by Anna Larson from Fat Cat at Large, first in the Fat Cat mystery series by Janet Cantrell
My name is Anna Larson and I’m the co-owner of the Bar None. Come on in and I’ll let you sample some of our dessert bars. We’re always working on new recipes, so you can visit often. You can see how conveniently we’re located, in charming Dinkytown, right off the campus of the University of Minnesota.
If you should see a butterscotch tabby wandering around, let me know. Quincy is supposed to stay in the office during business hours. Since Charity Oliver, his owner, put him on that awful diet with that horrible diet cat food, he’s ravenous all the time. Poor baby. I do what I can to slip him something to eat, but I have to be careful Charity doesn’t see me. That upsets her.
Have a seat on the kitchen stool and I’ll pour you a glass of lemonade. That will go well with the Hula Bar you selected. Not that stool. It’s the squeaky one. Let me take it.
Yes, it does smell good in here. I baked all morning. It should smell like cherries and chocolate. I did the Hula Bars last night.
Do you have a minute? Can I tell you my problem? I’m worried lately about Charity, my beloved business partner. A lot of people call her Chase, but I much prefer her real name. She’s like a second granddaughter to me, almost a daughter, since I helped raise her. But we’re having a bit of difficulty establishing our new relationship. I want her to be an equal partner, and I think she wants that, too. But our old ties are well established. I’m her surrogate combination mother and grandmother, after all.
Oh, there’s Quincy! How did he get out? It’s almost closing time. I’ll flip the sign in front and tell the counter workers they can leave. Then I can leave him here. He likes to go on crumb patrol when we close up. Yes, he is adorable. And very smart. You know, Charity brought him back with her from Chicago.
She hasn’t told me everything that happened to her in Chicago, I know. She went there to work for a while, but came back in very bad spirits. I’m sure there’s a lot more to the story than just losing her job. I’m being patient and do hope she opens up to me soon.
Do you need another Hula Bar? Some more lemonade? No, you sit still. I’ll get it. I’m not old yet. I’m barely over seventy, but I heard that awful Gabe Naughtly call me an old woman the other day. The nerve of that man. He’s nearly my age, too. I wouldn’t call seventy-one old, would you?
There’s one more thing on my mind. Money has been missing from our till at night when I tally up the day’s income. The way Charity has been acting so strange, I almost think…no, I will not think that. I should enlist my actual granddaughter, Julie, who is her best friend. But would that be a bad thing for me to do? Asking Julie to spy for me?
Yes, you’re right. I shouldn’t enlist her. I’ll just keep my ear to the ground.
It looks like Quincy likes you. Are you a cat person? That’s good. Have some more lemonade, then I should start cleaning up. Charity will be back from the grocery store soon and we’ll do some baking for tomorrow. I love having a dessert bar shop!
Janet Cantrell is the National Bestselling Author of FAT CAT AT LARGE, the first book in the Fat Cat Mysteries. Check out her blog.
Janet also writes a Kaye George.