If you missed Chapters 1-6, you can find them at the Deals are not Enough page.
She glides across the hardwood floor of the old brick house like she is walking on air. Her coat is the delicious cream color of an exotic sandy beach. Her face, tail, and paws are dark and mysterious, like a night spent in a new and exciting city. And her eyes – piercing blue – like sapphires in a dark setting. Altogether, the most stunning feline on the planet.
“What brings you here?” she coos, her tail curving this way, then that.
“Just to ask you to dinner, of course” I purr.
She tilts her head back slightly and laughs with the knowledge that she intrigues me. “My name is CoCo. Welcome….?”
“The name’s Cat, but you can call me Fat Cat,” I answer. I stretch out on a hand woven rug at the hearth. She curls next to me. “What’s a pretty kitty like you doing in a dive like this?”
“It’s a charmed life here, Fat Cat,” she closes her eyes and continues. “but this isn’t my destination. I’m onto better things. Just passing through and needed a place to stay.”
“And where are you passing to?”
She looks out the window. Small white clouds dot the bright blue sky. “I’m not sure, exactly. Perhaps Paris. Or Bangkok. I want to make it big.”
One thing’s for certain. Hanging around this won’t help her dreams come true. I’m relieved to have found at least one cat in the bunch that shows an inkling of ambition. Quite frankly, too many of my peers are perfectly content sleeping till noon, grooming their fur to excessive levels, and drinking warm milk in the evenings. Sometimes I wish that more cats would strive to make something of themselves. My journey to become a spy was not one without difficulties. Scaling the corporate ladder in the British Secret Service is a feat in and of itself, but overcoming the stigma of being a cat? Takes the phrase “having to prove one’s self” to a whole different level.
CoCo excites me. She clearly isn’t like most cats.
“And what are you doing here, Fat Cat?”
“I’m hoping to meet with Greta Van Straten…”
“Oh?” her ears perk, and she sits up. “Why…why do you want to meet her?”
“I want to talk to her, about some rare antique items I’ve recently procured.”
CoCo sighs. “That woman has an affinity for stuff, both rare and ordinary. Have you met with her before?”
“No, never have.”
“Well, I should warn you,” CoCo tells me. “She’s eccentric.”
“No! You don’t say?” I smile.
CoCo slaps me playfully with her dark tail.
“It’s not as if the ridiculous amount of knick knacks suggested anything…” I continue, laughing. “Or this cat hostel she seems to be running.” CoCo feels like an old friend, and maybe…something more than that.
“Well, Fat Cat, I can tell you she has a VIP coming here this very afternoon, so you may have to wait until afterwards,” her voice is full of mystery.
“A soccer player, a notable one. He is coming to the house today to meet with Ms. Van Straten.”
This most certainly sounds like a lead. What business would a notable soccer player be doing out here in the Weesp countryside, at a ramshackle place like Van Straten’s?
“Any idea what this is about?”
CoCo shakes her head. “I overheard her on the phone today, making the final arrangements. He is due from Amsterdam at the 3 o’clock train.”
I glance at my wristwatch. 2:45. I won’t have long to wait.
“Fat Cat, can I get you a bowl of milk, while you wait?” CoCo asks, already walking towards the kitchen.
“Of course you can….see I told you we’d do dinner.”
I follow her, and hope 3 o’clock will take is time in arriving.!--more-->