Trixie and Norma of East Cordovia
Trixie was laid out on the carpet and the way the feeling of it caressed her body made her sleepier than ever before. She’d been too exhausted to climb into bed, plus the carpet was so much softer. Her mom had asked her to go to bed for a nap a while ago, but Trixie just couldn't. She wished there was a way to let her mom know she wanted to stay here all day, that her bed was all the way upstairs and it was cozy right where she was. But it was no use. Trixie knew no matter what she tried, all her mom would do is pat her on the head absentmindedly and give her way too many treats. She was so busy most of the time and Trixie couldn’t get a word in without being interrupted. She didn’t like not being heard, but this soft rug made her happy. Besides, why waste her time? There was so much commotion going on that she knew no one would pay much attention to her anyway.
Trixie was a puppy, a dark chocolate Labrador and all she wanted to do was nap. But her mom and dad were talking excitedly in the large room that had the windows that Trixie loved to lie in front of where she could catch the sunlight. She would pick her spot under the window, sniff and lick the curtains and the sun would gleam on her back and she could lie there for hours. It made her warm and sleepy and she enjoyed it too much to want to move. Her mom and dad weren’t usually around, and their appearance piqued her curiosity. She raised her head and looked back and forth watching them.
They had come in earlier, with many people behind them, carrying boxes and bags. Now Mom sat in a chair while a woman Trixie didn’t know held small containers in her hand and she continuously dipped tiny brushes into them and placed them over and over on her mom's face. Mom kept her eyes closed but her mouth kept moving as she talked to Dad, her hands moving as she spoke, rings and bracelets catching the light with every movement.
It calmed her to hear Mom's voice. Trixie sometimes fell asleep to the sounds of her voice, those nights she slept at the foot of their large bed. But Dad was sitting on the tall chair that Trixie liked to sniff around and lick the legs when no one was around. The legs were always warm, maybe because the sunlight reached them. Trixie loved to watch the dust particles float around the sunlight, and it made the chair legs extra tasty. But Dad was in the way and he was talking and looking at his phone while someone pinned small buttons on the sleeves of his shirt. One of them fell to the floor and Trixie ran for it but it was swooped up before she could even get a sniff.
Mom wore a smooth, long dress that Trixie wanted to bite and step on just once. But lots of people with radios and phones were always around and Mom would just pat her on the head and tell her to ‘Sit’ or ‘Stop’.
She breathed heavily and went back to her spot and put her head down, yawning loudly. These days were boring; all the talking and moving around disrupted her routine. She preferred it when it was just her and the people in the white clothes. They fed and bathed her and let her run in the garden. Of course, there was Norma, the Siamese cat. But she and Norma didn't really get along, well not usually.
Norma was on her bed by the doorway, looking more bored than usual. Were she and Trixie the best of friends? No, but they formed alliances when necessary. When the children were home, they liked to chase them around and she and Norma would hide together under a bed or sofa.
There was that day Trixie accidentally got locked outside Mom and Dad’s room; she owed Norma one for that day. Trixie would always sit with Mom in the mornings, while she had her hot drink that she'd sip slowly and read her big papers. Trixie would sit by her feet and feel the breeze and look out into the garden and the pools.
But it had been raining the night she got locked out. Trixie wanted to smell the air and the door was slightly open so what would have been the harm? There was a mixture of the scent of rainwater and traces of food and distant animals somewhere nearby. Trixie didn't mind that she was getting wet until a giant wind slammed the door shut and she whimpered in fear and then somewhat louder, in the hopes that someone would notice.
When no one did, Trixie put her nose to the glass and wailed. Norma pranced over and locked eyes with Trixie. They stared at each other, and it seemed Norma was considering Trixie’s situation, and then she turned her head and began meowing so loud that it sounded like a baby’s cry.
Mom came running, opening the balcony door, and pulling Trixie into her arms. The scent of her neck made Trixie lick that spot over and over. It smelled kind of like the bubbles from her baths, but sweeter. Mom was wet and slippery but it was so warm and dry back inside and Mom was the best person to give kisses to. She spoke in Trixie’s ear but as always she only understood a few words. “Trixie…sorry…outside?? Oh…Trixie want treat?!”
