Chapter 7: Hard Times.
Vitaly and Valentina’s wedding was the talk of Meerkovo. A famous chef from Moscow created a delectable feast of three thousand roast scorpion à l’orange, four thousand millipede thermidor, two thousand ladybird soufﬂé and ﬁve thousand termite tarts. This was all wash down with eight hundred bottles of pricey shiraz scarab beetle juice liqueurs. The guests make a lot of noise and dance through the night.
Afterwards, Vitaly and Valentina moved into new Orlov family mansion. It was very big and quickly became very full of ﬁne furnitures (Valentina is no longer a nursekat, instead she is shoppingkat). For his walls, Vitaly commissioned many paintings of Orlov meerkats through the ages. These paintings become known as The Orlov Collection and are now famousness.
Before long, Valentina heard the clitter clatter of little paws. She and Vitaly were delight when she give birth to twin boy meerpups. They are call Ivan and Grigory and they have as joyfulsome puphood as any pup could wish for — how could they not with all the Orlov family mansion as their playground?
Grigory was full of gratefulness and worked hard at school to make his parents proud.
Ivan was different story. He did not share his brother”s sensibleness and would sneak out from school to visit the gambling dens of downtown Moscow. There he met seedy muskrats and played at cards with them. One day, after losing all his monies and both his boots, he bet the family mansion on his last claw of cards. He lost. (This is where the expression ‘never play baccarat with a muskrat’ is come from.)
Overnight the Orlovs became poverty stricken. Vitaly, Valentina and Grigory left the family mansion with only what they could carry in a small cart: the famous Purple Claw, two souvenir bottles of wedding beetle juice liqueur, some sea snake caviar and The Orlov Collection of meerkat paintings.
Ivan disappeared never to be seen of again. Some say he went about smuggling marmot pelts in Bulgaria. Others say he became a missionary monk and went off to convert the mongooses of Mongolia. Nobody know for sure.
Meanwhile, the rest of family set off to find somewhere to live. Vitaly had braved ferocious battles without wobble, but now he is frightened. Eventually they came upon a humble gypsy camp hidden in countryside. It was very different living from what Vitaly and Valentina and Grigory were use to, but beggars cannot be choosings. The gypsykats happily accepted them and the Orlovs settled into a simples life of grub farming, dung dealings and gypsy merriment around the fire.
One particular happiness was to come from this new life. While Grigory was out farming grubs, he met Anastasia, a glamoursome gypsykat. She was taking a dust bath when Grigory spied her through the bushes. He fall instantly heels over head in love. A few months later, Grigory asked her to marry him. He gave her a ring made of string and they had a very loud wedding that could be heard all the way in Moscow.
Soon Anastasia had a pup, and they call him Anton. (This, of course, is excite for he is to be my Papa Anton. But for the moment he is just small pup.) His grandparents, Vitaly and Valentina, were prouder than a punch, for Anton was very handsome and has strong haunches.
But this happiness was not last for long. In Moscow, a nasty faction of government meerkats had decide to rid the country of gypsy camps. The ‘Furry Terror’ swept through the countrysides. Simples, hardworking gypsykats were forced from their homes and sent to ghettos in the city.
Dreadfully, this was where my Great Granddaddy Vitaly and my Great Grandmummy Valentina met their ends. Grigory, Anastasia and little Anton wept for them in their tiny draughty apartment room.