Authors: Tamsyn Murray
‘I don’t see why she can’t go with you,’ Mrs Wilson said, smiling at Susie. ‘It is the school holidays, after all, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of room on the tour bus.’
‘Luxury coach, actually,’ EE said, his expression turning dreamy. ‘Gloria said it’s got a TV and a coffee machine and everything. No expense spared, according to Gloria.’
Raising an eyebrow, Mrs Wilson said, ‘Oh, I expect you and Gloria are going to have a wonderful time.’
Even I could hear the warning in Mrs Wilson’s voice, but EE seemed to have missed it completely. ‘I think you’re right. Gloria says she’s going to take very good care of me.’
He wandered off, whistling the
theme tune. Mrs Wilson watched him go, hands on hips. ‘That settles it, Susie, you’re going on that tour.’ she said, shaking her head. ‘Someone has to keep an eye on your dad. He’s gone Gloria ga-ga.’
Worse than that, I decided with a cross twitch of my whiskers, he’d completely forgotten who the star of the show was. At some point, I’d have to remind him that he was just my roadie, but right now I had more important things on my mind. With only a few days before we went off on tour, I had packing to do. Two weeks away from home was a long time.
On Monday morning, EE made a ridiculous fuss when he saw the amount of luggage I had. ‘Seven bags?’ he exclaimed, staring at the matching cases Susie had piled up by the front door. ‘She’s only a little rabbit. What on earth does she need seven bags for?’
I suppose it was hard for him to understand – when he’s not at work he slobs around the house in scruffy jeans and a saggy old cardigan – but I have an image to maintain. What would my fans think if I went out on stage looking less than my best?
Susie ignored him and peered into my travel basket, her face scrunched up anxiously. ‘Are you going to be alright in there, Harriet?’
‘I’m sure she’ll be fine,’ soothed Mrs Wilson.
‘But Dad says I’m not allowed to let her out on the bus and it’s such a long way to Glasgow.’ Susie looked from one parent to the other. ‘What if she needs a wee?’
‘We’ll put some sawdust in there,’ EE said firmly. ‘There’s no way I’m risking another rabbit rumpus.’
He glared down at me and I knew he was thinking of the time I’d gone exploring on the train to my first
audition. It had been his fault. Honestly, I don’t know what he’d expected after he stuffed my basket under that smelly old seat.
Mrs Wilson gave Susie a big hug and planted a sloppy kiss on her nose. ‘Bye bye, Susie. Be good.’
Lily watched and then turned to me. ‘Bye bye, Hawwit,’ she said in a stern voice, pushing her stubby fingers into the basket and almost poking me in the eye. ‘Be good.’
Huh, that was a blooming cheek: Lily was the naughtiest little girl I knew. Even so, I was going to miss her while I was away, and Susie’s mum too, but someone had to stay at home with Smudge. He was scowling at me sulkily from under the hallway table and I knew he wished he was the one going on tour.
The doorbell made all of us jump a few seconds later. Glancing through the bobbled glass of the front door, I could just make out the
banner on the side of the bus outside.
‘Ready for an adventure, Harriet?’ Susie whispered, picking up my basket.
A shiver of excitement ran through me as we climbed on board the bus, with Lily and Mrs Wilson waving us off. OK, so I was going to miss home and I had to put up with an overload of EE for the next two weeks, but I was going to be in the spotlight, doing what I loved best with Susie at my side. What could possibly go wrong?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of long journeys. There’s no room to stretch your legs, Eye Spy gets really boring after the first hundred miles or so and it’s only a matter of time until someone is sick. And when you’re sat next to a kitten who insists on counting every single lamp-post all the way to Glasgow, those miles really drag. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Cherry, but she has a passion for numbers and wants the world to know it.
You might think that EE would have wanted to sit beside me on the bus – after all, I was the reason he was there – but he couldn’t wait to snap the specially made seatbelt around my basket.
‘Sorry about this, Harriet. Gloria said the pets have to stay in their cages,’ he said, taking a long, hard look around me to make sure I couldn’t escape. ‘We’ll be in the owner’s lounge at the back of the bus if you need us. Come on, Susie.’
Patting my cage, Susie said, ‘It’s only for a few hours, Harriet.’
Huh, I thought as they headed off towards a big TV screen surrounded by comfy looking seats, EE didn’t sound sorry. In fact, he sounded pretty pleased about it. But at least I wasn’t next to Doodle. Her owner, Miranda, had shuddered when she’d seen me.
‘Ugh, we don’t want you anywhere near that revolting rabbit, do we, Doodle?’ she exclaimed and made sure she put the poodle as far from me as possible.
I didn’t mind. Even though Doodle was safely strapped in, she didn’t stop growling at me and I knew she’d aim a nasty nip my way if she got the chance. I could almost feel her evil stare drilling into me as we started on our way to Glasgow.
But it wasn’t long before Doodle’s growls turned whimpers. Only a few miles later, she was covering her eyes with her paws and making so much noise that the whole bus could hear her.
‘What’s that terrible racket?’ EE asked, turning around to frown in our direction. ‘I can’t hear the television.’
‘It’s not Harriet,’ Susie said, before EE could blame me. ‘She’s too small to make so much noise.’
Sam, the nine-year-old owner of Spike-tacular, put his fingers in his ears. ‘Is that Doodle? She’s not supposed to perform until she’s on stage.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ Miranda snapped, jumping to her feet and hurrying towards us. ‘My Doodle has a delicate tummy. Obviously, being on the bus doesn’t agree with her.’
‘Does she have to sing about it?’ asked Sam, as Doodle’s howls got louder.
I wrapped my ears around my head, hoping they would drown out the noise, but Doodle was determined to make sure that everyone knew she was ill.
Miranda bent down, fussing around the cage. ‘Is my Doody-Woody feeling sicky-wick?’