“If it’s not too much trouble, would you mind if I had a cup of coffee?” Frank asked. “I don’t know what my problem is, but I’m just so sleepy all of a sudden.”
“Oh, of course,” Gerald said. “Our stew has that effect on a lot of guests. In fact, we usually take a nap ourselves after a good meal. Are you able to stay and rest?”
“Actually, no, unfortunately I can’t, I really must be on my way to my friend’s house. I’m already late as it is, and he hates when we’re late,” Frank said.
“Sounds like a great friend,” Harold snorted. Gerald was up fixing coffee.
“Oh really he is, he just has a bit of a temper, especially if people are late,” Frank explained. Gerald set the coffee down in front of Frank.
“Cream or sugar?” Gerald offered.
“No, thank you, black is perfect,” Frank said as he blew on the drink and sipped. “So you mentioned you had other strange visitors this week. Who were they?”
“Well, we had a little blond girl; we never did catch her name. She was kind of a brat. She went through two bowls of perfectly good soup complaining that one was two hot and another was too cold before she got to the third one that she could tolerate,” Gerald said, rolling his eyes.
“Yeah, we were kind of glad to see her go,” Harold said. “Then we had a whole small labor crew show up. Seven short miners showed up, and man, they might have been small, but boy could they eat! I’ve never seen so many distinct personalities either. They all claimed to live together as well as work together, and I can’t imagine how that worked out. How do they keep from killing each other? One guy kept sneezing all the time, one had anger management issues and another one became Darrell’s new best friend — together I think they had an IQ of 10.”
“Wow, that certainly is a lot of people dropping in on you,” Frank said. “I apologize again; you all have been more than hospitable to me, and I really appreciate it. If there’s anything I can do to repay you, please let me know. The coffee was wonderful, it was just what I needed to wake up, so I’ll be on my way now.”
“Well, it was no trouble at all,” Gerald said. “I know we put on a tough face and act like we don’t enjoy all the people coming by, but deep down, we really enjoy the visits. Come back anytime you like.”
“Thanks! I will. See you later,” Frank said.
“Bye!” The three little pigs shouted in unison at the doorway as Frank headed out into the forest.
Now he had to worry about finding his way back to the path. He glanced at his watch and saw that the un-birthday party was about to start in five minutes. He was definitely going to be late.
After wading through several streams and climbing through several thickets, Frank finally made his way back to the path. He gave a big sigh of relief.
He was almost at the end of the woods when a hand darted out of a bush and grabbed his ankle, pulling him down. “Eeeek!” Frank squealed as he hit the dirt with a thud.
“Shhh!” said a little girl in a large red cloak. “He’ll hear you,” she said looking behind her even though they were deep in a bush.
“Who is ‘he’ and who are you?” asked Frank.
“’He is a wolf named Richard, and I am Myrtle,” the girl said as she pushed large circular glasses up onto her nose. The lenses magnified her wide, blue eyes.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Frank. So, why did you grab me and pull me in here with you?” Frank asked.
“Because I’m scared,” Myrtle said. “You don’t know Richard. He seems very nice, but I don’t trust him. I think he might even be following me on my way to my grandmother’s house.”
“So what do you expect me to do about it? I’m a cat, don’t you think he would be more interested in eating, I mean meeting, me than you?” Frank said.
“Fine, I can see you, you don’t want, want to help me,” Myrtle stuttered as she started to cry. “You can just leave me alone and be on your way. I’ll f-figure out a way to f-fend off this big, b-bad wolf all by myself.” Myrtle sobbed into her hands.