MaiTai and the Jelly Tots

It was pouring with rain outside. Usually that would mean boredom and misery for the animals, especially MaiTai. He hated it when he couldn’t go outside to play or visit his friend Rita, the bird in the bush next door, or play tricks on Granny or talk to Cassandra. Ethan and Shady were no fun, they just cuddled up together purring all day on the couch when ever it was cold out. MaiTai didn’t like rainy days at all.

But this rainy day was different. It was a rainy Friday, and Friday was MaiTai’s favourite day! He loved Fridays the most, because that was the day where Mommy would go grocery shopping.  MaiTai used to be allowed to go with her when he was small enough to fit in her jacket pocket, and no one could see him. He was even still allowed to go when he was a little bit bigger, and would hide behind her hair, clinging to her neck. But after the day a woman spotted his long stripy tail swishing out from under Mommy’s hair, and screamed, and caused all kinds of fuss, he was never allowed to go again.

It was hardly his fault that the woman’s scream had made him jump in surprise, so high that he landed, unfortunately, on her outstretched arm, which she was pointing while screaming. That only made her scream louder. It was hardly his fault that he ran as fast as he could to get away from her, but her siren sounding scream clogged up his head so much that he couldn’t think straight and by mistake ran the wrong way – up her arm – and ended up sitting on her shoulder, screaming with freight himself. It definitely wasn’t his fault that the woman then feinted and had to be carried off to be gently revived from the ordeal. And what about him? No one seemed to care about his ordeal, with the crazed woman screaming and scaring him like that.

Ever since that day, he wasn’t allowed to go with when Mommy went grocery shopping anymore. But he loved Fridays all the same, because when ever she came home with all her shopping bags, and began to unpack them into the kitchen cupboards, there was sure to be a treat hidden amongst the plastic packets just for him.

Today she was in a wonderful mood, singing and humming to herself while unpacking, and stopping every so often to give MaiTai a tickle behind his white-tufted ears, or stroke Cassandra or pat Casey. She was unpacking all sorts of fun things. She had bought ingredients to make pobs for a lovely rainy-day lunch, she told the animals, and put the stove on. MaiTai lay over her shoulder, holding on to a tuft of hair so as not to fall off while she packed the groceries away and got out all the mixing bowls, cake tins and ingredients for making the pobs: white bread, raisins, milk, sugar, cream…

While she moved around the kitchen, she pulled something out from a shopping bag – JELLY TOTS! MaiTai knew the colour of the jelly tot packet very well and spotted them as soon as she took them out. They were his favorite sweet – he LOVED jelly tots! MaiTai sat up strait on her shoulder, and leaned forward as far as he could, tweeting all the time.

“I got a little something special for you, my baby,” she laughed as he tweeted and chirped in her ear.  “For after lunch of course…” MaiTai tweeted louder and whined desperately. “OK, ok, you can have it now, just one, but then be sure to eat all your lunch afterwards!” She opened the bag, taking out one big round sugared purple jelly tot. MaiTai grabbed it with both hands, and lost his balance, falling off her shoulder instantly! Mommy caught him as he fell and put him gently on the kitchen counter, still holding on to his precious jelly tot. He whistled a thank you to her and bounded off to sit in the corner on top of the microwave, and eat his treat. The jelly tot was as big as his hands! Big almost as his little monkey face!

Mommy laid down the open jelly tot packet and started making the pobs.

After lunch, Mommy and all the cats went to have a little lie down. Rainy weather always made them sleepy. Casey curled up at the bottom of the bed too, and so no one was around. MaiTai didn’t feel sleepy at all. He couldn’t stop thinking about the jelly tots! Mommy didn’t seem to remember about them, because she left them there on the counter, easy for him to reach.

He jumped up and looked at the open packet longingly. Mommy always put them away and only let him have one as a treat once in a while. She said that treats were wonderful once in a while, but too many treats always resulted in something bad. He jumped off the kitchen counter and went to try busy himself in the lounge. But the rain dripping against the big glass sliding door seemed to trickle down with a soft tapping sound, a sound that said ‘Jelly tots, tap, tap, jelly tots, tap, tots’.