A few minutes later she was lying next to her mom in bed, licking her lips after she'd been given two treats. It was then that Trixie remembered that Norma helped her. She looked up from the comfortable bed and looked around the room but didn’t see Norma anywhere.
But even though she owed her life to Norma that was a rare event, the two of them on the same side. One day one of Mom’s friends who wore the white suits in the kitchen, poured Trixie her food. But before she could chew away, Norma flew from the chair she’d been sitting on and knocked over Trixie’s water and her lunch got drenched and was taken away. A man in white yelled at Norma and promised to bring Trixie her food back, but it took too long, and Trixie was left waiting while the people in white baked cakes and cookies that she was never allowed to eat.
“Meooow!” Norma yelled out and then yawned and stretched as if she had better things to do than care about Trixie’s meal. Trixie had only been home a little while and Norma would never forgive her for just trying out her food that one time. But wished she could explain to her. When she was back in her first home with all her brothers and sisters, they all always shared food, and slept together and drank milk from their first mom.
But when she arrived here there were no more brothers and sisters to play and sleep with. That’s why when she saw Norma on her first day she chased her, trying to play, wanting to share food, but Norma didn’t like her from the start, and it made Trixie really miss her family.
Norma was the Queen of the house and she never let Trixie forget that she was merely the new princess. Even as Trixie got older and taller, she knew she was the newcomer and pretty much let Old Norma have her run of the place. But when the people were around, they called the shots more than Norma ever could.
Today since Mom wore one of her special dresses,Trixie tried to jump over the wavy fabric, especially the parts of it that had the small holes in it and caught in her paws like string. She only wanted to tear it apart and chew it, why was that such a problem? But so many people yelled and pushed her away that Trixie ran over to her bowl and sniffed to see what was in it today. Maybe eating would make her feel better.
She inhaled the scent of the dark meat and sauce. It tasted so good and when she was done, she drank all her water but most of it spilled, and more people yelled at her as they pulled out the long stick with soft hair to wipe over the water. They wouldn't let her play with that either.
Trixie wanted to run outside and hopefully find her friends, the birds and squirrels that ran and flew around with her in the garden. But a couple people with treats suddenly surrounded her and one of them told her to sit while they brushed her. Trixie hated being brushed, it made her skin prickly, and she wanted to shake away the feeling. But it only made them brush her more, so she stood still as she chewed happily on the treat in her mouth. It was sweet and smokey and Trixie only got these treats on the day they brushed her and dressed her , on the days Mom and Dad came home.
Someone removed her collar and she had sweet relief for a moment until they merely replaced it with another one that had fluffy strings hanging from it. They wouldn't let her move so she could grab at it with her teeth or paws. But just when Trixie was getting frustrated a new treat was presented to her.
The people around her were then trying to put something on her head, a sparkling circle of some sort that Trixie wanted to investigate further. She had to have it, she tried to bite at it each time they brought it near her but they were faster than she was. She couldn’t see it anymore but could feel it on her head and even though she shook her head and tried to reach it, she couldn’t and it never fell off.
Finally, one of the people looked at her and said something with the word “outside” and Trixie raised her ears and relaxed. Finally, they’re going to take me to the garden, she thought. She let them mess around with the shiny thing on her head and brush her some more while she got a “good girl” and another treat.
She looked over and saw Norma, running away from two women in white. She meowed a few times as she made her way under the chair, then another chair, then the sofa. One of the humans tripped on the fluffy rug and many more people ran around yelling “Come, Norma, come!” But Norma never came like Trixie did when she was called. She didn’t care for treats or play time. She liked to sit and sleep and eat.
Trixie would try to lunge toward her, only to play, of course. She would back up and try again, when Norma would hiss at her, lift her paw and scratch her when she had the chance. Trixie would always whimper, defeated and run away. But while she was trying to get someone’s attention, to alert them to what Norma had done, Norma would already be asleep, without a care in the world.
But they were on common ground again today, because as Trixie was still being held down and bribed with treats, they finally caught Norma, and began to brush her as well. As Norma struggled, a big purple collar with a bow was wrapped around her neck. Trixie felt bad, it definitely wasn’t fun. She only wanted to sleep, and Trixie wanted to play in the garden. But the humans never understood. The locked eyes once more and Trixie wanted to do something for helpless Norma, just as she had helped her once.
