“What do you mean you lost my cat?”
Ernie wrung an old hat in his hands as he hung his head. “I’m sorry Mrs. Porter. I took her out at the usual time.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “I swear I put her collar on but as soon as we stepped outside she slipped right out of it and ran off.”
“Where is the collar now?”
Confused he glanced up and met the old lady’s angry stare. She was worried about the collar? “I put it with Calypso’s leash and the rest of her outside stuff.”
Mrs. Porter sniffed. “You’re sure it’s with her things?”
“Yes ma’am.” Ernie lowered his gaze before the irritation her suspicion aroused showed. Did she think he stole it? What about the damn cat. The woman was more worried about the gem encrusted accessory than the animal’s well-being, or what it might do.
After a few moments he became aware of the silence and looked up again. His boss wore the all too familiar question scowl, but he didn’t know what she wanted, so he waited.
Realization dawned. “I’ll just go get the collar now.” At her nod he left Mrs. Porter’s study and went to the little mud room in the back of the house that held the cat’s belongings.
As he entered the room he felt his heart skip a beat. The box of outdoor paraphernalia was not in its usual place by the door. It was laying on its side with the contents strewn around. The collar was nowhere to be seen. A quick scan of the room told him it wasn’t there.
A sound outside caught his attention and he raced to the door. Sitting in the middle of the yard was Calypso, with her collar held firmly in her mouth. Ernie sighed. The cat watched him calmly but he knew as soon as he moved toward her, she would run away. They had played this game before.
Movement outside her window caught Mrs. Porter’s eye. She watched for a few moments as her tiger–Calypso, ran from the handler. Back and forth they went, Ernie yelling. She could see the collar hanging from the cat’s mouth.
“Damn”, she said aloud. “I spend more money on leather for the beast than I do for myself.”
Soon Calypso would turn on Ernie and a new chase would begin. She sighed and moved to the gun cabinet in the corner. Her husband entered the study, glanced at her, then over her shoulder.
“Allow me dear,” he offered and went to the cabinet.
“Thanks honey, you know how I hate to shoot it.” She took up her position at the window again as her husband pulled out the tranquilizer gun and loaded it. The tiger came to an abrupt stop and turned around, dropping the collar. “Better hurry now.”
Ernie pivoted around and ran. Once again Mrs. Porter observed the pair crossing the yard repeatedly, this time with the man screaming. She heard her husband curse and glanced at him. He was struggling to load the dart, as usual. She really should get a new gun.
Finally her husband was successful and joined her at the window. She watched as he aimed carefully and fired. The screaming and chasing continued outside.
“I missed,” he said, then paused. “I think he might actually get away.”
“Perhaps, I’ll take a turn now.” Loading the second dart went smoothly. She sighted her target and pressed the trigger. The dart hit Ernie in the neck and he dropped like a stone.
“Nice shot dear.”
Mrs. Porter nodded and kept her eyes on Calypso until the tiger dragged her victim out of sight. “He shouldn’t have lost my cat.”
No prompt this time, just the randomness that lives in my head.