I barely made it out of the door in time, given that I was supposed to show Jared around town before work officially started. I made it just before Jared. He pulled up in an old clunker.
“Right, fine. I hope that the department can splurge for another car soon. Another few miles on this beast and it’s going to finish falling to pieces.”
“Well, the tour of town won’t take much out of it. Appaloosa Plains simply isn’t that big.”
“Don’t they learn that they’ll be picked up there?”
“The teens do know we’ll find them, but it’s also the best place for them to chill for a little before they get spotted. Curfew time usually finds them outside the theatre, or the restaurant. If you happen to be out at the time, that’s where the teens likely are.”
“Where do the hot chicks in town hang out? For after work, of course, a cop needs relaxation.”
“I’d guess the same places you’d find hot chicks anywhere.” I shrugged. “I’ve never really paid attention so I’m not a lot of help.”
“Prefer the bachelor life style, do you?”
“Nah, I'm already going steady with someone special. I don’t need more than one.” I was a little reluctant to mention it was a boyfriend. It seemed likely enough that Jared would find out at the ball any way.
“So why the suspicions?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “As far as I know, it’s because absolutely nothing ever happens during daylight hours. But you will hear cars and people after dark. It’s the only building so empty at day and used during the night.”
We made it back to the office with a few minutes before our duties started. Jared headed for the office while I took my usual place behind the desk. The next round of police exams would be soon, and Chuck promised that if I passed, I’d be allowed to go patrol too. We’d be rotating who had daily desk duties if I passed the exams.
"Please, take a seat." My fingers started pulling up the Lost and Found report on their own. Still, it’s probably prudent to ask. “What sort of report did you need to file?”
“I’m afraid that my cat has gone missing.”
I grimaced. Chuck is wrong to ignore these reports. There has to be something going on. “Ok, can we start with your name?”
I liked that name. Short and easy to type. “Current address please?”
“305 Sweetapple Ridge Way.”
“Finally, I need the details about your pet. Name, breed, colours, etc.”
“Anything else you can tell me? When you last saw her? Did you happen to enter her in the pet show?”
“I don’t understand how she vanished. I have a nice cat run set up for her, she can go inside or out but she’s safe from cars and birds are safe from her. I know she was in the run when I left and yet she was gone by the time I got home. And yes, she is entered in the pet show.”
“Thank you for the report Miss Gem. I’ll make sure that something is done about it.”
I am going to do something about these missing animals, even if Chuck doesn’t approve. Four missing pets in just a few days is more than a coincidence.
So first I'm having a serious think about how to investigate the missing pets. One hadn’t been entered in the show, but it was a pedigree animal. The others had been entered in the show. I thought about entering our pets in the show but our pup was obviously a mixed breed and not obedience trained if they have an obedience section to the show. The bird was handsome enough but it didn’t seem likely that this show included birds. Besides, I didn’t want to involve my housemates in something that could be ugly.
I'll ask Jared and Felipe if they happened to have a pedigree pet. If one of them does, I have a plan for how we might catch the pet napper. That would be a task for tomorrow, it was time to roll on home for the night.
“Sam, what about the babies?”
“We can take care of anything they need before we go. And I’m sure that Howie won’t mind checking on them from time to time. I think he’s fed and snuggled both of them already.” I went to ask Howie while Jericho checked on our little ones. I then joined Jericho in the bedroom.
“Howie says, and I quote, ‘Would you guys get out of here already so I can have some baby time?’”
Jericho laughed. “All right, I surrender. Where should we go?”
We discussed a few possibilities and decided to try the Art Museum.
Ok, actually we were making fun of the artistic content.
"How long do you think it takes to paint a bunch of dots on a canvas?"
"Mmm, an hour or two, tops."
"I should try art. I bet the museum bought it for more than I'll get for a week at the station."
"I'm not sure you have the right temperament for art, Sam. Something that gets you out more is better for you."
"I could manage if I tried."
"Sam, I think you could manage nearly anything if you tried."
Unfortunately, the curator took an exception to us sitting on the same bench for more than half an hour snogging and requested our departure.
"Hey, Jer, I have something I'd like to ask you."
"Let's go home, get comfortable and then I'll ask." Get comfortable and maybe a good stiff drink.
Thea Gem is actually altheaquin's simself. She and Kaleeko's simself share a career in education so I guess the girls get to hang out in a virtual sense.
For the record
Jericho Seastrider is seriously cute and sweet. He deserves way more Exchange love then he currently gets.