THE BMP PLUMBING SERVICE
Copyright 2005 Janice Price
“Mmm, this is the life,” Buddy breathes, as he rolls onto his side and stretches in the warm sunshine.
“Yes,” Merci agrees. She leaps deftly to her feet to avoid Buddy’s flailing feet. “This is my favorite time of the year.”
Percy nips the paw Buddy has shoved into his side and ignores Buddy’s yelp of protest. “It won’t be long before it will be too cold to stretch out in front of the screen door and sleep in the sun. It’s going to be a long, boring winter.”
“Oh, it won’t be boring,” Buddy says with assurance. “I have decided what I want to do with my life.”
“Eat!” Merci and Percy laugh.
“No, seriously, guys,” Buddy protests, “ever since Mr. Landlord was here the other day, I have been thinking of becoming a plumber.”
“Mr. Landlord? Oh, you mean our landlord.” Percy cocks his head. “No, he can’t be our landlord. Jan pays the rent. He must be her landlord.”
“But Mr. Landlord isn’t a plumber. We heard him tell Jan he’s a contractor.”
Buddy rolls onto his stomach and watches a squirrel sit on a porch step and eat a pecan. “But, Merci, he replaced the kitchen faucet when he was here. He’s a plumber!”
Merci shakes her head. “Just because he knows how to turn on and off the water, that doesn’t make him a plumber. He just got lucky.”
“No! If you remember, I helped him. I showed him where the leak was. I barked for Jan to fetch a rag to clean up the water after he pulled everything out from under the sink. I even reminded him to go buy a new faucet before he took out the old one. It’s a good thing I was there, peering under the sink, watching him. He might have fallen asleep under there if I hadn’t kept knocking things over and nudging him along.”
Percy laughs. “You’re right, Buddy. He couldn’t have done the job without you.”
“Go ahead and laugh now. You won’t laugh when I have money in my – Oh, I forgot, I don’t have pockets. But I’m going to have money to spend.”
“Can I earn some money too?”
Buddy looks indignant. “You’re a girl, Merci. Girls don’t do plumbing. Did you see the size of that wrench Mr. Landlord carried outside to turn off the water at the meter? It probably weighs more than you do!”
“Well, I could do something. Mop up the water spills, hand you the lightweight tools, whatever you need that I can handle.”
Buddy thinks a moment and changes his mind. “Yes, it would be nice to have an employee. You could be my secretary and make my appointments. Cameron, the Funny Farm Writing Club Treasurer, can’t count higher than his toes yet. Maybe you can also do the billing and balance the books. You can add, can’t you?”
Merci nods her head, growing excited at the prospect of having a career.
“Well, if you two are going to work together and have spending money, I want a position too.”
“Okay, Percy, you can be the one who mops up the water spills, hands me the tools and whatever else I need help doing.”
“Just don’t ask me to bring you a wrench like Mr. Landlord carried. I’m smaller than Merci, remember.”
“If we’re going to start a business, we need a name for it.”
“I know, Buddy, we can call it Percy and Buddy’s Plumbing Company.”
“Hey, you forgot my name,” Merci complains.
“But you’re only the secretary.”
“Buddy, if you don’t include my name in the company title, I’ll tell Cameron you need a bookkeeper.”
“Okay, okay. We’ll include your name. The Buddy, Percy, Merci Plumbing Company.”
“That sounds terrible,” Percy says. “We need something with class, like PBM Plumbing Company.”
Buddy rises to his feet and stretches to look as tall and masculine as possible. “This is my idea. It’s my company. My name goes first! And to be fair to you two, we’ll do it in alphabetical order. Buddy, Merci, Percy Plumbing Company.”
“That sounds terrible too, Buddy. The name weighs more than Mr. Landlord’s wrench.”
“What about the BMP Plumbing Service?” Merci asks.
Buddy mulls over the name. “BMP Plumbing Service. Hmmm, I like that. It’s easy to spell also. Does that sound all right to you, Percy?”
“Yes, I like that name. I can print some business cards. This should be fun. When do we start?”
“Just as soon as we get a client,” Buddy beams. “I can’t wait to get started. After all, how hard can it be to plumb? We can learn as we go. This should be fun.”
Percy and Merci exchange a nervous glance. Buddy’s schemes tend to go awry.
“In fact, we can practice here at home,” Buddy announces confidently. “The faucet in the bathtub has to be replaced. Let’s surprise Jan and fix it for her.”
