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“The Director will see you now,” the secretary says, glancing up from her PC.
I gently push open the thick oak door labeled with the Emma Kingman brass plate, and enter the grand office. She is wearing a gray tweed suit, and sitting behind a stately red cherry desk, reviewing her notes.
I clear my throat, and I can feel that hairball tickle. I should’ve taken a drink of water first. Quickly, I swallow hard. “Good morning, Director.”
“Agent Cat,” she nods. She looks up, frowns, and removes her glasses. “Is Agent Steele not with you?”
“Um, not exactly…”
“What do you mean, not exactly?”
“Ms. Kingman, I discussed this with Winston last night. We agreed I’d take the case.”
My chance is here. “We decided that….well, I’ve worked with him for 5 years on every case. And the fact of the matter is…”
“I’ll tell you the fact of the matter,” she says, folding her glasses, and slipping them into their case. “The fact of the matter is we don’t have time here, and I’m headed on a flight for Beijing at 2 o’clock. I’m going to brief you on this case, and you can fill Winston in with the particulars.”
I nod, deciding it will be easiest to remain silent at this point.
She removes the top file off a neat stack of manila folders on her desk. She pulls out a photo and puts it under my nose. “This – this is our target. Mr. Archibald Mouseman. He goes by -” Emma pauses, looks up at me, and says “Mouse.”
“You mean the sites that offer new deals every day, for a variety of cities?”
“Yes, exactly. Well, Mouse is a daily deal site owner. Only there’s one problem. His company is a hoax.”
“Right…” I have pulled out the notebook and pen from my satchel, and am madly scribbling notes. This is quite a feat as cats have no opposable thumb. My paw is on fire.
She stops, and watches me for a moment. She reaches into a drawer and slides a device across the desk. “This is a digital voice recorder. Try this.”
“And what do I do with the recordings?”
“Simple, you will send them to Sound Transcripts,” Emma replies, handing me a business card. “Ask for Shannon – she will get the job done. Wherever this chase leads you, you can upload your digital files and she will transcribe them for you quickly.”
“Ideal!” I set down my notebook and pen, and fiddle with the device for a moment.
I press the red button. “Go on, about this Mouse.”
“The Service has learned that Mouse will set up a daily deal site in a city, create phony deals, and then close the site, take the money and run before he’s discovered. Then he’ll start over, in a new city.”
“So…a fake company?” I was beginning to wonder if this wouldn’t be as exciting of a case as I’d hoped for.
“Exactly. The most recent city targeted was London, under the site name Everyday Daily Deals.com. Mouse posted a deal on Monday, April 4th for A Baker’s Dozen Bakery, one of England’s premier bakeries….”
“I know just the ones. They actually offer up a delicious steamed milk….” my stomach growls.
“Well there was a problem. The bakery had never heard of Everyday Daily Deals. There was no such deal, no contract,” Emma explains. “And to make matters worse, the little business was bombarded with hateful customer phone calls and emails – blasts on their Facebook wall -”
“Is there a reason they called in the British Secret Service, and not the BBB?”
“Well, they did not call in this case.”
“Then who did?”
My fur stands on end, and my ears perk up. “The Queen herself?”
Emma nods. “The Queen tried to purchase one of the bakery’s vouchers, so she could redeem it for dinner rolls for the royal wedding’s champagne reception. She has requested we find the perpetrator and bring him to justice.”
Suddenly, I understand the importance of this case. I’d heard rumors of the Queen’s rampages. I can imagine how the scene must have gone. “Where is he now?”
“We’re not sure, Cat,” Emma pulls a second business card out from the file. “But there is one person who may have some insight.”
I glance down at the card:
Andrea Deckard, Blogger
“I’m on it,” I say, tucking the card into my satchel. I jump off the desk and head towards the door.
“Agent Cat?” she asks.
I turn around.
“Good luck,” she says.
I nod, but I’m glad to know I’ve got more than luck to see me through. I’ve got experience, wit, and a whole lot of charm. What more could a spy need?