|A Sidney By Any Other Name
Author: MeanRunt PM
Sidney as the Grand Champion cat? Well, they do look alike, after allRated: Fiction K - English - Words: 11,726 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 09-28-05 - id: 2598020
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Sidney By Any Other Name
"Hey Nick, take a look at this." Tracy Vetter said, pushing the newspaper across their desks to her partner.
"What am I looking at?" Nick Knight asked.
"There. In the middle of the page. That article about the Cat Fanciers Show."
"And what am I supposed to be seeing?"
"Doesn't that look like your girlfriend's cat? I'm sure I saw a picture of him on her desk at the morgue. Right next to yours."
"She's not my girlfriend." He protested. "We are just … "
"I know. Just friends." Tracy finished. ( And the squadron of porkers will be overhead any moment now. )
"I hope you two are working on the MacMillan case." Captain Reese said as he came to their desks.
"Actually, Cap, we've sort of hit a brick wall in that one." Nick replied. "All our leads have dried up and we're getting nowhere with the suspects we have. They all have iron clad alibis. Until something breaks, we're just spinning our wheels."
"We were discussing this picture of the cat who won Best of Show at the Cat Fanciers of Canada show last night. " Tracy volunteered.
"Why? Is the cat a suspect in the case?"
"No. But she looks an awful lot like Natalie ... I mean Dr. Lambert's cat. According to the article, she's a purebred Angora and her name is Grand Champion Preston's Hellanic Pride Nesdoly." Nick read from the article.
"That's a pretty big mouthful for such a small animal. Besides, I thought Doctor Lambert's cat was a boy." Reese replied.
"Sidney is a male cat, but they still look an awful lot alike." Nick said.
"The family calls the cat … get this … Snookums. I know her owners. Linda and Todd Bergher. They belong to the same Country Club that my father belongs to." Tracy added with a smirk.
"Snookums?" Reese said, trying to suppress an evil wide grin.
"I think I'll give Nat a call and tease her a little about it." Nick said as he picked up the phone and dialed the Coroner's office with practiced ease.
"Natalie's Bed and Breakfast." Dr. Lambert answered the phone. "You kill 'em. We chill 'em."
"Hi, Nick." You could almost hear the smile on her face.
"Have you read today's paper yet? In particular, section D, page 5. There's a picture of a cat that is the spitting image of Sidney there."
There was the sound of paper rattling, and then Nat said. "You know, that does look a lot like Sidney. I think I'll frame that article. I know it's not Sid, but it is an amazing coincidence. I wonder if anybody else besides you noticed the similarity."
"Probably not. I mean after all, how many cats are there in Toronto … and how many people know Sidney …and how many of them would be reading today's society pages. If Tracy hadn't pointed it out to me, I never would have noticed it."
"You're right. Oh, well, there goes my chance to make a fortune by passing Sid off as a cat doppelganger."
"You know. Like those celebrity doubles. They make a living posing as their celebrity look alikes at fairs, parties, commercials, and the like. Sometimes the celebrities even hire them to go to functions that they are too busy, or not interested in attending. A few of them are almost as famous as the celebrities themselves."
"You mean like all those Elvis impersonators?"
"Something like that ... "
"Are you sure about this?" The man asked his companion.
"What's not to be sure." The companion answered. "This is the cat. Just look." He held up a picture of the championship cat and then pointed to the feline cowering in the netting.
They had chased the animal for several blocks before it had caught its collar on a fence. They nearly caught it then, but the cat managed to wiggle out of the collar and took off again. Apparently, it had choked while it tried to free itself, and it had difficulty breathing. That slowed it down considerably.
"We have ourselves a fortune here." The second man continued. "It's just a lucky thing I spotted it roaming through the park. If it hadn't tangled itself in this tennis net, we might never have caught it. I wonder where her owners are."
"You'd think they'd keep better tabs on a valuable piece of property like this." The first one said as he picked up the net with the protesting cat in it and headed to the car.
There was the sound of a phone ringing. That was very unusual. There were no phones in this enchanting location. There were only warm, sun drenched beaches, and children with strawberry blond curls laughing and running beside him and their auburn haired mother.
The phone rang again, and the answering machine picked up. He tried to ignore it and go back to his perfect place. A voice filtered into his consciousness. It was the mother's voice from his dream.
"Nick." The voice said. "It's Nat. Please pick up." She sounded close to tears.
He was fully awake in an instant, and in the next instant, he had the phone to his ear. "What happened? What's wrong? Are you all right?"
"It's Sidney. He got out of the house when I came home from work this morning and he hasn't come back yet. I'm worried. He's an indoor cat, and whenever he does go out, he's usually back in an hour or two at most. It's been almost twelve hours and there's no sign of him anywhere. I've called until I'm hoarse, and I've been all over the neighborhood and asked everyone I've seen. Nobody knows anything."
"Nat." Nick said, trying to sound upbeat. He knew how much Sidney meant to the Doctor. She got him from the animal shelter when he was only eight weeks old. He was almost like the child she never had. "He's a cat. And a male cat to boot. He's probably just out doing what a male cat does best."
"But he's been fixed."
"Neutering doesn't take away the desire. Just the results. You should know that. Tell you what. I'll call the Dispatcher and ask him to have some of the patrol units keep an eye out for him … On the QT of course."
"You bet. As soon as I hang up. Now don't worry. I'm sure he'll be all right. He'll probably … " He didn't get a chance to finish his sentence before the dial tone cut him off.
"I'm sorry, Linda. I don't know what we can do for you." Tracy Vetter was saying to the woman sitting next to her desk. "This is really something that should be handled by Animal Control or even the CSPCA, not homicide."
"I know that." Linda Bergher sighed heavily. "But Richard … your father that is … said that I should see you about it. We called him as soon as we received the letter. We couldn't think who else to call, and he is the Police Commissioner after all. I mean if his daughter can't help us, who can?"
( Daddy dearest pulling strings again. ) "I'll look into it and get back to you."
"The funny thing is that the catnappers say they have Snookums, but she hasn't been catnapped. When I left to come here, she was sleeping in her room." Linda said.
(The cat has her own room? ) "They must think they have Snookums. Otherwise, why would they send the ransom letter?" Tracy pointed out.
"Well, they obviously don't have her." Linda retorted haughtily. "I checked on her just before I came here."
"I think I know who they might have." Nick Knight said as he came to his desk. "Nat called me at the loft a little while ago. Sidney, that's her cat, is missing. I'll bet a week's pay the catnappers have him."
