I was lying on the couch, grooming my left rear leg.
Bars of light slanted across the room through the
venetian blinds. I woulda had a bottle of hooch and
a glass handy, but the Humans put the vodka in the
freezer. Too high for me to reach, damn the luck.
Business had been thin lately. I was just thinking
about jumping up on the windowsill to check out the
action on the bird feeder next door when the phone rang.
I ran to the bedroom RUN RUN RUN SKID POUNCE!
and knocked the phone off the cradle. "Mrrroww?" I
said. My tail curled into a question mark. Silence.
Then I heard something - distant purring? I mewed
plaintively, just in case. Click, then the dial tone.
Damn. The second time today. Someone was
playing cat and mouse. I gradually coaxed the
handset back in place. Man, that thing is heavy. I
ran crazily around the apartment several times, just
for luck, and... oops, time for food. The case would
have to wait.
Back on the couch, I licked myself all over and
pondered. There was something fishy about those
phone calls -- I could smell it. My claws extended
involuntarily, and I kneaded the upholstery for a
while. Hmm. Patches was doing time in San
Quentin, but maybe one of her torpedoes was
prowling around. Or who knows -- maybe those
damn tomcats from Miss Puff's gang wanted
revenge. I'd made a lot of enemies in my career.
Suddenly there was a flash of movement at the
other window. My ears pricked up. GO GO GO
adjust my back feet for traction POUNCE onto the
end table! Crash! Aw nuts, didn't see that beer
bottle. I stared out at the ratty calico with the
notched ear on the outside sill. Her ears went
back, and she hissed. This kind of trouble I didn't
need. I locked my stare on to her, bristling slightly,
until she looked away. Oh yeah, lick your paw like
nothing just happened, I thought.
She gave me a low growl. "Stay away from the
big tree at the edge of the parking lot, get me?"
she gritted. "That's my territory. I chase the
squirrels down there, see, and I don't need any
two-bit gumshoe horning in on the action."
Something clicked. Yeah, I'd seen her before.
Used to be a B-girl down at the Kit Kat Club. Rap
sheet twice the length of my tail. I hear her
Human calls her Snuggykins now, but I'd seen
her yowling and dragging her butt down the gutter
plenty of times when she was in heat in the old days.
I combed my whiskers with my paw. "Quit
pussyfooting around," I said. "We both know you
didn't come here to talk about squirrels. Give."
She gave me an innocent look. "Don't they say
curiosity killed the cat?" she purred. I felt my tail
switching back and forth in irritation. "They say
a lot of things," I growled back. I woulda slugged
her, if the screen hadn't been in the way.
She looked around. "This is strictly on the Q.T.,"
she whispered, "but I hear Pumpkin and Sheba
are gettin' kinda tired of you prowling around their
operation. Keep your paws outta their cat dish,
OK? Be a shame if some kind of *accident*
knocked off a couple of your lives. I hear you're
down to five or so."
Just then, we heard a car turning into the parking
lot. She stiffened, then jumped down and crept
around the corner of the building. I raked the
screen with my claws in frustration. The car
pulled up and stopped. Could it...? I mewed.
Yes! My Humans! They were home! Meow
meow meow! I heard a key in the door, and ran
over. All RIGHT! Cat toy! Cat toy! Make it MOVE!
Food food food KITTY TREATS KITTY TREATS!
"Hi, Franny," my smaller Human said. "How was
She picked me up. Man, I HATE that. Let me
down! Mew! Cat toy, no hugs! Cat toy! CAT
TOY! She stroked my head. My larger Human
looked over and saw the broken glass under the
table by the window. "Sheesh, Franny," he said.
"Did you do that?" Aw, hell. I arched my back
slightly and relaxed. Purr purr purr. Beer bottle?
Little old me? Somebody *else* did *that*. Look
how cute I am. Oh yeah, scratch under my jaw.
Later, when they were in bed watching TV, I saw
something moving under the blanket. SMALL
ANIMAL! POUNCE? But wait. Every time I attack,
it stops moving. Maybe it's just the small Human's
hand, like it was the last forty-seven times. But
what if it's really a SMALL ANIMAL? No. Maybe it is.
Maybe it IS! Tense tense TENSE TENSE wiggle
D'oh! It was her hand again. I turned away and
started licking my paw. Didn't fool me, nuh-uh.
I curled up on the blanket. I'd solve the Case of
the Creeping Cat tomorrow. Big yawn. Purr purr