“Please take your filthy paws off the shoes,” said the hamster.
But Catarin was too mesmerized by their curves and too hypnotized by their shine, and too paralyzed by their nearness that she noticed nothing and no one and least of all the change in tone of the roll-sized rodent.
“Huh?” She said until her mind caught up with her ears and then a more smirking, “Or else?”
The hamster, gaining authority by every tick and every tock of the loud wristwatch she wore as a belt, said:
“Miss Cat Phlap, to address you by your real name and not one of your many assumed, though I do have a disconcerting affinity for Shuga Cain, but I digress. I represent an organization that has followed you through your past eight lives, and if you do not, and I cannot emphasize this enough, if you do not do what I tell you, you will want this ninth one to end quicker than I can say don’t even think about it.”
Much to Catarin’s dismay, the hamster had noticed her claws extending and the almost imperceptible dip between her shoulderblades that indicated an imminent pounce. In response, the hamster had from its seemingly bottomless backside produced a laser pointer, the most loathed and feared debilitator of any Felis catus.
“Okay,” said Catarin, still with one paw on the coveted shoes, “maybe we can come to some sort of agreement, Miss What’s-Your-Name.”
“For the purposes of this operation, you can refer to me as Hedda Lettuce,” said the hamster with a face not marred by the slightest glimpse of comedy. “And to be clear, there will be no agreement but yours to what I say.”
To accentuate her superiority Hedda switched on the laser pointer and moved it up and down the trashcan, so Catarin was left no choice but to nod in compliance with the demand.
“Good!” said the hamster and extinguished the red dot. “Here is what you are going to do; those two ham hocks over there,” she glanced at Dumb and Blond, who was still in the throes of their skirmish, “work for a man who we for undisclosable reasons would like to see, shall we say, extirpated and once you have accomplished that, the shoes can be transferred into your possession.”
“And what, pray tell, is the name of this man?” Asked Catarin though the fur down her spine had already raised itself from a chilling premonition.
“Well, Miss Phlap, that would be none other than Lemuel Dritch,” said Hedda in a voice that had her expression not been restrained by an otherworldly discipline a half-smile would have skipped across her fuzzy lips in its birthday suit. “But according to our information you have already made his acquaintance, have you not?”
Engulfed in an ice storm of dread that seemed to drain Catarin of life (and even more so, the will to it) Catarin whispered as if from beyond the grave: “Yes, we have met.”