Dozer, the bulldog

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Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

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The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

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HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

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Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

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Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

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Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

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Painted Lady

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Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

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Mahlon Masling Blue

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My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lethal Purse 3: Butch

This is the third in this series of the comical adventures of Sylvester B Stilldumm, entrepreneurial  investigative engineer.  Coincidentally, the title of the first entry in this series, is “Lethal Purse, 1”
Lethal Purse 3
Butch runs the show.  If I haven’t made that clear yet, then let me get out the Windex and the paper towels, and try again.  He may be a cat, but he is the most conniving cat you will ever meet.  If he doesn’t get his way, there isn’t enough kitty litter in the county, to stop the carnage.  On the other hand, on a good day, he can orchestrate the solving of a case, with one paw tied behind his back, an awkward development for a cat.  Looks weird, plus it’s going to get someone a citation from the S.P.C.A. My name is Sylvester B. Stilldumm, have gun, till done.  I run an investigative agency. 
I first ran across Butch, an imposing figure of an orange tabby, in the local watering hole.  I was having a beer; Butch was having his way.  He was strutting through the bar, as though he owned the joint, looking for a tidbit.  For Butch, a tidbit is a can of tuna, or better still, a tuna itself.  He will let you know if the proffered morsel fits the bill.  If not, you will wish that it had, because Butch will display his displeasure in a variety of creative manners, the least of which will have you visiting, either a doctor or a contractor, depending on how personally Butch took it.  Let’s just leave it at, Butch is a cat who insists on having his own way. 
Butch is not a candidate for any beauty contest, though he might qualify for ugliest cat.  He didn’t start out that way, but I’ve seen him in action, and there’s an element of self-destruction to his actions, that makes me think he has a little Evil Knievel in him.  He appears to have no fear; either that or he has no brains.  I haven’t asked him recently.  
He has a slightly lopsided appearance, a result of his left ear, having been shredded, without the benefit of a grater.  My best guess would be a bar fight, involving sharp objects; I suppose Butch has had his share of pretty kitties he has had to defend.  The result is that his fur possesses a certain ruggedness to it,  with a patch here, a chunk there, just kind of missing in action.  His swagger has a certain amount of panache to it, even if his gait is slightly out of kilter; that fracas with the junk yard guard-cat, had left his front left paw, quasi-usable, hence lending a sort of swashbuckling effect to his stride. 
I was working a case for a guy who was certain his wife was having an affair.  Turned out that he wished she was, when he found that she was studying to be a nun in a convent.  Butch was working the south window, that being the best spot to catch the morning sunlight in my office.  Course it has to make it through the grime on the window itself, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it does.  Butch was in cruise control.  
In through the open door of my office, strolled a beautiful blond bimbo, not that there is any other kind.  All women are beautiful.  Some are more beautiful than others.  She carried a formidable purse, which I eyed with a great deal of apprehension.  I’ve met a few lethal purses in my day, and I did not welcome a return engagement.  Butch kicked it into high gear, launching himself at the bimbo’s legs, as though he were a torpedo, and she an enemy destroyer.  There was nothing left to do, but orchestrate damage control.
“I am sorry.  He gets so agitated, doesn’t our wittle Butch, Miss...?”  I looked at this vision of loveliness, with just the right angle to my fisherman’s hat, one of those colorfully mottled jobs, which sat low on the head, with the bill settling over the eyes, giving me the impression of being slightly mysterious.  It was a mystery how I managed to see where I was going, most of the time.  Thank Buddha for Butch. 
“Plushbottom.  Miss Patricia Plushbottom.  You came highly recommended, by a man who I had never met before.  It seems you had done him some such favor, in the past, and he was indebted to you.  His name was Frenchie.”  Miss Plushbottom?  Interesting name.  I must admit that at first glance, Miss Plushbottom certainly has one.
Yes, I thought to myself, Frenchie was indebted to me.  I paid him a hundred bucks for every client he steered my way, and it looks like I owed him another picture of Ben Franklin.  But first I had to lure this damsel into the fold, get a signature on paper, otherwise Frenchie could go suck a deviled egg, or fight with Butch for the leftover tuna casserole.  

