The Adventures of Chester Lansbury

by Gala, age 11
The Adventures of Chester Lansbury Gala is a person who likes writing and cats.

“She opens her mouth to speak, but no sound comes out. A moment passes.
In a small, shaky voice she manages to say, “You mean to say, Officer Lincoln, that I am in danger of being assassinated?””

Part One

My name is Chester. I am a cat of high society. I share a home with a human named Angela Lansbury. My life is simple yet exquisite and luxurious. 

Like most cats, I like sticking to a routine. This is my routine:

  1. Wake Angela up
  2. Meow until Angela feeds me
  3. Eat 
  4. Let Angela dress me
  5. Dress Angela
  6. Groom myself
  7. Get in the “kitty carrier”
  8. Go to tea with Angela

So naturally, I am stressed to death when I hear a knock at the door at approximately 7:13 A.M. just as I am eating my tuna and caviar salad. Angela (still dressed in her bathrobe) shuffles over to the door and cautiously peers through the eyepiece. Then she attempts to open the door. It takes her a minute to get the latch undone, but when she does, a tall, broad, important-looking man flanked by two police officers step into the foyer.

“Officer Lincoln!” exclaims Angela. “What brings you to my penthouse so early in the morning?”

“Official business.” 

“Official business?” she asks, taking a seat on an antique sofa. “What sort of official business would concern me?”

“Your safety of course, Mrs. Lansbury,” he replies in a most casual tone. “Someone, you see, has been targeting renowned Broadway actors and actresses.”

At this, Angela lets out a small shriek. She opens her mouth to speak, but no sound comes out. A moment passes.

In a small, shaky voice she manages to say, “You mean to say, Officer Lincoln, that I am in danger of being assassinated?”

“Yes, I do,” he replies. “I hope you understand, Mrs. Lansbury, but you are not safe here, so you must go into hiding.”

“Hiding?! But who will take care of my darling Chester?” 

“I’m afraid I don’t know the details, just that a caretaker has been arranged and that you must come with us immediately. Your cat will be dropped off with the sitter shortly after we leave.”

A sitter? They’re leaving me with a sitter?

“Can’t I at least meet the sitter?” Angela begs.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but we’ve got orders to follow!” says one of the officers who is standing around in the background.

Angela, Officer Lincoln, and I shoot him a look. The officer blushes and trains his small, watery eyes on his shoes. 

“Well,” Angela declares, “I must get packing for wherever it is that you are taking me.” 

“I’m afraid we were given strict instructions to leave your apartment untouched. It would look suspicious to anyone who set foot here if you took many of your things with you,” says Officer Linclon.

So, still dressed in a bathrobe, Angela, the two police officers, and Officer Lincoln ‘discreetly’ leave the building. It’s hard to be discreet when you have a celebrity with you. I climb to the top of the ‘cat castle,’ which actually is a fairly large structure that is carpeted in a soft, furry fabric that smells lovely. Ahh… I think. Unfortunately the smell isn’t enough to distract me from the dark cloud on the horizon in the shape of a cat-sitter. Also, there is the fact that Angela is in potential danger. My stomach knots itself. I am not used to being so nervous right after breakfast. I wonder to myself: what will this sitter be like? Would she even feed me?

 Then, all of a sudden, I hear keys in the lock. Could it be? The new sitter? I curl myself into a tight ball and watch, concealed from my castle, as a tall, thin woman wearing all leather steps inside the room. She opens a large, leather cat carrier and from it emerges a particularly malevolent-seeming pair of leather gloves which she pulls on as she scans the room for me. I hope she will have to check all 21 rooms of the penthouse before finding me. She tosses her blonde hair over her shoulder. I shrink back to the corner of the cat castle, hoping she won’t find me. But then the worst thing happens. I step on a squeaky toy. The sitter whips around, her pale blue eyes fixed on mine. 

“There you are, kitty.” She smiles, and I notice for the first time since I had met her that she has a long scar that runs from one corner of her mouth down to the base of her neck. “You and I are going to have a lot of fun together.” She is grinning now.

