The auditorium is huge—hundreds of cages, a commercial prison. Tails of travesty in my opinion, but they seem well cared for, pillows, rugs, and fancy food bowls. Show off stuff. A few felines are getting poked and prodded by the contest judges. There’s a large display of trophies. I pass by to get a closer look. There’s nothing here worth stealing, just a pile of shiny brass cups, a few plaques and . . . Holy cow! Is that a rat I see before me?
“Smooth . . . it’s me. It’s Willie. I’m disguised.”
“You had me fooled. You look completely different.”
“Yeah. I know. The ‘king of coats,’ they call me. So, found anything worth taking? I have. Over there—ten cages down and to the right, Magnolia. But she’s been around the block a few times—won’t be easy.”
“Um . . . I’ll go and check her out,” I wave my tail and move on down the isle a way. Ah, here she is. A Siamese. She’s not bad looking, but a bit too slim in my opinion, nice pelt, light gray with black trim. A sapphire as big as the Ritz is dangling from her neck. Magnolia licks her paws in a disinterested way. Looks bored with her surroundings. I can fix that, but does she speak Swedish?
“Hey. Vad heter du?” I ask her name. She looks at me with some distain at first, and then with curiosity. She thinks I might be something she can toy with.
“It’s Magnolia, silly boy. I’m sure you know my name already.”
“I’m new in town,” I tell her. “Do you live around here? Malmo?”
“No. I move around a lot this time of year, summers in Florida, or South of France. I spend my free time at my pad at the Emirates—Dubia,” she adds. “Are you here just here to look at fancy females, or on business of some kind? You don’t look like the average Tom.”
“Name’s Smoothy, but my friends all call me Smooth.” I wink at her.
“Thanks so much for the privilege Smoothy. Tell me, what is it you do?”
“Security.” I glance around as if scanning the area.
“Indeed,” she flips her tail. “Was someone katnapped? Do they worry someone will be?”
“Always possible,” I tell her. There’s an imfamous jewel thief in the crowd to night—a French window climber. Pepe, the Parisian Plunderer, they call him. Pepe’s wanted for a string of robberies. He stole the Pope’s ring from the Vatican—it’s an alternative fact. Pepe accidently slashed the throat of a victim as he was trying to cut off her diamond collar. My job is to warn affluent kitties like you that he’s around. If you want I can put your necklace in our vault, until its show time, then . . .”
“I can take care of myself,” she says. “Time for my beauty nap.” She lies down gracefully—on top the sapphire, yawns again. “Catch my act later, Smooth. I’m sure to be in the finals.
* * *
Now what? I wondering as I glide away. There’s Willie, underneath a snack bar.
“Not yet,” I tell him.
“I found out where Lulu is.” He stops to finish off what’s left of a discarded hot dog. “In that fancy cage next to the katwalk. I think she’s best of show as far as we’re concerned. Covered with ice.”