Jenny didn’t sleep, well in truth she never expected to. She had made a lovely cup of hot chocolate and sploshed a generous measure of whisky in it. That usually did the trick but not tonight.
After all the hard work, she’d climbed up to bed leaving the house looking almost back to normal. The little table had been packed into a big bin bag. There was a place down in town where they might be able to mend it, providing it wouldn’t cost too much and who knew in this day and age. Quite often it was cheaper to buy new but the new things were rarely the same quality and they didn’t have the little memories soaked into them.
One thing that Jenny was absolutely determined about though was that she wasn’t going to let this horrible thing spoil enjoyment of her home and her peace. All you had to do was face it, put it in perspective and move on. The damage had in fact been minimal and the mess was cleaned up. The thing that was causing her to toss and turn and fidget was that blasted box. She knew without the merest shadow of a doubt that it had been there when she left for the vet’s office. So, was it that the horrors who had ransacked her home had taken it for nefarious reasons of their own? The other option caused her more concern. Had the people who had invaded her space come specifically for the box and the rest was simply subterfuge and nastiness.
In the dark of her bedroom she sat up and tried to sort out her thoughts. If the burglars had been children, who knew what their thought processes were. They could have taken the box for just about anything. If it was the men from the garage how on earth could they possibly have known where she lived? No, it just wasn’t logical. It must have been children, youths whatever you wanted to call them. Well, she could think of a few names but stewing and worrying at it wasn’t going to make any difference. She lay down and pulled the duvet up around her chin but the feeling of disquiet wouldn’t leave her.
The next morning Jenny needed to bring Rags back from the vet and before that she wanted to go to the wet fish shop for a treat for him. During the trip to town she would call in to see the butcher. She wanted to know just what he had written on the note pushed under the garage door. Although it was for certain that he would have been cautious it might help to set her mind at rest to have him confirm it.
“Hello there Mr Morton.”
“And a good morning to you my dear. How are you?”
“Oh, I’m alright thank you.”
“Well you don’t look your chirpy self if you don’t mind me saying so. Has something gone wrong with that old cat?”
“Well, no it’s not that. You see I’ve had a robbery.”
“Oh that’s rotten. Was much taken? You poor thing, I’m so sorry. The buggers, oh excuse me, it just makes me so angry.”
The honesty behind his reaction nearly brought more tears but Jenny steeled herself. She was proud and made of pretty stern stuff and kindness was nothing to cry about now was it?
“No, as a matter of fact nothing was taken, just a mess and a bit of damage. I suppose it wasn’t that bad really, but it shook me up I have to admit.”
“Well of course it did, of course it did, you poor thing. I don’t know, we do live in nasty times don’t we?”
“Oh well, there are a lot of good people about. Yourself for instance.” She gave the butcher a quick smile. One thing she didn’t want to do was to reduce the conversation into a session bemoaning the state of society.
“Mr Morton, please don’t read anything into this but I did just want to ask. When you left the note at the garage what did you put?”
“Oh, I see what you mean. No, no I didn’t go into any details, no, no of course not. I just said that a cat had been trapped and we had rescued him. I felt that was vague enough.” The big man’s eyes cloudy with worry. “Oh, my goodness. You don’t think it could have been because of that do you? If I thought I was in any way to blame for your trouble. Oh my word.”
“No, no don’t upset yourself. I’m sure that was fine.”
“Ah but it wasn’t, was it? I mentioned a cat didn’t I? Now everyone knows you are the lady who feeds the cats. Even if they didn’t they’d only have to be around for a couple of days and see the little beggars trouping down to your yard. Oh, how stupid. I am so sorry.”
“No, no please Mr Morton don’t worry, after all what else could you say?”
“Here, here take this. He plonked a great piece of pork onto a paper, wrapped it and pushed it across the counter to her.”
“No, now come on Mr Morton don’t be silly I can’t take that.”
“Take it, take it. I feel as though I have done something stupid. Please take it and I’ll feel better. Cut it up for you and the cats. Please. Oh, what an idiot I am. I should have made up some sort of story, oh dear.”
He was so upset she didn’t tell him about the box. He was already getting into a state and she didn’t want to make matters worse but the conversation had actually confirmed what in truth she had been suspecting. The men from the garage had come to take the box back hadn’t they?