Tales of an Unwanted Pet: Part Three
The doctor advanced into his office and turned on the light. He gave the room a quick once-over to make sure everything was in its correct position. He came to his desk, however, and growled.
“Why are my papers in a big heaping mess?!” he yelled to no one in particular.
Mitchie gulped and knew she was done for.
* * *
Dr. Death calmly put down the papers. His big glassy eyes fixed on his desk as he yelled, “Whoever you are, I want you out of my office... NOW!”
Mitchie took a deep breath and ran as fast as she could out the door. She noticed that the red Moehog, Daisee and her other friend King Henri the Kacheek were also running for their lives. They didn’t stop running until they reached the end of the corridor where Chuck was out cold on the floor.
“Chuck, are you okay?” Mitchie asked, gently shaking him.
“Wha--?” Chuck muttered incoherently. He looked like he had no clue where he was.
“We just snuck into Dr. Death’s office! And you were keeping watch and trying to get that bone out of the lock at the same time, remember?” asked King Henri, anxiously.
Chuck started sitting up as he remembered the events of the last hour. “Ow, my head really hurts,” he mumbled, rubbing a sore spot on his head. “I remember Dr. Death coming up behind me... and after that I forget...”
Daisee gulped. “Yeah... that’s because Dr. Death picked you up and tossed you down the corridor! I think you might’ve landed on your head too...”
Chuck’s eyes bulged at the realization. “Did Dr. Death see any of you guys?”
“Well, I hope not,” Mitchie replied wearily. “We ran as fast as we could until we got to you. I think we better keep moving in case he decides to come after us!”
The four friends rushed down the hall and ran through a maze of white corridors until they reached Mitchie’s room. Then they all flopped down onto the floor and fell asleep.
* * *
The next morning, Mitchie ran around the yard during her daily exercises with vigor. For once she enjoyed the feeling of air rushing against her face. Her heart was pounding from the effort, taking her mind away from her misgivings about the day before. Dr. Death had been so eerily calm... yet he must be angry inside.
Chuck was also in the yard with her, so she ran to his side. “Chuck, what are we going to do?” Mitchie asked. “I’ve been worrying all morning! Dr. Death will probably call us in later and... I don’t know... kill us! I mean... his name is Dr. ‘Death.’”
Chuck looked scared, but he put on a brave face for his friend. “Don’t worry, Mitchie. Maybe this whole thing will blow over... I bet tons of pets try to sneak into Dr. Death’s office. He must be used to it by now...”
Mitchie still didn’t feel comforted, but she kept on running anyway. She noticed Olga was still there, barking orders at them as usual. She guessed that Dr. Death had ignored her letter of resignation. She decided she had something in common with Olga; they both wanted to leave this place and they were determined to do it no matter what.
* * *
As the day progressed, Mitchie’s worries about Dr. Death slowly deteriorated. By noon, she was convinced that he had forgotten altogether. She was sitting in Daisee’s room on the 2nd floor that afternoon when they got the summons.
Mitchie, Daisee, King Henri, Chuck, and the starry Gelert Chester were sitting in a circle swapping stories when it happened. One of Dr. Death’s attendants had come by and upon spotting them had ordered the culprits to march with her up the long flights of stairs to the 14th floor where Dr. Death’s office was.
Mitchie was a nervous wreck as she followed the attendant to the door at the end of the hall. A small plaque on the door read, “DR. DEATH’S OFFICE – do not disturb.” It looked shiny and new so she guessed he had had it made because of yesterday’s episode.
The doctor had them sit in the uncomfortable chairs in front of his desk. King Henri shifted nervously in his seat. Mitchie wished she could be back in Daisee’s room with Chester who had not been with them on their little excursion and was now safely playing a game of gormball with some other pets.
“Well, you all know why you’re here, don’t you?” asked Dr. Death menacingly. “You broke into my office, and now you will pay.” He leaned back in his chair thoughtfully. “Yet, I can’t figure out why you came into my office. Anyone care to tell me?”
The four pets in front of him were determinedly silent. After a minute of silence, Dr. Death snapped, “Well, fine then! Don’t tell me! I’ll just find out another way. Now onto your punishment.” He shuffled through some files on his desk. “Mitchie... ah yes, the yellow Blumaroo.” He looked up at her. She averted her eyes so as not to get caught in his glassy stare. “You have not been here long, Mitchie,” he continued. “Such a pity that you are already in my bad books!”
Mitchie glared at the dung floor and said nothing. She listened intently as Dr. Death assigned Daisee, King Henri and herself to kitchen duty. Finally Dr. Death slid a thick file folder towards himself. It was probably Chuck’s, who had been there the longest.
“Chuck, the Scorchio,” he muttered to himself. “How long have you been here?”
Dr. Death obviously knew the answer to his question – he was holding Chuck’s file open right in front of him! But he wanted to hear Chuck say it himself...
“I’ve been here for... four years,” Chuck muttered, his eyes fixed on his file.
Dr. Death smiled cruelly. “Oh that’s right. By the way, you received an adoption summons yesterday... the first one you ever got too!”
Chuck’s eyes widened and he could not hide the look of surprise on his face.
“Don’t get too excited now,” Dr. Death continued casually. “I told the kid to adopt another Scorchio, which he did. I know how much you’ve grown attached to this place. No need to thank me.”
“No! How can you do this?” Mitchie yelled at the cruel Techo sitting in front of her. “He’s been here for four years! And because of one bad day, you ruin his chance of being adopted?”
“You forget your place!” Dr. Death spat in Mitchie’s face. “You, young lady, will also be helping Olga supervise morning exercises... indefinitely! Now all of you get out of my office!”
* * *
For the next few days Mitchie was absolutely miserable. Kitchen duty was by far one of the most disgusting experiences she had ever encountered in her life. Every afternoon was spent roasting, stewing, and pickling various tentacles, eyeballs, and unmentionables.
Each morning, Mitchie woke up before every other pet in the Pound and reported to the yard where Olga was waiting for her. Mitchie would stay there for three hours as pets from every floor came down for their daily exercises.
Chuck was inconsolable. He now walked around with his head down, his tail dragging on the floor. Once such a lively speaker, he rarely ever joined conversations and stayed in his room most of the time staring at the wall.
Mitchie felt really bad for him, but she didn’t know how to cheer him up. Everything she said to him went in one ear and out the other. King Henri and Daisee were weighed down with kitchen duty, but they were relatively normal.
One morning, after morning exercises with Olga (whose temper was getting increasingly more foul), Mitchie ran into Chuck in the corridor. He didn’t even look up at her.
“Hey, Chuck,” she said politely. When he didn’t reply, she reached over and tapped him on the shoulder. “I said hello, Chuck!”
Chuck looked up at this sudden outburst and nodded. “Hey,” he said quietly.
Mitchie couldn’t hold it in any longer. Chuck was her best friend at the Pound; he had been since her very first day. She couldn’t let him go like this. “Chuck, I know what Dr. Death did really hurt you. I know exactly how that feels; my owner gave me up too, you know. I want to be adopted just as much as you! But you have to get over this. It’s not the end of the world! There will be other chances.”
Chuck’s head snapped up. A fierce look came into his eyes. “No, Mitchie. I don’t have any more chances. You know what kids are like these days. They only want rare, painted, or well-named pets. I am neither! I’m just a red Scorchio named Ch1893kk. I had my chance... and now it's gone.”
He looked at Mitchie with a defiant look in his eyes. She didn’t dare argue, but closed the gap between them and gave him a hug. “It’s going to be okay,” she whispered to Chuck and partly to herself.
To be continued...