The Mysterious Bookshop

The Brown Recluse, Raffles, and the Tail of the Nine Lives--

Part Two


Continuing ATM Volume Ninety!--Just scroll down to read the beginning of this cat's tale!


It had taken Prell quite a while to shake off the effects of the noxious potion he’d accidentally sprayed himself with, but once he did, he was still seething over his defeat at the hands of the Brown Recluse and that infernal cat, Raffles.  Not only that, but he’d apparently lost Sonny as a part of the team for the duration, as the big dog refused to come out of the house, or even the kitchen.  Some guard dog!


Now when was the last time Costello had seen his pal Cinnamon?  Let’s see--the night before last when the stalwart kitty’d gotten his tail caught in the door to the living room.  Next morning, Cinnamon hadn’t even waited around for his breakfast, which had never happened before. He must have been up and out awfully early, as Costello habitually rose with the sun, something which neither Avery nor Cinnamon could understand.  

Since cats are nocturnal by nature, it must have been tricky for Cinnamon to sneak out at daybreak, but it was old hat to Costello, who was criss-crossing the neighborhood before six looking for his missing pal.


It would likely be a fruitless search, though. Cinnamon was at this moment perched on top of a credenza, peering disdainfully down at Prell and Breck.  After his pal Raffles had upset Prell’s plan by sabotaging the flexi-spray bottle, Cinnamon figured that he’d get in on the action by getting even with the bum who’d shut his tail in the door.  It still hurt and there was a funny-looking dent right in the middle where the door closed on it.  Cinnamon was rather vain about his looks and was none too happy with this blemish in his feline studliness.  So he figured he’d disarm them by showing up at their door and yowing and racing to the credenza when they opened up.  NOW he could observe the gangsters in peace, for they couldn’t reach him where he was, and they realized the futility of throwing things at the cat after his leisurely ducking led to several dents and holes in the wall from their mis-hurled missiles.

Eventually Prell and Breck gave up throwing things at Cinnamon and pondered their next move.  They sat across from one another at the living room table and tried to plan their revenge, but were disconcerted by the cat quietly staring at them, unblinking and unmoving.  He could smell the one that shut his tail in the door, all right; he was sitting at the table facing the window.  Presently Breck and Prell became lost in their conversation, which was largely about how they were going to gain their revenge for Mayhew’s going up the river.  They’d already decided that the way they could hurt Ellen and Costello the most was through their cats.  Avery could wait, maybe they could use what was left of his family against him.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Cinnamon (what WAS that smell like a wet blanket?), he himself was being observed from a discreet distance.  Sonny the big dog was underneath the desk in the corner, which was his go-to hiding place since neither human here had ever sat at this desk, or any desk, in their lives.  He’d finally moved from his place under the kitchen table after getting tired of having his polite request for table scraps denied, sometimes with a kick.  Peering out from his place on the floor under the desk, Sonny eyed the cat malevolently.  A different animal than the one who had thwarted their plans the other day, but they were all alike.  They sure smelled alike, that awful stinkweed stench that turned his doggy stomach.


‘Now why the heck is that cat sitting up there like that?’

‘You want him to maybe sit some other way?’

‘You let him in, you big jerk!’

‘Who are you calling a big jerk?’

‘You, you big jerk!’

Prell was trying to think up a suitably witty response to this brilliant repartee, when all of a sudden there was a flying whirlwind of fur.


Sonny the big dog couldn’t take it anymore. To the amazement of Breck and Prell, he came roaring out from under the desk and leapt at the credenza, knocking it sideways and dislodging Cinnamon. But what was this?  One swipe of the paw, and Sonny the big dog ran away, howling!  Was Sonny a coward?  Couldn’t be.  There must be some other explanation.  Suppressing the urge to turn Cinnamon into a tennis racket, Breck ran after the dog and noticed that a claw had lodged in the poor animal’s face.  Deftly plucking it out, Breck was nearly knocked over by Sonny’s sigh of relief.  Now to business. Prell and Breck set about searching for that cat, and just wait until they got their hands on him!  

Oh-Oh!  Now Cinnamon’s in for it!  If they can find him, that is!  Will Breck and Prell get their revenge on the furry sleuth?  Will Cinnamon get even for the dent in his tail?  Will Cinnamon find a suitable hiding place, or will he reveal himself ready for action?  

Written by Ian Kern — May 25, 2017

Specializing in Mystery Fiction and all its subgenres, including Detective, Crime, Hardboiled, Thrillers, Espionage, and Suspense.

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