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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


Katherine Applegate

Feiwel & Friends



I noticed several weird things about the surfboarding cat.

Thing number one: He was a surfboarding cat.

Thing number two: He was wearing a T-shirt. It said CATS RULE, DOGS DROOL.

Thing number three: He was holding a closed umbrella, like he was worried about getting wet. Which, when you think about it, is kind of not the point of surfing.

Thing number four: No one else on the beach seemed to see him.

He'd grabbed a good wave, and his ride was smooth. But as the cat neared shore, he made the mistake of opening his umbrella. A gust of wind yanked him into the sky. He missed a seagull by seconds.

Even the gull didn't seem to notice him.

The cat floated over me like a furry balloon. I looked straight up. He looked straight down. He waved.

His coat was black and white, penguin style. He looked like he was heading somewhere fancy in a hairy tuxedo.

He also looked awfully familiar.

"Crenshaw," I whispered.

I glanced around me. I saw sand-castle builders and Frisbee tossers and crab chasers. But I didn't see anyone looking at the floating, umbrella-toting surfer cat in the sky.

I squeezed my eyes shut and counted to ten. Slowly.

Ten seconds seemed like the right amount of time for me to stop being crazy.

I felt a little dizzy. But that happens sometimes when I'm hungry. I hadn't eaten since breakfast.

When I opened my eyes, I sighed with relief. The cat was gone. The sky was endless and empty.

Whap. Inches from my toes, the umbrella landed in the sand like a giant dart.

It was red and yellow plastic, decorated with pictures of tiny smiling mice. On the handle, printed in crayon, were the words THIS BUMBERSHOOT BELONGS TO CRENSHAW.

I closed my eyes again. I counted to ten. I opened my eyes, and the umbrella-or the bumbershoot, or whatever it was-had vanished. Just like the cat.

It was late June, nice and warm, but I shivered.

I felt the way you do the instant before you leap into the deep end of a pool.

You're on your way to somewhere else. You're not there yet. But you know there's no turning back.

Copyright © 2015 by Katherine Applegate