Yes, it’s slightly after time, but I’ve been busy. This week, I’m sharing a snippet from “Mr. Sugar v the Cake Thief”, which was published in Mystery and Horror LLC’s MARDI GRAS MURDER anthology.
In this second Mr. Sugar story, Mr. Sugar, a neutered white Persian cat, resumes his acquaintance with Mrs. DiMarco, the heartily partying cat-hater down the street who makes an exception of him.
Is It Lent Again Already?
excerpt from “Mr. Sugar v the Cake Thief”
by Marian Allen
Today stopped me in my tracks. Today, festoons of metallic bunting in green, purple, and gold draped and wrapped every drapable and wrappable architectural element. Jester heads on sticks poked up along either side of the walk; I had no doubt they glowed in the dark. The flamingo, lawn jockey, gnome, birdseed child, turtle, and rabbit wore little masks. St. Francis sported an admirable collection of green, purple, and gold beads. Only the Holy Mother of God stood pure, and I suspected no more than one DiMarco Manhattan had spared her.
The front door was wrapped in purple foil with yellow and purple letters scattered on it spelling out, Laissez les bon temps roullez – Let the good times roll.
“Oh, God,” I muttered, “is it Lent again already?”
Mardi Gras, actually; Fat Tuesday.
Mardi Gras means my humans have people over for a noisy party with lashings of food and drink.
Note the word Noisy. Note the word Food. Note the word Drink.
Feeling a bit bilious as I looked upon Mrs. DiMarco’s tribute to drunken revelry, I wondered if I would be better off finding a sheltered spot indoors or outdoors. Indoors meant easy access to the food; outdoors meant no-one would tread upon my tail.
The foil-covered door opened. I crouched, prepared to run if lying low failed to make me invisible. Mrs. DiMarco had a throwing arm that would be the envy of many a Major League pitcher, and an uncertain temper.
The screen door screeched, and the woman herself stepped onto the porch, carrying a broom and dustpan.
I won’t describe her. She was human, so who cares what she looks like? My invisibility wish didn’t work, because she saw me – she was amazingly perceptive, for a human – but she smiled.
“Weh-heh-hell, look who it ain’t! Ragmop! What brings you down to the poor folks’ end of the street?”
“To be honest,” I said, “I missed you.”
“Meow, meow, meow,” she said. “Does that mean, ‘Give me some food,’ I wonder? Does it?”
“No,” I said, “it doesn’t. But, if you’re offering, I wouldn’t turn it down.”
“Meow, meow,” she said. “If you’re still here when I get back, I’ll give you some scrippy-scraps.”
Humans. One can go through the wars with them, one can have a meeting of minds with them, one can understand every word they say, and the most one can hope for is that they’ll be able to tell the difference between distress, anger, hunger, and joy by the tone of one’s voice. True communication is beyond them.
Nevertheless, I purred as loudly as I could when she emptied a small storage dish into the grass (which, I probably needn’t tell you, could have used a trim). Cold chicken is my second-favorite food, especially if it hasn’t been picked over very well and still has a knot of gristle here and there. A man – even one who has been freed from the bondage of strictly masculine biology – likes something he can sink his teeth into.
While I enjoyed my al fresco repast, Mrs. DiMarco swept her porch, her steps, her walk, the sidewalk in front of her lawn, and the street in front of her property. It took her a little longer than it need have, since she kept dropping ash from the cigarette she never removed from the corner of her mouth and had to go back and sweep it up. It didn’t seem to bother her, though, since she never stopped sweeping, smoking, nor singing “Oh, Lonesome Me” out of the side of her mouth not clamped on the cigarette.
From down the block, I heard my female human call into our back yard, “Sugar? Mr. Sugar! Kit-kit-kitty! Mr. Sugar!”
The pricking up of my ears must have betrayed me (I told you the woman is perceptive), because Mrs. DiMarco said, “Mr. Sugar? Is that your name, Ragmop? Mr. Sugar?” She took the cigarette from her mouth and laughed heartily if hoarsely.
I affected not to notice. After cleaning my face, I left her yard and, stopping on the sidewalk to shake each of my rear paws in unmistakable insult, went home.
Buy MARDI GRAS MURDER
Thirteen tales of crime set during the bacchanalia that is Mardi Gras. Featuring stories from Harriette Sackler, Marian Allen, Debra H. Goldstein and Nathan Pettigrew. The mayhem of Mardi Gras is served with a healthy dose of Cajun dishes and an unhealthy number of deaths. Dig into “Bourbon Street Lucifer”, “Voodoo Honeymoon”, a dish of “Red Beans and Ricin”, or one of its other deadly treats.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Write about someone who makes an exception for someone, or who has an exception made for them.