Rufus sat on the grass and cleaned his claws. He was a handsome cat, semi-angora, brown with black stripes. He had green eyes and very long whiskers. Beside him was a mobile phone. Now and again he glanced at it willing it to ring.
Across the lawn where Rufus was sitting was the kitchen. Cassie, a grey and white cat, was inspecting the contents of saucepans bubbling on the stove. Satisfied that the food was cooking well, she wiped her paws on her snow-white apron. She looked at the clock on the wall. It was 11.30am.
Cassie had opened her restaurant "Cassie's Kitchen" two years ago. She ran it with Mirabelle, a ginger cat who was Rufus' girl friend. The restaurant had a log fire for the winter months. Outside a small terrace held tables with parasols for the summer. Table cloths were red and white checks with matching table napkins. It all looked clean and inviting. The food was delicious, well prepared and well cooked. Cassie was known for being fussy. Cassie also did takeaways. Rufus was the delivery cat. He drove a small blue and white van. He would have preferred a scooter or preferably a big motor bike but Mirabelle was not happy with this idea.
When the restaurant had opened business had been good. This happy state of affairs lasted for 18 months, then a number of frequent animal customers had moved out of the area and since then things had been difficult.The three cats tried hard to find a solution to their problems. They had put adverts in the local paper and had stuck fliers on all the trees.
Rufus' phone rang. He looked eagerly at the screen. The number showing was not one he knew. He answered quickly, "Cassie's Kitchen,how can I help you?" A deep voice asked "Is that Cassie's Kitchen? I would like to speak to the owner please." Rufus, holding his phone, sprinted over the grass. Cassie took the phone from him "Can I help you?" she asked. The voice continued "My name is Evangeline Horse. I have recently moved into the area with a large number of friends of different species. They are goats, llamas, donkeys, rabbits and a few hens. We all need feeding. Can you help?" Cassie thought quickly. This was the chance they had been hoping for. She asked Miss Horse where they were all living. The address that she gave was only a short distance away. "Yes" she replied "I can certainly help you." Miss Horse then discussed menus and prices with Cassie. An arrangement was made that suited them both. Packed meals would be delivered every day and Miss Horse and her staff, which consisted of 4 donkeys would eat at the restaurant on most days.
"Before you go, Miss Horse, how did you hear about Cassie's Kitchen?"
"I saw your fliers. Can you start tomorrow?"
Cassie called her staff together.
"Rufus, please take the van to the car wash and give it a thorough clean. Mirabelle please contact our suppliers, we will need many different vegetables. We will also need help for Rufus to load and unload the van. Please phone Lewis. I think he is still looking for a job. Mirabelle, you and I will need help too. Let's ask Frances, she may be available and has helped us before. Lewis was a slim black cat with golden eyes, who lived a few streets away. Rufus was delighted as Lewis had a big motorbike and had let him ride pillion with him from time to time. Frances was a small ash coloured cat who lived up a tree in a nearby park. She was an excellent worker and had never minded working extra hours. The cats sped away to get things organised.
The following morning they were all up early, brushed and combed and ready for the arrival of vast quantities of vegetables, and an equally large number of paper bags. Cassie and Frances chopped and Mirabelle packed the bags. Rufus and Lewis loaded the sparkling clean van. When all was ready Cassie climbed in beside Rufus and Lewis got into the back of the van. Frances and Mirabelle waved goodbye and good luck.
They arrived in front of large and impressive gates. Two llamas were waiting for them. They crossed the park where dozens of rabbits, small, medium and large,jumped,played and chased each other. Five brown goats gazed at them sleepily from under the branches of a large tree. Hens pecked here and there.Miss Horse and the donkeys were waiting for them in Miss Horse's office. Lewis and Rufus unloaded the van and carried all the produce into the kitchen. Miss Horse and Cassie spoke at length about menus, delivery times and costs. Miss Horse then wrote a large cheque for Cassie.
"I will pay you once month" she said.
This suited Cassie beautifully.
Miss Horse added as she walked back to the van with Cassie, "I will also ask you to cater for the competitions that I hope to organize throughout the year. Please reserve a table for us at the restaurant at 8pm this evening. Thank you very much."
The cats drove back to the restaurant. Cassie explained all the wonderful news to Mirabelle and Frances. They decided to take a couple of hours off. Lewis and Rufus took off for a ride on Lewis" motorbike. Cassie watched them go and turning back to her restaurant went and sat in her favourite rocking chair nursing the happy thought that her restaurant had been saved!!