"Why would they think that a common housecat was my precious Snookums?" Linda asked. She said the word housecat like it was something vile and dirty. "And a male cat at that."
Nick took out his wallet and opened it to a picture of him and Natalie. She was holding Sidney.
( Just friends my Great Aunt Fred. ) Tracy thought as she stared at the picture. Nick and Nat were closerthanthis and you could almost see the emotion flowing between the two of them.
"Yes. I can see that there is a resemblance." Linda said as she handed the wallet back to Nick. "I'm sorry your cat is missing, but what do you expect me to do about it. We're certainly not going to pay fifty thousand dollars for a male cat, and a pound rescue as well." Again there was almost a sneer in her voice.
"If we want to catch these men, that's what you might have to do." Tracy said.
"And why would you two want to catch them?" Reese said. They had not heard him come out of the office.
"Because they have Sidney ... Doctor Lambert's cat."
"But why you? This sort of thing belongs to Animal Control, not homicide."
"Because Natalie is a friend of ours. The MacMillan case is going nowhere, and so we thought we might give it a shot. " Nick said.
"And Commissioner Vetter wants this case handled with the least amount of publicity. After all, Snookums is a very public figure." Linda Bergher added.
( And what Commissioner Vetter wants, Commissioner Vetter gets. ) Reese sighed heavily. "Three days. I'll give you seventy two hours. Not one second more. If you don't have something by Friday morning, it goes to Animal Control."
He came into the room holding his blood covered hand. "I'm telling you, Leo, that !#&()/ cat has got to go." He declared.
"Now what's your problem, Ray?" Leo asked.
"I tried to feed her and she nearly took my arm off. That bitch has teeth like a crocodile. And a temper to match." Ray retorted, wrapping his bloody wrist with a towel. "You sure she's had all her shots? I wouldn't want to catch anything because of her."
"Of course she's had her shots. You don't think they would let her go into the show ring without them, do you? By the way, a female cat is called a tabby. A bitch is a female dog."
"Smart ass. Next time you take care of her. I'm going to put something on this before it gets all infected." He headed for the bathroom.
Natalie Lambert came into the precinct at almost a dead run. "Vera just called. She said you've found Sidney."
"Not exactly." Tracy said. "But we may have found out what happened to him." She indicated the woman sitting in the chair. "This is Linda Bergher. She owns the championship cat that was in the papers yesterday. This afternoon, this was in her mailbox." She held up the ransom note. "We think the catnappers may have gotten Sidney by mistake."
"I still don't see how they could have mistaken your … Sidney, was it … For Snookums. Surely they can tell the difference between a male cat and a female." Linda huffed.
"Perhaps not." Natalie explained. "After all, Sidney has been neutered and although he's not purebred, he is mostly Angora. That means his hair is fairly long. Unless they examined him very closely, they might not be able to tell the difference. I don't think they could get that close to him either. Sidney is not known for his overly gentle way with strangers. Just ask Nick's … ah … father."
"While I appreciate your concern for your pet, my husband and I have no intention of paying the ransom when our cat has not been harmed." Linda said, emphasizing the 'our' .
"I can understand that, Mrs. Bergher." Nick assured her. "And you won't have to pay a dime. We just want you to keep in touch with the catnappers and go along with whatever they tell you to do. I have some connections and I think I can get the necessary funds. We'll let you know when the money is ready." Nick stood and shook Mrs. Bergher's hand. He wasn't exactly surprised to find that it felt like he was shaking hands with a dead fish.
He watched as the woman walked quickly out of the precinct. It was almost as if she couldn't wait to be out of that environment.
"And that connection wouldn't happen to be … Monsieur de Brabant, would it?" Natalie asked as Nick walked her to her car.
"Why not?" Nick replied. "I have the money, and if it will get Sidney back, I can't think of a better way to spend it. I'm sure ' Monsieur de Brabant ' … " He made quotes in the air with his fingers. "Could be … persuaded to part with fifty thousand for the cause."
"You'd do that for Sid?"
"I'd do that for you." Nick replied, kissing her lightly on the cheek. A few seconds later, it had deepened into a passionate kiss full on the lips.
Tracy watched her partner from the station door. ( Just friends! Right! And the jackasses are rehearsing Rigaletto as we speak. )
"And what makes you think I'd want to be involved in this little predicament?" Lucien LaCroix asked.
"You don't have to get involved." Nick replied angrily. He had come to the Raven to see if anyone in the Community had any information concerning the disappearance of the cat. He did not give it much of a chance, since most of the denizens who frequented this nightclub rarely ventured out into the mortal world. But it was worth a try. ( Why does he have to make an incident out of everything? ) "All I'm asking is that if you, or any of the regulars, hear anything about Sidney, you pass it along to me. Is that asking too much?" He tried to keep his voice level and non-confrontational, but he was not having much luck.
"Nicholas. We are talking about a cat. Cats, like dogs, are good for a little snack every so often. And then only when nothing more ... appealing is available. Nothing more. I fail to see why you are getting so upset because one of them is missing."
"Because this particular cat belongs to Natalie … Dr. Lambert." He could feel the anger rising.
"Oh, I see." The sarcasm dripped on the elder vampire's words. "It belongs to your little playmate, so that makes all the difference." For whatever reason, Lucien LaCroix seemed to delight in rubbing his 'son' the wrong way.
"It's not like I'm asking you to mount an all out hunt for him, but if you hear anything ... "
"I shall give your request some thought." LaCroix said haughtily.
"Then you'll help?"
"I SAID I'll think about it." The master vampire turned and headed back to his office, leaving Nick standing by himself at the bar.
"Don't let him get under your skin." Miklos said, putting a glass of cow blood in front of him.
"I'll put out the word quietly to keep an eye out for the cat."
"Thanks." Nick took a long sip from the glass. He could feel the blood calming him. He knew that he should not be affected like he was by LaCroix's tauntings, but after eight hundred years, it was almost a Pavlov's equation ... LaCroix equals anger.
Leo picked up the phone and dialed the number. Linda Bergher answered.
"Are you ready to pay the ransom?" He asked.
"I don't have that kind of money." She replied, following the scenario that she and Nick had worked out. "You have to give me more time." She glanced at Mike Nolan, the technician who was typing commands into a laptop. He pulled his hands apart, signaling her to keep the caller on the line a little longer. "Can you give me another twenty four hours?"
