Fragments of a Night (Part II)

Welcome back human tom cats and queens! Glad you could join me again for my CatDiva Tales!

Click HERE for your recap in case you’ve forgotten who’s who… remember, we are in Berlin during the early 1930s.

The Storyteller ©FrogDiva Photography

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, the appearance of Slinky Jane, the sleuth who slew more than just predicaments.

That kitty could weave a tall tale taller than the Berliner TV tower and get away with it. She hustles shamelessly among the lowlife of our kind, and even associates with the Fearless Ferals out by the riverbanks. Her delinquency knows no limits and I would be absolutely mortified if I had to appear anywhere with her especially when she insists on dragging the dreadfully smelly skunks and muddy buffalos. The sheep around these parts hate her and would rather butt her off to Nevermindland before giving her the time of day. Nevertheless, Detective Hairy Boots trusts her with certain delicate matters and chasing down stolen items when needed. Her social network is criminal and she knows how to take care of all her platforms.

Slinky Jane on the job ©FrogDiva Photography

Not to use a doggy-sitting-on-the-roof-of-his-house cliche, but it was a dark and stormy night when she showed up at our doorstep to be briefed. Both Inspector PJ Ducky and Detective Hairy Boots were awake, willing and able, and Slinky Jane was her usual available and negotiable self, demanding food and drink before nasty business. She had just come from a wild swinger party at the zoo, and had taken on a few too many even for her low standards. Hairy Boots was beginning to regret her decision, but once Slinky Jane cleaned out all the food bowls and burped like a bull dog, she hunkered down ready to take on the world.

“So, to what do you owe the displeasure of my company this evening?”

PJ Ducky spoke first “Fermented grape juice mixed with human powered catnip that knocked our human out long enough for the miscreant to abscond with the diamonds”

Slinky Jane raised a disheveled eyebrow “Well listen to you! Bravo for figuring that out and remaining lucid long enough to share the information! What am I looking for? Human collars or the piercing tags as well?”

“A ring, two colliers, a bracelet and something called a nose stud…” began Hairy Boots, but she wasn’t allowed to finish her sentence.

“A nose stud! I’m not even going to ask how and why. Just tell me what is the top priority because I won’t have time to chase them all down tonight, especially if they are taken apart and scattered among the fences.”

PJ Ducky had already tucked her feet under her belly and was nodding off, so Hairy Boots continued, “Focus on the ring, it is a five carat emerald cut known as The Empress, an homage to the Austrian Empress Maria Theresia, the and that will be difficult to sell. It’s insured so it is also being traced by the humans, but we all know how incompetent they can be at this.”

The Empress ©FrogDiva Photography

Slinky Jane made her way to the balcony and sniffed the air. “Hmmmm, I smell human copulation, cheese, fish… ah, there it is, the trail of cheap fermented grape juice. I’ll send word if I find anything.”

Cutting through the forest and running along the river, Slinky Jane ran ahead, stoping only to ask the squirrels and magpies for directions. She wandered around distractedly for a few minutes after losing the scent, assuming the thief had taken some form of transportation. The smell of gunpowder and acrimony permeated the crisp Berlin air but she managed to pick up the trail again in front of the Charlottenburg Palace.

Charlottenburg Palace ©FrogDiva Photography

The cold stones were not her favourite to walk on, but this was familiar territory. She loved sneaking into the palace kitchens and courtyards, and never left without satisfying all her appetites. The food wasn’t bad either. It was odd though that the trail would lead her here. Why on earth would a thief bring stolen jewels to a place that was already loaded with priceless treasures to begin with? Unless…

Slipping past the guards, butlers, guests and palace staff, Slinky Jane found herself on the first floor, staring up at a large aquamarine door. It was locked and there was no other access into the room other than a window, but she knew she was in the right place.

Just when she had decided to make her way back down, voices floated down the corridor, echoing louder than they should have.The female human sounded familiar for some reason, and Slinky Jane sure she had heard that voice before. Marlene! What on earth was she doing here at this hour?

Homage to Marlene Dietrich ©FrogDiva Photography

Ah, a private performance, well, well, well… Slinky Jane kept close to the wall and behind the planters. Thank goodness these palaces were always full of useful hiding places that provide a sneaky cat with the perfect cover. Knowing that she had to make it into the room, find the jewellery, leave with the loot and make it back d own, Slinky Jane’s heart began to race.

Much to her dismay there were six others in the room, all human tom cats dressed in the same black uniforms and shiny boots. The crows and racoons had kept her well informed about this particular group, and everyone with paws and feathers knew that dark times lay ahead for Berlin. The talk entered around Marlene moving to Hollywood, and it seemed this was her last evening in Berlin. Slinky Jane would have loved to sit around and listen in but she was here work. One of these soldiers was her mark and she had to find the items as soon as possible or she was dead meat. Her ears picked up some of the conversation, and she understood then and there that the jewels were a “contribution” to the war efforts.

Slinky Jane found the pouch, which had been carelessly placed on a dresser in plain sight. “Stupid humans” she muttered. Before anyone could register what was happening, she bit the pouch, leaped out the open window and onto the closest tree branch, sinking her claws into the wood for dear life. Glancing quickly behind her before scampering away, Slinky Jane shook her head in disgust as the humans continued to imbibe the decadence.

Gerald von Heron ©FrogDiva Photography

The pouch was too heavy for her to carry all the way back to Spandau. Looking out onto the river behind the castle, Slinky Jane swished her tail impatiently as her sharp eyes scanned the water. Where was Gerald when she needed him? Gerald von Heron was the best courier she knew in Berlin, albeit a bit of a recluse who squawked in an obnoxious manner. It was dark and he was off duty by now but he was very predictable. Sure enough, she spotted him perching near the bridge.

“Deliver this to your mistress in Spandau. Don’t look at me like that, I know you two have been pecking around since last summer. You might try being a bit more discreet. Once she receives the pouch, tell her to tuck it safely under her wing, ditch the children if she has to, and make her way to the docks across from the cement factory, Someone will meet her there.”

“What’s in this?” mumbled Gerald grumpily.

“I could tell you but then I’d have to have my foxy pals do a number on you. Let’s just say you are safer not knowing.”

“And who pays me?”

“Settle the bill with Detective Hairy Boots.”

Inspector PJ Ducky ©FrogDiva Photography

The next day Slinky Jane showed up for dinner again, hoping to gloat about her skills. The frosty greeting she received at the window was not at all what she expected. Much to everyone’s chagrin, Gerald had dropped the pouch in the river while trying to dodge the archery club practice. The river coots on duty dove in immediately but only managed to recover the ring, losing everything else to the .the slippery eels, who were in Hamburg by now, making their way back to Amsterdam.

Hairy Boots was livid, absolutely refusing to face Slinky Jane, itching to drown Slinky Jane in the toilet. It was the gentler and calmer PJ Ducky who smoothed things over, saying that the heart of the matter had been recovered, and The Empress was back home. That was all that mattered. The eels would be dealt with another day.

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