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I sat back on my haunches, gazing at the fly circling the lamp above my head. Clang-alang-alang! The bell sounded for lunch and I stood up slowly, missing the flow of popular cats as they surged from the room, eager to gossip at the lunch tables. “Hey Tammy!” My friend Sugar waited by the door. I have always envied Sugar; she was a Persian; pure white, blue eyes and a wonderful friend. I, myself, was a bland sort of wishy-washy tortoiseshell. Nothing special.
“Hey Sugar,” I sighed, “why don’t you leave with the popular cats? You’re prime material to be in their group. I always tell you to live life to the fullest, but you insist on hanging around with me. Do you have a mental defect?” I teased her gently.
“Well, Tammy, I always tell you that I don’t want to be with those airheads- they only think about who has what. They are so superficial. Let’s go to lunch,” Sugar held the door open for me.
When I got home, I flopped down on my bed and thought about the day. I wished somehow I could become popular. . . . Bring-bring-bring! My alarm told me it was time to get up. I hauled myself out of my bed and began to wash my fur. I glanced in the shard of mirror I kept handy. “Oh my gosh . . .! Oh my gosh!” I gasped as I caught sight of my reflection. I was black. Ebony black. I had white whiskers and jade green eyes. I twisted around and found that I now had silky smooth fur and a long, pointy tail. “Whoa . . .” I was speechless. In less than eight hours, my appearance had changed drastically. I was no longer dorky, but popular material! I would be popular! Yippee!
When I strutted into school, Sugar didn’t even know it was me. “Hey Sug,” I called to Sugar who was waiting by our first period classroom.
“Ew! Get away from me! I already told you no! I have my own friends, and I don’t want to be in your group,” Sugar marched into the classroom and ignored me.
“But Sugar, wait!” She didn’t look back. I sighed and slouched into the classroom where Sheba, the head popular cat, eyed me with interest. Sheba was a tan-striped Abyssian.
“Hey! You want to sit here? My friend is a no-show. The seat’s free, really,” Sheba invited me to sit to her right, “by the way, what’s your name?”
“Tammy,” I replied, landing on the chair lightly.
Clang-alang-alang! The lunch bell rang, and Sheba swept me out of my chair ahead of the crowd to the lunchroom. Once we had received our tuna, we trotted over to the biggest table and sat down at the head end. “So . . . what’s the latest news?” Sheba asked the tabby sitting across from me casually.
“Well nothing much, really, but maybe our new friend here,” he gestured to me, “can get Sugar to sit with us. That would be great!” His eyes lit up at the prospect.
“Go ahead Tammy, invite her; just don’t forget to promise her what she wants. Say if she wants to sit by Cyrus” Sheba indicated to the tabby, “she may. Just don’t promise her that we’ll talk about tuna sales or anything . . .” I stood up and walked over to Sugar, then plopped down by her side and started asking, “Do you want to come sit with us? There’s a seat open by Cyrus . . . I’m sure you’ll like it. You’ll have more cats to talk to,” I noticed she was sitting at a lone table by herself, “c’mon, it’ll be great!”
“No thanks,” she replied icily. I went defeated, and stung by Sugar not recognizing me, back over to the popular table.
“Alright, back to class!” The mass-migration to the classrooms began. I was very distraught.
When I got home from school, I fell asleep straight away. I wished as hard as I could that Sugar would recognize me. It seemed like seconds until my alarm clock was screaming me awake. I got up without opening my eyes, scared that I would still be black. When I got to the mirror shard, I ripped my eyes open to find . . . I was myself again! Awesome! I washed at hyper-speed and dashed to school. I beat Sugar there and waited for her by first period class. “Sugar!” I called in exultation that she knew it was me.
“Hey Tams. Why are you so happy today?” She asked when she saw my expression.
“I just feel like being happy. Let’s go to class,” Sugar slowly smiled, my attitude catching. We strutted past the popular cats, tails high in the air. It was good to be me.