The following morning, Harley awoke early, expecting to have to go get B.H. out of bed. After Harry had left the previous afternoon, Harley and the Buffaloes had given the little vole a tour of the Brownstone, prepared a celebratory welcome home meal and then played Jenga late into the evening. She supposed B.H. would be worn out from his big day and would sleep in that morning.
Instead, she found him in the kitchen, sitting at the table with a small cup of gravy in his paws. He looked up from the newspaper he was reading when Harley entered the room and nodded a greeting.
“Well,” Harley looked surprised. “I didn’t expect you to be up so early, B.H. Did you sleep well?” When B.H. nodded vigorously, she crossed the room and saw the gravy pot was finished percolating. She took her favorite mug from the cabinet and poured herself a steaming cup. Inhaling the aroma deeply, she turned back to B.H. “I guess you’re eager to get started on the day, then?” Another excited nod from the vole.
Harley took a sip from her mug. “Ahh,” she said. “There’s nothing quite like that first taste of gravy in the morning, is there, B.H.?” She licked her snout and took another gulp. B.H. did the same, sighing happily as he swallowed the thick brew.
They were both on their third cup when Gordy and Prescott entered the kitchen a bit later. After much Buffalo snuffling and hump shaking, Harley grudgingly consented to eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. “Although I really think we get all the nutrition we need from a hearty cup of gravy,” she grumbled quietly to B.H. B.H. nodded solemnly.
Satisfied, Prescott set two bowls of pale, jiggly oatmeal on the table in front of Harley and B.H. and gazed at them steadily until each picked up their spoon and began to eat. “Mmmm,” Harley said dryly, “It’s so delicious – I can’t believe it’s real food.” B.H. snickered into his own spoon. Prescott glared at both of them, then turned back to the stove to serve himself. Gordy sat in one of the vacant chairs, a container of Swedish yogurt in one hoof and cup of Oolong tea in the other. He watched impassively as Harley and B.H. continued to eat the oatmeal, then nodded in approval when they had taken the last bites.
“I guess we better get going,” Harley declared suddenly, practically leaping out of her chair. “Big day, today, you know. Have to get ole B.H. here up to speed on his duties and what-not.” She made a big production of pulling B.H.’s chair out and shooing him out of the kitchen. “Meetings, appearances, lectures – yessir, my day is jam-packed.” She continued rambling as she bustled B.H. down the hall, grabbing her messenger bag and stuffing papers in it as she went. She handed B.H. a bag identical to her own, about a quarter of the size, then snatched up her scarf, gloves and ‘Do Claw’. “Quick, B.H., go get your coat and boots on. If we hurry, we can get out of here and stop at the South Side Cafe for a real breakfast before the Buffaloes leave the house for work. They’ll never know,” she whispered urgently. B.H. nodded quickly and rushed to his room to get his winter gear. Harley tossed a few more items into her bag and met B.H. on his way up to the front door.
“Good job, B.H.,” she said. “Let’s get out of here before they try to send a sack lunch with us!” She adjusted the vole’s small coat collar and buttoned up the top button before shouting toward the kitchen, “We’re leaving! See you tonight! Might be late – don’t fix supper!” Without waiting for a reply, she and her new assistant went out the door and moved quickly down the street toward freedom … and breakfast.