"Yeah. I can do that." Leo glanced at his watch. Three minutes. He knew it took at least five to trace a call. "I'll call you later." He hung up.
Mike shook his head. They had the first three numbers. That would give them the general area where the call came from, but this particular exchange had over six thousand numbers in it. Maybe they would get luckier the next time he called.
Leo approached the cat carefully. It was sitting on the bed, grooming its paw. It looked up at him, innocence shining from its face. He shook his head. Ray must have done something to the cat to make her attack him that way. This sweet little thing looked like she wouldn't bite a flea, let alone a person. That is, if she ever had fleas. Of course, he wasn't taking any chances. He had bought a carrier at the pet store. Now, all he had to do was get the cat into it.
The cat sat absolutely still until Leo put his hand against his neck. Then Sidney sprang into action. In a blur, he screeched and leaped at the man before him. At the same time, he flattened his ears and bristled his tail. His claws dug into Leo's left shoulder deep enough to draw blood. Screaming in pain, Leo attempted to grab the cat, but by the time he got his arms up, Sidney had dug his claws once more and had made a leap for the dresser. He landed with a soft thud and just as Leo was about to grab him, he took off again. From the dresser, it was only a short hop to the curtains. Once more Leo was in pursuit. He felt the delicate fabric tear as he dug his claws into it. The door! They had left the door open! With a mighty leap, he was once again on Leo's shoulder. Another jump and he was in the hall. He could hear Leo running after him, cursing and screaming. Ahead! A chest! With feet! The perfect place to hide. Easily defensible, too. It was high enough and deep enough that he could get under it with ease, but an adult human could not reach him except with a great deal of difficulty. In a flash, he was underneath it.
A hand snaked toward him. Leo reached as far as he could under the linen chest, but no matter which direction he tried, he came up several inches short. By the time he moved to another position, the cat had moved as well.
"RAY!" He called to his partner. "Get your !#&()/ ass in here. I got the cat cornered under the cedar chest and I need your help getting her out."
"Why me?" Ray called back. "You're the one who wanted to put the cat in that carrier. I was happy just leaving it in the bedroom."
"Shaddap and get down here." Leo motioned to the other side of the chest. "You reach from that side. I'll go in from this side. We should have her cornered between us."
"Leo. You're out of your fricking mind if you think I'm gonna get anywhere near that cat. This was your idea. You catch her." Ray called as he headed for the kitchen. "Besides, it's almost time for the next call."
"Okay. I'll give it one more try." Leo slid his arm into the front of the chest. It was a good thing he couldn't see where his hand was, because it was right in front of Sidney's face. Leo howled as the cat's fangs dug into the tender skin of the back of his hand.
"You !#&()/" Leo cursed as he pulled his hand out from beneath the chest. Unfortunately, Sidney's teeth were still firmly embedded in his flesh when he did it, so there were deep slices where the fangs had torn through the skin. A bloody trail followed the luckless criminal to the bathroom. Leo grimaced as he stuck his hand under the running cold water. The pain was exquisite.
"You're gonna need stitches in that." Ray said as he wiped the blood from Leo's shoulder while Leo nursed his hand.
"And what? Tell the intern in the Emergency room that the cat that I stole attacked me? No thank you. Just gimmee a clean towel and the Neosporin. And the roll of gauze and the tape. It'll be all right. And a fresh shirt, too"
"Ready to make the call?"
"Yeah, but not from here. Just in case they got too much of the number from the last time. It'd be too easy to find us. We'll make the call from across town."
"And leave the cat here all alone?"
"You wanna take her with us?"
Todd Bergher picked up the phone this time, after Mike nodded that he was ready. He had preprogrammed in the first three numbers from the previous call, but he had also set up a secondary tracking computer. The last call had been so short, he was fairly certain that the kidnappers knew they were being traced.
"I still don't have the money." Todd told them, following the instructions that Nick had given them. "It's going to take even longer than I thought."
"How much longer?" Leo asked. He didn't want that cat around any more than necessary.
Todd looked at Nick, who was listening in on an extension phone. He held up a calendar and pointed to a date.
"Three days." He said.
"That's totally unacceptable." Leo replied. In three days, that cat would have the entire apartment in a shambles, and the two of them ripped to shreds. No, the cat had to go back today. Tomorrow at the latest. "How much money you got already?"
Todd looked at Nick who held up two fingers and then made the '0' with his thumb and forefinger.
"Only twenty thousand dollars." Todd replied.
"Twenty thousand. That's all?"
"It's impossible to raise that much money this quickly. We were lucky to get this much. That's all that was promised. Sid ... Snookums is only a cat after all. Not too many financial people are willing to lend that kind of money for an animal, even if she is a grand champion."
"I'll have to talk it over with my ... associate." Leo looked at his watch. Five minutes. "I'll get back to you." He hurriedly hung up. Even if they had traced this call, the phone cube was in a gas station a good twenty miles from their home.
The technician gave a thumbs up. He had the number. The exchange did not match the original call, but it was a start. He called it in to the central office. He was glum as he hung up. "Pay phone." He said. "Gas station ... Queen & Rushbrooke. Shit!" He practically threw the phone across the table.
"They know what they're doing." Tracy said. "That's just off the Don. Very high traffic place. The chances of anybody remembering someone making a call from there are slim to none. My guess is that they aren't even from that area."
"They did say they'd call back later. Maybe we'll have better luck then." Nat said.
Sidney carefully ventured from the safety of the chest. He had heard the door shut. When he was home, that usually meant that his human was gone. It seemed that was the case here, too. He was hungry. And he had to go.
This room had to be the kitchen. The smells were right. There. On the counter. A box. It smelled of food. Pizza. He filed it away for future reference. Right now, nature's call was insisting on being answered.
He hunted for something that looked like a litter box. His litter box at home was in the bathroom. Maybe theirs was there too. He searched the area. There was nothing there that he could use. Except the rug by the door. It was now urgent. So ... He answered the urge. He tried to cover it with the towel that was lying on the floor nearby. It hid the stain nicely. ( That will teach them to mess with me. The least they could have done is provide me with decent ... facilities. )
The pizza beckoned to him. He made a leap for the counter and caught it with his front paws. He was holding on to some sort of a plastic bag that didn't give him too much traction. Despite his efforts, he couldn't maintain his grip. He went plummeting to the floor, followed by the bag, several items of silverware, and a plate. It went clattering across the floor and shattered as it hit the wall. He barely managed to get out of the way of the container of soup that was also sitting on the bag. It hit the floor and spilled its contents. Sidney lapped it up hungrily. He didn't know what kind of soup it was, but it was very good.
The pizza still beckoned. He mentally calculated the spatial geometry and quantum physics necessary to reach it with the least amount of effort. With a mighty leap, he reached the counter. Carefully picking his way, watching for more bags and other obstacles, he finally reached his goal. He pawed at the lid. It was stuck. ( It worked with the soup, it should work with the pizza. ) He rationalized. With a swipe of his paw, he sent the box crashing to the floor. ( It worked. ) The pizza now lay in easy reach on the linoleum. He had hit the jackpot. It was a seven layer pizza with everything. Extra jalapeno peppers. His pet ate it all the time, but she never gave him any. Something about giving him a case of the runnies. ( Whatever that is. No matter. No one is here to tell me 'no' this time. )
"So now what do we do." Natalie said with more than a hint of despair in her voice. It had been almost two days and they were no closer to finding Sidney. If they didn't get anything definite by tomorrow, the case was going to Animal Control. If that happened, the chances of seeing her beloved pet again would be all but gone.
"We wait." Nick replied. "I have a feeling that the kidnappers will be ready to negotiate very soon."
"What makes you think that?" Linda Bergher asked.
"Just a hunch. I somehow have the impression that things are not going as perfectly as they thought they would go. Their ransom note asked for fifty thousand. Now they are willing to settle for twenty."
"Okay. What's our next step." Todd Bergher asked.
"I think I know what he's getting at." Natalie said. "Remember The Ransom Of Red Chief?"
"Oh, come on. Don't tell me you never read 'The Ransom of Red Chief' by O. Henry." Natalie said, rolling her eyes to the ceiling. "When I went to school, it was required reading.
It tells the story of the bratty son of the wealthiest man in the town who is kidnapped by a pair of ne'er do wells. They send a ransom note to the father for two thousand dollars. The father refuses to pay it. Over the next few days, the boy, claiming to be an Indian named Red Chief, makes life a living hell for the kidnappers. They send another note. This time it's for one thousand. Then one for five hundred. The father refuses each time. He makes a counter offer. He will take the boy back if they will pay him two hundred fifty dollars. Finally, battered, bruised and bleeding, the kidnappers agree.
'How long can you hold on to him?' One of the kidnappers asks the father after they had turned the boy over and paid him the money.
'About ten minutes.' The father replies. 'I'm not as strong as I used to be.'
'That's good enough for me.' The other kidnapper says. 'In ten minutes I can be halfway to the Canadian border.' And ten minutes later, both kidnappers are a good five miles from the house. According to O. Henry, they did not stop until they actually were in Canada. And maybe not even then."
"Natalie's cat doesn't like strangers." Tracy added. "It's likely that he's giving them a hard time of it. Sort of like Red Chief."
"And you think that this scenario will work with the kidnappers." Todd asked.
"From the way he sounded in that last call, I think our friends are just as anxious to get rid of Sidney as Nat is to get him back." Nick replied. "Let's just keep stalling for a little while longer and see what happens."
"Twenty thousand. You gotta be out of your mind." Ray screeched. "What were you thinking of? WE agreed on fifty thou and fifty thou is what we deserve. If only for the trouble that #$ cat has caused us." He had been in a foul mood even before this. His arm was throbbing and it had swelled nearly double. He was positive it was infected. Of course, Leo's hand and shoulder weren't in much better shape. When his partner told him of his conversation with the Berghers, it only made things worse. He had harangued Leo all the way back to the apartment.
"Look, I say we cut our losses and take whatever we can get." Leo answered. "The sooner we get rid of that stupid animal, the better I'll like it. Now shut your mouth and let me think."
"Think? If you had any brains to think with, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. Remember. It was your idea to snatch the cat, not mine. Me, I wanted to hit the Gas 'N' Go. But no. YOU said this was a piece of cake." He spit over his shoulder to emphasize his remarks.
Leo opened the door and started to step inside. He stopped. There, in the middle of the hallway was a large, pungent, greenish-yellowish-brownish, semi solid mass. He carefully sidestepped it only to plant his foot in a companion piece a few feet away. "That !#&()/cat has the runnies! I'm gonna kill her!"
Sidney stopped rubbing his sore behind on the living room rug and headed for the safety of the chest. There was a long green-orange streak where he had scooted, but finally the burning had stopped. ( So that's what the runnies are. No wonder my human won't let me have any of her pizza. ) Unfortunately, since neither of the men spoke cat, there was no way for Sidney to warn them about the other presents he had left. Ray found two of them in the bedroom. Cursing, he pulled off his shoes.
Leo came across the one in the laundry room. He was taking his shoes there to rinse them off at the time. It was a good thing the front door was closed, or tenants three buildings away would have heard the expletives.
Sidney lay under the chest. It had been an extremely interesting day. Now it was time for a nap. He dug his claws into the carpeting. It was a loose berber and in a few minutes he had pulled enough threads to make a very respectable sleeping area. He circled three times, as cats are supposed to do. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room under this piece of furniture for a decent stretch, but considering it was the only place available, he could forgo that luxury for tonight. Sidney settled down and in a few minutes was fast asleep.
"I don't understand it." Ray grumbled as he and Leo scrubbed their belongings in the washtub. It wasn't easy with his sore wrist. "You can spray yourself with a whole gallon of perfume and in an hour it's gone. But just step in one little bit of shit and the smell is there forever."
"I guess that's just one of the mysteries of the universe." Leo agreed. " Especially when it's cat shit." His shoulder burned where the cat's claws had dug in, and it looked like Ray was right. He was probably going to have to have stitches in his hand. Even though it had been nearly three hours ago, it was still was bleeding noticeably. Scraping all the cat doo didn't help either. "Hand me that bottle of bleach and that wire brush. If this doesn't work, I guess I'll just have to get a new pair of shoes." It would burn his hand like hell, but maybe the bleach would deter any infection.
"And some new socks too, and what'll we do about our feet? We can't get new feet." Ray grumbled.
"Shaddap and scrub."
"What about the next phone call?"
"Tomorrow. I'll call them again tomorrow night. Right now I'm too busy trying to get the #$ smell of that !#&()/ cat shit off me."
Nat pulled the thin cover around her. She tried once more for a comfortable spot on the Bergher's couch. They had waited nearly all night for the kidnapper's next call, but none had come. One by one, the others had left to get a few hours much needed sleep, starting with Captain Reese. Eventually only Nat and Nick remained. He obviously couldn't leave, since it was now after sunrise, and so he had taken the couch in the den and she had appropriated the one in the living room. She was sure that he had gotten the better deal, since this couch was a fragile Chippendale style, while the one in the den was overstuffed leather. Still, there was no other choice since the den only had a few heavily tree shaded windows that faced north, while the living room had nearly a full wall of southern facing floor to ceiling ones. She gripped the flat pillow tightly. "Sidney. Hang in there, boy. We're going to get you back real soon." She whispered as she finally drifted off to sleep.
Sidney crept from under his special place and gave a long stretch. The sunbeams from the kitchen window told him it was morning. He really didn't need to see them, however. The rumbling in his stomach only reinforced that observation. He padded into the kitchen. The pizza box was on the top of the trash can, but after last night's escapades, it no longer held any attraction for him. They had also cleaned up the remains of the soup, so there was none of that to assuage his hunger. He hopped on the counter. Nothing there either. Then he spotted it. An open cabinet door. Maybe there was something to eat in there! He made a leap and landed on the top of a stack of plates. Using his built in sense of balance, he hung on, but several of the plates did not make it. They went crashing to the floor.
When Ray heard the crashing from the kitchen, he was out of bed in a shot. He ran down the hall into the room. Suddenly he screamed as he stepped on a shard of one of the plates. Blood spurted from his foot and he uttered a string of invectives that almost literally turned the air blue. As Ray hopped on his uninjured foot to the bathroom, still uttering profanities directed at the cat, Sidney nonchalantly walked over to the pool of blood on the floor. He licked at it a few times and then padded away with his tail in the air. He could not see how his pet's best friend could possibly drink that. But then, Nick turned up his nose at Salmon Supper Supreme. ( Humans! Go figure! )
He was still hungry. And from the sounds coming from the bathroom, it was obvious that the one called Ray wasn't going to feed him anytime soon. He was loudly questioning Sidney's heritage, parentage, bathroom habits and sexual preferences. Maybe he could get the other one to provide him with a suitable breakfast.
He went to the bedroom. Sure enough the one called Leo was still asleep. He must be deaf to sleep through the racket and Ray's yelling. That was okay. Sidney had his own method of waking him that did not depend on sound. He jumped on the bed and climbed on Leo's back. The covers were lying in a crumpled heap on the floor, and Leo was wearing only briefs. Sid bared his claws and began to tread the area along the spine. This always worked with Nat, but then, she slept with the covers tucked under her chin and wore at least a top of some sort.
Leo screamed even louder than Ray as the cat dug his nails into his back. He writhed wildly, which made Sidney hang on that much more. Which made Leo gyrate even more. Finally, Sid realized that this action was not going to achieve the desired result. He dug in one last time for traction and then leapt off the bed. In one motion he landed on the floor and ran for the safety of the hall chest.
Ray had his foot in the sink, pouring peroxide on it. The bleeding had finally stopped, but not before he had covered not only the sink, but nearly every other surface with dark red splotches. He wasn't even going to think about the pile of towels and washcloths in the hamper. His precarious position was disrupted as Leo came running into the bathroom. He collided with his partner and the two of them went tumbling to the floor. Leo's head landed with a splooch in the latest present that Sidney had left for them.
"I'm gonna kill that !#&()/." Leo cursed as he held his head under the spigot of the bathtub. A steady stream of foul smelling brown water swirled down the drain.
Sidney stood at the bathroom door. ( So much for breakfast. ) Maybe he'd get luckier for lunch.
Natalie jumped as the phone rang. She and Nick had been taking turns manning the phones and the tracing equipment until the others could return to the impromptu command post they had set up in the Bergher's living room. "Please ... Please .. let it be them." She chanted as Nick started the tracing process. Just as he signaled to Nat to pick up, Linda Bergher came in. Nat handed the phone to her.
"We'll take the twenty thousand." Leo said. "We'll call you in a half hour and give you the instructions where and how to deliver it."
"Not so fast." Linda replied, following the revised script they had worked out. "We couldn't raise even that much. Our primary contact pulled out at the last minute."
"How much do you got right now?"
Nick held up his hand with the fingers extended.
"FIVE! All you have is FIVE thousand dollars?"
"That's all we could raise in so short a time. Everyone thinks we're rich because of all the shows Snookums has won, but nearly every penny we get from them goes back into her care. She's very high strung, you know."
( Oh yeah. I know JUST how high strung that flippin' cat is. ) He rubbed his shoulder. The scratches were finally beginning to scab over, but his back was now burning from at least a dozen tiny holes that the cat's claws had dug. "I'll get back to you." Leo slammed the receiver onto the cradle. His hand started throbbing again. ( Five thousand dollars would barely pay for the Bactine and Band-Aids, let alone the doctor bills and penicillin. Not to mention all the other damage that the !#&()/ cat had done to the apartment. Still ... it was better than nothing. ) He picked up the phone again.
Linda Bergher hung up the phone. "Well, it worked. The kidnappers will settle for five thousand dollars for Snoo ... Sidney. I am to put the money, in small unmarked bills, in a grocery bag and leave it on the park bench just inside the Pembroke Street entrance of Moss Park at eleven thirty tonight. I'm to come alone. If I am followed or if they think anyone else is around, they'll kill Sidney."
"I don't think they'll do that." Nick said. "They're not professionals or else they wouldn't take the risks that they did by kidnapping a cat. They'd have gone after bigger game. They're too big of cowards to do any harm to the cat."
"What makes you say that?" Nat asked.
"Simple. If they weren't, they wouldn't have haggled over the ransom price. I still feel they want Sidney out of their life as much as we want him back in our life. They won't do anything that will jeopardize that."
"I hope you're right."
"I think I know a way to give us a little bigger edge." Mike Nolan spoke up. "A friend of mine works in the special equipment department at Metro downtown. She's sort of a cross between McGuyver, and Q from James Bond. Let me give her a call."
"This is Robin Klein." Mike Nolan said as they walked into the lab. There was an assortment of futuristic looking equipment lying on the tables that looked like they had come out of a Star Trek series, or possibly a spy thriller. "We've been friends for a coupla years now. If anyone can help you, she can."
"Well, what have you got for us?" Reese asked the petite woman in the lab coat.
"This." She laid a stack of bills on the table.
"Money? We've already got the ransom." Tracy said. "Mike said you were full of special tricks."
"I am." Robin replied. "That's not your everyday run of the mill currency. That's funny money. And damn good stuff, too. RCMP just released it from a counterfeiting ring they busted two years ago. Best moolah I've ever seen. Almost better than the real thing."
"I still don't understand." Nick asked.
"Well, you wouldn't want to use the real stuff with this." She picked up a small plastic canister filled with a garish green liquid. "I put this between the bills, and tape this wire to the top of the bag where it's tied." She explained as she assembled the package. "If the kidnapper drops it, or when he opens the bag, this wire is broken. That sprays the stuff in the can all over anyone in a five foot radius."
"And ... "
She held up a small atomizer and barely touched the cap. A yellowish green mist billowed out from the bottle.
Reese gagged and jumped back. He held his hand over his mouth and nose. "What in Jumping Jehovah's name is that stuff?" He coughed.
Nick was glad he didn't have to breathe as often as the others, but even the little bit that he had inhaled was already burning his lungs.
"It smells as if a skunk crawled in here about a week ago and died, and nobody bothered to take it out." Tracy gasped as she headed for the door.
"I've smelled dead skunk." Nick corrected. "That stuff is much worse."
"It's something that a few of my friends and I concocted while we were at St. Francis Academy back in Columbus Ohio. It's a lot better than Mace. You only need a few drops to do the job. It can't be washed off either. It has to wear off. A full blast takes almost a week to disappear."
"Is there an antidote? If I go home smelling like this, Denise will have me sleeping in the backyard with the dog. That is, if the dog doesn't try to bury me in the rose garden first."
"We never had the need to develop an antidote." Robin said "Don't worry though, Captain. The little bit I sprayed in here won't take very long to wear off. It should be pretty well dissipated in about three or four hours."
"Then we should be able to follow them by smell." Nick asked.
"That's the whole idea." Robin answered with an evil twinkle in her eyes.
"Does this … stuff have a name?" Natalie asked as she examined the atomizer carefully.
"We never got around to giving it a formal name. We just called it D.D.T. Stands for Don't Do That. We used it to keep the boys at bay. Particularly the more aggressive ones. One squirt and they no longer had very amorous inclinations. Plus, all the other girls then knew which ones to avoid."
"Okay, people. Here's how we're going to play this." Tracy was saying to the group. "We'll have unmarked cars at all the entrances and we'll set up a relay every few blocks or so. That way the crooks won't be out of surveillance at any time."
"I don't think so, Vetter." Reese said. "Remember we're talking about a cat, not the Adam Walsh kidnapping. As much as I want to see these guys caught for Dr. Lambert's sake, the pencil necked geeks in accounting aren't going to be very enthusiastic about the kind of outlay you're talking about. All I can spare is one car. Yours. Sorry about that." He sighed heavily. He had been impressed with the effort that the detectives had put into this. Even the ones from other departments, like Nolan and Klein, had volunteered their off duty time. He truly wanted it to end positively. But he was the Captain of a police precinct after all, and there were definite rules and guidelines that had to be followed.
"I can take care of the surveillance." Nick said. "I can establish a lookout without being spotted and I can relay the information to Tracy and the others."
"You really think you can do that without being seen?" Reese asked. "There's not a whole lot of ground cover in Moss Park."
"I can do it." Nick assured his Captain.
( Don't go there. ) "You don't want to know." Natalie replied.
Nick sat high in a tree just inside the entrance to Moss Park. Tracy was parked about two blocks south of the entrance. He reached in his pocket. Yes. He had brought his cell phone. And he had remembered to charge the battery. And to turn it on. He also had a set of walkie talkies. Why he brought them, he didn't know, but he had them just the same. He was ready. From his vantage point, he could clearly see the gate and the bench. If he looked hard, he could also see Tracy's car too.
He had flown in from the Stonecutters Lane side, and unless someone just happened to look up, no one would have seen him. There was little chance of that. The park was almost deserted. The only people there were a couple on a bench near the back of the park. They were taking advantage of the darkness and the nearly uninhabited park grounds to indulge in a little amorous explorations. He doubted that they would have noticed if a troop of naked Shriners in clownface pounding bass drums and blowing trumpets had marched past them. Linda came into the park, just as she had been instructed to do. She sat on the bench and laid the grocery bag beside her. After five minutes, she left. The grocery bag remained. Now it was only a matter of waiting until the kidnappers picked up the bag.
He felt the pigeon land on his shoulder. He gently tried to brush it away, but the bird held its ground. It began to peck at his hair. He almost cried out as the bird, in all probability a female gathering material for its nest, pulled a shock of hair from just above his right ear. As the bird flew off with her booty, Nick felt the spot. It was wet, and the scent of blood ... his blood ... filled his nostrils.
At about the same time that the bleeding stopped, Nick spotted someone approaching the bench. The man looked carefully all around the area before taking a seat next to the bag. After a few minutes, he picked up the bag and headed for the entrance, turning in all directions as he walked out. This had to be the man.
He speed dialed Tracy's number. "Our pigeon has left the nest." He whispered as he rubbed the spot on his head. (Pigeon. Hah! )
Silently, Nick slid from the branch and rose into the air. He felt a slight pressure on his back and turned his head a little. There, cooing loudly, was the female pigeon. She calmly walked to his head and began pecking at a lock of hair that was fluttering in the almost nonexistent breeze. He reached around to dislodge the disruptive avian, and in the process, began to spiral erratically to the earth. He pulled out of the dive a fraction of a second before he saw ... The Telephone Pole.
Tracy saw the man leave the park. She started after him as he walked to the corner. Staying just far enough behind him to avoid suspicion, she watched helplessly as he cut through a yard and disappeared behind the house. She raced to the next corner and circled the block. There was no one there. She cursed as she speed dialed her partner's number. There was no answer. Nick was wrong. This guy knew exactly what he was doing. She had hoped that he would have opened the bag immediately, but that didn't happen. Now, even if he did manage to get sprayed, there would be no way to find him in a sprawling metropolis like Toronto. Not unless they had a pack of bloodhounds. Or … She smiled and headed for the abandoned church on Collier Street.
He watched as the light blue car slowly cruised the alley. They must be looking for him. Fortunately, the driver was looking the other way as the car passed where he was hiding, and it kept on going. He waited for a few minutes more before going to where he had parked his car on a side street. He silently congratulated himself for thinking ahead like he did. Leo sat in his car and watched for a few more minutes. The light blue car that was following him was nowhere in sight and there was nothing suspicious that he could see. He turned the key in the ignition and slowly drove the car into traffic. As he pulled onto the Grenadier, he looked at the bag on the seat beside him. ( So it's only five thousand. Still, it's better than nothing. ) He thought. (Of course, after I split it with that dodo of a partner of mine, twenty five hundred don't seem like all that much. After all, I'm the one who's taking all the risks and all HE'S done is get that cat riled up. ) He shrugged his shoulders. It still hurt like hell. ( Maybe I should just keep on going. Let him handle that !#&()/ cat and the owners. ) He smiled broadly. ( Yeah. That's exactly what I'm gonna do. ) He patted the bag firmly. ( It's all mine. )
"I don't know what you expect me to do." Javier Vachon said as Tracy explained the situation. Miklos had told him about Natalie's missing cat, but he couldn't tell that to Tracy. Not without having to answer questions he did not want to answer about her partner.
"Well, can't you get some of your … friends and sort of cover the city looking for him?"
"And how are we supposed to know whether we find him or not?"
"He'll probably smell like this." She held her wrist under his nose. Although the remains of the D.D.T. was only barely perceptible to a mortal, she knew that with his enhanced senses, it was quite strong to him. (I just hope he decides to open the bag. )
Nick slowly stood up. He knew from previous experience that to get up quickly after a collision like he had, would only result in a monstrous headache. In a sense, he was lucky. If he had been mortal, the impact would probably have killed him. But then again, if he had been mortal, he would not have collided with a telephone pole while pulling out of a 2G dive. He looked around. There was no sign of the pesky pigeon. Gingerly, he lifted off and circled the area. There was no sign of the kidnapper either. He flew to where Tracy was parked, but she was gone, too. He went back to the park.
He reached in his pocket for his cell phone. It wasn't there. He searched the ground. No sign of it in the immediate area. He finally found it near the tree that he had been sitting in. Apparently, it had fallen out of his coat while he was executing evasive maneuvers with the bird. Quickly, he speed dialed Tracy's number.
"What happened." Tracy asked. "I thought you were on the kidnapper's tail."
"I ... was. But I … ah ... fell and hit my head. I must have whacked it good, because the next thing I remember, he was gone and so were you. Are you following him?"
"Not exactly. He ducked between two houses and he must have come out in the alley. By the time I got to the back of the houses, there was no sign of him. Now what are we going to do?"
"I think I'm going to have a look for him. Give me the address of where you last saw him. Maybe I'll have better luck." He was already in the air.
"You sure you want to do that? If you are hurt bad enough to knock yourself out, maybe you had better go to the Emergency Room. I ... ah … have some of my … ah … snitches ... looking for him. We'll find him. Trust me on that."
He screeched the car to a halt on the berm. "Damn those people." He cursed as a nauseatingly foul neon yellow green cloud filled the interior of the vehicle. ( They booby trapped the !#&()/ money. ) With tear blurred eyes, he rolled down the window. It did little good. He yanked the car door open and staggered out. A car horn blared at him as he nearly lurched onto the roadway. He stumbled to the side of the road and climbed over the guardrail. If he was lucky, the gas will have worn off by the time he reached the off ramp.
Javier Vachon spotted Nick circling the area around Moss Park. He had flown there after Tracy had told him all that she had observed. He knew that the detective would be in the area too. "Any luck?" He asked as he caught up to the older vampire.
"None." Nick replied. "I think he probably headed for either the Don or the Gardnier. You take the Don. I'll cruise the Grenadier. Check back after about ten miles in either direction." He handed Javier one of the walkie talkies.
"You got it." The Spaniard said as he headed to the Parkway.
No sooner had Nick started along the Gardnier Expressway than he picked up the faint traces of the D.D.T. ( So, the poor slob opened the bag. ) As he headed east, the scent became stronger. Then he spotted him. Leo was sitting on the guardrail about fifteen feet from the Spadina exit. He held his breath as he landed behind the hapless crook. Robin Klein was right. The pungent odor was enough to squelch the ardor of anyone within twenty feet of the person. Using his vampire stealth, he came up behind the catnapper and dragged him off the rail and into a nearby alley.
"Okay." He growled to the man. "Where's the cat?"
"Th ... Th ... The what?" Leo stammered.
"One more time. That's all I'm giving you." Nick started to pull the man to his face, but at that close a range, the odor forced him to return him to arms length. "Where is the cat?"
"I ... don't know what you're talking about."
The scent of fear mixed with the D.D.T. almost overwhelmed Nick. He had to get this over with soon or he was in jeopardy of losing his dinner. Something he would have a very difficult time explaining. He focused on the rapid heartbeat. "Where … is … the … cat?" Nick said slowly and deliberately.
"Cat … with my partner …1243 Westwood. You can have her. With my blessings." He practically begged.
Nick led the kidnapper back to his car. He opened the door and put him inside. "You will sit here until I return. You will not do anything. You will not go anywhere. You will just stay put and wait. Do you understand?"
Leo nodded blankly and Nick closed the door.
He turned on the portable radio and pushed the talk button. "I have the crook." He informed Javier. He gave the young vampire the location. "Come on over and babysit him while I arrange a plausible cover story." Five minutes later, Javier Vachon was sitting on the rail opposite Leo's car. They had put up the hood to give the impression of car trouble. Hopefully, the motorists would be true to form and no one would stop to help. If anyone did, Vachon would tell them help was on the way.
Seconds later, Nick was back at Moss Park. He quickly went to his car and headed back to the Gardnier.
" ... And I decided to go to the emergency room like you said." He told Tracy. He had called her and the precinct as soon as he reached the car. Vachon took off as soon as Nick arrived. There would be too much risk for Tracy to see him there. Nick and his partner were waiting for the paddy wagon to take their charge to the lockup. " … That's when I saw the suspect sitting here by the side of the road, so I stopped to see if he needed any help. I recognized the smell of the D.D.T. immediately and that's when I called you." He had also re-hypnotized Leo, imprinting the version that he was now relating to his partner, into the crook's mind. "He confessed everything and told me where Sidney was being held. I've already called Nat, and she and another squad are on their way there now."
Nat walked up to the door. Beside her, on either side of the door, two officers stood with their guns at the ready.
"One little twitch, and we'll blast him into kingdom come." Officer Barker whispered to her.
"Yeah. Anyone who'd take your cat don't deserve any mercy." Officer Woodbern added.
