Tommy was very excited about the State Fair this year; he had his eye on the 'Best Cat'

prize. Surely there was no better cat in the world that deserves that prize more than Tipster.

September was two months away; there was plenty of time to prepare. Tomorrow, after

school, would be a good time to start.

"Dad, can I talk to you about something"? Asked Tommy. Jackson, Tommy's dad,

hadn't always had time to spend with his son. He worked a lot. Twelve hour days at the

auto plant helped him give Tommy a descent life, but it kept him away from his son too.

Now with the auto industry trying to re-make itself, Jackson was ready to retire. "Sure

son, what's on your mind"? Asked his dad. "I want to enter Tipster into the 'Best Cat'

Contest at the State Fair, can you help me"? "Well son that would take a lot of hard

work. Are you willing to do that"? Asked his dad. "Yes sir, said Tommy, I promise".

"That means more work, after you do your chores" said his dad. "Yes sir". Said

Tommy, with excitement rising in his voice. "Ok, I'll help you, but you're going to have

to do your part", said his dad. "Yes sir, I will", said Tommy.

Sumee', lounging in the next room, had heard enough. This was information that would

interest Tipster.

The sprinkler was going full blast on the well-manicured lawn; in the front and back.

There was no need to look for Tipster around here. Cats are not real fond of water. On a

hot day like today there is only one place he would be; in the basement where it's cool.

Tipster could be a pain in the neck sometimes, but he doesn't deserve this. The strict

diet, exercise, grooming and, other stuff. He could crack under this kind of pressure,

Sumee' thought to himself. With his little legs moving as fast as they could down the

basement stairs Sumee' missed a step and began to tumble. When he finally stopped

rolling across the basement floor like a big fur ball and hitting the wall with a loud thud

he was relieved to be alive. With a sigh of relief Sumee' opened his eyes only to see

Tipster staring down at him from his favorite spot, the top of the book case. "You have a

good trip"? asked Tipster. "That was not funny", Sumee' shouted. "Sorry, just a little cat

humor", said Tipster. "Why are you in such a hurry? I haven't seen you move that fast

since you were being chased by big Boozer down the street", Said Tipster. Boozer is the

big playful bulldog that lives with the Rathbone family on the corner. "Is that another

cat joke? Because if it is, it's not funny either", said Sumee'. Sumee' was clearly

irritated, and thought about not telling Tipster what was in store for him at the State Fair.

But they were friends, and friends look out for each other even if they have a weird sense

of humor. "Why were you in such a hurry?" asked Tipster. Sumee' turned to face his

friend; ready to give him a piece of his mind about bad behavior and crude jokes when he

realized their friendship meant more to him than that.

"I was coming to warn you about the State Fair and what Tommy is planning to do".

Said Sumee'. "What does the State Fair have to do with me"? Asked Tipster... "Well, I

thought about not telling you at all", said Sumee. "What, What ..." shouted Tipster

anxiously. "Shhhh…" hushed Sumee, with his finger to his lips.

Be quiet before they hear us". "Who"? Whispered Tipster. "Tommy, and his dad", said Sumee quietly.

With eyes wide and heart pounding, Tipster managed to utter slowly, "What about

Tommy and his dad"? Sumee' looked at his friend and quietly told him that he heard

Tommy and his dad talking about entering him into the State Fair 'Best Cat Contest'.

Tipster sat silent for a moment, and a big grin cracked his face. "What's wrong with

that", said Tipster, beaming with pride. "Tommy obviously knows I'm the best cat

around", said Tipster while prancing back and forth on top of the book case.

"I don't want to rain on your parade, but, have you thought about all the hard work, the

discipline, the diet that goes into becoming a 'Show Cat'? Asked Sumee'.

"Discipline…, diet…, what you talkin' bout Sumee"? Tipster asked, in a rather

demanding voice. "Well …" said Sumee'; clearly not wanting to disappoint his friend.

"You are a few pounds overweight", said Sumee. "And your fur could use a good

brushing; and your claws …", "Ok, Ok!" said Tipster. "I get your point". "You'll have

to take a bath too", said Sumee' quickly. Tipster shot him a hard glance.

After a few minutes of silence, Tipster had decided what he would do. Run away. "Run

Away!" shouted Sumee'. "Shhhh… Shhhh", hushed Tipster. "Not so loud, they might hear us".

"Well, little buddy, I better get going while it's still day. I don't much like to travel at

night". Said Tipster. "You don't think I'm going to let you go out there alone do you?

I'm coming with you". Said Sumee'.

For the first time Tipster knew, without a doubt, that Sumee' was truly his friend.