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THIS WEEK ON MOONSTONE CLIFFHANGER FICTION-
THE CLAWS OF THE CAT
BY RON FORTIER
featured in DOMINO LADY: SEX AS A WEAPON
from Moonstone Books
“I’m coming,” Reginald Hanna said loudly over his ringing doorbell. Although it was quite late, near midnight, he knew who his caller was. Beside, after all the commotion at the selectmen’s meeting earlier, he was much too keyed up to sleep.
“Detective Bishop, I take it,” he said, after opening the front door to see a young man in a dark suit and fedora standing before him. In the man’s arms was the cat he was now intimately familiar with.
“Hello, Mr. Hanna,” Bishop began. “I thought you might like to know how things went at the station house.”
“But of course. Won’t you please come in.”
Once inside, Hanna offered Bishop a drink but the detective politely refused. “It is late, sir, and I really should wrap this up. I just wanted you to know that both Geller and Ochra have confessed to the crimes and implicated Topper Carson as their boss.”
“That’s excellent. I will only be too happy to testify when the time comes.”
“Thank you, sir. I don’t know how the D.A. is going to play this one, but your help was very instrumental to bringing them in.”
“It was the least any good citizen would do. And let’s not forget the Domino Lady.”
“Actually, sir, I wish we could.”
“Excuse me,” Hanna was perplexed.
“Well, sir, you see, it’s like this. My superiors are happy the case is solved and the suspects in custody, but they don’t need the press to know another known felon was responsible for their apprehension. It sort of makes the department look bad.”
“Ah, but of course, Detective. Very well, you can rely on me to… ah… forget to mention the masked lady. Now, is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Well, yes, sir, there is.” Bishop indicated the yellow cat in his arms. “I was wondering, sir, seeing as you already have one cat, if you might not want… another one? She’s really a good cat and when she attacked that fellow tonight, she might have saved my life.”
Hanna looked at the animal and smiled. Over on the sofa, Alexander was stretched out but still very much aware of what was transpiring. Hanna reached over and took the cat from Bishop.
“Come here, my sweet,” he said warmly, then looked over at Alexander. “What do you say, Alexander? Shall we adopt this lovely creature and give her a loving home?”
As in response, the male cat extended its paws and went, “Meowww.”
“Well,” laughed Reginald Hanna, “I think it’s settled, detective. Yes, we’ll take her. But first we’ll have to come up with a name for her, won’t we.”
Bishop tilted his hat back on his head and scratched his jaw. “Would you mind a suggestion?”
“Not at all, detective.”
“Well, sir, when I was in school, we had a French girl who was a real spitfire and the way this cat acted kind of reminded me of her in some ways.”
“Really. And what was her name, this French girl… with pizzazz?”
“Babette. Her name was Babette.”
Detective Barney Bishop started down the steps to the sidewalk, a jaunty bounce to his step. It was hard not to feel elated with how things had turned out.
“Hold it right there, detective!” The voice was decidedly female.
Bishop stopped in mid-step and turned toward the high hedge on his left. The Domino Lady, gun in hand, stepped out of the shadows and he caught his breath.
In the soft glow of the street lamp, she was a vision of ethereal beauty, draped in a slinky white gown with a black cape covering her creamy pink shoulders.
“The Domino Lady,” he uttered, finding his voice. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I simply wanted to congratulate you on a job well done, Detective.”
“Really?” She was closer now and all he could smell was her lilac perfume.
“Yes,” her said with a breathy voice as she reached out with her free hand and took hold of his necktie. Gently she pulled his head down and then he was kissing her full, sweet, honeyed lips.
Bishop felt his head swim, looking into twin pools of brown. He closed his eyes and savored the kiss that seem to linger forever.
When he opened his eyes, she was gone as if she’d never been there at all. But there was the warmth on his lips and in the distance he thought he heard footsteps fading away.
Bishop sighed, “You’re welcome.”
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