Then before I know what is happening, she is aiming what I recognize as a tranquilizer gun from watching soap operas with Angela right at me. The room starts to spin. I take one last glance at the sitter, her icy eyes bear right into mine, and then she is gone. And I am alone.

Part Two

I shiver awake and find myself in a freezing cold room. I long to go out and explore or possibly escape the clutches of the evil cat-sitter who tranquilized me who knows how long ago. As I start to get up, however, my face squishes against what seems to be a metal grate. Of course, I am in a cage. I can’t just expect her to let me walk around doing whatever I feel like. My ears perk up at a noise in the background. It is like lots of glass beads clinking together. The door swings open, and I recognize the police officer who had snapped at Angela earlier, followed by the dreaded evil cat-sitter.

“Where do you want the arsenic, Ms. A?” asks the officer.

Arsenic?! They have arsenic? I knew they were evil, but what do they need arsenic for? They’re not planning to kill anyone, are they?

“Right there is fine, Robert,” replies the cat-sitter, aka Ms. A.

“Well, who’s it going to be tonight, Ms. A?” asks Robert. 

“Lansbury.” My eyes bulge. I can’t believe my ears! “A little bird told me… ” Ms. A continues, “that you know exactly where Angela Lansbury is hiding.” 

“On 128th St in Luke’s Donut Shop,” mumbles the officer.

I gulp. I know saving Angela is entirely up to me. So when Robert comes to feed me some crumbly brown balls, I bite him so hard he lets loose a shriek, and I manage to scamper out of the freezing cold room, which turns out to be a huge refrigerator. I turn a corner into a room filled with tables and chairs, which I instantly recognize as a restaurant. I spot the doorway, which very conveniently has a catflap at the bottom which means this had to be the place Angela liked to go to with me when I was a kitten. Also, I am two blocks away from home! I am not quite sure what I will do what I get there. Whew. I need to stop talking so fast. All this sprinting is getting to me. 

As soon as I get home, I jump on the doorman’s desk, pumped full of adrenaline. Henry, the lonely doorman, would do just about anything for me. I pounce onto his keyboard, and after a series of pokes and prods, I manage to type in the address. He is so surprised that he doesn’t even notice that I am not accompanied by a human. 

“You want to go get some donuts, buddy?” he asks me. I nod my head like I’ve seen many other humans do. “Okay!” he says, abandoning his post. He is a good friend but not a very good doorman. He hails a cab, and we clamber aboard. The driver doesn’t even notice I am there. “Luke’s Donut Shop, please,” requests Henry.

The cab smells like incense. It is a long ride. Finally, we arrive. I leap out of the cab and swiftly race into the donut shop. I dash around the cashier counter and into the back room. 

“Chester!” cries Angela. “What are you doing here! Where’s the sitter?”

I let out a pained meow. Officer Lincoln seems to get the message. 

“We need to move!” he barks. “Now!” Angela, an officer that I don’t recognize, and I sprint out of the store, pursued by the lady behind the counter who tears off her apron to reveal a crisp, blue uniform. On the corner, we run into Ms. A and Robert dressed up as business people carrying briefcases. I hiss as an indication that these are the evil ones.

“Hands up!” chime all three of the police officers, brandishing pistols at them.

Ms. A and Robert, who are not expecting to be caught, drop their briefcases and bolt in the other direction. What happens next is so bewildering I myself can’t believe it is happening. Angela takes a tranquilizer from who knows where and shoots them both square in the bottom. They drop to the floor. As the officer cuffs Robert and Ms. A and pries open the briefcases to reveal a syringe loaded with arsenic and two pistols, Angela engulfs me in kisses. It feels good after what I have just been through.

Epilogue

I am perched on top of a soft, furry stool made of the same material of my cat castle back home.

A news reporter squishes her powder-caked face against mine for a photo. When I agreed to have a news feature done about me, I didn’t know that people would be invading my personal space and rubbing their grubby little fingers on my sleek, glossy fur. I am so relieved when it’s time to go home to all my new friends. Officer Lincoln, the other two officers, Henry, and Angela are throwing me a ‘surprise’ party. Henry let it slip, and now I know. Life is good.

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