Harley and B.H. sat at the kitchen table, each with a mug of gravy and a small plate of cheese. While B.H. nibbled his cheese politely, Harley crammed all the pieces into her snout and chewed loudly. Gordy, chopping vegetables at the counter, looked over his hump at her and snuffled loudly. Harley swallowed her food and wiped her snout with the back of her paw. “Sorry,” she mumbled to Gordy. “It’s been a long time since I ate lunch and I’m pretty hungry. When’s supper, anyway?” she asked in a surly tone.
Turning back to his vegetables, Gordy snuffled and pointed a hoof towards the oven where something was baking. Harley thought it smelled like meatloaf, one of her favorites. But she was positive that the loaf would not be made of meat – nothing ever was when the Buffaloes made it.
She shared a look with B.H. then asked, “Is that your famous meatless meatloaf I’m smelling, Gordy?” She rolled her eyes behind his back and B.H. giggled.
Without turning around, Gordy snuffled and nodded his big shaggy head in the affirmative.
“Well, that’s good,” Harley said in a falsely cheerful voice. She pantomimed putting her paw down her throat and gagging. B.H. giggled again.
Gordy turned around and fixed his large brown eyes on the pair. Harley sat looking innocently at him while B.H. tried, unsuccessfully, to contain his giggles. Snuffling in irritation, Gordy shooed them both out of the kitchen.
“Well that’s a fine how-do-you-do,” Harley grumbled as they left the room. “I don’t know why you can’t just let me eat what I want!” she shouted over her shoulder. Gordy pointed his hoof at the kitchen door and snuffled. “Well I think it tastes like card board!” she responded.
Turning to B.H. she whispered, “They think they’re so smart, feeding me vegetarian crap. But I’m not going to let them ruin Thanksgiving, B.H. We’re going to have real Thanksgiving turkey with dressing and gravy and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and Prescott and Gordy can put their pressed tofu turkey mold where the hump don’t shine.” B.H. nodded encouragingly. “Come on, B.H.,” Harley said decisively. “We’ve got work to do.”
Harley walked quickly to her study, B.H. close behind her. She shut the door behind him and motioned for him to take a seat in front of her desk. She settled herself into the chair on the other side and then leaned forward to speak intently to B.H..
“Here’s what we’re going to do, B.H.,” she said. “Gordy and Prescott have a vegetable-heavy Thanksgiving meal planned out. There won’t be any meat in the turkey, no fat in the gravy and I’ll bet you they’re going to try to put some weird dessert in place of the pumpkin pie. Last year, it was gluten-free flan. Blech.” She shuddered at the memory. B.H. looked scared.
Harley continued. “This year there’s going to be meat feast!” Her eyes took on a gleam of meat lust that burned intensely. “I’m going to call the Southside Café and have them cater a real meat meal. I know it will be expensive, since Roper pushes the grub-based diet, but it’s going to be worth it.” She rubbed her paws together. “Oh, B.H.,” she cried gleefully. “Just wait until you taste that first bite of juicy, tender turkey! It will bedivine!”
B.H. bounced excitedly in his chair and clapped his small paws happily.
“Now,” Harley said, leaning back in her chair, tapping her paw on the desk as if to aid her thinking process. “What’s the best way to trick the Buffaloes into not noticing the real meal we’re eating while they gnaw away on their grassy knolls?”
“You know, B.H.,” she said after a moment. “We’re so lucky that Grandma and Grandpa decided to go spend Thanksgiving with Chatauqua and Alan. Grandma is too shrewd to ever have the turkey wool pulled over her eyes.” B.H. nodded sagely. “But Gordy and Prescott are pretty gullible so this should be easy peasey nice and cheesey.” B.H. nodded again.
“Back to the plan,” Harley said. “I think it’s best if we let them prepare the whole meal. After all, they’ll have to eat something.” She tapped her paw on her chin thoughtfully. “Our biggest worry, believe it or not, is going to be Roper. He’s going to notice that we’re eating real turkey and stuff and he just can’t keep his mouth shut. He’ll say something stupid, alert the Buffaloes and then it will all be over.” She pointed her paw at B.H. “We can’t let that happen, B.H. There’s too much at stake.”
She paused in her plotting and went to the small kitchenette in the corner of her office. “Would you like some tea, B.H.?” she asked politely. “Tea helps me think.” B.H. nodded. “I have some really good blends,” she offered. “This one’s my favorite – beef and apple – it’s decaffeinated so it won’t keep you up all night.” She heated a kettle of water on the small hot plate, then prepared two cups of the pungent tea.
Handing a cup to B.H., she warned, “It’s very hot, B.H., so be careful.” B.H. nodded and carefully took the cup into his small paws, sipping tentatively at the steaming brew. He looked at Harley and smiled his approval.
She arranged herself comfortably behind her desk once again and resumed the conversation. “You see, B.H.,” she sipped from her own mug. “All we have to do is get Roper all looped up on mole waters and he won’t have the mental juice to say anything. At least not anything the Buffaloes will take seriously. They think he’s a complete poncey poof at best. If he starts babbling about turkey and dressing and meat – they’ll ignore it and assume he’s a rambling nitwit.”
B.H. slurped his tea noisily.
“That just leaves the issue of sneaking in the real food and mixing it in with the Buffaloes’ “healthy” meal.” She took out a note pad and began making notes, a pen held firmly in her Do Claw’s grasp. “I think I can get Fluffy to help us. I’ll have her stop at the Café, pick up the food and bring it here, disguised as her contribution to the meal. The Buffaloes are kind of scared of Fluffy so they’ll never question her. Then, we mark our food with some kind of secret symbol so we know which food to eat, we let the Buffaloes eat hay and everyone is happy.” She dusted her paws together. “Mission accomplished,” she declared smugly.
“Thanks for your help, B.H.,” she said warmly. “This is going to be the best Thanksgiving ever.” She smiled at the little vole, who slurped his tea, then grinned back at her.