Bubbles and Alfalfa: Part 3 - The Friendship Develops

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Bubbles had been born the year before in the very cage that now housed the unattractive but functional lime green swing. It was his mother who had named him Bubbles, a whim that had occurred to her after watching an approximately seven year old boy race after his approximately five year old sister while shooting her with bubbles from his bubble gun screaming “Pow! Pow! You’re dead!” It had been a picturesque scene, she had thought, full of the joys of sibling togetherness.

Bubbles no longer knew where his mother was as she had been sold when he was just a few months old to a Portuguese canary breeder. Since that time Bubbles had been alone in the cage, a fact which he resented as he was quite a social bird. The other thing that he resented was his name. He thought it was rather a silly name as he could see no connection whatsoever between being a canary and the word bubbles. He would have preferred being called Cyril, which he felt sounded much more distinguished. However, since his name, as irritating as it was to him, was the only thing that he had left from his mother, he decided he would keep it lest one day they should happen to run or fly into each other. Then at least she would recognize him for how many other canaries could there possibly be out there called Bubbles?

For his part, Alfalfa was about six months old as far as he could tell by counting off the months on the torn and tattered five year old racing car calendar that Larry still kept posted on his wall. Larry liked the photos, considering himself to be more of a debonair figure who would suit very well the driver’s seat of a fire engine red racing car. In his stingy nature, he figured that if he kept the calendar long enough then the days of the week would again coincide with the actual days of the present year and he could save himself the expense of having to buy a new calendar. In the meantime, he just carefully counted the days depending on the year… “Monday plus two…” or “Thursday minus one…” were quite common utterances heard in the shop.

Since the age of three weeks, Alfalfa had spent his life alone in the cage. His parents and eight siblings had been sold to a family of animal portrait artists who happily visualized their beautiful original oil paintings being sold worldwide for hundreds of thousands of dollars to savvy animal art collectors. Poor Alfalfa, who was the runt of the group, had simply been overlooked, as unfortunately, he had chosen to take a nap burrowed deep in the pine scented gerbil litter a mere three and a half minutes before the family entered the shop. The family had left happily chattering in what they felt was appropriate gerbil language to their new fame-beckoning furry little rodents now housed in their deluxe double story gerbil condo cage on which Larry had made a substantial profit. Larry had picked up the old cage to throw it into the storeroom. He was not a great lover of gerbils and was happy to be rid of them, delighted that he would now have ten less mouths to feed. He had thought one of the babies was missing but he had just figured that the parents had eaten it and thus did not bother to poke around in the cage looking for it. As he picked up the cage, Alfalfa woke up and poked his little nose through the litter. “Aarrggghhhh!” screamed Larry.

“Tttttt…. Tttttt… Ttttt….!” responded Alfalfa, raising his head up and glaring at Larry for having woken him up from his nap.

Larry, of course, did not care that Alfalfa was pissed off. He was outraged that he had missed a sale which he felt was due solely to Alfalfa’s laziness. “They should have eaten you!” he screamed. Alfalfa responded by spitting and baring his teeth.

Since then, Larry had despised the little gerbil and kept him neglected in a corner with the cage door open in the hopes that Alfalfa would just run away. Alfalfa, however, was not that stupid as he knew that as long as he remained there Larry would have to feed him or face the wrath of the animal protection authorities.

Given his history of being unwanted, Alfalfa was thus very happy to make the acquaintance of Bubbles who up until now had only been a loudly chirping nuisance of a bird in the distance.

The two new best friends spent quite a bit of time chatting about their dreams of one day having a decent owner who would treat them properly and appreciate their unique and individual talents.

They also vowed that if one were sold the other would follow and live at the same place, even if it involved hiding and subterfuge. This sounded very exciting and they would take turns role-playing the one who had been bought and the one who had not. Oftentimes they would argue over who got to be the one who had not, as in this case he could assume the role of various sneaky characters, such as cat burglar or espionage agent, complete with dark glasses and a plaid black-banded fedora pulled low over one eye.

Their prowess was soon to be put to the test.

© 2012 Maria van Santen


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