Mom appeared with Dad and he leaned over and kissed her. Trixie tried to talk to them, to ask if they’d be the ones taking her outside and maybe they could play with her too. There were so many nice friends in the garden she could introduce them to. She also tried to tell them that Norma didn’t want to be a part of the commotion and if this time they could do the flashes without her.
But Dad didn’t listen; he just looked at her and smiled, talking to the people that were brushing her. Then Mom said, “Come Trixie” and Trixie began to run to her, wanting to jump on her big dress and lick her hands and arms and face and lie on the floor letting them rub her belly. But instead someone put a leash around her neck before she could run, and Dad held on tight to it and all Trixie could do was walk beside them. Mom and Dad were wearing so many nice clothes and their own sparkly circles on their heads. Trixie wanted to take Dad’s shiny shoes off his feet. But she knew better. She’d been caught in the laundry room with Dad’s sandals and had been yelled at. But they smelled so good; couldn’t they understand she only wanted to worship him?
They emerged all together into the gardens, but they didn’t go by the trees that Trixie liked where her friends were. There were many people around and large chairs with massive cushions were outside and they weren’t usually, only on the days with the flashes. Dad told her to “come, sit” and Trixie couldn’t believe the big chair on the side was just for her. A lady wearing a black suit and a radio to her ear whispered that she was a good girl and gave her yet another treat.
Trixie watched as Mom and Dad stood near her, many people touching their hair and clothes and moving their faces with their hands. The children arrived then, Mimi and Nikki, with the two ladies that were always with them. They had on matching dresses and smiled brightly facing the people with the small and large boxes and cords and lights that flashed. Trixie licked her lips as she set her eyes on one especially long cord. She could imagine how good it tasted.
Milo, the large man with the long hair, who always gave Trixie her baths, came out holding Norma. She was calmer now, but still meowed occasionally. They placed her on the other chair and Milo ran away and suddenly someone called her name and Norma’s name and she and Norma both looked startled and were both blinded by the amount of flashing lights that came out of nowhere. The flashes always made her see spots. People in the grass with their lights started yelling things over and over at Mom at Dad, Nikki and Mimi and at them, Norma and Trixie.
Trixie knew to “stay” and “sit” but Norma didn’t listen to those words and she tried to get away. Milo put her back on the chair and the next flashes made her stand still and then she hopped off the chair and hid underneath it. Trixie thought quickly and she was off the chair now too. She ran right into Milo’s leg and bit at his pants, growling ferociously. Everyone started yelling and running but Norma took her chance and swiftly ran through the open double doors. A couple of people tried to chase her, but Trixie knew they wouldn’t find her; she had some good hiding spots. Trixie was just glad she could do something to help. She was led back to the chair by Milo and she withstood the rest of the flashes until it was over.
It was such a nice day and Trixie could see squirrels and birds enjoying the garden, while she ate too many treats and watched people fuss over her and her family. The flashes stopped and the uncomfortable collar was finally removed along with the sparkle circle from her head. Milo bent down and scratched under her chin, which was her favorite spot and it made her tail wag. He told her to “Go! Play!”
She didn’t look back while Mom and Dad sat down to remove the shiny crowns off their heads. Trixie also didn’t see Mimi and Nikki take off their shoes and beg for pizza instead of brie and croissants.
One of the photographers approached them as the others put away their equipment. He showed them some of the images on his camera. “These will look wonderful in the paper.” Dad took a sip of coffee while Mom heartily ate a croissant, taking a cheery breath of relief. “Is there any idea what the title will say?” He nodded, "Yes, it will read: “The Prince and Princess of East Cordovia enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon with their daughters Aurora Miriam and Ava Nicola with cherished pets, Trixie Ann and Norma Penelope.’ "
They nodded their approval while the girls ran inside to play, with their ladies in waiting close behind. The caterers served brunch while the kitchen staff rushed back in to finish the rest of their duties.
The Prince took a phone call from the Queen as he turned and watched Trixie run after squirrels. She began to dig, fast and deep into the ground, looking for worms and heavens knew what else. She ran in circles and then caught him watching. She galloped toward him with dirt covering her mouth and face, looking as happy and carefree as he had ever seen her.
“Well look at princess Trixie, do you want to play?” Her tail wagged happily; 'play' was her favorite word of all.
This story was in response to a writing contest for Reedsy. Contest #106 prompt: