Nibbles in the House: Muttly Crew Part Four
By Trish Hubschman
“What’s the matter?” I ask, walking into Janie’s bedroom. She’s sitting on her bed, crying. She’s holding Tabitha tightly in her arms. My sister cat is wiggling, trying to get away.
Tabitha looks up. “There’s a mouse on the loose and the humans are trying to whack it over the head with a broom.”
I laugh. “Is that why Janie is holding you like that – so you can’t go after the poor, little mouse?”
Tabitha makes a face. “Who me? I’m a nice pussy cat. She’s holding me like this because she’s upset about the mouse and can’t find her favorite teddy bear to squeeze like this.” Tabitha squirms.
I laugh, turning away. “I’ll go see what’s going on. You stay here with Janie.” As if she has a choice. I turn back, waving a paw. “Don’t scratch Janie trying to get away. She’s already crying enough.”
Tabitha sticks her tongue out. I move along to the kitchen where I hear a broom banging against the floor. “You’ve got to catch that mouse,” the woman says.
“I’m trying, I’m trying,” the man replies. “Where is it anyway? I lost it.”
The woman looks around. “I don’t know. I don’t see it.”
I do. The little guy is sticking his pink nose out from beside the refrigerator. “Get back,” I say, waving my paw, but the’ mouse isn’t listening.
“I’m hungry,” he says to me.
“I’ll bring food to you later. Now get back until the humans calm down.” He still doesn’t move, so, I slowly move closer to him. When he sees me, he ducks behind the wall. I sigh with relief. I don’t mean to scare him but it’s good that he’s afraid of me. I’ll go back there later and see what I can do.
“Maybe we should set a mouse trap?” the man suggests, and the woman agrees.
Oh, no you don’t, I say, watching them put a piece of cheese in a trap and put it on the floor. When they leave the room, I sneak over to the trap and try to paw the cheese from it. Snap! Ouch! That hurt. Cookie and Tabitha come running into the kitchen.
“What’s wrong?” Cookie asks. I raise my paw. The mouse trap is closed over it and I can see my fingers swelling. Both giggle.
“This is not funny,” I say.
“We’re sorry,” Tabitha replies. “We just never saw a cat caught in a mouse trap.”
Cookie shakes his head. “Let me try to get that off.”
“Just don’t hurt me doing it,” I shout. Putting his teeth on the metal bar that’s holding my hurt paw in place in the trap, he pulls at it.
Tabitha takes charge, which is good because Cookie’s busy and I’m in pain. I trained her well. “Try to take your paw out when he pulls the bar up.” She didn’t need to tell me that, I knew it already, but I nod and follow her instructions. I free myself, though my paw still hurts.
Cookie has the slab of cheese between his teeth. What did I go to all that trouble for if he’s going to eat the prize? “Give me that.” I swack it out of his mouth, scratching his teeth. I didn’t mean to do that. He yelps and jumps away. “This is for the mouse. You can get your dinner later,” I explain.
“Oh shucks,” he says as I duck behind the fridge. “Mousey, mousey, you here?” I wrinkle my nose. I forgot to ask his name. “I got the cheese for you.”
That did it. His nose pokes out from under a pipe. “Really? And you’re going to give it to me?”
“Would I be back here if I wasn’t?”
“Well.” He has to think about it, but he grabs it when I put it on the floor.
“What’s your name?” I ask as he chews the piece of cheese.
“Nibbles,” he replies with his mouth full. I don’t like when animals do that. It doesn’t look nice.
He finishes chewing and I ask. “Okay, so what are you doing here, Nibbles?”
“Looks like I’m getting clobbered,” he replies. “And I didn’t do anything. I’m not even sure how I got in here. Think I took a wrong turn from somewhere out there.” He points his head to the wall.
I must think this through. We must get him back outside before he does get clobbered. “You stay here.” I turn away quickly.
“Hey, what about food? I’ll go hungry if I stay in here.”
He’s got a point. I don’t want him to starve, but I worry about what will happen if he comes out.
I turn back. “I’ll bring you something to eat when the coast is clear. I have some serious thinking to do – how to get you out of here.” I start to walk away. “Just sit tight. Everything will be okay.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND HER WORK…
RATINGS GAME (TALK SHOW QUEEN)
by Trish Hubschman (C 2019)
In print ($9.50) and e-book ($2.99) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
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Trish Hubschman has three previous Tracy Gayle mysteries in print: The Fire, Unlucky Break, and Stiff Competition (Miss America).
Synopsis of Ratings Game:
The Danny Tide story continues.
Somebody’s trying to kill the rock star’s second wife, talk–show hostess Blair Nelson. Danny and Tracy, now a couple expecting a baby, get pulled into it because Danny finally agrees to do an interview with his ex–wife. She’s been bugging him for a while.
That evening, after a draining day at Blair’s studio, when Danny and Tracy are home in bed, Danny’s phone goes off. It’s his and Blair’s daughter, Liz, announcing that she found her mother unconscious on her bathroom floor. Blair ingested a drug overdose.
Who would want to eliminate the talk show queen, and why? Could the perpetrator be Blair’s housekeeper? Her personal assistant? The owner of the television station? The show’s producer? Even Danny and Liz are on the suspect list.
Everyone had opportunity, but no one has a motive. They’re all devoted to Blair. They need Blair to wake up and give them some answers.
In the foreground, a black TV camera is in sharp focus against a blurry blue and orange background. The words “A Tracy Gayle Mystery” are centered at the top of the cover, and the author’s name is at the bottom of the cover, off to the right. Both of those are in white letters. The main title, Ratings Game, is in red-orange letters just above the camera. The subtitle, Talk Show Queen, is in parentheses in dark gray letters on an off-white background on the small screen on the top of the camera.
Editing, cover design, print layout, and e-book conversion are by DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. Cover photo is by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash.