If you missed the previous chapters of this 20-part cat spy series, please refer to the Deals are Not Enough page.
Main Street is exactly how I imagined it would be. Street vendors sell Mickey Mouse shaped balloons. Families stop right in the middle of the street to turn and snap a picture with the Sleeping Beauty castle as the backdrop. Kids jump up and down, screaming with excitement about the day that surely lies ahead. “When you wish upon a star” pipes in from the sidewalk. The smell of hot waffle cones sizzling on a griddle wafts by. It is new to me, yet strangely reminiscent all in the same moment.
I know I’m close to Mouse now. And I’m glad for it. This chase has taken me to Colorado, Weesp, Sierra Leone, Seattle and ended here. The happiest place on Earth.
I decide to take a few minutes out for an ice cream cone, and I pop into the corner confectioner’s shop and select mint chip, my favorite. As I turn to leave, I notice someone dart quickly out the door. Or should I say, somecat.
“CoCo,” I whisper.
I run out the door just in time to see her head in the general direction of Adventureland. What could she be doing here? What are the chances?
“Here kid,” I say, handing my barely-eaten mint chip cone to a freckled, red-headed boy wearing a Goofy hat.
Although I’ve never been here before, I am already acquainted with the layout. A simple Google searched produce an entire map of the park, including all the attractions, restaurants, and even restrooms.
I pick up CoCo’s scent near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Inside, it smells cool and musty, like an attic full of antique books, waiting to be discovered. I take in a deep breath, and for a moment I’m transported back to London. I long for the moment I can stretch out by a cozy fire, with a good book and a cup of warm cream. My musings re quickly interrupted. There she is, attempting to hide behind the people in line. We make eye contact and she realizes that running is futile. But why is she running? Her mysterious ways intrigue me, beckon me to pursue her.
“Save me a spot?” I croon, gently brushing against her side.
“Fat Cat-” she begins. She is at a loss for words, clearly. We follow the legs and feet of the people in the line with us.
“So are you going to tell me why we keep bumping into each other like this? It’s been three continents now. Do you find me irresistible, darling?”
She looks away. She is hesitating, and I’m wondering what sort of cat romance I’ve managed to get myself into. We are now at the water’s edge.
“You cats going on the ride?” a man asks us, dressed completely in pirate garb.
I open my eyes wide at her (this is the cat’s equivalent of raising one’s eyebrows). She nods reluctantly, and we hop aboard.
“So, are you going to tell me or not?”
“Fat Cat, I like you, I really do….”
“I feel a ‘but’ coming…”
We drift by a pirate ship and pretend cannons fire in the water all around us.
“But we can never be together.”
Her statement doesn’t change anything for me. Spies are known for their forbidden romances, after all.
“And why is that?” I lean next to her, there in the back of the little boat, drifting slowly towards the drop that will inevitably come.
She looks deep into my eyes, and they are full of tears.
“If I could tell you…”
“I’m asking you…tell me.”
She clings to me as we plunge down the dark tunnel. When we hit the bottom, the water sprays in our faces and on our whiskers. She is beautiful, the drops glistening in her fur.
“Fat Cat, you must never tell anyone. I’m with the CIA. I’ve been sent here to take down a man that’s running a diabolical website.”
The boat drifts around scenes of pirates plunging and burning Caribbean cities. The fire is reflected in CoCo’s eyes.
“But – but, that’s impossible!” I exclaim.
“Think about it, Fat Cat. Why else would we have met at that dreadful house in Weesp?”
I am silent.
“Or Sierra Leone? I mean, what truly are the chances of that?”
“I just can’t believe it,” I look away from her. This was my chance to prove that cats could be spies. I wanted to be the first to do it by myself. And now someone else is contending for that honor – and someone I’ve grown fond of.
“Fat Cat, I have it under control,” she tells me. “And I’m asking you to leave. Let me have this one.”
My heart is crushed, worse than if she’d just left me. “No, CoCo, don’t ask that -”
We drift under a bridge with dirty-footed pirate drunkenly singing “Yo ho, yo ho a pirate’s life for me,” overhead.
“If you don’t leave now, you could compromise the case.”
“But I’ve come so far – I need this one, CoCo.”
She shakes her head. “I’ve already pinpointed his location. I was headed there just before you bumped into me actually. Fat Cat – what matters most to you – getting the guy yourself, or just knowing that justice was served?”
The ride is nearing an end. We pass by a nearly lifelike Johnny Depp sitting atop a pile of gold and treasure. I consider what CoCo is asking me. In the end, does it matter if it’s me that catches Mouse? After all, I’m a spy. The world will never know. Just me and a few select other spies. But maybe this journey was about something more. Proving it to myself as well as anyone else.
The ride stops, and we hop off.
“CoCo – can’t we do this one together – you and me?” I ask
She shakes her head. “I’m afraid not.”
I sigh. “CoCo….good luck.”
She winks at me, licks me once behind the ear, and scampers off. “Happiest place on earth my foot!” I mutter to myself. I grab my satchel, thrust it over my back, and make my way through rows of overpriced pirate trinkets.!--more-->