The Hervey Foundation for Cats
Gary and Morris Hold a Talent Show

Gary and Morris Hold a Talent Show

Summer had not officially hit the Hervey Foundation for Cats, but it sure felt like it. The days were hot, with the sun hovering overhead for days at a time. Sure, it got dark at night, but the temperature rarely seemed to dip with it.

Being the two furry gentlemen they were, Gary and Morris were taking it easy – spending a lot of time lounging around the property, sunbathing, drinking water, and not worrying too much about anything. 

“This heat sure takes it out of you, eh Morris?”

“It sure does, Gary. It sure does.”

Laying in the grass of the backyard, for the fifth day in a row, both cats were starting to feel a little bit bored. 

“Y’know, this heat sure takes it out of you, but on some level, I am starting to get tired of doing nothing. You know what I mean?” said Morris.

Gary thought for a moment, then replied, “I agree with you, my friend. I am starting to itch for something a little more interesting as well.”

The cats decided that going for a walk was a good place to start, so they got up, washed themselves off a bit, and headed out.

Unlike their normal routine of walking or running through the valley or the forested area, they decided to walk close to the road and past some of the neighbours’ properties. 

“What a nice neighbourhood!” said Morris. “Sometimes I forget what things are like outside The Foundation grounds.”

The cats trotted along the road and decided to turn down a back lane. They liked the shade from all the trees, and it sure was neat looking into the backyards of so many homes. 

“The humans all seem to live differently, don’t they?” said Morris.

“Yeah, I guess they are like us. They’re all different!” said Gary.

Both cats agreed and kept walking until they heard a loud sound – sending them bolting into the nearby bushes. It sounded like a human was singing, but the noise was amplified quite a bit!

They crept up through the leaves to get a better view, and through all the foliage they saw a small gathering of humans in one of the backyards. They were all sitting in chairs, laughing, clapping, talking to each other, and watching one person who was on a stage. 

“It looks like some sort of talent show,” said Morris.

“What do you mean?” said Gary.

“Back when I was doing the 9 Lives commercials, I learned about talent shows,” said Morris. “They’re live events where humans get together to perform for each other.”

“Oh!” said Gary. “To entertain each other.”

“That’s right!”

“Humans seem to need entertainment all the time, don’t they?” said Gary.

“You’d be right,” said Morris.

The two cats carefully climbed further up and into the bushes, balancing precariously on the branches with their heads just barely poking out the tops of the leaves.

They watched for almost an hour as each human took turns going up on the stage to perform something. Some sang songs, some told jokes, and others performed a dance or a little scene. One even did some magic tricks that Gary and Morris could not figure out.

After it seemed as if all the humans had taken their turn, one of them went on the stage and announced something.

“Thank you all for attending this year’s Turner family talent show! What fun we had tonight! I am happy to announce our winner, my wife, Bess! Second place goes to Cousin Ed, and third place goes to Uncle Bill…”

He kept talking, but Gary and Morris didn’t pay attention. They could feel the gears turning in their minds. 

“We have to have a talent show!” said Morris. “It’s been forever since I was on stage!” 

“I think we could figure that out,” said Gary. “We could even give away a prize!”

The two cats were so excited about their idea, they forgot to be careful with their balance and fell out of the bushes and onto the ground in the backyard – visible to everyone!

After hitting the grass, they both froze and made eye contact with the man on stage.

“Hey kitties!” he said.

Gary and Morris immediately ran as fast as they possibly could down the back lane. 

“Holy smokes!” said Morris. “That was close!” 

They both had a laugh and then walked back to The Foundation to start planning. 

The first thing they would need is a place to hold the contest. Bullwinkle’s cabin seemed like it made the most sense to both of them.

Secondly, they needed to figure out some prizes. 

“Food is always great, so we will bring some snacks and stuff,” said Gary. “But I feel like if we could get something that could potentially improve the winner’s life, that might be better!”

“Good plan,” said Morris.

Both cats thought for a while then went off on their own to go track down some items that might make good prizes to woodland creatures.

Only 30 minutes later, the cats met in the storeroom, where all the food is held, with an item. 

Gary brought two small flashlights with rope loops on the end, while Morris dragged an unopened set of Ziploc containers into the room.

“This is perfect,” said Gary. “Now let’s get these items and some food into a bag so we can get over to Bullwinkle’s!”

Morris grabbed his trusty reusable cloth bag, wrapped the handles around his waist, filled it with their prizes, and some food, then took off outside. 

Both cats walked down to Bullwinkle’s cabin where they found their plucky Moose friend visiting with Terrance the Beaver. 

“Hello boys!” said Bullwinkle. “Welcome to our little slice of heaven!” 

“Hey guys!” the cats both said.

“What’s in the bag around your waist?” asked Terrance.

“That’s what brings us by!” said Morris, who unravelled himself from the bag handles.

“We want to have a talent show, for all of the woodland gang, and we brought prizes!” 

“Prizes?!” said Bullwinkle. “I love prizes! What’s a talent show though?”

“A talent show is something we just saw a set of humans do earlier!” said Gary. “They all took turns performing for the group, then they gave prizes to the winners! It looked like fun!”

“I love prizes,” said Bullwinkle.

“We know,” said Morris.

“We brought some great stuff, too,” said Gary. “We need your help though.”

“What can I do for ya?” said Bullwinkle.

“Would it be okay if we hosted the talent show at your cabin?” asked Morris.

“Hmm…” Bullwinkle was thinking. “Can I be in it?”

“Of course, you can!” said Gary. “You too Terrance!” 

“Everyone is invited!” said Morris.

“This sounds kind of fun!” said Terrance. “I wonder what I’ll do?”

“We saw the humans do all kinds of things. Some made music, some told jokes, and others performed tricks! You can do anything you want! Show off your talent!”

All the animals agreed it would be a great idea, but that they needed time to rehearse. They decided the talent show would take place the next day so they could prep and invite all their friends. 

Gary and Morris were excited. They thanked Bullwinkle, stashed the prizes inside his cabin, then went off into the woodlands to invite all their friends. 

Once they got back to the shelter for the night, both cats decided to go over the rules for the tournament. 

“First of all, we are organizers so it wouldn’t be fair for us to win,” said Gary.

“I agree,” said Morris. “I still want to perform though!”

“Same here!” said Gary.

“Then it’s settled!” said Morris.

“Second of all, prizes should go as follows: one flashlight, some food, and the Ziploc containers to first place, one flashlight and some food to second place, and a bag of treats to third?”

“Sounds good, Gary!” Morris replied.

“Lastly, this should be fun, so let’s make sure nobody is too nervous and that the crowd is supportive,” said Gary.

“I’m in 100%!” said Morris. “But right now, I need to rehearse!”

Gary and Morris split up for the rest of the evening to practice their routines for the show. 

Morris, an experienced showman, was brimming with confidence. While he couldn’t win a prize, he wasn’t worried about it. The shelter provided him and Gary with all they needed.

Gary was feeling the nerves a little more than his best friend, but he was confident in his act. Let’s just say paying attention to the TV all these years had paid off.

After what felt like a long night, the sun rose again in the sky with its intense heat. Gary and Morris awoke on the couch after a long night of rehearsing. They were both eager to get to Bullwinkle’s cabin.

“My stomach is in knots!” said Gary. “I normally don’t get shy, but this feels different!”

“It’s okay my friend!” said Morris. “Do what I do. Take a bunch of deep breaths then picture everyone in the audience naked!”

“We’re all naked already! We’re animals!” said Gary.

“Right! I heard a human say that once. Just take a deep breath, then another, then another.”

Gary took some deep breaths and felt his pulse slow down a bit.

“Let’s grab a bite to eat then head over to Bullwinkle’s!” said Morris. “I’ll give you a pep talk along the way.”

The cats both went over their routines one more time then headed off into the woods to Bullwinkle’s cabin. 

Once they arrived, there was already a crowd formed outside. 

“Looks like we’ve got a pretty good turnout!” said Bullwinkle.

Gary and Morris made their way through the crowd and into the cabin. Bullwinkle hadn’t let anyone inside who wasn’t performing, but there were a lot of performers, all practicing at the same time inside the small wooden home.

The cats glanced around the room and saw their friend Joey the Squirrel, some of the Canada geese, a young bear, Mama and Papa Raccoon, a bunch of prairie dogs, a fox, a young deer and a few others! 

“Wow, this is going to be a long show!” said Morris.

Bullwinkle walked over. “Hey, guys. I didn’t expect so many people! Let’s try to keep our sets tight, and above all, have fun!”

“Would you mind if we jumped on your back to do announcements?” said Gary.

“Climb aboard!” said Bullwinkle.

