Marie looked around her, this place was so strange. It was so different from Madame's house. For one, there were more people here than she had ever seen in her life. Her sapphire eyes widened as she walked down the street. Everything was so big to her. Well, everything was big to her since she was just a kitten.
The new environment smelled delicious, food was cooking, and there were people eating. Well, not just people. Cats, dogs, mice, you name it. The new place was so diverse, it made Marie smile. Sometimes the same old things got boring after a while.
Then of course, the familiarities of life could be very comforting sometimes.
She was excited to have another adventure. It was time for another one. Of course she would remain a proper lady while doing so. Being a lady could be hard at times, but it was in her blood. She was born to become a lady, just like her mother.
Basil was quite pleased with the way things had turned out.
He'd just completed a successful investigation and found the ruby stolen from the jeweller's shop. And been well paid for his pains.
There weren't many cases for the detective here in the park, and the checque he placed carefully into his inner pocket would suffice to pay for his hotel room for some time to come.
Besides which, there was the supreme satisfaction of a job well done.
Strolling contentedly down Main Street, the mouse's attention was arrested by a most disturbing sight.
A cat! A deadly, ferocious and undoubtedly evil cat, slinking down the street as boldly as you please. In search of a prey, as likely as not.
Well, Basil had no intention of becoming that prey. Toby ought to be somewhere nearby; a whistle was all it would take to bring him round. And wouldn't the monster be surprised when the faithful hound appeared to make short work of it?
Marie wondered where she was at. Obviously, she was on Main Street, because that's what many signs said. She didn't know where to go next, or what to do. She wasn't with her mother, Thomas, or her brothers. What should she do? Should she continue down the street, or ask for help, or what?
She sighed, maybe asking for help would be a good thing. But who to ask? She was shy around humans, and she would not ask a dog unless they approached her first, and were friendly. She looked around. Perhaps there was another cat nearby. Her sapphire eyes searched for another feline, but there were none nearby. That's when she spotted a mouse. She blinked in surprise. It was a mouse in detective's clothing! She once saw Roquefort wear a detective's clothes once, but she didn't know other mouses did that.
"Excuse me." She said, approaching the mouse, "Monsieur Mouse? Can you help me?" She asked.
"And what precisely might be your trouble......Miss?"
"Monsieur, I am lost. I cannot find my mother, brothers, or Mr. Thomas O'Malley anywhere!" She exclaimed, telling the little mouse her troubles. Maybe the mouse knew of Thomas, he appeared to be very famous, especially around the cats. Maybe his reputation spread to the mice as well?
"Have you seen them? My mother looks exactly like me, only she's bigger than I am, of course. My brothers are probably fighting about something." She sat down, "They aren't as sophistiacated as I am." Marie said, stumbling over the word 'sophisticated' and sticking her nose in the air.
"I most certainly have not seen your feline family."
Marie frowned, that was bad news. She needed to find them and fast. "Mama is probably worried sick about me." She thought. She then realized that the mouse had on detective's clothing. Detectives help find people! Oh, this was great! She would be reunited with her family.
"Monsieur Mouse, are you a detective?" She asked. It was probably best to ask first, since the mouse could just be dressing like one for his own enjoyment.
She decided since this mouse could possibly help her find her family that it would be best to introduce herself. "I'm Marie, and I'm a lady." She said with a smile.
"You may call me Mister Basil and, yes, I am indeed a detective."
Marie's eyes widened with glee, "You are! That's wonderful!" She exclaimed, for she had never met a mouse that was a detective. "I didn't know mice could have jobs." She said, "The mouse who lives in Madame's house, Roquefort, he doesn't do anything really. He just sleeps, and eats crackers. He is a good friend, though."
"Why don't you tell me something about these other cats?"
"Well, there's my mama. She looks exactly like me, only bigger. And there's Mr. Thomas O'Malley the Alley Cat, and he's orange and very brave and adventurous." She sat down to continue telling Mister Basil about her family. "I also have two brothers, Toulouse and Berlioz. Toulouse is orange and wears a blue ribbon. He looks like Mr. O'Malley, and for some strange reason he thinks he's a tough alley cat." She rolled her eyes, "Berlioz is black, and wears a red ribbon, he doesn't talk much." Marie said.
Basil stiffened. "Of course we have occupations," he said with some asperity. "It seems to me, young lady, that cats are far more likely to waste their days doing nothing. When they aren't murdering innocent rodents."
Now he'd done it. Allowed his temper to get the better of him and spoilt any chance of lulling the feline into a sense of security.
That's what comes of allowing one's emotions to rule one's reason, he berated himself. Still, she was a very provoking creature, with her insulting generalizations.
"It seems to me, young lady, that cats are far more likely to waste their days doing nothing. When they aren't murdering innocent rodents."
Marie frowned, and turned around, sticking her nose in the air. "That is not true!" She said, turning just her fluffy, white head around to speak to Mister Basil. "We cats don't waste our days doing nothing!" She turned around, "And we don't murder innocent rodents!" Marie could only speak for herself, of course. Perhaps Mister Basil had an unfortunate run-in with a cat that made him dislike her species so. All cats were friendly. Everybody wants to be a cat, right?
"I would never hurt a mouse..." She said, softly. Just the thought of hurting poor little Roquefort made chills run up and down her spine.
"Ha!" he snorted derisively. Perhaps that was how this feline duped gullible mice into its claws. Well, such a transparent ruse would not work with Basil.
"I am sure that you work very hard indeed. Why, just look at those paws." Basil whipped out his ever-ready magnifying lens, lifted one of Marie's delicately-shaped forepaws, and trained the glass on her soft pink pads.
"This is the paw of a pampered, idle aristocrat." His anger caused Basil to forget himself, else he should never have come within range of a cat's claws.
<<This is all for me. I'm off on vacation 'til well after the new site starts up. Hope to see you on the other side.>>