Chapter 1

Chase lifted her head up off the pillow, stretched, and yawned. Small strands of light seeped in through the cracks in the blinds, looking very much like tinsel on a Christmas tree. She looked around the mostly-empty room: the one other set of clothes she had was draped over a chair in the corner, her partner's underneath it. In the middle of the room sat a lone telly – useless, because they didn't have cable; or a DVD player for that matter. The king-sized mattress they were lying on was floating in the middle of the room, lying on the floor. They didn't have a table.

Chase pushed herself up groggily and staggered over to the mirror behind the door. She flattened out the wrinkles in her shirt and pulled her socks back up. She shoved her feet into her boots, quietly opened the door, and left the room.

It was a warm, bright day in MegaKat City – not a cloud in the sky. She took no notice of this as she walked over to the metal trash bins and, removing the lids, tiptoed back inside.

She walked quietly up to the bed, staring down at her sleeping friend – so peaceful in the almost non-existent light – and slammed the lids together. "Wake up sleepy head!" she shouted, banging harder. "It's seven o'clock! Time for work!"

Jenna leapt up out of bed, clutching her chest. "Jesus!" she wailed. "You scared the hell out of me!"

"I know," Chase replied, tossing the lids aside.

Jenna winced as they smashed against the floor. "Why can't you wake me up like normal people?" she snapped, flopping back onto her pillow. "A 'wake up! It's time for breakfast! I made you an omelette' would work! I'm not choosy! As long as it doesn't involve me waking up in some sort of painagain!"

"No can do," Chase said, kicking her lightly in the ribs. "Get up! We gotta get the car fixed."

"Why?" Jenna howled desperately, smashing the pillow over her head.

"…Because it's broken," Chase replied.

"No!" Jenna snapped, tossing the pillow at her. "Why not make me an omelette and call me 'honey!' "

"Oh, I see," Chase said, folding her arms across her chest. "Because I can't cook and I like men. Satisfied?"

Jenna growled and kicked off their wimpy blanket. "You're impossible!" she snapped.

"And you're a beast in the morning," Chase snapped back, "but you don't see me complaining!"

Jenna grumbled something under her breath as she heaved herself up and headed for the mirror. She flattened out her short dress-shirt, as Chase had done, and pulled on her leggings and scruffy boots. "As good as it gets," she mumbled, looking at her drab reflection. "Can we get pyjamas? I'm sick of sleeping in my clothes," she said more loudly as she slipped on her jacket and favourite fedora.

"No money, honey!" Chase said sarcastically, throwing the door open.

"We could sell the telly," Jenna replied, staring at the oversized paperweight in the middle of the floor.

Chase glared at her. "I don't think so," she growled.

"Why not?" Jenna whined. "It's positively useless!"

Chase glared harder, squinting her eyes more – as if that made her scarier. It didn't, by the way.

"Fine," Jenna resigned. "Just so you know, you're no ray of sunshine in the morning either."

Chase said nothing. She pulled the old key out of the back pocket of her shorts and they walked in silence the rest of the way to their bunged-up old mini. It belonged to Jenna's mum, once upon a time, but she had passed it to the two of them after she passed. Now, four years later, the thing was on its last legs.

Chase unlocked the car and hopped into the driver's seat while Jenna went around to the passenger.

"All right," Chase said, turning the key in the ignition. The engine sputtered and groaned – and died. She snarled something rather unpleasant and tried again – dead.

"Try taking the key out," Jenna suggested.

Chase grumbled something along the lines of, "I'm not dense blah, blah, blah ignition," and pulled it out. She sat back and counted to ten, put the key back in, and revved up the engine, praying hard and fingers crossed. It coughed pathetically, then growled unpleasantly to life. "Oh thank heavens," she breathed.

Jenna patted the dashboard. "We may get another day out of you yet, old girl," she said fondly.

"Don't do that – it might get angry and die if you hit it," Chase said, easing the car backwards down the driveway of their three-room-and-falling-apart rental home. "Now. If you were a repair shop, where would you be?"

Jenna thought for a while. "The middle of town probably," she said. "Somewhere where they're lots of cars."

"Makes sense!" Chase said, and sped down the road towards the city as fast as the car could go – about fifty kilometres an hour if she really pushed it.

After half an hour of driving around the centre of MegaKat City, they were running out gas and still mechanic-less. As they passed a gas station, Jenna yelled, "NO! PULL IN!"

"Are you mad?" Chase yelled back. "If we turn it off it probably won't start again!"

"Fine," Jenna replied. "Why don't we ask someone for directions?"

"We're not asking ANYONE for directions."

"Why not?"

"I can find it myself."

"YOU? You've got to have the worst sense of direction of anyone I know!"

"Joke's on you! You don't know anyone!" Chase said, sticking out her tongue.

"WATCH THE ROAD!" Jenna yelled, yanking the wheel to avoid a family crossing the street. "Terribly sorry sir!" she called to the angry father. "She's blind in one eye!"

"I'm not blind anywhere!"

"Well, what did you want me to tell him? 'Sorry sir! She almost ran over your happy family because she's an immature little – CAR!"


Jenna yanked the wheel left as a car blared its horn at them.

"Watch where you're driving, you maniac!" Chase yelled out the window.

"She's not the maniac!" Jenna said.

Chase slowed the car to a desperate crawl as they reached an almost-red light, afraid to stop the car – more than once it had died on them at stoplights. Never a good thing – everyone shouting and shaking their fists at you as they roll past on their way to work.

Jenna thrust her upper half out the window. "Excuse me!" she called. "Yoohoo! Miss Pink-Suited-Briefcase-Lady!"

A blond cat with glasses walking ahead on the sidewalk turned to look at her.

"Yes! Hello! We were wondering if you knew where we could find a mechanic?" she asked as the cat slowed to walk beside them.

"The best one we have is on the outskirts of town – in the salvage yard – run by two toms, Chance and Jake. It's straight about fifteen minutes; you can't miss it."

"Great! Thank you!" Jenna called as the light turned green.

The blonde cat waved as they sped up. "Tell them Callie sent you!"

"Will do!" Jenna hollered back.

Chase gabbed her dress and pulled her back in through the window. "Are you trying to get me arrested?" she asked.

"Straight for fifteen minutes," Jenna said. "Directions. How hard was that?"