Three days ago…
As soon as he shuffled through front door looking pathetic and desperate in his disheveled tan wage slave outfit, messy short white hair, and unshaven face Puddles mentally nicknamed him Doctor Dan. No idea why, but nicknames for new people was a habit of hers.
“I need your help to find my daughters,” Doctor Dan mumbled.
“Please, have a seat and tell us more,” Whiskers said gesturing towards his side of their shared desk.
Puddles could not make up her mind what bothered her more his voice, his appearance, or his scent. After listening to him mumble and whine for five minutes, she felt her spine ache with each word. After hearing his story, she understood why Doctor Dan looked disheveled; still have some self-respect, especially when seeking out help. Doctor Dan reeked of desperation, a very sharp tang in the air. Yep, that was what bothered her more.
With a quick shake of her head to snap herself out of her current headspace, Puddles joined the meeting. Doctor Dan was a potential client and her feelings about the client, as Whiskers was fond of saying, was not important…or something like that. Whiskers elbowed Puddles in the ribs. She did her best to look attentive.
“…and where did you say your daughters are?” Whiskers asked.
“With their boyfriends,” Doctor Dan mumbled at Whiskers clean desktop, “somewhere in Tumbledown.”
“What?” Puddles asked a bit too loud; she was losing her patience with him.
“What my associate meant to say, was could you repeat that,” Whiskers coached Doctor Dan.
Puddles let out an exasperated hiss, “Yeah that.”
Doctor Dan looked at both of them, desperation obvious, “Their boyfriends live in Tumbledown. Near the corner of 5th and East Kira. My girls,” his voice caught as he tried to contain his emotions, “left a week ago. I haven’t heard from them. The police…”
“Won’t do a thing,” Puddles interrupted eager to get him out of the office. “Familiar story. Okay, we’ll take your case.”
Doctor Dan blurted out, “You will?”
“Yeah. So let’s talk fees,” Puddles irritation pushing her past his surprise.
Whiskers put a paw on her arm, a sign to slow down or stop.
“Perhaps we should look into his case first,” Whiskers said in his calm, “I know something you don’t” tone that irritated the hell out her. Puddles cocked her right ear at him while flattening the left.
“Fine, we’ll talk bill later,” Puddles hissed at Whiskers.
“But…” Doctor Dan started.
“Yeah, we got this Doc,” Puddles interrupted.
“Some preliminary work and we will have a better idea what we can do for you,” Whiskers said in his business tone, “Is there any additional information you can provide? The more we know the better job we can do for you.”
Puddles loved listening to Whiskers in business mode. Doctor Dan shook his head no. Whiskers stood up gesturing towards the door.
“Allow me to walk you to your car,” Whiskers said.
A few minutes later, watching Doctor Dan’s tan flyer merge into traffic from their office window, Puddles looked at Whiskers, the end of her tail snapping back and forth, she was irritated. “Look into his case? What the hell?”
Leaning against their desk, one-half immaculate, the other half distressed, Whiskers calmly replied, “Did you even pay attention to the location he gave?”
“Yeah I heard, Doctor Dan said something about Tumbledown..”
“Doctor Dan? Another of your pirate nicknames?” Whiskers asked amused.
Puddles turned from the window waving off Whisker’s questions with a wave of her paw. Grabbing her favorite “Mother’s Favorite Kitty” coffee mug, Puddles began to make coffee, “Okay, so he said something about Tumbledown. Want some coffee?”
“A cup sounds great,” Whiskers followed Puddles to the coffee machine, “Name a part of Tumbledown not home to a gang, criminal organization, unregistered, ghouls, or about to collapse at a moment’s notice?”
“Oh that,” Puddles began trying to sound like she knew that all along, “we should look into his case first. I’ll call Chuck to pull data.”