Gary and Morris jumped onto Bullwinkle’s back to explain to the performers how the show would work. Bullwinkle had set up a small curtain in the back of the room so the performers could hang out backstage before they went up. Once the rules had been read, they all headed backstage.

Bullwinkle then walked outside so Gary and Morris could invite the crowd inside. 

It took a while for everyone to get settled, but eventually the crowd was in, seated and quiet. Gary and Morris blacked out the windows with curtains then let some light in from one in the back – almost like a spotlight. 

“Welcome to the very first of what we hope to be an annual tradition – the Woodlands Wildlife Talent Show!” said Gary.

“We are your hosts, Gary and Morris, and while we both will be performing tonight, we will not be eligible for a prize,” said Morris.

“We have saved them all for your friends and family members instead!” said Gary.

The crowd let out a big round of applause.

“We’ve got a big show planned for you tonight, so let’s get to it!” said Morris.

The cats introduced the first act, and the ball was rolling!

The audience was having a great time. They were laughing, crying, singing, and truly enjoying themselves! It’s not every day you see woodland animals showing off their talents!

So, what were some of the acts? Terrance, being an engineer first, decided to prove he could assemble and disassemble a small structure in under 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the crowd found it quite dry – ironic for an animal that mostly lives in water. 

Joey the squirrel crammed almost 150 acorns into his mouth before his tiny lips finally gave way and they poured out like a waterfall. 

Bullwinkle did a line dance, which he seemed very impressed with. 

Mama and Papa Raccoon acted out a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Everyone was shocked with how talented they were, and that they knew human source material!

The geese just seemed to scream at each other, and nobody really knew what they were doing until they finished and said they had been singing a love song. 

Then Gary went up. He moved a bunch of different-sized objects around the room and then started to jump from them as fast as he could while swinging and flipping in the air. He was a true gymnast! 

Finally, it was Morris’ turn, and he decided to do a little sit-down comedy. With his rump firmly planted on the floor, he started into his material.

“What’s the deal with rainwater? It’s like it comes from the sky as a gift, but then the humans don’t want us to drink it? Pick a lane am I right?”

The animals all laughed.

“Cat food am I right? It smells like meat, but it tastes like cardboard! Kind of reminds me of this cabin! Right folks?! You need to take more baths, Bullwinkle!” 

The crowd was laughing so hard that some of them were crying. Bullwinkle was laughing too! He couldn’t stop!

“And my friend Gary! Sure, he’s intellectual, but when it comes to math, he’s terrible. I told him I used to work for 9 Lives, and he told me he had 9 too, but after falling off the roof so many times, he couldn’t figure out how many were left!”

The crowd could not get enough, but being a true showman, Morris thanked the crowd and left them on a high note.

It was time to give away prizes!

“Alright if I could get everyone’s attention one last time,” said Gary. “Based on Morris’ joke, there is a chance I could be on my last life so let’s not push it too far!”

“It’s time to announce our winner,” said Morris. “And as much as I’d love to give myself first place, we’ve got some real talented people we want to recognize.”

“Tonight’s third place winner, with their confusing and seemingly odd rendition of a love song, it’s the original love birds, the Canada Geese!”

The geese came up on stage, pecked at the bag of cat treats and headed back to their seats.

“In second place, we have Joey, with his acorn-cramming routine. That was almost as funny as Morris’ comedy!” 

Joey raced on stage to find out he’d won not just food, but also a device. 

“What’s this?” asked Joey.

“It’s a flashlight! You can light up your home or the dark night, anytime you want!” said Morris.

Joey was so happy he started to tear up. 

“Lastly, in first place, without a doubt, it’s Mama and Papa Raccoon!” said Gary. “That was incredible! Where’d you learn that?”

Mama and Papa Raccoon came on stage to accept their prizes and explained that they’d spent a lot of time looking in the windows of human houses at night. They’d seen A Streetcar Named Desire playing on one of the TVs and loved it.

“And what are these strange containers?” asked Papa Raccoon.

“These containers are for you to store food in! It will keep it safe and healthy!” 

The raccoons were ecstatic. 

With everyone finally back in their seats, Gary and Morris thanked them and let them go. 

Bullwinkle and Terrance walked with Gary and Morris back to the shelter so they could all chat about the show. It had been so much fun and they all promised to do it again next year. 

Gary and Morris headed back inside, curled up by their favourite window, and dozed off!


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