When Hoppy Met Denver
Hoppy: I was here first. Mom came looking for me… I mean, she told this nice lady who rescues doggies that she would foster one, and the lady called her and told her they had a ‘special case’. That’s me! I’m the special case. I think that means something really good. (I only know all this because Mom tells this story all the time, and she doesn’t know I understand) They needed a foster mom who was home most of the time because they had a puppy that had been found alive in a puppy mill, but one of his legs had to be am-potatoed. That was me!!
Anyhoo, she took me home and looked after me, and we fell in love with each other and lived happily ever after! The End.
Not really the end… I was just kidding. I’m glad I stayed. Jaymie needs me. I help when she’s investigating, and I helped even more when Joel dumped her.
Denver, growling: The jerk! I don’t even say his name out loud. I could have told her he was up to no good. He smelled wrong.
Hoppy: Now tell everyone how you ended up living at Mom’s house, Denver!
Denver: First off, my name didn’t start out as Denver. It was Scram, or Getoutofhere, or ScatCat! I never had a real name. I lived with an old lady for a while when I was a kitten, but when she went away and her kids came to clean and sell the house, they kicked us all out.
It was the middle of a freezing cold Michigan winter when I was driven out to the country and dropped off. I tried to join up with a gang at a farm, but the ladies drove me off, said they didn’t want any of my kind around. I guess at that point ‘my kind’ meant male and intact. I scrounged a meal or two then hit the road, sleeping in sheds and garages, heading back to town. It was a tough time. By summer I was back in Queensville and I stayed with a family for a while—they just called me Here Kitty—but then winter came and they closed up their house and left. Never told me anything, just up and took off one day while I was out and about.
And people wonder why I’m crabby.
Hoppy, jumping around: Get to the part where you meet us!
Denver: I will, I will! Stop licking me! Hoppy, get off me! (sighing) I put up with a lot.
It was fall, almost winter. I was chased out of about every backyard in town by humans or dogs and even one hulking, mangy brute of a tomcat. He said it was his turf, and I wasn’t welcome. Then one day I was skulking beneath some bushes and saw this lady in her backyard playing with a dog. I don’t like dogs, but those two were having fun playing tag, and I noticed he kind of wobbled when he ran, ‘cause he only had three legs.
He was different, and she liked him that way. But if she was a dog person, then she probably wasn’t a cat person. People always say that, either they’re a cat person or a dog person. I wondered, was there anyone who was both?
Hoppy: So you came to live with us and we lived happily ever after! The End.
Denver, sighing: You’re such a… such a dog!
Hoppy: You say that like it’s a bad thing.
Denver: As I was saying… I watched for a day or two, and she saw me watching her. She put out a bowl of clean water, and did it taste good after mud puddles! Then she left out some food… chicken breast. (Licking his lips) It was so good! Mice are all right, and almost anything will do in a pinch, but real food… that’s almost as good as being warm and dry. I found a space under the porch (I was still skinny enough to get under there then) and hung around, just watching. She knew I was there, I could feel it.
Hoppy: So then you came to live with us and we lived happily ever after. The e—
Denver: Not yet! It took a few days before I trusted her enough to come out and eat the food while she was there. By then I was gun shy, and I do mean gun shy. Someone shot bbs at me once; good thing the kid had crummy aim and ended up nicking his dad’s car instead. And a squirrel’s tail. Anyway, I didn’t know the nice woman’s name yet. Hoppy was out in the yard once and he just called her Mom.
But to me she’s Jaymie, and I’ll tell you how I know; she told me. She sat down cross-legged in the middle of her yard, away from the plate of tuna she left on the porch for me, and just talked. She told me her name. She told me Hoppy’s name, and how he came to live with her (by the way, the dog has it mostly right) and then she said… she said I could come in the house, if I wanted.
Then she walked into the house, leaving the door open.
I slunk through that door into her warm kitchen. There was a doggie bed by the stove and a thick blanket in the utility room on top of the dryer, where it was warm but up out of the dog’s way. There was a catnip treat on the blanket on top of the dryer.
And then… say it, Hoppy!
Hoppy: We lived happily ever after! Awoo!
Denver: What he said. I know I seem crabby, but this is the happiest I’ve ever been. Even living with a dog.
Hoppy: The End!
To read more about Hoppy, Denver and Jaymie’s adventures pick up A Deadly Grind and Bowled Over, Books 1 and 2 of the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries by Victoria Hamilton.
Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym for author Donna Lea Simpson. As Victoria she writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley (Book 1 – Bran New Murder – September 3rd, 2013) Victoria loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and writing mysteries. Check out her webpage for all the latest: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com and find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton
See Melissa’s review of Bowled Over here.