The Cat Who Caught a Fugitive

A/N- This is dedicated to the memory of Lillian Jackson Braun, who recently passed away. Her books were a fun read. Though I can never hope to know the characters as well as she did, I hope I can continue her writing.


Bang! Bang! Bang! Jim Qwilleran awoke to the sound of hammering. His alarm clock read 7:30 am, far too early for remodeling to begin at the condominium complex, which he called his winter home. Bang! Bang! Bang! Yowwl! Now there was no hope of returning to his sound sleep. The hammering had disturbed Koko, his famous male Siamese cat that believed he ruled the house if not the world. Both cats Koko and Yum-yum, his sweet but stealthy female Siamese, were awake and beginning to become louder and more agitated. "OK guys I'm up" Qwilleran spoke to the cats as he pulled on his bathrobe and slippers. He opened the door and peeked his head out, he did not wish to be seen in his bathrobe by inquisitive neighbors. That's when he saw it a sign perched on the front lawn of Polly's Condo, For Sale by Grand Northern Reality.

Jim Qwilleran, or Qwill as his friends and readers called him, slumped down in a chair. Qwill was not known for slumping maybe stooping or slouching a bit, but slumping was foreign to the distinguished man. He stroked his luxurious moustache, his famous reporters instincts had been wrong, Polly Duncan his long time companion was leaving for good. Polly had been his companion, par amour, "girlfriend" a term, which Qwilleran despised for people of a certain age. Polly had taken an extended trip to Paris a few months earlier, since then Qwill had a few phone calls and letters, recently the communication had stopped completely. Qwilleran had believed, somewhat foolishly, that Polly would come to her senses and return home after Paris was out of her system. She had left her job at the bookstore, made arrangements for her beloved cats Brutus and Catta, but she had kept the condo, until now. Qwilleran knew that his behavior towards Polly had always been gracious, respectful, affectionate, but maybe she wanted more. He had never thought about marriage again, he had believed that he and Polly were on the same page. She had never pressured him and seemed to appreciate the freedom that their relationship allowed. Many of his male friends, Arch and Weatherby among others, had warned him that all women, even Polly, after five years wanted a ring.

He got up to feed the Siamese; they had been surprisingly quiet this morning while they waited for their breakfast. Their famous intuition had kicked in and allowed them to have an empathic patience. "Here you are old friends," he said setting down their dishes overflowing with leftover turkey from last evenings dinner.

Jim Qwilleran knew that he only had a few minutes of peace and quiet until his well-meaning friends and neighbors began to call. They would need to let him know that Polly's condo was for sale. Soon he would be barraged by the single women, widows and any person in town that had an eligible niece or daughter, letting him know that they were willing companions. Qwill was a good catch; he was the richest bachelor 400 miles north of everywhere. Years before he inherited a fortune for a wealthy aunt, the only requirement of receiving the large sum was to live in Moose County for five years. Five years had come and gone and Qwill had built a nice life in Pick Ax, he had established the Klingenshoen foundation, he wrote a column for the Something, the local newspaper. He had good friends and, until today, a companion named Polly Duncan. Qwill was known around town as the wealthy, eccentric with the sad eyes and luxurious moustache, but he still felt like the hardworking, lonely reporter from down below, that had two suits, two ties and two Siamese cats.

Koko began to pace and jumped up to the desk by the telephone. Qwill knew that the phone would ring any moment and Koko's prediction was correct. He let the answering machine pick up he heard Susan Exbridge " I suppose your not answering, Darling, under the circumstances who could blame you. Call me if you need a dinner companion or a shoulder to cry on." He had a feeling she may be the first to swoop in and try to land him while he was vulnerable. Susan was a handsome woman and she had always shown an interest in him, or his bank account, when he visited her antique shop. Polly had been jealous of the stylish and svelte Susan and it had caused some trouble between them over the years. Qwilleran was about to take the phone of the hook when KoKo let out one of his yowls. This time there was no question; this yowl was not a sign of hunger, but a sign of something darker it was a sign of doom.


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