by Lisa Mannetti

Part 1:  The Formative Years

Huck always said it was a powerful lot of trouble to write a book and if he'd a known it ahead of time, he wouldn't a gone through with it.  That's his version of the truth, anyhow.  And it's a lot more work than anyone bargains for when they sit down to write--but you add writing along with me and Huck comin' back as twin brothers and the feline familiars of a 21st century witch-and you got even more trouble.  A whole cauldron-full more.  Anyhow, this time I guess it's me--namely Tom Sawyer-- that has got to tell our story.

Chapter One: Our First Family--Coconut and Cream Puff--
The old Reliable Backfires

Me and Huck were born seven years ago up there in Dutchess County, New York--a redneck, backwater area if ever there was one.  And we got adopted bang right out the chute--so to speak--by a lady named Ellie who positively swooned over our white fur and bright blue eyes.  Trouble was, she was havin a baby in a couple of months, so even though me and Huck were makin ourselves right at home and generally bringing our sterling personalities to the fore, she warn't happy with us.  We tried, I tell you.  She actually called us Cream Puff and Coconut--and if having those wimpy cutie pie names wasn't proof of how much we put up with, I don't know what is.

Anyway, I guess she couldn't wait for her baby, so she adopted us in the meanwhile.  At first she picked us up about a zillion times a day and she was always croonin' and kissin us.  "Ooooooh Cream Puff…Precious Coconut!"

Do not even ask me to remember which of us was Cream Puff and which was Coconut; we both ran when we heard the food box rattle, and Huck's take was that long as we were warm and getting fed, it didn't matter what she called us because humans have no sense, anyhow.

Course, we didn't actually know she was having a baby--we were pretty much babies ourselves.  We just thought she was growing real fast-and-that was a good sign of good things to come for us.

"Look at that paunch," Huck said.  "Give me high fives!"  We slapped paws.  And Hucky butted my head with his.
"Ya can't beat it-she naps all the time and she's eating like her hair's on fire.  No special diets for us," I said
"We can eat till we're round as marshmallows---"
"What ya shushing me for?"
"Don't give her any ideas---Cream Puff is bad enough.
"Yeah, the way she's eatin' she's liable to change Coconut just because it doesn't remind her enough of food….or reminds her too much of Castaway and gettin starved down and thrown over in the bargain..
"Am I Cream Puff?"
"Who cares--she can't tell us apart, either...."
That's how it was. Kissin, food, pettin and playin--with me and Huck doing our part to keep everything just as cheerful as a bowl of warm milk.


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