It's been a few weeks since I'd entered "Finish That Thought." But I popped over yesterday, and the prompt got me. In about 20 minutes (and 60 too many words), I had my story.
The first sentence: "None of us really believed in [UFOs] until the night [the cameraman] went missing." Our special challenge was to include at least three (3) of the following: an overweight tabby cat, a freight train, a wind chime, a sheriff, the planet Mars, chocolate cake
Without further adon't, here is "Saved By The Smell."
None of us really believed in UFOs until the night the cat went missing. That four-legged bag of trouble more often than not acted like he owned me. Scratch that. The whole world. Usually, all I had to do was run the can opener, and that overweight tabby would come running so fast he'd make the wind chimes sing.
But not tonight. Concerned, I called Sheriff Brown.
Now you may be thinking, You called the sheriff over a missing cat? What's the worry? They'll make more.
Well, you need to understand three things. First, in our town of 34 people, there's never a whole lot going on, especially on a Wednesday night. So my call saved him from having to climb up on his desk and yank down all the pencils he'd flung into the drop ceiling tiles. Second, I make a mean cup of coffee. And finally, with regard to cats, something strange had been going on. I mentioned that our little burg smack-dab in the middle of Jessamine County has 34 inhabitants. That number does not include the 317 cats who call this place home. (You might say that some of the folks around here are a tad eccentric. And you'd be right) Of late, they had been disappearing. (The cats, not the eccentric folks.) So I thought there might be something to it.
A few minutes after I'd phoned, Sheriff Brown pulled up, and stepped out of the car, his coffee cup leading the way. After a healthy swig, he said, "So what's going on, Clara?"
Before I could answer, a sound reverberated off the... well, nothing, since there's really nothing out here. It reminded me of the theme from Close Encounters. Though instead of synthesizer notes, it sounded liked mews.
"What the?" he said.
A rustling in the cornfield across the highway drew our attention. To our half-surprise, half-amusement, there emerged from the stalks hundreds of cats, all wearing futuristic helmets. Leading the charge—or better said, waddle—was Mr. Puff. He stood up on his hind legs, licked the back of a paw and groomed himself for a minute before clearing his throat.
"My real name," he said, looking me squarely in the eye, "you cannot pronounce. You may call me Commander Puff. I am leading a small tactical force that will take over the Earth. If you cooperate, no harm will come to you. And we will be sure to change your litter boxes often."
Just then a freight train rumbled across the tracks that bisect the north 40. Its wake stirred a small breeze. A minty scent wafted over us all.
"As I was saying," continued Commander Puff, "if you cooperate, we will show you... What's that smell? So intoxicating... Can it be? It is! Charge!"
The furry armada coursed past us, and into the field. A chorus of contented purrs rose into the night sky.
And that is how the town of Catnip, Kentucky saved the Earth from an alien invasion.
Funny aside: When I read the prompt and saw [the cameraman] my first thought was to replace it with "the cat." Then lo and behind, the first special challenge word...