Miss Boots pranced around the yard. Fats Furblurglurz, the bully cat, was sneaking through the flowerbed. There was something about Miss Boots that made him angry. He did not like her perky little happy self.
He wanted to be her friend, but he did not know how to be her friend. All he knew how to do was to scratch and claw.
Fats Furblurglurz was big and awkward, and he did not have a smooth, glossy coat. His fur was rumpled, and there were small bald spots from where he had gotten into fights, and where he had rubbed the fur completely off from worrying himself when he felt especially angry. Things were worse after his mother’s leg was broken by a butcher who did not like her stealing sausages for her kittens. Fats felt angry all the time.
It felt good to be a bully. He liked the idea of scaring little animals who were small and weak.
Because Fats Furblurglurz was big and fat and loud, he was not very good at being sneaky. Miss Boots spotted him right away as he crashed through Aunt Erlitza’s bright red zinnias.
“I see you, Fats Furblurglurz!” meowed Miss Boots. “Stay away from the flowers! You are crushing them, and I know someone who will be very angry.”
“Is that right? Making someone angry makes me happy. In fact, it’s the only thing that makes me happy any more.”
Miss Boots leapt lightly to the top of the fence. She was very graceful. Her elegance made Fats Furblurglurz even angrier. She groomed herself daintily as she watched Fats continue walking through the flowers.
“You are a pretty thing, aren’t you?” snarled Fats. He wanted to bite Miss Boots right on her soft, white paw.
The sound of footsteps on the flagstones made Fats Furblurglurz aware that someone was approaching. Miss Boots could see it was Little Anna. She sat up very straight, waved her tail in the air, and meowed. “Hello, Miss Anna. Nice day for a walk!”
“Flatterer! Butt kisser!” snarled Fats Furblurglurz. “Stop trying to be her favorite cat! Let me have a chance!”
He said it under his breath, so no one heard it except for Miss Boots. Miss Boots glanced down and then smiled even more brightly.
“Little Anna, I love the skirt you are wearing. What a nice idea! Stars, flowers, and rainbows, with a matching rainbow scarf!”
It was more than Fats Furblurglurz could stand. He tried to leap onto the fence so he could bite and scratch Miss Boots, but he was too fat. He fell back into the garden, but instead of falling into the soft zinnias, he smashed into the rose bushes, which were full of thorns.
“Eeee yow!!! Ow ow ow – aeeiiii!” howled Fats Furblurglurz in pain.
Little Anna heard the fat cat cry in pain. She had a very soft heart and it made her feel very sad to hear him. She ran to the rose bush, where Fats Furblurglurz was attempting to pull thorns out of his tummy. A pink rose perched on the side of his left ear, and a stem of roses draped over his shoulder like a necklace.
“Oh you poor, poor cat. Oh my, you’re stuck with thorns." She lifted him delicately after carefully extracting the thorns. Fats Furblurglurz looked up at her with warm, grateful eyes.
“My, you are a very heavy cat, aren’t you?” Little Anna grunted as she tried to hoist him onto her shoulder like a baby.
Miss Boots looked down with dismay.
“Little Anna! You know, that fat cat tried to attack me,” she said fussily. Her voice was snippy with frustration. She crossed her paws in front of her and waved her tail.
“Did you ever try to be his friend?” asked Little Anna.
“Why no! Of course not! Fats Furblurglurz is fat. He is different. He does not have a pretty, smooth coat.”
Little Anna looked very sad.
“Miss Boots, you are a very pretty cat. Are you just as pretty inside?” asked Little Anna.
“Yes, I am,” said Miss Boots.
“I am glad you think so,” said Little Anna. “You are lucky. So, I am going to invite Mr. Furblurglurz for lunch.”
Miss Boots did not know what to say.
Little Anna held Fats Furblurglurz on her shoulder. She patted Fats’ rough fur. For the first time in a long time, Fats Furblurglurz did not feel angry. Instead, he began to purr.
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