Externally, the cottage looked like all the other little houses on the street: a mirror image of Charly and Dylan’s Furever Home. Internally, however, all the required furnishings displayed eye-searing shades of neon green, orange, and pink. Even the refrigerator bore a paisley pattern in the same hues. No wonder the owners had been unable to sell the place. He rolled his bag into the one and only bedroom. He had to admit, the walls painted like Van Gogh’s Starry Night were impressive. He searched for the nightstand with the touted eye masks—and stopped.
Three bicolor cats lounged on the bed. One cat had not only a black moustache, but thick eyebrows, making him look like a feline Groucho Marx. Another stopped grooming his large ears to stare at Brendan. A third cat looked as if someone had given him a perm. Tight curls covered every inch of his body, including his tail—which he was chasing.
Speaking to himself, Brendan said, “I didn’t know the rental came with cats.”
“It doesn’t,” the feline that looked like Groucho replied. “You’re our human, and we’re your cats. I’m Tom, and these are my brothers, Dick and Harry.”
Holy guacamole! It’s a talking cat!
“Buongiorno,” Dick said. “Welcome to la famiglia.”
Curly-haired Harry waggled his ears and pressed his nose with a paw and honked like a bicycle horn.
Brendan burst out laughing. “I don’t know how my sister did this, but this is the funniest prank I’ve seen in years.” He walked around the room, scanning the walls and furniture for hidden cameras. “I want the video. This should be on the Internet.”
“You do know you’re in Cat’s Paw Cove, right?” Tom asked. “A magical place where anything can happen and does?”
Brendan waved his hand at the felines. “You can stop fooling around now, Charly. I know you and Big D must have taken weeks to plan this.”
“Ahem.” Tom cleared his throat. “We are Sherwood cats, which means we are magical talking cats. Have you not met others like us?”
“You mean like Little Pie and Pizza Pie?” He ran his hand under the nightstand. “Charly has always been able to throw her voice. She did it as a kid, didn’t you, Charly? You can come out now.”
Tom smacked Brendan on the arm with a lightning fast thwap. “For a smart man, you are very dense.”
“Ow. What’d you do that for, Groucho?”
“My name is not Groucho. It is Tom. Would you like me to call you Red?”
Brendan rubbed the still stinging spot. “Wait until dinner, Charly. You are going to pay for this.”