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How it all started: John Mott
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Bits and pieces
Illustrated and designed by
Notch’s House Publishing
© 2016, Wren Cavanagh, Daniela Morescalchi, AgileArt. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the writer.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
How it all started: John Mott
John Mott was so disliked that when Cow Riddley, one of the town’s mailmen, found his body spread out in largish bits, from head to toes along the rural route of Chrysalis Road on a warm spring morning, he was sickened, disgusted even.
But not surprised.
After all, Mott had been Urchin Cove’s most disliked policeman. Scratch that. He was downright hated by a large swath of the Cove’s normally good-natured inhabitants, disliked by others, and avoided by the rest if they could.
The man was big, mean, and impatient. Cruel and cunning; originally from Las Vegas, he had been one of the Cove’s new policemen for a bit over a year. Why he still had a job was a mystery to all. Some had personally visited the town’s most esteemed and respected doyenne to ask for her insight.
Edith Lenore Warglory: the secret and very private mayor of the Cove (when necessary), a woman who was rarely seen out of her stately home. But none the less seem to know everything that happened in the cove.
God bless her, a hundred if she was a day, she had offered none. She might have had them, mind you, but hadn’t offered any. Esteemed though she may be, she could be a cryptic sort of woman.
A downright riddle of a woman on occasion.
“His head was right there, right at the entry of the road. You couldn’t miss it. I had to drive to the side of the road to avoid it.”
From behind the USPS main counter, Cow held court to all the visitors that suddenly had mail to send. No jokes about
“snail mail” today. No sir.
“Then an arm...about thirty feet down the road the other, kept going like that. His privates were in Elaine Jackson’s bird feeder. Finally, at the end of the road I found both feet, one next to the other like they was standing at attention! Toenails painted fire truck red!”
He paused and looked at his audience; in rapt attention they hung onto his every word.
“Right on Calvin Ronson’s front porch,” he shrugged, “those two were right unhappy, but I had to call the Chief. No choice there, a murder is a murder.”
Everyone agreed, there hadn’t been much choice there.
“Anyone in jail?” One of the men asked.
“Don’t know,” Cow shrugged. “Chief Gallia came, seemed like she brought the entire police force plus a few extras, then she took over. Good thing too, I had mail to deliver!”
His attentive crowd agreed that Cow was a dedicated public servant and he had his priorities straight; as Cow returned to the back of the Post Office to sort mail or do whatever else mailmen did they began to gossip and chatter amongst themselves.
After all: No one had liked Mott enough to be too distraught to go on with their daily lives, most likely not even his mother, who nobody had met. However, anyone who had met Mott figured she had to be worse than her son, and as Mott was not from the Cove, her existence was not taken for granted. He could have hatched from the egg of some large unpleasant insect, somehow, somewhere.
All Love Medley, Urchin Cove’s newest resident and veterinarian, stood in the parking lot with his cat admiring his new clinic. The cat draped over his human’s shoulders in a fireman’s carry was a giant named Jericho who didn’t have so much as a single white or colored hair in his glossy black coat, his eyes were the most unusual blue eyes and the tips of his fangs, protruding from under his upper lips, were of a pure white, nearly translucent.
He was not your typical cat, but his human didn’t know that yet.
A blue nylon harness and leash kept him tethered to the man.
It was the man’s idea of course, the cat appreciated and respected the motivation behind it and so he put up with it and chalked it off as crap you have to put up when hanging out with a well-intentioned human.
They had just returned from Sugar Buns after picking up a box of donuts and danishes to share with the employees at the clinic; a local business, it made amazing pastries and had a great coffee bar.
Now fortified by the caffeine and the best maple cronut-like thingie All had ever tasted, he was ready to face the day.
Excited and nervous, All Medley had dressed up for his first day at his own practice, and he cut an attractive figure for anyone that might have noticed him this early in the day. He was tall, fit, and had a thick head of mousy brown hair that sometimes got out of control. He had been told more than a few times that he was attractive, something that he didn’t mind hearing but didn’t believe or disbelieve; he was normally a confident man who didn’t care too much about other’s judgments of his appearance.
But today was not a normal day.
And today he sported a shiner over his left eye that was large and nearly as black as his cat; his lower lip had been recently split and was now crusted over.
He touched the wound and grimaced.
Way to make a first impression with the clients, he thought and cringed with a sigh.
