! The absolute horror of it all," yowled Hissy and Grey, one after the other. "Let's turn her back into a little girl as soon as possible!"

"Oo-oo, Oo-Oo, OO-OOO!" gibbered Ngnat's daddy from inside the bedroom. Another pillow sailed through the door. It landed nowhere near them..

"One day I am going to give that smelly ape such a scratching," said Hissy, tail jerking in the air behind her.

"He's not so bad," said Grey. "He gave me a shrimp, once."

"Hush," said Toby. "We've got more important things to do than debate the Ape." He looked at Ngnat. "What was the last thing you remember from before you were a cat, little one?"

"Well," said Ngnat. "I was in my bed, and it was night time, and I was sleepy."

"When you fell asleep, " asked Grey, "what did you dream about?"

"I dreamed that….that….that I was a chasing a mouse." said Ngnat.

"Ahhhhhh," said all three cats together. "You had a cat dream."

"When you have a cat dream," Toby explained to Ngnat, "if you wake up in the middle of it, you are a cat. If you have a dog dream and wake up in the middle of it, you wake up as a dog."

"Disgusting!" spit Hissy.

"All that slobber," said Grey. "Great ropes of slobber, hanging from your mouth all day. I would just die!"

"Did you ever wake up as a doggie?" Ngnat asked Toby, sniffing.

Grey and Hissy stopped in their tracks, a shocked looked on their faces. Then they fell to the floor and rolled around, laughing.

"Ah-Huck! Ah-huck! Ah-huck!" laughed Hissy and Grey. Ngnat had never heard cats laugh. It sounded like hairballs.

Toby looked at the two rolling on the floor. "Would you like to hear a story about the kittens who got stuck in a toilet?" he politely asked Ngnat.

Ngnat was about to say "Yes, please." but Hissy and Grey had suddenly stopped laughing. They were licking their paws and combing their ears, acting as if nothing had happened at all.

Toby turned his attention back to Ngnat and told her, in a kind voice, as if he were talking to a very small cat indeed, that he had never woken up as a doggie. Nor had any cat.

"Cats never dream of being anything else," he said. "What's better than being a cat?"

Grey looked up from her paw. "What you need to do is to go back to sleep, " she said. "You need to go back to sleep, and dream little girl dreams, whatever they are. What do little girls dream of?"

"Stairs and tails," said Hissy, tartly.

"Um...." Ngnat thought for a moment. "Tea parties? And scissors? Sometimes I dream about bears."

"Not bears!" Toby interjected. "Dreaming about bears would be a bad idea today, I think. Stick with the first two."

So Ngnat tiptoed into her room on her little cat feet, accompanied by Toby and Grey and Hissy. She jumped into her bed, walked around a circle and lay down to sleep with her tail curled over her eyes.

"Good night, monkey." said Hissy. "Dream about scissors."

"And tea parties." Added Grey.

"Not bears!" Toby looked at her intently. "No bear dreams."

With that, Ngnat fell asleep, for cats can go to sleep whenever they want. When she woke up again, it was late in the morning, and her Mommy and Daddy were downstairs drinking coffee, and Ngnat was a little girl again.

"Hi, bedhead," said Daddy as Ngnat walked into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.

"Good morning, honey," said Mommy. "Would you like some juice?"

"I was a kitty," Ngnat told Mommy and Daddy.

"That's nice," said Daddy, reading his paper.

"That's nice," said Mommy, pouring the juice.

Ngnat saw Toby, Hissy and Grey in the corner, eating second breakfast. She walked over to them.

"Thank you, kitties," said Ngnat, "for helping me turn back into a little girl again."

"Me-ow," said Toby and Hissy and Grey.

Posted by Bigwig at January 6, 2004 09:46 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

It's a winner, definitely. Trust me, I've read enough of them to know. ;-)

No go find yourself an artist and put that sucker together.

Posted by: Jim at January 7, 2004 09:24 AM

I agree. This is worth seeking an artist and publisher. I liked the first one, but is better. By the way, you should try to find an old book by Paul Gallico called THE ABANDONED. It is probably out of print, but was a good story about a boy who turned into a cat. I loved it when I was a teenager.

Posted by: Yomamma at January 7, 2004 11:29 AM
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