Short Story Fiction
Leo and Cleo: Leo's Bad Day

Leo gets into trouble with Rita and tries to make amends.

Rita, the woman that lives with Leo and Cleo, was trying to re-pot a houseplant Leo had knocked off the windowsill. Leo and Cleo were getting underfoot around Rita, making it difficult for her to get anything done.

As usual, they wanted her undivided attention.

Rita, Leo's Bad DayImage Source/Scott Gese

“OK, ok, you win. I can’t work with you two getting in my way. Let me feed you and then it’s outside with you both.”

“Did you hear that, Cleo?” Boasted Leo. “The woman is going to feed us. I told you it would work.”

Cleo was impressed at the way Leo could manipulate the woman.

Rita fed the cats and then ushered them outside through the cat door.

Cleo saw her friend, Gunther lounging in his yard so she went to see him. “Coming with me?” She asked Leo.

“No, I think I’ll head to the field and see if I can catch a mouse.”

The two went in opposite directions. Leo sat in the field for a good half hour before he saw a mouse coming his direction. Just as he grabbed hold of it, he saw Brutus, the neighborhood bully, coming his way.

“Whatcha got there Leo?” Questioned Brutus. “Looks like a nice meal.”

Leo held the mouse in his mouth and couldn’t reply. Knowing Brutus was about to steal his catch, he just took off running. Brutus wasn’t about to let a free meal get away from him. Plus he still had a score to settle with Leo for scratching the woman who lived with him. He was hot on Leo’s tail.

Leo made it to his private door just in time. He quickly dove through the flap. Brutus knew better than to chase him through the door.

Rita was in the kitchen and saw Leo come inside with the mouse in his mouth. “Get back outside with that thing,” she screamed.

Leo was startled by the woman’s loud voice. Not knowing what she had said, he dropped the mouse onto the floor.

“I brought this for you,” he meowed. “It’s a present to repay you for knocking your plant onto the floor.”

The mouse ran under the refrigerator.

“Well that’s just great, Leo. Now I have a mouse in the house. You need to go back outside.”

Leo didn’t understand why the woman was still angry, even after he had brought her a gift.

He didn’t want to go back outside. He knew Brutus would be waiting for him.

He protested, but Rita wouldn’t take no for an answer. She pushed him out through the cat door.

Leo was right. Once outside he spotted Brutus, but Brutus wasn’t waiting for him. He had found Gunther. He had him backed into a corner and was taunting him.

It looked like the fur was about ready to fly.

Without thinking about his own safety, Leo ran toward Brutus and jumped him from behind. It was a surprise attack Brutus wasn’t expecting.

Distracted by the attack, Gunther took advantage and jumped him as well. Cleo who was nearby high-tailed it to safety. She knew better than to get involved in this fight.

Rita heard the commotion and came running out of the house. She grabbed the nearby garden hose and let all three cats have it full force. They all scattered in different directions.

“What has gotten into you today, Leo? Questioned Rita as Leo ran toward the safety of the house.

She was between him and the door. “Oh no you don’t. You’re soaking wet and I’m not about to let you in.”

Leo made a quick detour and hid under a bush in the yard. He stayed there while he worked at drying himself off.

Just as he was about to get up, he spied something moving along the ground in front of him. It was a garden snake.

Leo thought quickly. “The woman seems to be mad at me for some unknown reason. She didn’t like the mouse I gave her. I think I’ll bring her another peace offering. How can she refuse such a prime gift as this?”

He quickly grabbed up the snake and headed for the house.

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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