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Spring is a très intéressant time of the year. The world begins to thaw as it awakens from its wintry sleep, and the air is filled with the delicate scent of lilac and hyacinth. Trees stir and yawn, and as they extend their stark brown limbs, tiny green badges of life appear. This particular spring, the famous (and brilliant) detective Furcule Purrot was continually drawn to a warm sunny spot on the back of the sofa near the picture window in his purrfectly furnished flat at Cathaven Mansions. Although he enjoys overseeing the Mansion grounds at any time of day, dusk is his favorite time because that is when the criminal element begins to emerge. As the sun begins to fade, Furcule can often be found peering out across the mansion’s grounds observing every whisker that either twitches or stays still for too long. The eccentric Belgian has an active imagination, and he thrives on any form of study that will keep his little grey cells exercised.

On the evening in question, he was intrigued by the antics of a tiny grey mouse that flitted anxiously from the sidewalk to the flowerbed to the driveway, never completely coming to rest. Purrot, having a particular interest in the order Rodentia, leaned forward to study the specimen further and to formulate questions that might result in an interesting hypothesis. Was this wanderer lost? Was its errand as dodgy as its movements? What were its hopes and dreams, its wants and worries, its political affiliations? Why was Monsieur le Souris  not sur la table? But most important, would this particular souris be a suitable déjeuner for a bachelor detective if it were properly cooked and served with a savory sauce? If so, should it be followed by a cup of tisane?

Just as his mind had begun to slip further into gastronomical musings, his attention was drawn to the sight of a predator stalking the preoccupied mouse. Purrot moved so close to the window that the ends of his impressive mustache tickled the glass. At that very moment, the predator pounced and with one deft stroke severed the mouse’s body from its head. The stunned detective recoiled in horror. As many times as he had been called to examine a murder scene, he had never been witness to a victim’s demise, and the sheer gruesomeness of it all proved entirely too much for his little grey cells to process. He bounded off the couch, scampered through the living room, lurched through the door to the hallway, and then bowled his entire body weight against the door, closing it to put another layer betwixt himself and chaos. As much as he hated closed doors, he hated danger even more.

Upon hearing this disturbance, Miss Lemon (who looks suspiciously like the caretaker) rushed into the hallway. The level of noise led her to expect a gang of roving thieves to mow her down. Instead, she found a wide-eyed Purrot, panting and pacing. Speaking in her best matter-of-fact voice, she attempted to calm him down as she opened the hallway door and moved slowly into the living room. Seeing no danger, she called the trembling detective back into the room, and he followed her cautiously.

But just as he crossed the threshold, he spied a grey felt mouse that he had used for previous experiments, and he returned to high alert. The resemblance of this creature to the one he had so recently seen murdered unhinged the poor Belgian a second time. He began poking and batting the felt mouse as though assuring himself that it would not be able to add to the evening’s contretemps.

Miss Lemon allowed him to conclude his experiment with the felt mouse while she repaired to the kitchen to assemble a light meal. Having convinced himself that his home was safe again, he heartily consumed his repas and settled down to rest. His only regret was that he would never know whether the mouse was tasty or not. As an honorable detective, he could not disturb the scene of a crime, nor could he allow Miss Lemon to do so. Quel dommage!

Furcule Purrot

Furcule Purrot au repos

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On the morning of 24 October 2014, a felt mouse was found in the water bowl of Stratford Palace, the second such incident to occur on the premises this year. An anonymous ring-tailed witness confirmed that the drowning victim had recently been involved in an altercation with the king. The matter remains under investigation.

The king, pictured below staring mournfully at his second favorite minion (identified as Blue Felt Mouse), made a valiant attempt to rescue the victim, but was “grossed out by the wetness of Blue’s yarn tail.” Acting on the king’s behalf, the palace caretaker was able to retrieve the mouse’s body and fluff it in the clothes dryer, rendering it somewhat useful again. It is currently hiding behind the door in the caretaker’s room in an attempt to avoid further harm.

The king was overheard to say that because he has viewed Criminal Mimes almost obsessively for the past few years, he knows that it is only a matter of time before the Feline Behavioral Analysis Unit (FBAU) is called to deliver the profile of a cereal killer. He would just like them to know that his profile looks best from the left side.

