Previously in the adventure…..
With the kittens reunited with Jennifer and Esme, the royal guests have assembled and been given a speech by Mr Herod, in honour of his royal and presidential guests. Mr Herod has put right the wrong against Jennifer, by giving her recompense for her past work as well as somewhere to live, a designer brand of her own, and a full staff to make her gowns.
With all attention away from him, Anders is locked away in a small room, and isn’t happy at all! But what of Erin?………
The jet-black schooner that brought Erin to the island had been moored offshore for some time, becalmed, in the perfectly still water. It rested under an endless blue and cloudless Caribbean sky and cast a perfect reflection in the mirror like water. Had she not been standing on firm sand, Erin would not have been able to guess which way was up. To prove the point, she had stood on her head and could confirm that she couldn’t tell the difference even then. But she hadn’t pursued that, as not only did it make her feel queasy but the sand got in her hair.
Her pink striped sun chair faced south and was so well positioned it never had to move to keep her in the shade of the palm under which it sat. Beside her sat a wicker table, on which lay her latest read, a cosy pirate mystery adventure called Pirates and Pussycats. Beside that was a large pink cream and nip sling cocktail. The sling was complimentary in case the drinker had one too many and broke a limb or tail. In the drink itself was a mouse shaped swizzle stick, a small pink umbrella and a pair of ice cubes shaped like sailing ships. The ships, she observed, chased each other around the glass in an endless sea battle until they got sunk, and then would pop up again and start all over.
She couldn’t recall how long she had been there, but then it didn’t really matter. She had all she could want or ever need, and everything money could buy was there, all she had to do was ask. But there was one thing that seemed to elude her, unlike the novel, there was no honest prince or gentleman cat in her life. She had spent many hours pondering her ideal partner, but somehow she always found fault. In the book there was a princely pirate who travelled the oceans, did battle with the evil emissary of the Queen of Spain and…. Well, she hadn’t ever got to that bit, but sure it would be quite exciting. She took another sip of the cocktail and savoured the ice cold pink cream as it trickled down her throat. She licked the blush coloured creamy residue from around her mouth and then leant back for another nap. Maybe she would read another page tomorrow, or perhaps she would just work on her tan and see if the weather changed. She could order pizza and some of those cocktail mice that you chase around your plate but can never catch, except that here she could. Tomorrow would be another day in paradise, just another day. She drifted off once more her whiskers twitching in an unseen breeze of a far-off dream.
The small rowboat came slowly across the flat sea. The sound of the oars in the rowlocks and the dipping of the blade in the water as rhythmic as the solitary oarsman’s slow, steady heartbeat. The boat touched shore with the slightest of shooshing sound as the fresh, clean powdery sand slipped along its bow and hull. The oars were brought in, and Prince Valentine stood up and surveyed the beach, his beach. He had dreamed of this moment so many times, but each time he visited he never found what he sought. But there, yes there along the beach was a chair and a beautiful, he hoped, fair or indeed calico princess sat, in need of rescuing.
Prince Valentine plumped up his fur and straightened his whiskers and got out onto the beach. The going was surprisingly easy despite the softness of the sand, and he made short work of the distance. He paused and looked at the sleeping beauty. She lay asleep, recumbent on a pink striped lounger. How she must be suffering, alone on this island. Her soft black and white tuxedo coat the picture of sophistication and desire. How had he ever looked at another, he thought, when this beauty lay before him, her short ears, so delicate and…. short. Well short was all he could think of right then and there, but he would find another phrase to describe their curtailed charm, he was sure. But first, he would awaken his princess and then take her in his arms and sail her off to paradise.
“My dearest,” he called, as he strode up the beach. “I have come to save you. Let me be the Prince Charming and you my sleeping beauty. Will you take me to be thy saviour, protector and provider? I have mice up to the rafters and cream and cheese enough to sink a battleship, and to be fair it nearly did to the first one so had to load it onto two instead.” Valentine purred to himself as remembered almost losing his flagship the Nellie Rose. But also how he had saved the day when he had jettisoned some counterfeit Spanish Manchego cheese from her hold.
“Ooh, a prince,” Erin gasped as she awoke at the mention of mice and cream. “And such a fluffy handsome prince too– strong, black, and more importantly, a gentleman cat of substance.” She could tell by the cut o’ his jib this was no tomcat buccaneer come to pillage and leave her marooned. She got up and having taking a long last slurp of her cocktail started to run into his awaiting arms, her pink cream covered lips puckered for the kiss she had so long wished for.
Herman clapped in appreciation of the speech that the President and then the Queen had given to close the visit. He stood next to Mr Herod, who smiled broadly at a job well done. “Are the police here yet, for Anders?” asked Mr Herod, who was focused on the guests.
“Not yet sir, Mr Herod, but an ambulance arranged by the General is standing by for him when they do. But till then he is under lock and key. Safe as houses in the unused fitting room. Put him there myself, sir, twenty minutes ago. The police have a van outside for another suspect involved in a kitten slavery gang, and will be up shortly.”
“Yes, apparently they had a tip-off about the stock being stolen from the store, and the rogue would be outside to collect the goods. From what the officer said the individual also ran a kitten slavery gang, as well as a fence for stolen goods. They were in cahoots with Anders, no less. Seems like he has been a very naughty boy, sir.”
The news that the store’s stock issue had been solved was as much a relief to Mr Herod as the success of the opening had been for the store. Mrs Herod would be surprised at the developments and pleased too when he sent her a telegram, maybe pleased enough to cook a little something extra special for him that evening. Asparagus served in a light cheese sauce with just a sprinkling of catnip to add a touch of exotic spice came to mind.
The pair walked off towards the room, confident that this was the end of a dreadful period for King Herod’s Store and the start of something new and exciting. Halfway along, a puff of cigarette smoke and the sight of Anders walking casually away from them shattered the illusion and brought the pair to a halt.
“Herman, unless my eyes are deceiving me, that looks like Anders. I’ll not have that rogue escape justice. Well, what you waiting for, man, get after him! I’ll be right behind you.” Herman sprinted away, leaving Mr Herod, who had overindulged in cake, bringing up the rear.
“You there!” called Herman. “Anders, get back here, or it will be the worse for you!” But Anders had no intention of stopping, especially when he heard Herman call after him. He wasn’t so daft that he’d hand himself in, so he did what he knew best and ran as fast as he and the slippers could carry him. He turned the corner towards the elevators at a forty-five-degree angle steadying himself on a mannequin’s hand as he went by, but which came off in his hand. Knowing Herman would be upon him before he could get out, he ducked behind a display. Hoping to throw him off the scent, Anders lobbed the arm at a sign further down the room, making it wobble and spin.
Just seconds later, Herman ran around the corner and stopped. Where he expected to see Anders, collapsed and out of breath, he saw only the empty store. Then he spotted the sign moving, and he knew Anders had gone around the corner. It was just a matter of chasing him until he was out of breath and he’d have him. He headed off again and vanished around the corner in pursuit of his prey.
Anders watched Herman go out of sight, and then headed to the elevator. This, he said to himself, this was clearly his lucky day.
To be continued……… in the Finale!
Yes, seems like Erin has been living it up in her own inimitable way. Will she get her prince, will Anders make a clean get away after all. And does anyone know where you get those cocktail mice from as I could do with some for the end of book party. Tune in next week for the exciting fun conclusion to this, the worlds one and only, truly original, and Best Feline Detective Adventure! Well until the next one that is…..