Cat Chaser : Chapter Two

Written on August 6th, 2010 by Adam in Cat Chaser

“Of course,” said Forsyth as we walked down a long corridor, light streaming in from a spectacular atrium high above us.  “Detection isn’t all we do.”

The whole thing was slightly overwhelming.  I mean, you know when you get a new job and you have that feeling like one day soon they’re going to realise that you don’t actually know what you’re doing and sack you?  Well, imagine that only instead of it being just a feeling it is, in fact, a very real and tangible possibility.

“In fact,” he continued.  “We have three divisions in total.”

I think the problem is twofold.

“Detection.  Separation.  And assignation.”

Firstly that I hadn’t managed to keep a real life job.  Ever.

Forsyth laughed.  I wasn’t sure why.  But I laughed as well.

And secondly because this wasn’t a job I was convinced I had the chops for.

“Right my boy,” said Forsyth gesturing to an imposing looking door with a brass plaque attached.  On the plaque was just one letter. It had a ‘Z’ on it.  “In here.”

I pushed open the door and walked into a vast room filled with desks. Under each desk was a computer, on top of each desk was a bank of six monitors and sat at each desk was a woman who was firmly out of my league.

“Clint.  I’d like you to meet the Z-Girls,” Forsyth laughed his laugh again and leaned in close to me, close enough for me to smell the brandy and cigars on his breath.  “I don’t just employ them for their brains.”

“Mr Forsyth,” said a voice and I turned around to see the one woman who was the most out of my league of all walking towards us.

“Agatha. This is-”

“Mr Clint Barnum.  Yes.  I know.”

“The defective detective!  Of course you do,” he said, handed the case file to her and began to move towards the door.  “I’ll leave him in your capable hands then.  Oh, good luck Clint.  I know you’ll do well.  And if you don’t, you’re sacked.”

And with that he slammed the door of the office.

“Z-Girls?” I said.

“The defective detective?” she replied.

“Yeah, he just started calling me that,” I said, glancing down at my shoes.

“We call him the A-Hole,” she smiled and for the first time since arriving at the Agency’s offices I laughed without having to force myself.

“Do you think he means it?” I said.

“What?” said Agatha, flipping open the file she’d been given and glancing inside.

“Well, about being sacked if I don’t… you know.”

She began walking so I began following.

“Oh, he means it,” she went on.  “Can’t tell you the number of people who’ve had one case only, failed and then…”

“Ah.  Right.”

“But don’t worry.”


“No,” she said as we reached a larger desk with two chairs.  She gestured for me to sit in one.  “They’ve tended to be employees recommended by someone else.  He doesn’t employ anyone personally who fails.  He has quite the eye for it.  You’re the first in…”

“Shit, so no pressure then?” I said.

Agatha looked up from the file in front of her and flashed me her bright blue eyes then followed with a smile.  I looked down at the case file.  If I could just get a look inside I could find out what I was supposed to be doing.  Of course I couldn’t let this beautiful, intelligent woman know that I’d totally failed to pick up on what Forsyth had told me.  That would be insanity.  She may be out of my league but you always have your pride, don’t you?

“So what do you do in here exactly,” I said and waved my hand in the opposite direction of the file.

Right on cue Agatha looked the other way and I craned across to read upside down.  All I managed to see was the address of a department store in the centre of Kilchester.  Agatha turned back around to see me leaning over the desk towards her, her eyebrows raised for a second, trying to work out what I was doing but she continued unperturbed.

“We are the brains of this organisation,” she said then leaning in even closer to me and lowering her voice to a husky whisper she added.  “As well as the looks.”
I didn’t feel it happening but with the sacking business and not knowing what I was supposed to be investigating it didn’t take much to push me over the edge.  She picked up her glasses from the desk and put the arm between her teeth, her dark, brown hair fell forward a little and


shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT!”

I was still in the same chair, still in the same office but now instead of one Z-Girl in front of me I had… Well, I don’t know.  Lots.

“I am so, soooo sorry,” said Agatha, now standing slightly behind and to my right.  “I was just joking.  I mean, I knew you were… And I thought that… but I didn’t think you would just drop like that.  Oh shit, are you alright?”

“I think you’ve broken him,” said one of the gathered spectators.

I smiled.  “No, honestly, I’m fine.  Happens all the time”

“And what about the bleeding?” said Agatha.  “Does that happen all the time?”

I nodded.

“More than I’d like,” I said.

“Miss Zimmerman?” said another voice.

“Err,” said Agatha.  “Get back to work, all of you.  Give him some, erm, space.”

With a disappointed grumbling the assembled women began to disperse to their respective desks.  I took the bunched tissues from Agatha’s hand and dabbed at the cut on my forehead.  Scanning the desk I located the source of the injury.  The culprit was a small ornament of a cat curled and asleep with its ears pricked upright.  Looking at the blood spots on the tissue, they appeared to be the same distance apart.

“I think I’ll live,” I smiled.  Agatha smiled nervously back and sat down.  “You were saying that you were the brains?”

“I’m sorry,” she said a little too loudly then moved the files on her desk slightly, lining them up.  “You provide questions, we provide answers.  You find a spot of blood, we find out who it belongs to.  You find a glass next to a dead body, we find the poison from it.  You need access to information, we investigate and inform.”

“Catchy little tag line,” I said.

“Not really.  Oh, I see.  And today we are going to get you into Crowther’s Department Store.”

“Which is where I’m going.”

“Yes, all you need to do is swipe this card,” she slid a pass card wrapped in a piece of paper across the desk.  “And then type the number that’s written on the paper and you’ll be in.  Then we’ll lock the place down.  If you need to get in touch for anything here’s my card with my numbers.”

She slid her card across the desk and as I reached out to take it our fingers touched.

“I really am very sorry,” she said.

“Don’t worry,” I said.  “Happens to me all the time.  So what exactly am I supposed to do when I get there?”

Agatha laughed in relief.  “Very funny. Now, go.”


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