A Second Victim

A Second Victim

 

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The caretaker was shocked to notice that almost a month has elapsed since she last provided a true and proper account of the cats. As you might imagine, a great deal of gravy consumption has taken place during this period (as well as many less important activities), but the caretaker has been engaged in projects for mere hoomans and has had little time and no energy for her service as the cats’ historiographer. But now she has a bit of time to provide an accurate history of the main events of these past four weeks, and so we are happy to announce an episode in The Great Detectives series. Today we present an homage to that great modern duo of crime fighters, Goren and Creams. (This choice seemed only fitting, in that most of Buddy’s actions have at least a modicum of criminal intent.)

The episode begins with a scene from Stratford Palace, in the cats’ room. The camera pans across a small cot, whereon a small pillow, embroidered with the word MEOW, lies uncharacteristically askew.

What's Wrong with This Picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

But the more astute of our gentle readers will recognize at once that something else is terribly, terribly wrong. Until recently, this humble cot had been the home of one Monsieur Tigre Etouffée, a stuffed tiger who is larger than both cats put together, but who is singularly unable to defend himself and thus is sometimes subjected to a thorough trouncing by Buddy. These encounters are normally confined to short periods of Tigre’s tail playing the part of a viper being caught up in Buddy’s death grip. This morning, however, Tigre had suffered a much worse fate, and justice must be served (with gravy, one may hope).

(Camera pans down to the floor)

Someone draw a chalk outline

Someone draw a chalk outline, please

On this otherwise serene morning, Tigre had met with an awful fate and was now not only stuffed but suffocated. Monsieur Etouffée lay in the floor, even more lifeless than usual, with apparently no witnesses available to question (which is a real shame because the caretaker was looking forward to playing the part of Goren and acting all quirky during the interrogation). Regardless of the lack of witnesses, the mystery would be solved soon (even though a running story line may be required to maintain audience interest). For with the caretaker playing the part of Goren, and Bear standing in for Creams, the field of suspects was reduced to exactly one. The only suspect was the usual suspect, Buddy, who lay in the window calmly surveying his kingdom’s front yard. He seemed unaware of the horrific scene that lay on the floor below, so it was time for Goren to step in and solve this crime.

The Guilty Innocent

Butter won’t melt in his mouth

The caretaker recalled that about ten minutes earlier Buddy had torn through the house like a rabid jackalope, angry because the world was not instantly bowing to his will. The sun wasn’t coming up at his demand, the front door remained firmly shut, and Bear wasn’t sharing breakfast. Having nowhere else to vent his rage, Buddy had apparently jumped onto the cot, wrestled the hapless Tigre to the floor, and then murdered him.

Démon terrible! Did you not know that Goren would come knocking at your door, ready to ask you tricky questions, throwing you off guard and making you reveal your crime! Well, Goren would have done thusly, had you stayed awake long enough to dodge the questions that were being flung in your direction. At least Creams was able to rescue the scene by providing a demure pose to let you know how much your crimes disgust her. And so we end our episode with the obligatory trenchant line: This may be a dog’s life, but it’s the cat who gets away with murder.

Creams looks demure

Creams looks demure and disgusted

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Cast of Characters:

Purry Mason, played by Buddy
Della Street, played by Sock Monkey
Cull Pritt, played by Bear
The screaming caretaker, played by the caretaker, as usual


Life is tough for a criminal lawyer, especially one who also needs to do the work of the police detective and the District Attorney because the actual police and D.A. are as useful as cardboard cutouts and almost as intelligent. Yes, life is tough for sure, but Purry does well for himself, with his trusty secretary Della by his side, not to mention frequent snacks to keep him strong and frequent naps to keep his senses acute. So when he heard the scream in the middle of the night, he bounded out of bed, ready to investigate. In all the history of law and order, there has never been a more paws-on attorney than Purry.

Arriving at the scene of the crime, he began to wish Paul Drake could be there (drakes, after all, are ducks, and duck is delicious, especially with gravy). But since there was no Drake and no gravy, he began nosing around for evidence. The screaming woman had finally quieted down, but there was still a great deal of commotion in the room, for he had arrived in time to see Ms. Cull Prit, a rather plump woman wearing a cheap fur coat, running from the room. Though Purry ran after her, his attention was diverted by a particularly shiny object, and he returned to the crime scene to launch his investigation.

