A Not So Happy 4th!

By: Xegrot

The deep, dark sky over Bakersfield lit up with brilliant shades of rainbow colors as fireworks blossomed in many shapes and colors. Sitting atop the largest house on the block were three brothers, Gordon, Waffle, and Mr. Blik. Blik's black, glossy fur absorbed the vibrant colors of the explosions. Perched atop his head was his favorite baseball cap, labeled with his initials. Next to him was his other cat brother, Waffle. The tall, lanky gray cat watched as more fireworks went off as he chomped down on a huge slab of rock candy. The sweet concoction slowly dripped down his hands, leaving violet colored diamonds imprinted in his paws. Mr. Blik and Waffle's third brother, Gordon, slowly gulped a bottle of root beer, savoring every last drop.

"Aye, tonight is splendid, ain't it, lads?" asked Gordon in his usual Scottish bur. His brothers nodded, too captivated by the light show to answer. Suddenly, a luscious smell wafted through the air. The fiery scent of hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill made their mouths water. "Ooh, hot dogs!" shouted Waffle, immediately standing up to see who was making them. Gordon and Blik stood, too. There in the backyard, they spotted their butler, Hovis, standing over a flaming barbeque, flipping hamburger patties with a sharp looking spatula. Mr. Blik began to daydream.

"Warm, greasy hot dogs in my mouth, the meat slowly melting away…" Blik sighed. "Hurry up!" Hovis looked back up at the roof before returning to his cooking. At that moment, a voice made all three cats jump.

"Hey guys!" The brothers instantly recognized it as the voice of their newest neighbor, Katilda. The cats leaned over their balcony, yelling, "Happy Fourth!" Katilda returned the welcome, and then said, "The view is much better down at the park. I'm headed there now with a picnic. You boys wanna come?" Blik's face instantly lit up with joy. This could be his one shot at winning Katilda's heart.

"Well, Hovis is barbequing," said Gordon, tapping his chin with his finger.

"I don't know," mumbled Waffle, mimicking Gordon and tapping his chin, too.

"Let's go!" barked Blik, instantly stealing away down the stairs to meet Katilda. Gordon rolled his eyes and began to follow Blik. Waffle stood for a moment, and then responded with an armpit fart. He followed after his brothers, picking up his beloved newts as he passed by his bedroom. Outside, Blik helped Katilda into the passenger seat of his truck GEAR, forcing Gordon and Waffle to retreat to the backseat. Hovis, who had decided to tag along at the last minute, nearly regretted coming, for he had been stuffed into the trunk with his grill. "To the park!" shouted Blik, and he pressed down on the accelerator. GEAR zoomed down the street to the park, classic rock music blasting from the radio.

---

The group finally arrived at the Bakersfield Park, stopping GEAR along the side of the road. Hovis unpacked himself and his grill from the trunk and sped off to find a sitting spot. As Katilda attempted to leap down from the passengers seat, her foot slipped out from under her, sending her tumbling onto the street below. Mr. Blik caught her in his arms just in time. "My hero!" she teased, wiggling her paws in front of Blik's face, tickling his nose. He dropped her, letting her fall onto her backside. Her brown pigtails fell in her eyes, and with a quick puff, she blew them aside, revealing a disgusted expression. Blik smiled evilly and walked off with his brothers. Katilda stomped along behind them.

Sitting atop their fish-pattern blanket, the four cats watched the fireworks show in silence as Hovis served them their food. Waffle tried to swallow his hotdog in one bite, but it became stuck halfway, forcing Gordon to punch him in the back to get it out. Katilda giggled and looked away. She noticed a sign posted in the distance that read, "Free firework shoot-off!" Katilda's eyes lit up with joy. "I want to launch a firework!" Gordon took one last swing, and the hotdog lodged in Waffle's throat shot out, leaving him to hyperventilate as he gasped for air. Mr. Blik turned his head to face Katilda.

"Are you kidding, you're gonna get yourself killed trying that!" Blik pulled a root beer from the ice chest on their blanket and sipped the cool liquid.

"Fine, then I'll just take Gordon to help me," she cooed. Mr. Blik spurted root beer from his nose, coughing and hacking. Katilda took off, Gordon's hand in hers. He looked back and blushed, grinning. Blik looked bewildered. He had just been rejected for Gordon. He sat up and threw his food to the ground. "I'm supposed to be the one, not fatso over there!" Mr. Blik sat down again, watching as Waffle finally caught his breath.

---

Katilda and Gordon chose a spot in a nearby wooded clearing. Just a few minutes earlier, the two had purchased a particularly large firework that cost Gordon a wallet-full. Gordon briefly explained the correct way to set the firework into the dirt, and then showed her how to launch it. "All you need to do, lass, is watch for other rockets, light the fuse, and stand back!" Katilda replied with a nod before glancing up to the sky. No rockets. She swiped her lit match across the fuse and stood away, watching it as it flared up the rocket's shaft. Little did she know that at the same time, two other rockets were about to be fired just across the field.

The firework took off, leaving Gordon and Katilda hacking in a cloud of dust and smoke. The rocket streaked up and over the huge trees of the clearing, and just as it reached the peak of it's flight, two other rockets entered their view. Gordon gulped.

