The Gentlecritter-Masques

Hello there! March is a month of birthdays, and since we have the space for parties now…well. Which means I am now heaving a sigh of relief, since the partying is over and my anxiety in the face of anything even vaguely gathering-related has a chance to calm down. The dogs are slightly disappointed that things are back to normal–after all, any shindig, hootenanny, or hoedown means food will fall from the sky, but they’ll struggle on bravely, with lots of sighs and pointedly throwing themselves down at the top of the stairs, waiting for guests to come. All the while ignoring the perfectly serviceable kibble in their bowls because it has no Cheetos in it.

This morning’s excitement was Miss B discovering two New Friends in our yard. No, they were not squirrels. They were a Masked Gentleman and a Masked Gentlewoman–a lovely pair of racoons, both of them probably outweighing Odd Trundles (which is quite a trick)–shimmying through the gap in the back fence, into the neighbor’s yard. Miss B, beside herself with glee, raced back and forth along the fence. “OH PLEASE OH PLEASE JUST LET ME HEEEEEERD YOU, PLEASE OH PLEASE!” while Odd Trundles scurried to keep up, not quite sure what the ruckus was but gamely willing to run until his ticker busted just to be a part of it.

I, of course, had no idea what the fuck, until I looked up at the huge bare leafless monster tree in the neighbor’s backyard. Two blinking masked gentlecritters were there, helping each other up the trunk.

“AFTER YOU, I INSIST.”
“NO, NO, AFTER YOU, MY DEAR.”
“NO, IT WOULDN’T BE RIGHT. PLEASE DO…THANK YOU. PARDON THE COLLOQUIALISM, BUT ARE YOU OKAY?”
“OH, QUITE ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU. HERE, STEP UPON THIS BRANCH.”
“WHY, THANK YOU. I SAY, I THINK THAT CREATURE WISHES TO MAKE OUR ACQUAINTANCE.”
“INDUBITABLY. THE SMALL WHITE ONE LOOKS LIKE A SAUSAGE.”
“LADY MASQUE! THE THINGS YOU SAY!”
“OH, LORD MASQUE, DO FORGIVE ME. I AM RATHER DISARRANGED AT THE MOMENT.”
“QUITE SO, QUITE SO…STILL, I BELIEVE YOU ARE RIGHT, IT DOES LOOK VAGUELY SAUSAGE-LIKE.”

Yes, friends and neighbors, they sounded exactly like the Goofy Gophers. I can look out my office window and see them making themselves comfortable in the tree, where they appear to be napping off the effects of the early-morning chase. I do rather think Lord Gentlecritter-Masque imbibed a drop too much at whatever function the two were wending their way homeward after, for he did sound a little WC Fields. Lady Gentlecritter-Masque would no doubt be horrified at the notion.

Which reminds me, I should tell you guys about Napoleon!Squirrel and his (lady?)love Josephine. It’s not a tale for tender ears, because there is…well, physical affection in it, let’s say. But I’m nearing the end of the Ripper book and I have to get that out before it eats my brain whole and spits out chunks of gray porridge. (You’re welcome for that image, by the way,)

I should report the last exchange between the Gentlecritter-Masques.

“AH, THERE IS A HUMAN.”
“SIR, I DO BELIEVE YOU ARE CORRECT.”
“SHE IS GAZING UPON US MOST PECULIARLY.”
“THEY GENERALLY DO, DEAR.”
“DO YOU KNOW, I THINK IT MAY BE…”
“DO GO ON.”
“DO YOU REMEMBER THE CORVID WE HOSTED LAST SUMMER?”
“THE BARTHOLOMEW FELLOW?”
“THE VERY SAME! I DO BELIEVE HE SPOKE OF HER.”
“SHHH, SHE’S LISTENING.”
“EAVESDROPPING. HOW GAUCHE.”
“NONSENSE, SHE’S A HUMAN. SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND PROPER LANGUE ANIMAUX.”
“THAT IS FRENCH, MY DARLING. YOU KNOW WHAT FRENCH DOES TO ME.”
“OOOOOH, LORD MASQUE!”

…yeah. Anyway. Fun times ahead, I can just tell.

Over and out.