His arrival to the Cove had been anything but calm and he hoped and prayed it wouldn’t be a sign of things to come as he took a long sip from his coffee mug and admired his new practice.
It was a large and beautiful Victorian style home: A ‘Painted Lady’ that served as both residence and practice. It had been an amazing deal and he still couldn’t believe it was his.
He felt his heart soar with excitement and stomach clench with anticipation, and just a bit of fear. All had bought the practice from Dr. Henry ‘Groovy’ McGroove; the local veterinarian who had finally decided to retire and take up fishing full-time.
All was now one of two working vets in the entirety of Urchin Cove.
Old Dr. Manning, Galatea Manning that is, being the other: he had met her, and liked her quite a bit. Dr. Manning was more of a dog woman, strong as an oak, old as dirt and opinionated as the day was long. But friendly and pleasant, most importantly she was a kind vet and person. All the same, the majority of her practice was dedicated to farm animals with the odd cat and dog as they came along.
That left All as the sole town vet.
And that had been part of the deal: For him to buy the practice as affordably as it had been agreed to, he would see any and all pets brought in by the community. He could refer them for treatment elsewhere if the problem was out of his specialty or capabilities, or if it was a financial impossibility, but he had to at least see them and offer care if possible.
While All was a cat specialist he had no problem accepting that deal. He was willing to see anything; from turkeys to bisons.
Hell, I’ll take a dragon, anything, he thought as he considered the upcoming bills.
“Wow, Jericho. My own practice. How ‘bout it! We gotta make a go of it buddy. All my money went into this. Every dang penny!”
He slowly caressed the cat’s head, then crossed the parking lot and walked into his clinic.
The doorbell rang on his entry and the two women behind the counter looked up to him at the same time. Thick and thin, he thought. Debbie and Joyvanna, both women were older, both infinitely kind and patient; he had met them and got to know them a bit when he first looked into buying McGroove’s practice.
Debbie Czekaj was big-boned, bubbly and a bit of a smartass, but seemed to like everyone; her ginger brown hair was set in a page boy style and almost reached her shoulders.
Joyvanna ‘Call me Joy’ Ho was thin, more low-key and unassuming; an observant woman whose sense of humor was dry but quick, she had long black and gray hair that flowed loosely down her back.
Hector, Debbie’s brindle pug was napping in the dog bed under the desk by Joy’s side; he barely opened his eyes to a sliver to acknowledge All’s entrance, then closed them again and farted.
“Hector, manners! Doctor, welcome to work, and you brought donuts!” Debbie exclaimed before doing a double take on his shiner, fat lip and gigantic feline. “Good Lord!”
“Hello there Doctor Medley and holy smoke! What happened to you?” Joy asked, straight to the point.
“Ladies. Call me Doctor All, everyone does it. I was semi-mugged last night, but I am okay.”
“A mugging at the Cove?!” Debbie looked shocked.
“Must be an out of towner.” Joy theorized. “From Portland, no, Gresham. Everyone knows Gresham is one of the armpits of Oregon.”
“Whoa now, easy ladies, eeeasy. I am sure Gresham has lots of lovely people, with lovely pets.”
“It’s not Tacoma, after all, the armpit of Washington. Kidding! Just kidding, my aunt lives there!”
Debbie snarked and chuckled as she helped herself to a pineapple and kiwi danish.
The cat on All’s shoulders leapt to the counter with poise and nonchalance, ending any further discussion on the topic.
“This handsome brute is Jericho.” All said and removed the harness as Jericho yawned and stretched in appreciation.
Hector’s eyes popped open, the dog looked at the cat, mute and transfixed with eyebrows raised while the mini panther let the women fawn over him.
Holy dog, thought Hector with a barely audible whine and a worried expression. That sucker is bigger than me. I hope he realizes I am a good dog.
Jericho snuck a sly glance at All; it spoke volumes.
‘You maybe the vet...but I got them under my thumb already.’
All had to agree.
“There he goes: Official clinic cat. No worries; he likes dogs and is your typical laid back black, very laid back.”
“Most handsome clinic cat we ever had yet!” Joy giggled.
The center of attention, Jericho soaked up the love.
“Amazing blue eyes,” Joy added with a tone of wonder. “I have never seen a black cat with blue eyes before.”
“He is one of a kind, they are pretty rare.” All agreed.
In the warm and welcoming company of his staff he began to relax and felt his optimism return.
It’s going to be a good day, he said to himself, but as reached to scratch behind Jericho’s ears the door of the practice slammed open and a distraught woman rushed in and began to prove him wrong.
