The release of “Copy Cats”, the second Crazy Cat Lady mystery is getting close. I still need to look over and approve my proof copy from the printer, a process delayed by the loss of the first sample, either from off my porch or delivered to the wrong house. I am fantasizing that UPS mistakenly dropped it at the door of a wealthy media person who is now going to look me up and offer me millions for the movie rights. Or maybe it’s lying in the bushes where the package thief tossed it when he found out it was only a book and the poor sod can’t read. In spite of the stall, I expect it to be out by the end of the month. I am also expecting an exciting celebrity endorsement! Can’t wait!
In the interim, here is another selection from Copy Cats:
“My attention returned to the narrow door. Without anything that could be considered rational thought, I gripped the black ceramic knob, pulled it open, and stepped inside. The smell hit me instantly; not the dust and mold smell that saturated the other parts of the building and not the ick smell of someone’s dirty bathroom either. This was the smell I’d been searching for earlier: cat. Urine, feces and fear, so strong my eyes burned. And there was something else as well – biting, chemical – and I knew even in my blindness, I had found the counterfeiter’s lab.
The room was dark; the weak glimmer of the office’s low-wattage bulb made little more than a thin stripe that petered out a foot or so from the doorway. I felt the wall for a light switch and found one, old but functional. With a flip and a prayer, the lights went on.
I gaped at what can only be described as a kitty chamber of horrors. The mass of fluorescents shone cruelly down on the large space; it had never been a bathroom, that was for sure. Against the wall to the left stood a bank of cages, empty I was thankful to say. Across the back of the room ran a continuous workbench with shelves above and below. To my right hunched a huge set of concrete sinks. In the center of the room stood a stainless steel groomer’s bench the size of a banquet table.
I took a few steps into the room, then moved automatically to the cages, horrid tiny wire coops lined with filthy newspaper. There were twelve total, but only about half of them had been occupied. Those now contained nothing but the soiled paper – no food, no water bowls. The likelihood that someone had come along and cleaned up those items when the cats left was ludicrous, implying that the animals had been terribly neglected. I peered closer at a specimen of scat and judged it to be recent. At least one of the cats had been there not that long ago.
I turned to the work bench. Strangely enough, the white Formica was unexpectedly clean though cluttered, as if someone had been working there. I picked out a few standard items – combs, brushes, and claw clippers – alongside things I would hope never to see at my local pet salon, such as wire cutters, spray paint, epoxy glue and a rusty razor knife. The shelves, again spotless except for a light sprinkling of dust, were filled with bottles, jars, and cans of miscellanea. Some were labeled; others, ominously unmarked. A quart jar oozed a black-brown slime; a number six can with its lid partially pried open held something that reeked of ammonia.
I headed for the sinks to complete my circuit of feline hell and stumbled. As I caught my balance, I looked down to see what had tripped me and faltered again, this time reeling from shock. A booted foot…”