She had known these two officers since she had transferred to the 96th precinct's jurisdiction three years ago. They were also friends with Nick, and had served as part of the honor guard for Schanke's funeral. Their friendship went way back. They had volunteered to escort her to the house and to bring in the suspect.
The door opened a crack and Woodbern pushed in front of Natalie. "Police." He said, letting the man on the other side of the door see his badge and the fact that he had drawn his gun. "Open up immediately."
Instantly the door flew open. "Thank goodness you're here." Ray said. He held out his hands. "Arrest me. Please arrest me." He pleaded. "I'll confess to anything. Just get me out of here and away from that !#&()/ cat."
"Where is he? Where is Sidney?" Nat said as she pushed past the man. "Here kitty kitty. Here Sidney."
"How the hell should I know." Ray said as Officer Barker pulled out his handcuffs. "Hey, wait a minute. Why are you calling a girl cat by a boy's name?"
Sidney heard his human's voice and scurried out from under the chest. In a flash, he was in her arms, purring contentedly.
"Because he IS a male cat. You kidnapped the wrong cat." Nat said, anger fairly glowing in her eyes. "You stole MY cat. Not the Grand Champion." She scratched and petted the gray cat lovingly. Sidney responded by rubbing his head affectionately on her arms and chest. "Just be glad he wasn't hurt. Otherwise, there'd be hell to pay.
"Hell to pay! Lady you don't know what hell REALLY is. If that !#&()/ cat were a human being, I'd have him arrested for assault and battery. After all the hell HE has put US through." Ray said in frustration. "Look at my arm. And my foot. And the house. It's all HIS doing. Now you tell me he's not even the cat that we thought he was? This takes the cake. Don't tell me we went through all of this for a bogus cat. What else can go wrong?"
"You have the right to remain silent ... " Officer Woodbern intoned as Barker put the cuffs on the miscreant's wrist.
"I can see where the crooks would be confused." Todd Bergher said. " Now that I see them together, they are almost identical."
Nat had brought Sidney to the Bergher house after they had finished booking the catnappers. Leo was being held in one of the interrogation rooms, away from anyone else until the D.D.T would be sufficiently worn off. After stopping at the loft for a quick shower and a change of clothes, Nick came with her. Just to make sure there would be no trouble. Nat wasn't sure who he thought would cause the trouble, but then again, any excuse to be with Nick was okay with her.
Sidney and Snookums glared at each other across the floor. Both cats had their tails straight up and both were bristled. They were both growling at each other in a low rumbling manner. Neither cat seemed to move. For all intents and purposes, they could have been stuffed. Finally, Sidney broke the gaze and lowered his tail. With that, Snookums slowly walked around the strange cat in her domain and stopped at his rear. She walked to him and Sidney lifted his tail as she sniffed him. Then she continued her inspection, sniffing at him periodically. She stopped at his head and licked and then gently bit his left ear. Sidney then circled Snookums in the same manner that she had done with him, He also sniffed her, but instead of biting her ear, he merely licked it.
"What was that all about." Linda Bergher asked.
"They were establishing the ground rules." Natalie explained. "If Sid had acted aggressively, Snookums would have torn him apart. Of course, then Sidney would have had to defend himself and there would have been a battle royal. Where do you think they got the term 'cat fight' from?"
"Instead of a fight, though, Sidney acknowledged Snookums's authority when he lowered his tail." Nick continued. "Then Snookums showed that she accepted him with an anal sniff and by biting his ear. Sid sniffed her as well, but he didn't bite. That would have been a serious breach of cat etiquette."
"And how do you know so much about cats?" Nat asked.
"From the internet." Nick replied smugly.
"But I don't understand." Linda continued. "Everyone knows that in the animal world, the male is the dominant. Why did Sidney defer to her?"
"That's true in most cases, but not in cat society. Cats are a matriarchy. That means the female rules." Nick clarified.
No one noticed that the pair in question had disappeared.
Suddenly, there was a yowling and screeching from the bedroom area of the house. Linda, Todd, Nat and Nick went running toward the source.
When they got to Snookums's room, everyone stopped at the doorway and simply stared. There, in the middle of the room, Sidney and Snookums were in a most compromising position.
Natalie gently closed the door on the two cats. "I think they want to be alone."
"But Snookums ... " Todd said.
"Will be just fine."
"If there's any repercussions ..." Linda said threateningly. "For her to have non purebred offspring would be disastrous. It would ruin her for the show ring, as well as for any other purposes."
"There won't be any ... repercussions. Sidney's been fixed and he's had all his shots."
'Thank goodness." Linda said.
Just then there was a scratching at the door. Natalie opened it. Sidney came out of the room with his tail straight in the air and a very smug look on his face. Seconds later, Snookums followed with exactly the same look.
"Well, at least that's over." Natalie said as she let Sidney out of his carrier. He walked around the apartment for a few minutes and then headed straight for his food dishes and meowed loudly.
"I still don't believe that he and Snookums were going at it in the middle of the room." Nick replied. "At least he got something out of all this."
"Is that a double entendre?" Nat asked as she spooned the Salmon Supper Supreme into Sidney's food bowl.
"No. Not exactly. All I meant is that the crooks, especially Leo, are going to be marked for a long time as losers, in more ways than one. Linda and Todd still have Snookums ... by the way, they really should do something about that name ... Of course, they were never out anything in the first place. And Reese is still on Tracy's and my backsides about the MacMillan case. It still isn't any closer to being solved and he's getting really antsy. Sid is the only one that came out a winner. He got the girl."
"Well, maybe you can have the girl, too." Nat said, running her finger down his jaw line.
"Nat. You know we can't go there." Nick said as he started to back toward the door.
"I know. But we can still have an evening of movies and cuddling. I'll get the popcorn. You look through the tape shelf for something interesting."
"Now that's an offer I can't refuse." Nick said in his worst Brando imitation. "As long as it's not 'Ransom of Red Chief ' ." For his remarks, he was rewarded with a washrag hurtling toward his head.
"Just for that, I should make you watch 'Red Chief '."
"Don't tell me you have a copy of that?"
"No, but I can always go down to the movie rental store and get one." She started to the door.
Nick restrained her by pulling her into his arms and planting a wet passionate kiss on her. He wasn't sure whether she was kidding or not, but he wasn't taking any chances.
Sidney looked up from his bowl of Salmon Supper. ( Look at them! They're acting like they're in heat. And they have the nerve to judge M'Wawl and me for what we did? )
Ask Sidney about that.