She was no one anyone had seen before.
Young and overweight, with dirty blond hair and clothing that hadn’t see the right side of a washing machine for a quite a while. Unless seen up close, she wouldn’t stand out in a crowd but for her eyes.
Intense light green eyes that were open wide in guilt and panic.
She held a medium sized yellow dog against her chest; smears of blood marked them both and created a disturbing tableau of hurts and disorder.
“I need help.” She gasped.
All didn’t need to guess. Car on dog: Car always wins. He rushed to her, grabbed the dog from her arms then pivoted on his feet like a dervish and headed for the surgery room. There, two vet-techs ready for action appeared out of nowhere, drawn in by the commotion.
“Hello Doctor All.” The youngest and shorter one, a slender short haired woman waved at him, her eyes on the pup.
“Katie, Tom, hello.”
All laid the yellow dog with the curled tail and pretty vulpine face on the table as Joe turned on the overhead lamp and directed the light on the wound.
“Tom get the x-ray ready. Katie, please get me my stethoscope.”
It was the start of a busy day and while everyone’s attention was taken by the emergency, Jericho strolled out the open door into the warm morning sun.
Outside on the sunlit sidewalk, Jericho took a few minutes to sit and soak in the new day with no disturbances or interruptions; he closed his eyes and paused, he took in the power of the sun as it coated his black fur with heat, the feel of the rough concrete on his toe pads. He inhaled and exhaled the fresh morning air that carried the smell of the ocean as the breeze ruffled his whiskers and stroked his fur. He took it all in for a few more minutes, enjoying the fullness of the experience, then opened his eyes and readied himself for his search.
For he had smelled blood this morning, fresh human blood on the way to Sugar Buns, and again on the trip back. The smell had been disturbing and out of place for the cool, idyllic daybreak. He closed his eyes to slivers and turned his entire focus to analyzing the smell; Jericho opened his mouth and put to work his Jacobson organ, if anyone had noticed him they would thought he was grinning like goof ball.
If a vet or someone more educated in cat anatomy had seen the same they would have thought the same, but also observed that the cat was putting this Jacobson organ at work. Jericho kept inhaling until...
The blood gave off a faint and barely present coppery smell that the breeze sometimes erased; it came from farther afield, and had it been dry or not as copious, he would have missed it.
He inhaled again deeply and picked up an undertone of fear and pain tainting the smell, pheromones always spoke volumes. Whatever had happened had been ugly.
He opened his eyes and chuffed.
“Alright, so maybe this is why God sent me here, to this town: Might as well check it out.”
He spoke softly to himself and was about to walk away when he heard nails skitter behind him.
Hector had escaped in the commotion; the young dog walked right up to him, farted and licked the whole side of his head with his soft tongue.
“I love cats!” He said. “I love you! I am a good dog by the way.”
“You look like a good dog. Dogs are cool,” replied Jericho. “Most of them. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Hector sniffed the air. “You smelled the blood, too, yes?”
“It’s very fresh. Some of it not even dry,” agreed Jericho.
He began to walk away and without thinking it over twice, Hector followed.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
“Want to check out who’s bleeding. Maybe take a bite, feel a tad peckish.”
“OH my...HOLY DOG!” The shocked canine barked and backed away.
“Kidding, kidding.” Jericho considered the busy road and Hector’s pug personality. Flat out telling him not to follow wouldn’t go well. He went for the flattery option.
“You better stay here: You might be needed for protection. What might happen to them if you are not here to watch out for them?”
That was almost enough; Hector reeled with delight at the compliment, stood up a bit straighter, his expression alert, suddenly looking at all passersby as potential serial killers.
What clinched it was the getaway of the fat woman.
The door of the clinic swung open, slammed against the opposite wall with a sound nearly as loud as thunderclap and the woman who had brought in the hurt dog ran out. With a desperate grimace on her face she rushed to the old yellow and dirt colored station wagon car and sped off.
Debbie stood at the entrance, looking perplexed, as she puzzled at the woman’s rushed escape then shrugged and went back into the clinic.
“Don’t worry. I’m all over this! I am not called Hector Brave for nothing.”
Jericho smiled and sauntered off, past the parking lot. Past the sidewalk into a dash through traffic that would have turned All’s hair white on the spot. He then disappeared into the wild bushes, weeds and brambles that made up the yard of the abandoned home across the street.