The Disappearing Stash
Episode 1 – The Accused
Meep’s ears stood at attention as she stood up on her hind legs in her best imitation of a Meer Cat and muttered a series of beeps and gurgles under her breath.
“What is it Meep?”
Meep’s human Anne was more perceptive than most others of her species. She had her faults, but Meep was satisfied that she had chosen well. She had given up on teaching the pretty human her language, so she merely continued to stand staring out the window intently until Mama came to see for herself.
“Looks like we are finally getting new neighbors.”
“Meep…meep meep meep.”
“I hope this one is at least quiet.”
Meep added her agreement and lowered herself to a sitting position. She made the jump to the window seat and then the window sill in two bounces, her stubby tail wagging in interest. The lack of a full length tail had been a source of shame but her mentor Goldie had shown her that a short tail just meant it had a lesser chance of being caught in a closing door. A tuxedo cat with a white blaze up her nose, she was both adorable and intelligent. A fact of which she was well aware.
Anne disappeared and then returned with her knitting bag. Sitting down where she could watch the activity and lean against the wall, she pulled out a ball of yarn and sharp metal sticks she called needles and began the all too familiar movements. Meep settled down in the sphinx position and alternated between watching moving yarn and the moving objects across the street. The bright balls of yarn were strictly off limits, but it was hard not to be mesmerized by the sway of the yarn across the metal sticks shining in the sunlight.
“Don’t even think about it, Meep.”
The human was a little too perceptive sometimes. Meep returned her focus to the outside while watching the needles and yarn out of her peripheral vision. After an hour of watching the needles move rhythmically back and forth, Meep drifted off to sleep. When she woke up, Mama was nowhere to be seen. Her knitting bag was still on the window seat but had fallen over and spilled.
With a jerk of her head, Meep swiveled to see Mama with an expression that did not bode well. She looked around but could see nothing out of place except the fallen bag, which was not her fault. She had been sound asleep. Mama grabbed the knitting bag and began to replace all of the items, suddenly stopping to dig in the contents before giving Meep the eye.
“What did you do with it?”
“The ball of cotton yarn, where is it?”
Meep shrugged and looked confused. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a splash of orange disappear into the bush under the window. She let out a warning howl.
“That’s enough Meep.” Mama’s voice had taken on a tone Meep was not fond of in the least.
Meep looked toward the bush with intent and pawed at the window.
Meep paused, paw in mid-air, and looked at her human. She decided a change of tactics might be necessary. Mama obviously believed her guilty, and she had no way to defend her position. So, Meep schooled her features so that her eyes were wide and then moved gracefully to Mama’s feet, rubbing softly in circles while purring.
“It’s a good thing you’re cute.” The look disappeared and a smile tried to fight its way out. Mama gave her head a rough scratch and then went back to the kitchen. Meep had barely relaxed when an approaching stranger set off her alarms.
“Grrr. Grrr. Grrr.” She stood on her hind legs as she sent out the warning to Mama. When she stuck her head around the corner, Meep took off for her favorite hiding place, under the cover of Mama’s bed.
“Thanks for the warning,” Mama called. Meep listened as Mama pulled open the wooden door and talked to the stranger through the glass security door.
“Excuse me, my name is Frank Donovan. I am moving in to the house across the street.”
“Welcome to the neighborhood. I’m Anne Mitchell. I’d open the door, but it gets stuck.”
“That’s okay. I was just wondering if you had seen an orange, black and white calico kitten running around. She got spooked when one of the movers dropped a piece of metal.”
“Sorry, I haven’t seen her. Do you want me to help you look?”
“She’s probably just hiding…wait…I think I see something.” There was the sound of shuffling in the shrubs. Meep’s finely tuned ears could tell that he was right where she had seen the burst of orange disappear. “Sassy! Come here you silly girl.”
“You found her!” Meep heard Mama make the cooing sound she associated with small animals. A twinge of jealousy nipped at Meep, but she refused to leave her hiding place in order to object. “She is so pretty. I’ve never seen markings like that. Let me come around from the carport.”
The fur on Meep’s back raised slightly and she could feel her tail bushing out in all directions. She was going out to meet this…creature? How dare she? Meep felt ire rise up as she listened to the conversation and the obvious kissing up of the interloper. She could hear the purring from here.
“She is so sweet. Where did you find her?”
“She found me. I went to get in my car in the parking lot at the gym and she followed me to the car crying. When I opened my door, she just jumped in and sat down on the seat like she belonged there.”
“Meep did the same thing to me. That’s my cat. She’s hiding right now. The day I found her I heard a sound outside and opened the door to look around. She came running in before I could stop her. That was two years ago.”
“They have a way of making themselves at home, don’t they?”
They chatted a few more minutes with what Meep had come to understand was “small” talk before the stranger left with the interloper. Meep waited another thirty minutes just to make sure before she slipped out from under the covers and peeked around the corner. She tiptoed through the house to find Mama cooking in the kitchen.
“It’s about time. He didn’t even come in the house.”
Meep shrugged it off and sat down in front of her empty food bowl. She put a paw out and pulled the bowl a few inches to emphasize the emptiness. With a sigh, Mama poured fresh food and shook her head.
While she nibbled at her food, she pondered the issue with the knitting bag. Maybe the yarn had fallen out and under something. A thorough inspection of the area uncovered nothing out of the ordinary; however, she did find Mr. Twinkletoes, her favorite stuffed mouse. After fifteen minutes of batting the mouse, she jumped up on the window sill and stared at the house across the street. Something strange was going on, and she intended to find out what it was and clear her good name.