Satire – Tomcat Tompkins – 92

“Damn it, Tomcat, how on earth did you catch on? I thought I was on to a winner with my story. Doing something for Queen and Country and all that business because you could never disprove my story, but now you have. How did you find out?”

“Because it doesn’t add up, old girl, it doesn’t add up at all. The police are sure the same woman killed all three people and it’s too gruesome to imagine how that would have worked if it had been you who did Stalky in, but not the other two. They would have needed access to Stalky’s cadaver and transferred body hairs from Stalky to Spinky and Dapper Dan. That’s too disgusting for words, so the only alternative is for you not to have done away with Stalky, but for someone like Mrs. Stalky to have done the deed instead. What did you do, Miss Scarlett?”

“You can call me Ethel, Tomcat,” replied Miss Scarlett looking downcast.

“Ethel – Ethel Scarlett?”

“No, Ethel Warburton, I obtained the moniker from the board game, Tomcat.”

“I see,” replied Tompkins, holding on to his patience by his fingertips, “please continue, Ethel, and let me know what happened.”

“Well, I motored down there, and as I was heading to Stalky’s house I saw a car coming the other way, so I pulled over and switched the engine off. I took the map out of the glove compartment to make it look like I was planning my route. A car went by with a woman driving who looked like Mrs. Stalky Stark. I didn’t know that at the time, but the photos in the house were of the driver of the car. Stalky was already dead. I’d parked in the village and walked in the back way, marked on the maps. The police were coming – thankfully they always put on their sirens to give you good warning they’re on their way – so I exited via the back door in plenty of time and made myself scarce.”

“That’s rather interesting because that’s what Daisy and I did, Ethel,” replied Tompkins, “and they called the police on us too – strange they treated you and us in the same way, but they’re consistent I suppose.”

“They were practising with me for you,” said Ethel, “I feel sure of it.”

“Why did you lie when we were having lunch, Ethel, you said Stalky had bitten you and that never happened, did it?”

“I was just backing up my story with something to reinforce it, to make you believe in me, to make you think I was on your side, which I am still.”

“Yes, I think you are, but you shouldn’t lie, Ethel, because I need to know 100% who’s on my side, or who’s on our side, as this is getting serious now. The opposition are from our side of things, and they’re trying to escalate tensions between ourselves and the East Europeans and then we’ll get the blame rather than them.”

“Who do you think they are then, Tomcat?” asked Ethel looking eager, “is there anything I can do to help?”

“Well, Ethel, there is – I feel that the police have an informer within our organisation. I think you know who the person is, that Dimitri described to you, so can you verify that fact for me, for us, by tailing that person?”

“Mmmm, that sounds wonderful, I will have to go undercover, because I am sure he will recognise me dressed like this.”

“You’re right, Miss Scarlett, you have a very distinctive style, which will draw attention to you like a white rabbit eating a large carrot in a snowstorm, like a reindeer in the desert, or like a cow in a rice paddy. You must dress to blend in.”

“Yes, although it will be difficult, as I like bright colours, Tomcat, just in case you hadn’t guessed, plus hats of course.”

“And you like bright-coloured hats most of all,” replied Tompkins, “which makes you stand out like a lighthouse in a fog, especially in London.”

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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