Merci climbs to her feet and slowly follows Buddy into the bathroom. “One way or another, Jan is definitely going to be surprised!”
Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club
Saturday, October 22, 2005
CAMERON COLLECTS CLUB DUES
Copyright 2005 Janice Price
Percy stands taller than usual on Jan’s chair, with laughing eyes and a purr rumbling from deep in his chest.
“You look so proud you could burst,” Merci says, as she sits down beside the computer chair.
“I am,” Percy responds. “We should all be proud of what we did.”
Buddy drops onto his haunches on the other side of the chair. “Okay. I’ll be proud. But what did we do?”
“Yes, what did we do?” the cats chorus, leaping onto the desk and making themselves comfortable.
“We posted the All C.A.T.S. ( http://www.allcatsinc.org/ ) Hurricane Katrina animal rescue updates in our journal. Pat read our posts and sent us a personal message. She appreciates the voluntary contribution of our time and talents, even though we couldn’t find Jan’s credit card to make a monetary donation to the rescue effort.”
“Yes, that’s too bad,” Cameron says, with a touch of haughtiness, “but if you guys had been paying your club dues, we could have made a donation from our own funds. I told you the time would come you would regret having an empty treasury.”
Cotton sighs. “Cameron is right. We should have listened to our Treasurer and paid our dues. The problem is, Jan doesn’t give us an allowance. We tried donating dry food morsels to the treasury but Buddy swallowed them whole before Cameron could even count them.”
Buddy’s tongue snakes across his lips at the memory of the unexpected early morning snack. “Yes. I make a motion we do that more often.” He glances around at the other club members and innocently inquires, “Does anyone want to second the motion?”
The response is instantaneous and unanimous. “No!”
Cyndi steers the conversation back to the original subject. “Well, I think it was nice of Pat to send a personal note to the club.”
“Yes,” Crystal agrees.
Percy turns his attention back to the e-mail message on the computer screen. “There is more to the message. She says - Never mind, I’ll just read it to you.”
The money ran out and the Crew wore out. They would have kept on if enough money had come in, but I think "donor fatigue" has set in for a lot of people.
Cameron wants to know, “What’s ‘donor fatigue?’”
Percy is perplexed. “I don’t know. It’s probably some disease they picked up from riding through the flooded streets in a motorboat.”
We are very proud of the Crew. They rescued a total of more than 3,000 animals, and all but 125 of those rescued have been reunited with their owners.
Cyndi sighs. “Wow! Can you imagine all those ecstatic reunions?”
Cameron looks up from counting his toes. “Is 3,000 more than 18?”
Cotton laughs. “And to think, Cameron elected himself our Treasurer. Yes, Cameron, you would have to have - Let’s see. You only have four toes on each back foot, so you would have to have 600 front feet with five toes on each foot to count that high.”
“Since Cameron was not born with 600 front feet, this conversation is moot. Can I finish reading the message now?”
“I’m sorry, Percy. You don’t have to get upset with me. I only asked a question,” Cameron says politely. ”Go ahead and finish reading the message.”
Percy continues: The shelter in Alabama did end up with about 25 extra rescue animals, which we really can't afford, but what can you do when they need you? If you know of anyone who would like to help support these animals, we could sure use the help.
Percy looks around at the group. “Do we know anyone who would like to help these animals?”
“Do you mean, besides us?” Crystal asks. “I would sure like to help them.”
“I would too,” Merci adds. “I wonder if there is something we can do.”
Cameron asks, with a touch of sarcasm, “Isn’t this ironic? Dare I suggest we begin to collect club dues so we can make a contribution?”
“Yes, you can suggest it, but we’re broke, remember?” Merci reminds him.
“But we all eat, don’t we? Why not give up one morsel of dry food each time we eat?”
Cotton feels a stir of excitement. “That’s not a bad idea, Cameron. We cats nibble several times a day. Merci eats twice a day and you, Buddy, well, we’ll only count the two times a day Jan feeds you. We won’t count what you steal or what you swallow that isn’t actually considered edible.”
“Yes,” Cyndi adds, “and we can borrow one of Jan’s plastic containers to store the food until we have enough to ship to All C.A.T.S. in Alabama to help feed the extra animals.”
“That’s an excellent idea,” Buddy gushes. “And I’ll volunteer to guard the food container.”
All heads turn toward Buddy.
“Oh, no, you don’t!” Cameron tells him sternly. “We’re taking up a food collection for the All C.A.T.S. animals, not for you. I’m the Treasurer and I’ll guard the food container – from you!”
Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club