---

Mr. Blik and Waffle watched as three fireworks, billowing smoke, flew up and over the field and collided. A giant explosion rippled through the night sky, sending spectators running and whaling like madmen. As shrapnel and debris rained down, they showered onto a large crate of roman candles, sending blazing sparks in all directions. Waffle instantly ducked beneath the blanket that had been laid out, taking his newts with him. Blik just barely made it under as a roman candle flashed over his head, singeing his ears.

---

Katilda was freaking out. All around her and Gordon, wildlife was darting here and there, avoiding what seemed to be nothing. Katilda got closer to Gordon and held his hand. "I'm scared…" she whispered. Gordon was about to reply when in a flash, a great fireball began to fly toward them.

"Watch out!" he cried, shoving Katilda with his shoulder. She fell to the dirt beside him and watched as the candle struck Gordon in the forehead. He did a short back flip before landing in the dirt. He lay still.

"Gordon!" shouted Katilda, sprinting to his side. He grabbed the fur on the back of his neck to see the damage on his face. There was no mark, but he still did not move. She turned him over and listened for a heartbeat, putting her ear to his chest. A soft thump, thump, thump pounded in Katilda's eardrum. He was unconscious, but ok. Suddenly, another candle zoomed past her, whipping her pigtails back. She turned in time to see it hit a tall pine beside her. It instantly became a towering torch of flaming needles and pinecones. The roots, as if they were being dug from the ground by magic, surfaced above the ground, sending the tree down. Katilda and Gordon were caught in its shadow. Katilda leaped to her left, clutching Gordon's neck as she went. The giant tree crashed down, nearly flattening the two cats. Katilda opened an eye and noticed that Gordon's feet were inches away from the fire. She sighed, but she wasn't out yet. Slinging Gordon over his shoulder, she rushed forward, hoping to avoid the flames that were slowly surrounding her. It was too late. The fire sped along the thick, dry ground, instantly engulfing it. Katilda screamed.

---

Blik finally came out from under the blanket, for the candles had stopped firing. But now, he could smell smoke. He could smell it very well. Waffle peeked about, also looking for the source, and sure enough, pointed off into the forest at a large column of smoke. "There," he said, pointing. Mr. Blik rubbed his eyes and glanced again. His eyes weren't deceiving him. A bright, yellow light poured out from the edges of the forest. It reminded Blik of Katilda's yellow fur… "Katilda! That's where Katilda and Gordon are!" Blik instructed Waffle to find their Fire Helicopter and get back as soon as possible. Waffle saluted stupidly and ran off, newts in hand. Blik smacked his face with his hand before rushing off to the forest.

Upon entering the dry, brush covered clearing, he spotted a ring of fire surrounding a large, fallen tree. He also spotted Katilda and Gordon, who were lying on the ground. Katilda continued to scream and cough as smoke filled the area. She noticed Blik and smiled, trying to stand. Gordon, however, didn't move. "Gordo, get up!" yelled Blik, snapping his fingers. Gordon still did not budge. Katilda explained how a roman candle had hit him. Blik looked about, trying to find a way to get to the two cats. He then thought of a terribly risky plan. He stepped back, searching for an open spot in the fire. He kept going until he had disappeared into the forest. Katilda gasped, astonished at how he had abandoned them. Suddenly, Blik reappeared, charging forward at full speed, hands stretched forward.

Mr. Blik leaped. He leaped farther than he had ever leapt, soaring clear of the inferno. He stretched out his arms and caught Katilda round the waist while catching Gordon by the arm. He turned violently, making sure that he wouldn't be hanging onto a barbequed Gordon. The three hit the dirt on the other side of the ring. Katilda leapt to her feat and helped Mr. Blik to his. She squealed and thanked Mr. Blik, throwing herself around his waist. Blik chuckled and patted her on the back. Behind them, the heavy roaring of chopper blades overpowered the crackling of the flames. A waterfall of liquid streamed down from Waffle's rescue chopper. As soon as the flames were extinguished, the two cats knelt at Gordon's side.

"He's ok, we just need to wake him up," exclaimed Katilda. Blik immediately resorted to slapping his face around, shouting, "Get up! Get up!" Katilda sighed.

"That won't work… we need something else," she said quietly, and Blik joined her thoughts. After a moment, the two said, in unison, "… Something like… water." From above, Blik and Katilda could faintly make out a cry saying, "Water!" Waffle's chopper dropped a payload of water, drenching all three cats below. "Thank you!" shouted Mr. Blik from below, annoyed. Gordon's eyelids fluttered and her sat up, rubbing his forehead.

"Ugh," he sighed, "What did I miss?" Katilda and Blik turned to each other and smiled. "Long story," they said together.

---

About an hour later, all four cats were sitting atop a grassy hill, watching the spectacular glare of the fireworks show finale. Gordon lay on his side, a small bandage strapped across his head. He turned to glance at Mr. Blik and Katilda, who were sitting on a different blanket. They sat very close, Katilda's head resting on Blik's shoulder. Katilda set her hand on Blik's. Gordon grinned and turned away, silently muttering to Waffle about his experience. Meanwhile, Katilda and Blik basked in the light of the ending show. Blik turned to say something to Katilda. Katilda turned to speak to Blik. What they were about to say to each other was now not through words, but by action, because as they turned, their lips met. They were finally enjoying their Fourth of July.

Author's Note: I hope you all have enjoyed reading this short story. And, since I may be gone most of the summer, I wish you all a Happy Fourth of July! -Xegrot