Deleted Member Posted April 24, 2013 As it happened, Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle awoke quite early the next morning, as was his daily routine. He dressed himself, washed his face, and brushed his teeth all in his daily manner. He made up his bed, which never appeared quite sloppy anyway after he slept in it, but he was particular about appearance. “Appearance only appears to be important,” he was often found to be saying. After joining Myron and George for a breakfast of buttered rye toast, halved grapefruits laced with sugar, and cups of coffee with rice milk in place of creamer (which was an old custom of several generations of the Mudfuddle family—three to be precise), Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle began gathering up his belongings that he considered important enough to take along with him on the adventure that lay ahead of them. Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle placed an open trunk of ivory on his bed, which made the task of filling it much easier on his lower back. George slithered into the room to see how Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle was faring and to give him some packing advice or reassurance according to what his needs might be. George himself, taking into consideration that he was a snake, could not help Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle much by way of actually packing the suitcase. (Snakes lack the limbs needed in order to perform such tasks.) “This is going to be quite an adventure,” said George, peering curiously into the trunk. “Indeed I must say,” said Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle with certainty. “It will be an adventure.” “Imagine,” said George. “Your brother lives.” Holding a pile of dress shirts over his arms, Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle stopped in mid-tracks and, with a slight frown, said, “Perhaps that girl from Ipanema lives, also.” George thought about this notion for a moment. When the moment concluded, both he and Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle laughed and shook their heads, and Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle laid the shirts neatly in the trunk. George slithered across the room to the nightstand, which bore an enormous vanity mirror. Snakes—particularly king cobras—are, contrary to popular belief, very conceited, and George now raised his head and looked into the mirror, flashing his teeth, which he hoped were still sharp enough to make a respectable cobra out of him. He turned his head at various angles, checking his teeth. They shined like freshly painted walls. Such teeth must be the envy of all serpents, and George was not humble enough to disguise his pride in himself. George shot a glance at Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle, who was on his hands and knees looking for something on the floor of the closet. He slithered to the closet and peered over Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle’s shoulder. “Are you in need of any assistance, perhaps?” he asked him. Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle shook his head, which was half buried in a mountain of shoes of various shapes and sizes. “Thank you. I am just looking for my hunting boots.” “Hunting boots?” Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle stopped in mid-search and turned his head to face George over his shoulder. “Hunting boots,” he repeated as though it were the most obvious thing. “Ah,” said George with a nod of his head though he had no idea what the significance of hunting boots might be for their upcoming journey. “Hunting boots.” Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle continued to dig through piles of shoes on the floor of the closet until “Aha.” He pulled out of the closet two hunting boots made of tan leather with faux suede along the outer rim at the top. “Hunting boots,” said George to himself with a nod of the head though he still had no idea why Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle might need hunting boots. Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle struggled momentarily to get to his feet. Some joints in his body creaked. He was not old by any means, but he had joints that could not help but creaking from time to time. He brought the boots to the trunk, arranged some of the clothes in the trunk to make more space, and laid the boots lying down atop a pile of knee-high socks. Suddenly, Myron called from the kitchen, “Has anybody seen my hunting boots?” Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle smiled a knowing smile at George. “Seen and packed,” he called back in confirmation, and he began to whistle and hum to himself, saying in a sing-song voice, “Hunting boots. Hunting boots.” George shrugged in the manner in which snakes (who have no shoulders) shrug. “If that’s what floats your boat, as they say,” he said. Then, he, too, began to say in a sing-song voice, “Hunting boots. Hunting boots, and before they knew it, they were harmonizing. “Hunting boots,” they sang. “Hunting boots. Hunting boooooots.” Here, they put their heads side by side with jocular joviality, and immediately thereafter, they returned to their business with all the earnestness with which they had carried themselves beforehand, and Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle returned to the pile of shoes at the bottom of the closet. “More hunting boots?” George inquired. “More open-toed foot apparel,” Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle politely corrected him. George nodded his head though he had no idea why Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle might need open-toed foot apparel. He slithered out of the room. He had things of his own to pack that might be useful to him on their upcoming adventure, and Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle remained alone in the room. It did not take long for Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle to find a pair of open-toed foot apparel, namely a pair of dark blue thongs made from a flimsy sponge material. Digging a bit more, he found a sturdier set of leather sandals that he had received as a gift from a member of the Pawnee tribe who had made them himself. With a bit more patience at hand, Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle looked through the pile of shoes and retrieved another pair of sandals. These were made of plastic and had Astroturf on the inner soles. Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle rubbed his hand over the Astroturf. Oh, how he loved the feel of Astroturf. It made him feel so—so masculine. He put one of the sandals to his face, closed his eyes, and smelled the closety smell that the Astroturf sandals bore before he got to his feet and put all the sandals in the trunk. As he placed the Astroturf sandals in the trunk, he paused and looked down at the tired, ragged, grey penny loafers that he was wearing, that he had been wearing daily for thirteen years or so. He wriggled his feet out of the penny loafers. He took the sandals out of the trunk and dropped them on the floor beside his feet, which he then slipped into them. A smile crossed his lips. Ah, the freedom of open-toed foot apparel! He pushed the penny loafers under the bed, checking beforehand to make certain nobody was watching him, and he allowed himself a boyish giggle. “Is everything in order?” Myron called from the kitchen or the passageway or some other inconsequential place. “Tip top shape,” Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle called back. “You put on those tacky green sandals again, now, didn’t you?” called George. Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle looked down at his feet with a wrinkle of the brow. He wiggled his toes. The sandals were tacky? He was not of such an opinion. He fancied them. Regardless, he returned to work. He looked into the trunk to see what he had packed already. Shirts, socks, shoes, ties (for formal affairs), bowties (for more formal affairs), toothbrushes and hygiene items of the nature, books on wild animal identification, binoculars. Ah, that was what he had forgotten still: binoculars. He thought about where the binoculars might be. Could they be in the closet? On the top shelf or on the floor or in the back? Might they be stuffed in a drawer somewhere or under a bed? Were they possibly in another room in the house? He sat down on his bed for a moment to think about where the binoculars might be. With perfect timing, George slithered into the room, head poised, with the binoculars around his neck. “Are you perchance looking for these?” he asked Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle with a smile of triumph. Mr. Mackenzie Mudfuddle stood up and took the binoculars from around George’s neck. “Indeed, George, indeed I was.” He put the binoculars gently into the trunk, padded betwixt the shirts. “One can never be sure when one will need binoculars,” he said with a pedantic shake of the finger.