Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Arsonist Who Loved Catnip

The fire trucks had long since left. The smoke had ceased to curl up from any part of the house several hours ago, and the fire investigator had finished his preliminary walk-through of the gutted structure. The conflagration had started in the garage—there was no doubt about that. However, chief fire inspector Ian Ferno couldn't shake the feeling that it was the family cat that had started the blaze!

“Ridiculous,” his rational, calculating mind told him. But he couldn't let it go. Something about the look in Muffy’s green eyes…

“Mrs. Bertram, I know this sounds crazy, but did Muffy ever play with matches?”

“Why, yes,” replied Mrs. Bertram, “that does sound crazy! What makes you ask something so hare-brained?”

Ferno started to tell her about the experimental transplant of rabbit gray matter he’d had two years ago, but decided to pass. Pulling a carrot from his pocket, he stuck it in his teeth cigar-style before continuing.

“Well, in point of fact, ma’am, we found drug paraphernalia in what’s left of the garage: a marijuana joint, to be precise. To be quite frank, ma’am, you don’t seem to be the type to use illegal drugs, but Muffy there seems a bit baked. I mean, it could just be stress from surviving the fire, but—”

“—Do you mean to suggest that dear, sweet, well-behaved Muffy was sparking up a doobie in the garage?” The question had come from Dr Bertram, who had just arrived on the scene from his job at the hospital. He’d been in the middle of a surgery (well, actually, the patient was in the middle, but let’s not quibble over geography) when news of the house fire had reached him, and didn't want to leave until he’d finished.

“It was just an off-the-cuff comment, sir. I didn't seriously think your cat was smoking a joint. I mean, that’d require—” Ian wiggled his thumbs atop his extended fists, searching for the right terminology.

“Opposable thumbs, ya’ mean?”

“Yes, that’s right. Fortunately, evolution has been a bit slow for them in that department. I mean, if they had opposable thumbs, they’d probably want can openers; and then where would it end?” Inspector Ferno couldn't help chuckling at his own comment.

The doctor nodded. “Precisely! Evolution is too slow! That’s why I decided to help it along! If you’ll take a closer look at Muffy’s front paws, you’ll notice that some radical grafting surgery has been done.”

The doctor wasn't kidding. On each front leg, the tabby had primitive but working thumbs! The boys at the station were never gonna believe this one!

And they never would. Tucked menacingly into Muffy’s little left paw was a teeny pistol. With the dexterity of, appropriately, a cat, Muffy squeezed the trigger.

4 comments:

HMSnow said...

First two thoughts that occurred to me as I read this:
A) That's what you get for naming a cat Muffy.
B) What exactly have *you* been smoking in your garage, Rabbi?
***
I eagerly await the outcome of the first shot in Muffy's war of liberation from human tyranny.

Allen said...

Heather:
A) True, though the Bertrams thought it was appropriate for a cat who spent so much time in the garage. "Muffy" as it turns out, is short for "Muffler."
B) ~Sniff-sniff~ Oh crud! My brain's on fire again--not that I was using it, mind you, but it does seem wasteful to just burn it!
Whoop! There go the piano lessons!

I can see it now... "The Arsonist Who Loved Catnip 2: Muffy's Revenge!"

Gregory said...

Have you ever read Terry Pratchett?

Allen said...

I'm quite a fan, yes.
And Douglas Adams.