Booker-T rushed up the sidewalk and jumped on the porch barely touching the steps on the way up. He ran behind the chair and crouched down shivering.
“What is wrong with you?” asked Jake.
“I faced death! I knew one day I would have to face death, but not now! Not now!” screamed Booker-T.
“What are you talking about?” asked Jake. “Where in the world did you face death and when?”
“I was at the park. Death often slips into one’s life like a thief or crashes into it like a drunk, but never did it walk in the door and shake one’s hand, until today,” said Booker-T.
“What are you ranting about?” asked Jake. “When did death shake your paw?”
“This morning! This morning Jake!” screamed Booker-T. “Are you not listening to me? Right before I came over here. It was there. It was big as life in front of me.”
“Hey you guys,” called Midge. “What is wrong with Booker-T?”
“He is losing it,” said Jake. “Something about shaking the hand of death. I can’t make any sense of what he is ranting about.”
“Booker-T, are you okay?” asked Midge. “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll get some water and you tell me all about it.”
“I’m okay, just a bit rattled,” said Booker-T. “Have you ever shook the hand of death before? No, don’t answer that. You probably haven’t. I shook the hand of death this morning. He walked right up to me and grabbed me around the collar and yanked me down on the rear end.”
“You were probably dreaming Booker-T,” said Midge. “Death wouldn’t walk up and grab you by the collar and set you down.”
“Jake, come over here,” said Midge nudging him to come aside with her away from Booker-T where he couldn’t hear her.
“What are we going to do with him Midge?” asked Jake. “He really seems rattled by whatever it was that happened in the park. Do you think that Gabby might know? He is always around in the trees somewhere hanging out.”
“What are you two doing over there?” asked Booker-T. “Aren’t you the least bit worried that my time might be up soon? I probably don’t have much time left on this earth and you are over there whispering. Death will be coming for me soon. I just know it.”
“Will you calm down Booker-T,” said Midge. “No one is coming after you soon! Now settle down and take a deep breath and then tell us what you saw.”
“Well, I left the house and wandered to the park like I do almost every morning,” stated Booker-T. “The park was quiet and I walked over to the pond looking for Snappy. He usually tries to help me catch a fish in the morning for my breakfast. I was sitting by the pond waiting for him when in the water, that is where I saw it. It was really big!”
Midge leaned closer to Booker-T. “What was really big?”
“Him! Death! The one who took my hand,” said Booker-T Shaking.
“You saw his reflection in the water?” asked Jake.
“That’s where I saw him. He was scary with the hollow face with the black eyes and the big cape over his head. Black cape and carrying some kind of weird thing that looked like a big curved knife. I just knew he was going to get me and drag me dead away,” said booker-T.
From above the house, Jake could hear someone laughing. Suddenly Gabby appeared and came rolling off the roof and hit the ground in front of the porch. He was rolling around laughing so hard that he caught the hiccups.
“What are you doing up there Gabby?” asked Midge stomping her foot at him.
“You fell for it,” laughed Gabby as he pointed at Booker-T.
“Fell for what?” asked Jake.
“Booker-T has been feeding you a line. He was really laying it on and you were really starting to believe him. I can’t believe he got you back big time and you fell for it Midge,” laughed Gabby.
“You are mean, Booker-T. You scared me!” screamed Midge as she kicked him in the rear and booted him off the porch into the rose bush.
“Ouch!” screamed Booker-T rubbing his rear end.
Jake and Gabby laughed at Booker-T sitting in the rose bush rubbing his rear end.