Welcome, to my feline short stories, I am your storyteller, The CatDiva. It’s been a while, I admit, and I first had to dust off the cobwebs of house cat idleness, you know, devil’s playground and all that. Nevertheless, I have re-acquainted myself with the keyboard (no easy feat with these delicate paws and claws), adjusted my ageing eyes (no, I will not admit that I wear reading glasses), and put together a few wild ideas based on my adventures, some on my own and others I shared with a human or two. I had to mis-use my housemates for some of the stories, but I being the alpha around here, get got call the shots.
The city: Berlin.
The year: I really don’t care, but if you must, let’s take the 1930s, right before the war broke out.
The music: blues
It all began as an innocent rendezvous, featuring candles, a darkened room, copious amounts of fermented grape juice that humans like to intoxicate themselves with. I’ve never understood why they do that, when catnip and fresh garden water from a flower pot or rain spout will do the same job in less time, and far less embarrassing in my book. I took no interest in the contents of the bottle nor the humans, especially since the conversation seemed to center around dogs and their sly behaviour. Something was rotten in Berlin, and everyone could smell it at the time, but no one save for the crows running the national press and racoons lording it over organised crime. They had all the coots and pigeons at their mercy in those days, and not even the sparrows dared digress from the regulations. Ah, but the cats were masters of the arts, as prima ballerinas, actors, chanteuses, and private entertainers. It was a golden age of decadence for Berliner cats, and every tom in the city got very little sleep those days, howling their nine lives away from alley to alley, not giving a damn about propriety. After all, we are cats, and nobody owns us.
I fell asleep in my usual spot, tired of listening to the humans grunt and grown, their speech slurring the more fermented juice they drank. They even forgot my dinner, which was nothing new, so I drowned my own sorrows with dry food, had a quick gossip with the neighbours, and did my usual voyeuristic activities from the window, spying on the young swan couple floating by. The young bride had no idea that her mate was two-timing her with the heron down the river, but it was not my place to tell her.
Suddenly I heard a door slam and glass break. This was not a good sign, and it probably meant even less food for me if the humans had parted on bitter terms. I sauntered nonchalantly into the living room and didn’t see anything amiss. It just smelled of old cigarettes and dirty dishes, but other than that it all checked out. But I heard distress and could smell anguish coming from the bedroom. Trotting over as quickly as my furry paws could take me, I stopped dead in my tracks in the doorway.
I was at a loss. My brilliantly perceptive feline brain was running in all directions, and I couldn’t help but wonder who was the injured party here. Clearly more than just a relationship had shattered, but at that moment I had more questions than answers between my paws. It was time for a quick snack in order to boot up my investigative senses. When I returned to the room to initiate the clue scavenging, my trusted associate was already on duty.
Feline Investigator PJ Ducky is actually a retired re-tired and so tired associate of mine who struggles to stay awake on most days. Her memory is no longer what it used to be, and getting her to focus is a monumental task. Days like this, however, are always of great interest to her and the fog lifts just enough to venture an extremely educated guess.
“Well, this bottle is the source of all malice. A bad year and cheap wine are never a good combination for humans, no matter how desperate they are. It makes their mating noisy and ineffective. There are also traces of something peculiar in the glass.”
Wow, she hadn’t uttered so many words in ages. I was more stunned with the length of the utterances than with the assessment. “Indeed. What do you smell in the glass? And mind you, much as I respect your opinion and experience. your nose has been as foggy as your brain lately… ” I answered, regretting my words the moment they left my snout.
“That sassiness of yours belongs up your furry flat butt. Keep it up and I shall go back to sleep. My pillow is still warm.” she hissed.
I panicked, knowing that PJ Ducky had been around the block a few times and had been exposed to more toxins than I could ever get my grubby paws on. “Oh no, no, no, please stick around and cough it all up before you march off!”
“Very well. The humans have a poisonous kind of catnip that comes in powered form. Some sniff it others inject it, and the really idiotic ones mix it with their grape juice. Don’t ask, we were not put in this universe to understand humans, but to try and save them from themselves. In any case, this powder makes them do strange things and behave like our old badger pals after they gobble down half a tree of fermented plums. Remember? Well, the human tom must have slipped it in the drink so he could steal the jewellery. After all, our house is known for sex, drugs, and diamonds, ask any crow or raccoon in town.”
Again I was shocked by the sheer number of cohesive sentences strung together, and was painfully aware of that cloud of oblivion slowly descending over her brain. It wouldn’t be long now and this precious clarity would once again be lost to the abyss of dementia. “Did he take anything?” I asked tentatively.
“You mean aside from her dignity and pieces of her heart? Humans are so stupid to give all of themselves to just one another creature. Have they learned nothing from us over the centuries? Oh sorry, I’m rambling. As expected, he took the diamonds and left the Queen Victoria pearls. Can’t fence those in these parts.”
Curiosity killed many of my kind over the centuries, and we never got the credit for any of the mysteries we solved. When Detective Hairy Boots stomped in as if she owned the place, I silently wished she had used up all her nine lives already. If she weren’t so damn good at her job I would have walked off immediately. Her haughty demeanour was so overbearing, but she was a stickler for detail and picked up where PJ Ducky left off. Wrinkling her nose as she circled the empty bottle of fermented grape juice that had been left on the table and tried to shove her face into the glass, she paused to pass her verdict.
“Same bad year as the bottle on the bed, but this one is somehow off. No traces of powder in this glass though, and this is the one he used. So this confirms that the human tom was up to his dastardly deed and not here on honourable intentions. Time to call in Slinky Jane to trace the diamonds. If anyone can find them she can.”
I swallowed hard. No self-respecting indoor cat would ever be caught in public with her. She was sleazy, her mouth was as foul as her brain, and she had slept with more cats than could fit on a spreadsheet. She can’t even remember how many litters she has had in her 17 human years.
To be continued…