Saturday, April 23, 2005
THE STEPLADDER MURDER
Percys murder weapon
THE STEPLADDER MURDER
Copyright 2005 Janice Price
Buddy is awakened from a sound asleep by a scream and then a loud crash in the kitchen.
“Out of the waaaaaay!” Percy screeches, as he races through the house, sending the desk chair rolling across the floor and nearly knocking Cotton heels over head. The other cats scatter to keep out of his path and go into hiding, not wanting to become involved in whatever Percy has done to cause this commotion.
“What’s his problem?” Buddy asks no one in particular. He climbs down from his favorite seat in the swivel rocker and walks into the kitchen to see what the problem is. “Uh-oh. Percy is in big trouble.”
He turns around and follows Percy’s route into the bedroom. “Percy, where are you?”
“Shhhh. I’m under the bed. Don’t let anyone know where I am.”
Buddy drops to the floor and lifts the edge of the blanket with his nose. Percy is at the farthest corner, huddled against the wall.
“Is Jan okay?” Percy asks.
“I don’t think so,” Buddy replies. “She’s lying on the kitchen floor with a ladder on top of her and blood pouring out of her head.”
“Is she dead?”
“She’s not moving. I think we better dial 9-1-1 and get her some help. That is, if it isn’t already too late.”
“Oh, no, oh, no,” Percy moans. “The police will send me to the shelter and kill me without a trial. What am I going to do?”
“Jan has a small suitcase in the closet. You can pack a bag and run away. They can’t send you to jail if they can’t find you,” Buddy says, trying to be helpful.
“Yes, good idea, Buddy. But what about the rest of you? If Jan is dead, won’t they send all of you to the shelter?”
“No, Mr. Doug will take us in,” Buddy says confidently. “He likes me. And Mercy. Surely he wouldn’t let the other cat critters go to the shelter just because one of her cats killed his sister.”
“It was an accident, Buddy. You believe me, don’t you?”
“Of course, I believe you, Percy. Didn’t you believe me when I was accused of trying to kill Jan a few months ago? That was an accident too.”
Merci runs into the bedroom and leans down to peer under the bed. “Percy, what are you doing under there?”
“I just leaped off the six-foot stepladder. It fell over and killed Jan. I’m hiding.”
“You what? But Jan is hard to kill. Ask Buddy. He’s tried. Besides -”
Buddy reaches over and places a large paw on Merci’s nose to stop her from continuing. “Percy is just getting ready to pack a bag and run away before the police get here. You did dial 9-1-1 to get help, didn’t you?”
“Mmmph, mmmph,” Merci says, unable to speak clearly with Buddy’s paw on her nose. She scurries backwards, out of his reach. “What are you doing, Buddy? I’m trying to tell Percy – “
“Percy doesn’t have time for small talk right now, Merci. He has to get moving if he wants to make his escape before the police arrive to arrest him.”
Merci’s eyes widen. “What? But –“
Buddy interrupts her. “Percy, before you go, I think you should say good-bye to Jan. It’s the least you can do after killing her.”
“I can’t,” Percy wails. “I can’t go back into the kitchen. I’ve never seen a dead body before, particularly one I’m responsible for.”
“Yes, you can, Percy” Buddy encourages him. “One last look, a final good-bye. You owe it to her and you won’t regret it. I promise.”
Merci tilts her head and looks thoughtfully at Buddy, who is exceptionally solicitous as he continues to urge a shaking and frightened Percy out from under the bed so he can pack a bag and make his escape before the police and paramedics arrive. Percy crawls slowly from under the bed and cautiously approaches the kitchen door, terrified of what he’ll find but wanting to pay his last respects to the one who allowed Merci to rescue and keep him when he was only three or four weeks old.
As he approaches the kitchen door, he hears someone singing off-key, “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes. She’ll be coming round the mountain -” The voice sounds familiar, but it can’t be. He leans to his right and peers into the kitchen. Jan is singing softly as she stands at the sink and washes dishes. There is no six-foot stepladder, pool of blood or dead body on the floor.
“That’s what I was trying to tell you, Percy,” Merci says. “The stepladder just missed Jan when you jumped off and knocked it over. It startled Jan, but there isn’t a scratch on her.”
Percy is shocked. “Buddy! How could you do this to me?”
“What do you mean, how could I do this to you? Who was waving the photograph and encouraging the club to ship me off to the shelter when I was accused of attempting to murder Jan? You were, Percy!” (“The Scene of the Crime,” posted February 19, 2005)
“But you said you forgave me for getting carried away.”
Buddy says, “Yes, I did forgive you, but I never said I wouldn’t get even. Now you know how it feels to be falsely accused.” He walks over and lays a big paw gently on his friend Percy’s neck. “It’s scary, isn’t it?”
Percy nods. “Yes, it is scary. I’m glad Jan is all right and I don’t have to run away and leave my friends.”
“Do you forgive me for playing such a mean trick on you, Percy?”
“Of course, I do,” Percy replies. “You’re one of my friends. But one of these days, when you least expect it, I’m going to find a way to get even.”
“That’s what I like about you, Percy.” Buddy grins, as he saunters away. “You and I think alike. We must have been hatched in the same egg carton.”
Note to self (Merci) – Check on which egg carton Buddy and Percy were hatched in and destroy it!
Have a good day,