Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Kidnapped Kitty Caper

Detective Gil Fishham here, senior detective for the New York City CCSI: Cat & Canine Crime Scene Investigation.

One warm spring afternoon, I was called to the house of Miss Fistacuffs on the report of a missing cat. The elderly woman met me at the door, visibly upset. "Baroness Momo the Fluff of Dicken St Charles is gone," she said with tears running down her wrinkled face. "You must help me find her. I live alone and Fluffy is the only friend I have."

I proceeded to ask Miss Fistacuffs a series of questions: "Where did you last see Fluffy? Was it normal for her to come up missing for a few days? Does she have any enemies who would like to see him dead?" Miss Fistacuffs went on to tell me that Fluffy was last seen walking toward the shore, that she never stayed out after dark and, she assured me, that a sweet cat like Fluffy most certainly had no enemies.

I was lost and didn't know where to start. What I had was a missing cat. What I didn't have was a suspect, a motive, or even a body. I started off for the shore thinking that the fish market would be the a good place to start looking for a missing cat.

When I arrived at the fish market, I noticed a group of young sailors standing outside. I stopped them, showed them a photo of Fluffy, and asked if any of them had seen the feline. After taking a long hard look at the picture, the young sailors assured me that they hadn't seen the cat around, but suggested I go inside and ask the guy who is at the market everyday, Mr. Pesce, the fish market man.

I went inside the market and approached a burly looking man with a thick, black moustache who was standing behind the fish counter. Showing him the photo of Fluffy I asked, "Have you ever seen this cat around the market?" Scowling at the photo he answered, "Oh her. Yeah, I know that sneaky cat." He went on to tell me that Fluffy showed up at his stand several times a week, always trying to--and often succeeding in--stealing a fish.

"So you didn't like the cat?" I asked.

"What do you think?" he responded. "She was always trying to steal from me!"

"Did you hate her enough to commit MURDER?" I pressed.

Mr. Pesce's face softened. "Look," he went on, "I didn't like the cat, but the only critters I kill are the ones that come from the sea."

I went on to ask if he recalled seeing Fluffy on Thursday afternoon, the day she disappeared. After giving the question some thought he answered, "Yeah. The little rat stole one of my fish and took off running toward the docks."

I thanked him for his time, warned him not the leave the city, and started off toward the docks. I now had a suspect and a motive, it was time to go and find the body.

When I arrived at the docks, I found a large shipyard. There were boats everywhere, some loading cargo, some unloading cargo, others on dry land resting on wooden planks. As I walked toward the water's edge, I noticed a fierce looking dog standing guard. "Excuse me!" I shouted to get his attention. Snarls, the guard dog, approached me cautiously. "What do you want?" he grumbled at me. I introduced myself and then cut straight to the questions. "Do you know this cat?" I asked, holding up the photo of Fluffy.

The doberman rolled his eyes. "Yea, I know that cat," he growled. "She is always running through the shipyard with a fish in her mouth. I have asked her a million times not to cut through here. It's too dangerous with all the humans working," he went on to explain.

"I bet that made you mad when she ignored your request. Dogs never like it when cats don't take orders. Did it make you mad enough to commit murder?""Look," Snarls growled again, his lip snarling to reveal sharp, white fangs. "I don't know what you think you know about us dogs, but we get a bad wrap when it comes to feline relations. Just because I am dog, don't mean that I don't like them cats. I never touched a fur on her little head! The last time I saw her was Thursday afternoon; she come running through here with a fish sticking outta her mouth. She jumped up on that there fence. I run over to tell her to be careful, but I guess my bark startled her cause she fell backwards over the fence. By the time I got around to the other side to see if she was alright, she was already gone. Figured she must have scampered on home."

I thanked Mr. Snarls for his help, told him not to leave town and headed back to my office. I now had two suspects, two motives and still no body.

I was almost to my office, lost in thought, when my phone rang. It was a text message from Miss Fistacuffs telling me to get to her house right away. There had been a break in the case.

I arrived at Miss Fistacuff's house only to be greeted by the smiling old woman. "Good news!" she chirped. "They found Fluffy and she is alive!"

Alive? But how? I was sure the poor cat was dead at the hands of an angry fish market man or at the paws of an angry shipyard dog. How could this be?

Miss Fistacuffs went on to explain that Fluffy had fallen from a wall, at the shipyard, only to land in a shipping container. That container was on a boat heading to France. It had arrived just this afternoon and as the crew was unloading the container, they heard a weak meow coming from inside. There they found Fluffy, hungry and thirsty, but perfectly safe.

I congratulated Miss Fistacuff on her good news and said good bye, happy to know that at that moment Fluffy, the missing cat, was on a plane headed back home. In just a few more hours, she and Miss Fistacuffs would be reunited again.

Just another ordinary day of a CCSI detective.

Case closed.

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