MaiTai went back to the kitchen. Just to check that the jelly tots were still there. To make sure none of the other animals had got up from their rest and maybe by mistake come and eaten them all.  He knew that they weren’t allowed sweets – Mommy said it would make them sick. He was only concerned for their health.

There the jelly tots lay, un-touched. He sniffed at the packet. Oh, they smelled good! Like berries and juice and sugar and all the most delicious things he could think of! Maybe just one more wouldn’t be so bad. After all, Mommy said that he could have one after lunch, hadn’t she? He thought back. Yes. She had said ‘I got this for you, for after lunch’. He would take just one, just like she had said he could have, and then no more. Snatching out a big, sugary green one, he rushed out of the kitchen and found a spot in the lounge behind a couche where he could eat his jelly tot un-disturbed. Not that he needed to hide it. Mommy had said. MaiTai nibbled and munched, ate and licked, until the whole thing was gone. He licked his fingers, thinking what a treat that was!

After wondering around the house for a bit, getting more and more bored with the rainy weather, MaiTai went back to the kitchen to check up on the jelly tots. After all, he wouldn’t want ants to come into the kitchen, smell the jelly tots, and carry them off. And a jolly good thing he checked! Sure enough, there was a thin line of ants, from the slightly ajar kitchen window all the way to the jelly tot packet! MaiTai brushed the ants away frantically and grabbed the packet with both hands. It was so big it covered his whole body and head as he tried to heave it away. He needed to save them! While huffing and puffing under the weight of the jelly tot packet, one lone tot fell out and rolled to the floor. Oh dear. MaiTai shoved the packet up against the kettle, that would be a good hiding place for it, and ran to retrieve the fallen treasure. When he picked it up, some sugar dusted off onto his hands. He licked one hand clean, then grasping the tot with the clean one, licked the other hand clean too. But then he noticed that more sugar had stuck to his first hand, and it was now sticky. He licked it again, but then his other hand was sticky too. He licked that one. Then he realized that all the sugar had come off the jelly tot, and now the moisture from his hands had made the jelly tot sticky too. He couldn’t put that one back in the packet now – it would make them all stick together. No. Best thing to do would be to eat it.

For a while a slight buzzing feeling crept into his body. He started to play Pirates and then Ninja’s and then started bouncing around doing jumping jacks and hand stands. He did squirrel-fly-jumps between cupboard tops and slid down the silky curtains in the guest room, dragging his claws all the way down the drapes to be sure not to fall too fast. His whole body was alive with a delicious happy feeling, and he whistled and whistled and whistled a wonderful tune that he just made up, just then, on the spot! It was marvelous!

But then something very strange happened. He didn’t know how, but the jelly tot packet was empty! He went to check on it again, faithfully, and it was lying there, discarded next to the kettle, completely empty! Nothing but a few dots of sugar powder left inside. He looked down at his hands. They were covered in sugar. He looked at his belly. It was covered in sugar too, and bulging a little, round and rotund, just like a jelly tot. He looked into the reflective surface of the kettle, and his little monkey face was covered in sugar too!

Just then, Mommy walked into the kitchen, rubbing the sleepiness from her eyes. She took one look at the empty jelly tot packet, and turned her disbelieving gaze to MaiTai. MaiTai shoved his hands behind his back, hoping she wouldn’t notice all the sugar, but as he did so, something funny happened in his tummy. The buzzing feeling churned and swiveled, and suddenly belched! He pressed his hands over his mouth as hard as he could, but it was too late. All the jelly tots came up and poured out, all mixed up together with purple and green and pink and pobs. He felt terrible!

Mommy had to nurse him all night long as he shivered and shook with the illness of overindulgence, and even though he was given a very stern talking to, she was kind and gentle and helped to make him slowly feel better until he drifted off into a long and fitful sleep. That night he dreamt of giant jelly tots falling out of the sky like raindrops, crashing down on top of him till he was buried and couldn’t breathe anymore. And an army of human sized ants pointed at him and said ‘One more before your lunch!’