Story by Emmjay
Vinh Ordinaire Rouge was generally a level-headed detective, careful and with a rat-like cunning that had been sharpened over two decades of rubbing shoulders – and sometimes other bits, with criminal elephants and lesser pachyderms. She had given birth to a cub reporter after a fleeting affair with a lion tamer who had stretched the truth by telling her that he was a chairman and a crack shot. But it was rumored that he had a way with whips and looked impressive in jodhpurs and leather riding boots.
Vinh was a natural mother and raised the boy as her own son – which was handy, considering he actually was her son. However life took a turn for the worse when the boy was still unfurred. His Dad encountered a technical difficulty in a work-related OH&S dispute that ended with a decision that gave him paws to consider.
Things had gone right off the rails when the young cub ran off with the circus. But the police arrested him for impersonating a ring master and loitering within tent and returned him, marked “not at this address”.
Doubtless, Vinh was shocked when they started using whips and chairs at the cubs for discipline. And when school kicked off for the day with a starting pistol, rather than a bell and the strains of “God Save Our grey shoe Squeen”, Vinh Rouge thought it was time for veterinary intervention.
A miss-dialled number to Veteran’s Affairs was all it took to remove five degrees of separation and in next to no time, the call was answered. “This is the FBI, Foodge Bureau of Investigations, Fern speaking”.
“Investigation?” said Vinh Rouge. “Yes”, said Fern.
“I’m a bloody police inspector, why would I want to call Foodge ?” said VOR. ” I want to speak with Veterinary Affairs”. “Beats me” said Fern, “OK, I give in, why would you want to speak with a vet ? “
A perceptive receptionist would have heard the faint sound of VOR rolling her eyes and also would have steeled herself for the inevitable “DER!”, but Fern heard only the pregnant paws. “Speak up, what’s the matter ? Cat got your tongue ?” she said.
“Put me though to Foodge”.
“You said …”
“I know what I effing said” said VOR. “I changed my mind”.
“It’s a woman’s pejorative to change her mind”, said Fern, helpfully.
“Look, for Pete’s sake….”
“Just a moment, I’ll see if Mr Foodge is available” said Fern. This was Fern’s little joke to herself, since the office was barely large enough to hold two desks, two chairs, a chesterfield lounge for clients which sometimes doubled as Foodge’s overnight accommodation,a filing cabinet, a fan and a venetian blind to cast the kind of shadows that gave a texture to the sunlight in the daytime and let the annoying red glare of the neon sign across the road that flashed “Rosie’s Tattoo Emporium and House of Pain, after dark. While Fern was doing the asset reconciliation in her head, VOR’s fuse was rapidly running out”.
“I’m sorry, he’s not available just now” said Fern. “Would you like to leave a message ?”
“Thank you, yes. Can you please tell Mr Foodge how sad I am to hear that his receptionist was killed in that drive-by shooting from a stolen unmarked police car ?”
“Really ?!” Said Fern. “Ok. No, wait a minute, I’m his receptionist. That’s not true !”
“It will be by the time he gets the effing message”, said Rouge, pausing to let Fern catch up. “Please tell Mr Foodge that Inspector Rouge will meet him at 5:00 at the Pig’s Arms. Tell him, I’ll be waiting for him in the car park in the unmarked stolen police car with the bullet riddled carcass of a halfwit receptionist in the boot”.