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The cat receptionist I hired last month was sharpening her claws again. She looked at me with those slitted eyes, and spoke.
"Bills on your desk. And if I don't get paid tomorrow, I quit."
I hate hearin cats talk. I'd rather have a bitch in her place, but try and find a dog that'll work for a cop like me. Yeah, fat chance. I hung up my coat on the rack and walked towards my office, ignoring her.
"Someone to see you." she yowled gratingly. "Some patchy bitch."
She was right. The trail led right to my office. I opened the door, and I saw her. I could feel my tail wagging but I didn't care. She was beautiful. Her delicate paws and sturdy build was covered irregulary with white and black patches. She looked up at me from one of my tracking trophies that she held in her paws. I slowly walked to my chair, looking her over carefully. You couldn't be too careful these days. She rotated to face me.
"What's a bitch like you doin in a dump like this?" I asked. Yeah, Its a cliche but it fits the situation. She raised an eyebrow, her tail waving in the air tantalizingly, stirring the air already thick with her scent.
"You gonna help me or do I have to go find a cat. Its that time of the year you know." she barked softly, her voice melodious but sharp. A bark like hers could carry a long way.
I snuffled deeply. "If what you want me to track smells half as good as you, you could find most any dog to do it for free."
"He doesn't. We meet last time I was in heat and one thing leads to another. Well, I got five pups to feed and they ain't getting any less hungry. Here's the warrant. I just need you to find him." She tossed a folded paper on my desk. "Get him arrested."
I thought about this. "You got the money? I don't take no charity cases." I growled, pushing my hackles up for emphasis.
She bared her teeth back.
"You find him, and I'll have plenty of money, you hear? Five Hundred biscuits. Just find him. He used to hang out down at the AKC Shep club."
I raised my hands. Five hundred was five times my normal fee. I could pay the cat and the overdue rent besides.
"Fine, I don't got anything better to do. You got some scent?"
She took some dirty underwear out of her purse and threw it at me. It landed on my muzzle.
This guy shouldn't be too hard to find. He stank worse than a mushroom farm. I knocked it onto the desk.
"Damn, you tryin to burn my nose out?" I growled, snorting to clear my nostrils.
But she was gone, her scent lingering in the air. I opened the window and turned on the fan. At least the fumes from the dry cleaners didn't drive me up the wall.
* * * AKC SHEP CLUB *
The AKC Shep club was an exclusive joint. Leather collars and clean fur only. I walked up to the bouncer, and tried to walk past. He shoves me back.
"Hey, whitey! We don't let your kind in here!" he snapped, teeth bared.
I looked at him through narrowed eyes. He was a fine specimen, if you think Dobermans are fine. Too bloody skinny if you ask me. I outweighed this one by thirty pounds. Could knock him down in a fight any day. He had obviously just walked out of a salon. He had one of those glamor shimmer jobs in his fur. I flashed my badge.
"I'm here on business, skinny. You smell this guy?" I dangled the dirty skivies in front of his muzzle. He growled at me. "Hey! Don't make me bloody that glossy fur." I growled, in an offensive stance.
"Hey, I just started!" he whimpered, backing down, tail dropping between his legs. He sulked while he opened the door. I restrained myself from marking him as I passed. What a wimp.
The club was full of the clatter of silverware from the kitchen and the talk of the mostly sheperds sitting at the scattered tables. The maitre'd swept up. He was an AKC Shep of the worst type. I could spot that angulation in his hips from a mile away. He had the classic saddle markings too.
"I'm sorry but you'll have to leave." he stated firmly, tail raised in confidence. I flashed my badge.
"Business. I'll be gone soon as I get some answers."
The waiter frowned. "Five minutes." he sniffed.
I walked over to the bar, ignoring the catcalls from a group of blacks. My white fur stood out like a sore paw here. Bloody darks think they're the whole world. White is a defect my tail. I could beat them in a contest any day. With fair judges at least.
A black Rottweiller frowned at me, polishing a glass bowl.
"Hey, you smell this guy?" I asked him, dangling the skivies.
The bartender took a sniff. "Yeah, but he ain't been around in months."
I leaned over, nose inches from his. He smelled like beer. And rottweiller of course. "Any idea where I might find him?"
"Try the gym." he rumbled. "Rin Tin Gym, down on Sixth."
I nodded and gave him a lick on the muzzle. "Thanks pal."
He wiped his muzzle and went back to polishing the bowl, glancing meaningfully to my left.
I looked over. A group of saddle-backed darks were coming, and they looked pretty mean. I nodded to the bartender and tried to make nonchalantly for the door.
The thugs beat me to it. The whole group had thick spiked collars, and some sort of insignia tattooed on their ears. I stood my ground, ears back, and growled. They growled right back. Time for some fast footwork. All four paws on the ground, I rushed the one on the right. Predictably, the one on the left jumped for my flank. I dove under the charging shep and through the gap left. Seconds later I blew out the front door. I think the bouncer got knocked against the wall. Wimp.
* * * RIN TIN GYM *
Rin Tin Gym was rank. Alot like the skivies in my overcoat pocket. A newfoundland was behind the desk.
"Can I help you?" he rumbled. Dang he was big. Try not to anger him I thought. Better to have him on your side.
"Yeah, I'm lookin for this guy." I dangled the skivies once again. The Newfie took a deep sniff, and nodded.
"Back at the agility course." he rumbled. I nodded and headed back. This place was popular with the AKC sheps too. The walls were decorated with the usual mirrors and posters of that old movie star, Rin Tin Tin. A muscular black blocked my entrance to the agility course.
"I remember you, whitey." he growled, "Where doya think your'e goin?"
I looked him up and down. Thick. Strong. Sharp teeth. The direct approach was probably best. I dangled the skivies in front of his nose.
"Lookin for this guy. Seen him?" I asked.
The Black grunted. "Who's askin."
The Black's scent triggured a memory in my mind. I'd arrested him months ago for armed robbery. A lucky bust. And he was probably just out on parole. It was worth a try.
"Look Rom," I growled, "Let me through afore I tell your parole officer you're interferin with law enforcement."
I was right, and the Black backed down.
I walked in to find Growly Wallace stretching at the entrance to the agility course. This ain't the open course you may've seen at them sporting events, either. One way through, no turnin around or aborting in the middle. Growly looked at me and tensed. I sniffed him and he sniffed me. His eyes gleamed with recognition.
"That Bitch!" he snapped, and took off into the course.
I threw off my overcoat and dove in after him.
I knew this style of course well, ladders, fences, blind tunnels, poles. And you had to do it right or the machien wouldn't let you to the next part.
I caught up with him on the balance beam just before the end. He was fast but I was faster. I snap-collared him and locked it tight. I dragged him the rest of the way through and out the door, pausing to put on my coat. I nodded to Rom.
"I'll put a word in for you." The black smiled.
Maybe a days work ain't so bad. That bitch and her pups'll be happy to get theirs from this dog. And so'll I, man, So'll I.
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