Purry began by questioning the shaken caretaker. She said she had fallen asleep on the couch and was awakened suddenly by the presence of excruciating pain at the small of her back. She said it felt just as though a cat had clawed her. Purry scratched his head (more specifically, his ear), and wondered who the culprit could possibly have been. While they were discussing these things, Ms. Pritt casually strolled back into the room and began to feign irritation at having her beauty sleep disturbed. Sensing that his client, the hapless caretaker, was about to be accused of disturbing the peace with her blood-curdling scream, Purry turned up the heat on Ms. Pritt.

“Ms. Pritt, isn’t it true that just before the scream was heard you were sound asleep behind the caretaker? And isn’t it true that while you both slept, you began to feel yourself slipping? And isn’t it true, Ms. Pritt that you extended your claws and dug them into the caretaker’s back in order to keep yourself from falling? And isn’t it true that as soon as the screaming began you fled the scene in order to avoid detection? And, finally, isn’t it true that you, Ms. Cull Pritt, are the culprit?”

He turned suddenly and delivered the coup de grâce: “Well, isn’t it!?!?”

Unfortunately, this intense grilling yielded nothing but the gentle sound of snoring. Soon after Purry had begun his brilliant line of questioning the accused had curled up and shut her eyes. But it would take more than snoring to discourage the valiant lawyer. With all accusation against his client withdrawn, Purry’s job was complete (and his fee secure). The only thing that remained was for him to return to his plush office with his client and Della Street, and then deliver a moderately humorous line and chuckle guardedly.

As Della shakes her head in faux disapproval of Purry’s bad joke, we cue the theme song, and roll the credits!

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By way of introduction, this post is the second in a new series on the great detectives as portrayed by Buddy and Bear. After reading the post identifying Buddy with Sherlock Holmes, Bear became quite agitated (well, she lifted her head, which in her case is the equivalent) and then insisted that she be given her own detective story. She even found some crimes to solve. But let’s not give away the end before the beginning. Gentle readers, Seafoam Cottage Productions brings you “The Crumpled Rug Caper,” featuring that famous detective Sam(antha) Spayed. We also offer our sincerest apologies to Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart, and Maltese Falcons everywhere.

Cast of Characters:

Sam Spayed, played by Bear
Wilmer Cook, played by Buddy
The caretaker, played by the caretaker (because she has no imagination)


Night fell early on the Seafoam Cottage, and nobody was prepared for the consequences. Not the caretaker, who had hurried home from work in hopes of getting Wilmer out of the house for a while. Not Wilmer, who was as restless as a squirrel in a walnut tree and was ready to spend some time on the porch spying on the neighbor cats. Not even Sam Spayed, whose dinner bowl was easier to locate in the daylight hours. When the caretaker finally unlocked the front door, Wilmer rushed outside and was met by a disappointing blast of cool air. Even worse, he saw that the porch was lit dimly by the fading shafts of sunlight.

It was not going to be a good evening.

Braving the darkening chill, Wilmer made a few half-hearted turns around the porch and then dashed back inside to see what the caretaker was serving for dinner. Just before bounding into the kitchen, he remembered that it was a crime scene and he was the perpetrator. By this time Sam was drawing a chalk line around a pile of partly chewed food that had been swallowed briefly and then brought back up. Sam was explaining to the caretaker that the hideous remains were the result of one of Wilmer’s infamous “scarf and barf” capers. Seeing his crime had been discovered, Wilmer stopped short and slinked back out onto the porch, hoping to remain unnoticed. Maybe he could deny the accusation and pin this misdeed on Sam. After all, the caretaker had not witnessed the crime. With two creatures in the house, there would always be reasonable doubt as to which of them was the criminal, and the caretaker would have to honor the letter of the law. One thing Sam has noticed is that bad guys generally expect everyone else to behave better than they do.

But Wilmer shouldn’t have worried about shifting blame to Sam. The caretaker’s only goal was to clean up the mess; she wasn’t angry at all. As she went to the cabinet to get the wipes, she had to listen to Sam recount every detail of the crime. (To spare our gentle readers, the particulars will be omitted here.) Soon they both began to hear an awful commotion in the other room. In fact, it was so clamorous that it seemed to be coming from all the other rooms and possibly a closet or two. The insistent cry that emanated from Wilmer’s throat was somewhere between a howl, a moan, and the cry of a demented banshee. He wanted the sun to come back to make the porch bright and warm. And he wanted the caretaker to make this happen immediately. But all she wanted to do was clean up messes. It was infuriating. This denial of his desire was too much for the nervous culprit, so he responded in the only way he could: he committed another crime.