“Miss Flushbottom, may I present a chair for your--lovely self, so that you do not have to expend the effort to remain standing?”  I had leaped to my feet to hold her chair for her, knocking over the coffee pot in the process,  spraying yesterday’s remaining dregs over the nearest wall.  Because it had coagulated overnight, the result was a solid lump of coffee splatting against the flowery wallpaper with a solid thump, settling at the baseboard, to be swept up in the quarterly cleaning purge, set for implementation within the next calendar month of Sundays. 
I had retrieved the coffee pot, and was bustling about preparing some fresh ambrosia of the French variety, carefully measuring out the correct amount of coffee grounds, using the old-fashioned guess and by golly methodology, guaranteed to result in the solid clump of remaining goodness, after sixteen hours of fermenting in the coffee pot, similar to that now residing against the wall. 
Nonetheless, Miss Lushbottom deserved my best effort, and I was determined to deliver, if not perfection, then a reasonable facsimile.  I had maneuvered my way around to the sturdier of the two waiting room chairs, and had urged her to take a load off.  Though the chair still rocked, it was not as likely to collapse as the other one, which had some sort of defect that I had yet to pinpoint, resulting in embarrassing breakdown in support.
“Thank you, Mr. Stilldumb.”  She allowed herself to collapse  gracefully back into the chair with an alarming bump, threatening to require that I invest in a new waiting room furniture.  
“That is actually Stilldumm,” I gently corrected her, wishing that we both be up front from the beginning.  That kept me from falling too far behind.  “But what’s in a name?”  I continued benevolently.
“Exactly my thought,” exclaimed Miss Bushbottom.  “My good name(s) hinges on the ensuing actions, and I am relying on you and...” she inclined her head in Butch’s direction, “your obviously qualified partner, to handle this delicate matter.  You see,” she blushed modestly, lending a sense of innocence and youth to the setting, “I am a school teacher by day, and an artiste by night, and there is a miscreant out there, who has threatened to submit my name to the school board, because he does not approve of my art.”  Her eyes blinked at a frantic pace, threatening to overflow, thereby raising the price of poker, significantly.
She sniffed, and I leaped forward with my handkerchief, managing to retain my feet, but realizing at the last second that my handkerchief was not the pristine, ironed bit of frippery that I might have desired.  It was with this thought that I stopped abruptly, and changed course, narrowly avoiding the standing lamp, to arrive at the side counter, where I had a container of Kleenix.
Offering her the box, I inquired, “How is it that art has become the source of anxiety for such an accomplished personage?  Is it not enough that you contribute to society in such a splendid manner, that some narrow-minded individual, would seek to dim such a brilliantly illuminating   beacon of culture?”  That ought to warm her up.
Miss Cushbottom blushed becomingly, and continued.  “Why, my goodness, how eloquently put.  I cannot help but agree.  I risk catching cold, while performing-er, uh, while displaying my wares--er, uh, sorry, my art, while displaying my art.  But what is to be done?”
“A consultation is called for,” I exclaimed decisively.  "What is this varmint’s name?”
“J Skulking Bushwhack,” she spat out, blushing furiously at the vehemence in her voice.  
“The vice-mayor?” I asked in surprised, for the first time a trifle unsure of my ground.  But Butch chose that moment to spring up on the crest of papers spilling off my desk, like Niagara Falls on a good day.  Having captured the limelight, Butch proceeded to lick that front paw, the injured one, as if to say, I can lick any evil-deedster you can rustle up.
She nodded furiously, unwilling to trust her voice.  For some reason that made my voice ring out in a somewhat shaky fashion, “You leave him to me and--my associate.”  Butch simply took it all in, his shredded ear, twitching in multiple directions simultaneously, and pawed the floor with a front paw excitedly, as if suggesting that he was more than prepared to dispense appropriate justice.
The rest is history as they say.  Mr. Bushwhack presented himself at my office within the hour, and after an impassioned plea on my part, and an adamant refusal on his part to budge, from his threatened expose of my client, I sent Butch into the fray.  As the fool attempted to regain the street via the staircase, Butch chose that moment to get friendly, threading his way expertly though Mr. Bushwhack's legs, causing him to lose his balance, and unfortunately topple down to the ground floor, three flights below.  
We are told recovery is merely a matter of time, a long time.  In the meanwhile, Mr. B. is out of intensive, and in traction, which limits his action.  Miss Dishbottom has demonstrated her appreciation for the efforts of Butch and myself, by offering a private showing of her art, and we have settled on tonight for the show presentation.  I have an order out for a bottle of Dom Perignon, but did not submit my correct address. I can’t afford that stuff.  Meanwhile, I do have a bottle of Cold Duck in the fridge, and that will have to do for starters.  I’m hoping Butch will come up with an encore.  
Have I mentioned that Butch is a cat who insists on having his own way?

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