Louie Gets A Bath

Louie couldn’t see over the blue plastic bucket he’d been placed in by the man who’d plucked him from beside the wet roadway. At least its warm in here, Louie thought, even though he was still shivering inside his dirt smeared, dripping fur.

"Oh dear! You’re a mess, aren’t you?"

Looking up from inside his bucket, Louie found himself face to face with a silver haired white lady. Before he could blink, he’d been scooped up inside a soft, warm blanket and was being carried down a long hallway.

"We’ve got to get you cleaned up and dry, you poor old guy."

Louie barely had time to wonder why these people kept calling him "old" before the warm blanket was whisked away and he found himself sitting in a kitchen sink.

"Now don’t you worry, this won’t hurt a bit." The woman said as she reached for the faucet and Louie felt a shiver as water was sprayed at him. It took a second for Louie to realize the water was warm.

This isn’t so bad, Louie thought a second before the woman poured soapy dish liquid all over his belly. Yuck!!!! Louie was about to be scrubbed clean and he knew he wasn’t going to like it.

"Think you can get him cleaned up, Caro?"

Looking out (through soap suds) Louie saw the man you had found him beside the road.

"Now, Karl," said the woman, "Have you ever seen anything I couldn’t get clean?

The man and woman both laughed and, before he knew it, Louie felt another spray of warm water and had to admit–at least to himself--that it felt good to be rid of the grit and dirt and oil and smell he’d picked up from the road.

"Well, fellow, you’re not quite white, but I think you’ve had enough bathing for now." With that, the Caro woman lifted Louie from the sink and wrapped him in a clean, dry towel.

Louie barely had time to think about how he’d been too white for Mandy’s friends in the 9th Ward and, now, wasn’t white enough for these white folks, before the Caro woman whisked him back down the hall and into a blue room. Louie’s first impression was that the room was filled with trees and bushy plants in big pots and he had just noticed a huge quilt covered bed, when he heard the man, Karl, call out, "Hey Caro, are you introducing him to the gang?"

When Louie peeked out from the towel in which he been wrapped, he saw.... well, he saw a wall of wild animals, all staring right at him!

"Hey, Hey! Who are you?!!! You’re all wet and you smell funny!" a small wild looking brown bear yelled out.

Before Louie could even react to that insult, he heard a terrible, threatening "GRRRRRRRR!!!" Louie tried to burrow more deeply into the towel and the Caro person’s arms, not daring to even look in the direction of that awful sound, when his attention was caught by what sounded like a British voice coming from the direction of the wall shelf of wild animals.

"Now, T.S., that funny smell is called ‘CLEAN.’ Something you’ve managed to avoid for rather much too long."

Peeking cautiously in the direction of the animals, Louie saw that the British voice was coming from a small bear who was wearing a sweater that said "Yarmouth, U.K."

"GRRRRRRRRR!!!" That terrible sound again. This time Louie could see that the deep, horrifying growl was coming from a big brown, very unfriendly looking bear who–to Louie’s deep relief--was looking at the wild little bear who had insulted Louie.

"GRRRRRRRRR!! Schlepp, that’s no way to greet a visitor." The big bear scolded the small wild looking bear, who didn’t look at all frightened.

"Everyone," the Caro lady said, "Karl has rescued this fellow, who seems to have lost his way on this cold rainy night, so he’s had a warm bath. Something that you, T.S., may yet experience in this life-time."

With that, all of the animals made snuffling, mirthful sounds and some actually shook up and down with laughter (except the big unfriendly looking bear, who just grunted), while the little wild looking bear called "T.S" and "Schlepp," seemed to thoroughly enjoy being the center of attention.

Laughing, the Caro lady continued, "I know the shelves are getting pretty full, but everyone will just have to snuggle in to make room for one more stuffed animal who needs a place to rest for awhile."

With that, she patted Louie’s head and, the next thing he knew, he was on the wall shelf, nestled between a rabbit with very long ears and smallish lion with long whiskers.

Louie felt a moment of panic as the lady turned to walk away. Suddenly, she turned back and looked directly at him. It felt as if she was looking deep inside him in a way he’d never before experienced, except when he was alone with Mandy back at home.

"Don’t worry, Louie, all of these animals are friendly. You’ll be safe here until we can find your Mandy."

With that, she left the blue room and a stunned silver white monkey, named Louie, who was surrounded by a wall full of wild--well maybe not so wild--stuff animals.