Once the kitchen floor was clean again, the caretaker headed for the bathroom to wash her hands. Even before she entered the door, she saw the evidence of the crime, along with Detective Spayed, who was already on the scene. Sam was standing in the middle of the bathroom rug, which was in a terrible state of disarray. And she was telling the story of how Wilmer’s angry yowling had concluded with a violent attack on the rug, with Wilmer lying on his side pulling the edge of the rug with his front paws and kicking it with his back paws.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

The caretaker had no reason to doubt Sam’s story; she had seen this behavior in Wilmer before. Sam was beside herself with glee. Surely the caretaker would banish this fiend once and for all. Wilmer tried to shut Sam up: “Keep on riding me and they’re gonna be picking rug out of your liver.” But Wilmer’s amended movie quotes don’t always have the planned effect. Sam just blinked her eyes and kept singing like a canary. That rug had provided a warm place for her to nap during the morning routine; in a way it was her partner, and when a cat’s partner is killed, she’s supposed to do something about it. (Come to think of it, Sam’s movie quotes are not much better than Wilmer’s.)

I rest my case

I rest my case

Seeming to ignore Sam’s advice, the caretaker headed back to the kitchen and prepared a plate of chicken swimming in gravy. Sam’s next thought was, “The condemed man ate a hearty meal,” so her glee factor increased exponentially. In fact, to hasten Wilmer’s punishment, Sam joined him at the plate; the sooner the food was gone, the sooner the criminal could be brought to justice.

But justice is a fickle princess (whatever that means), and instead of punishment, Wilmer was allowed to sit beside the caretaker and have his ears scratched. Disgusted, but ready for a nap, Sam joined them on the couch. As Wilmer fell asleep, Sam realized that it might be best to keep him around after all, now that winter was closing in. Having plenty of warm fuzzies to snuggle with on cold January nights is the stuff that dreams are made of. Literally.

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Despite the chill that descended upon the Seafoam Cottage a couple of weeks ago, there have been enough sunny days to lure Buddy back onto the screamed-in porch. Bear’s porch time is over for the season; she has packed up all of her napping accoutrements and returned to the couch to nest in the lovely fluffy blankets she had not needed since April. But as long as there are birds and squirrels and a nemesis named Mr. Shorty (which, as we have just realized, rhymes with Moriarty), there will be a black and white cat patrolling the porch for God and country.

Captain Buddy, Porch Pirate

Captain Buddy, Porch Pirate

Though it may be both good and easy to be king, it is not easy to continually hate Mr. Shorty when he is out of sight. Fortunately, he has apparently come to understand the necessity of his presence in the complex equation that constitutes his relationship with Buddy. Therefore, in these fleeting days of cold mornings and warm afternoons, the legendary battle between good and evil that was depicted in the 1800’s by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his tales of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty is being relived from the confines of the screamed-in porch, weather permitting, with Buddy inexplicably playing the part of Holmes and Shorty taking on the mantle of Professor Moriarty. On a sunny day last week, the caretaker caught sight of the dreaded villain and was able to begin her own surveillance as she returned to the Cottage after work. Though Moriarty was in Buddy’s front yard when the caretaker first spied him, he scurried across the street to lurk behind a telephone pole and plot evil against the inhabitants of the Seafoam Cottage.

Shorty Moriarity

Shorty-arty

Bounding outside as the caretaker entered, Buddy took up the surveillance duties for himself, “hiding” behind the few remaining rose leaves.

Stealth Mode Buddy

Purrlock at Work

But then Shorty Moriarty became as bold as the villain after whom he is now named. He strode across the street and down the side yard, and then had the unmitigated gall to plop down on the deck, just a few yards from Buddy’s favorite corner of the screamed-in porch. Thus was created the most poignant good vs. evil photo op that the Seafoam Cottage has ever seen, that is, if the caretaker had a wide-angle lens and the proper vantage point. But alas, two photos were required, one for each of the bookends. Though the illustration below has the two photos spliced together, the good and evil bit is still quite riveting, as the gentle reader must agree, though one thing it demonstrates is that evil is infinitely more relaxed than good:

Good vs. Evil Staredown

Good vs. Evil Staredown

So rest easy, Universe. Purrlock Holmes has your back. Professor Shorty-arty shall not pester you again. At least until the next time.

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