When the sun rose, I descended from my hiding place. My ears were in surveillance mode as I kept my belly low in the underbrush. I passed no one in a wood filled with Oregon grape, vining maple and stinging nettles. I made my way to the south in case they sent trackers after me. Coyotes can be bought at any price. I dog-paddled through The Distasteful Swamp. My pelt stank so bad I couldn’t bring myself to bathe. The result was that I was no longer a beautiful black and white Tuxedo cat, smelling of catnip. I now was a grey feral that no one had ever seen before. I passed the sentries, and they taunted me with shouts of ‘Your kind ain’t welcome here!’ I disappeared into the undergrowth again, circling around until I was standing in front of the Concrete Palace. I scratched at the door, and I could hear George bark from within.
The slightest noise from behind me sent shivers of anticipation through my already tense body. Someone, or something was approaching at a fast rate. I hadn’t turned all the way around before it had its claws in me, and I took the full force of the hit to my right side. We were tumbling across the grass, teeth and claws of this thing penetrating through my filthy hide. In the confusion I could hear George laugh.
“Enough, Creepster. Your brother is in disguise! Let him up. We need the information he brings before you kill him, not after.”
I was still growling when he pulled her off of me. She sat crouched, her emotional state betrayed by the lashing of her tail.
We were so intent on glaring at each other, that we didn’t see what George had planned for us. The water from the hose hit us full force, and we ended up in a soggy heap. He explained he was trying to clean me up, but Creepster and I both knew it was to cool our tempers. We both sat before the woodstove in the concrete palace to dry off as I told them of the extensive underground diamond mine, and the Squirrels deliveries to The Lost Sox Laundry.
Creepster was staring thoughtfully into the fire. She does her best thinking this way.
George nudged her with his muzzle. “Go, find what you can about the Lost Sox Laundry.” He gazed at the house nearby. “Find some excuse to get on line. Find everythig you can!”
Creepster fluffed out to twice her size and smirked at me. I had been out schmoozing with the enemy, hiding in trees, slipping through underground passageways and swimming the swamps, and she was handed an indoor job. On a silver platter with a serving of salmon and cream on top.
We said our goodbyes and I watched as she slipped through the screen door. I hadn’t slept for days, so George left me curled up by the fire. I slept like the dead until voices woke me eight hours later.
Creepster was a seasoned surfer of the Internet. No secrets could escape her eager eyes and paws. It was all discoverable, she said. You only need to know where to look. She had covered her tracks by ordering a new song on iTunes. I could hear the tune as she hummed it softly.
The Lost Sox Laundry did not launder sox as the name implied. They laundered money. That being the case, why were they now laundering diamonds?
Stay tuned for Episode 13: What’s Squirrels Got to do With It?