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Chapter 15

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Chapter Fifteen
-- by Deb Moran --

This Little Kitten Has Lost Her Mitten, 
err, Mother, and She Began to Cry"

John bolted out the main doors at the Lombard Street exit.  A slight chill hung in the air, as he walked briskly northwards towards the Museum’s parking lot.  Had he turned in a southerly direction, he would have passed one very purr-spicacious blonde sleuth and her purr-fidious mother.

Francie and Jessie stood anxiously awaiting the Valet to bring the Jaguar around.  The paddy wagon was 6 blocks ahead of them, and with the aid of sirens to maneuver through traffic, it would be at least a half hour before Francie could confront “John” or whoever that man was back there at the Ball and hopefully get to the bottom of this mystery.

“Come on, come on,” Francie tapped her foot impatiently.  “Why is the valet taking so long to retrieve the car?” Francie said with an edge to Jessie.

“I don’t know, dear.  Maybe he knows you don’t give big tips.”

“Mother, here’s a big tip -- keep your comments to yourself.”

Jessie responded with steely silence, except for the sound of her eyeballs rolling towards her cerebellum and back.

Francie looked around and noticed a stranger in the purr-iphery of her sight.  “Mother, I don’t think we’re alone.”


“Mother, did you hear me?”

“I thought you said you didn’t want me to talk,” Jessie needled her daughter.

“Mother.  I’m serious.  I don’t think we’re alone.“

“Of course not, Francie.  This is a public sidewalk.  All these people,” Jessie looked to her right and left as she spoke, “are probably waiting for the valet to bring around their cars too.”

“No, Mother, I mean, behind us, there is a man.”

“Francie Stevens, don’t you know by now that behind every woman there is always some man, usually some dim-witted, self-absorbed man masquerading as a big shot,” Jessie cynically remarked.

“And you wonder why you haven’t had a date in years,” Francie replied drolly. “Mother, I’m serious.  Look over my left shoulder.  Red turban.  Dark eyes.”

With the subtle movement of a water buffalo in Gump’s crystalware department, Jessie turned around and came face to face with Professor Brain.

The Professor leaned over and spoke to the women plainly:

“Same on the outside, but different on the in;
the kitten will have an uncle as the cat was but a twin.
Solve the riddle and trouble will flee-life will be smooth as silk;
reunite the litter, my child, because blood is thicker than milk.”

The Professor bid adieu with a small salute, clicked his heels and was gone in an instant.

Jessie looked at Francie.  “Hah!  And you think I drink too much?!  What was that all about?”

“I don’t know, Mother.  Strange things have been happening tonight ever since we dined at Eddie’s.”

“Must be the MSG,” Jessie muttered as the valet finally pulled up the Jaguar.

Francie tipped the driver $20.00, looking over smugly at her mother.  They headed down Lombard towards the police station on Van Ness Avenue.

Traffic was sluggish waiting to traverse the Bridge, which was unusual given the late hour.  As they approached, Francie, who had been swearing like a sailor out of agitation (much to Jessie’s delight because Francie was usually so cool and collected) noticed a deserted taxi parked on the shoulder, its doors wide open.  By the golden railing stood a small girl alternately blowing bubbles and sobbing.  Francie pulled her car behind yellow cab No.118, and ran over to the child.

“Are you alright?”  Francie asked with a touch of alarm in her voice.

“Yes, no.”  Allie replied with the clarity of explanation normally reserved for the very young, the senile and Kafka.  “Uncle David left me with D.K. and now he’s gone over the side.  Down there, “ Allie pointed to the water.  “And my cat, Baby!  Ugh, everyone’s gone.”  Allie started to cry again, prompting a tight hug from Francie who was beginning to cry as well at the girl’s terrible ordeal.  Jessie came over.

“Mother, I can’t quite make out what happened.  She told me something about her uncle giving her decay, and he must have been so distraught about passing on a disease or fungus to her that he jumped over the bridge.  And took her cat with him, too.“

“Francie, that’s ridiculous.”  Turning to the child:  “Child, why are you crying?  Where’s your mommy and daddy?”

“Maman is with Uncle David, and my papa, according to maman, is rotting in hell, wherever that is.  My pet cat was with me, but she is gone too.”

“Good heavens!  Francie, you were right.  The  girl’s whole family must have had a suicide pact.  Drowned her kitten, too, sounds like.”

“This must be what that man in the turban was talking about,” Francie concluded.  “‘Uncles’ and ‘kittens.’  Something about ‘reuniting a family?’  Mother, we can’t just leave her here.  We must take her with us to the police.”

“Yes, maybe they can locate a relative to take her.  And some antibiotic for the decay,”  she added.  Jessie took Allie’s hand and promised they were going to take care of her.

The three piled into the Jaguar and headed to the Fourth Precinct Headquarters.  Francie couldn’t help but notice that Allie, who was sitting between herself and Jessie in the front seat, kept staring at Francie’s neck chain, a delicate platinum serpentine chain adorned with a 4 carat sapphire pendant.

“What is it, child?  Do you like my pretty jewel?” Francie asked.

“Yes, but mine was bigger,” Allie bragged.

Francie and Jessie glanced at each other and smiled.  “The wonder of a child’s imagination,” they both thought simultaneously.   If they had only known the truth....

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