I surveyed my small kingdom and saw that all was not good. The bookmobile was crowded with patrons large and small, which was excellent, but the overall atmosphere was not filled with the laughter and cheery talk that normally accompanied a bookmobile stop.
The frowns and sighs could have been due to the non-arrival of a number of books that had been promised – shipping delays about which I could do nothing – or the long faces could have been due to the flu that was making the rounds in our part of northern lower Michigan. I was hearing lots of sniffles and coughs and the level in the hand sanitizer bottle was dropping fast.
Yes, either one of those theories could have been right, but I knew better. It was the weather. We’d had day after day after day of low, thick clouds. The only break in the unrelenting gray had been when it snowed, which sounded bright and perky, but the idea of more snow was getting a little old, now that it was March.
What we desperately needed was a cure for the winter blahs, but short of a quick trip to the Bahamas, I wasn’t sure how to help.
“What do you think?” I asked my companion.
Eddie, known far and wide as the bookmobile cat, blinked. He was sitting next to me and he’d also been surveying the uninspired activity of our patrons.
“Mrr,” he said. Yawning, he stood, stretched, then jumped down and made his way down the aisle.
I watched him go, wondering what he was up to this time. Eddie was a large-ish black and white tabby, going on three years old, and as dorky as a cat could be. He was loveable and communicative and had more personality than my boss, but he would never be known as graceful.
“Mrr.” With the top of his head, Eddie bumped a young boy’s leg. The kid looked down.
“Hi, Eddie,” the youngster said listlessly, and went back to perusing the selection of jigsaw puzzles.
But Eddie had already moved on to his next victim, a recently retired man whose new goal in life was to read everything on the bookmobile.
“Mrr,” Eddie said, as he used his head to thump the guy in the shin.
“What. . .? Oh. Hey, Eddie.”
His words, however, were delivered to Eddie’s aft end, since my cat was already thumping on the next person. Down the bookmobile he went, bumping everyone with either his head, his tail, his shoulder, his chin, or some combination thereof.
When he reached the far end, he scrambled to the top of the highest shelf, pushing aside any books in his way, and sat tall. He looked down the length of the thirty one-foot vehicle, and said, “MRRR!”
Every single person, including me, jumped. When our ears stopped ringing, the questions started.
“What’s the matter, Eddie?” someone asked.
“Is he all right?”
“What do you think he wants?”
The entire group clustered beneath Eddie, looking up at him with concern.
I watched from afar. Since there’d been nothing wrong with my cat three minutes ago, I was sure there was nothing wrong with him now. All he wanted was a little attention. And now, with the full population of the bookmobile focused on him, he was getting what he wanted.
“Listen,” a woman said. “I think he’s purring. Hear it?”
I mentally rolled my eyes.
“He is!” the boy said. “It’s really loud!”
As if by magic, smiles appeared on every face. Laughter, too. The blah doldrums had vanished and, with any luck, they wouldn’t be back for some time.
Eddie made one long leap to the floor, earning himself a round of applause, and sauntered up front, where he jumped onto my lap and plopped down without so much as asking for permission.
“You,” I whispered into his ear, “are a scammer. You’re also the best cat in the whole wide world, even if you are a dork.”
“Mrr,” Eddie said, and purred.
You can read more about Minnie and Eddie in Borrowed Crime, the third book in the “Bookmobile Cat” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first two books in the series are Lending A Paw and Tailing A Tabby.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on March 20 for the chance to win a print copy of Borrowed Crime. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Currently, Laurie and her husband share their house with two cats; the inestimable Eddie and the adorably cute Sinii. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing.
Visit Laurie at www.catmystery.com