Novice Hortense scrubbed the red stones of the vestry while the tuxedo cat watched. As unappealing as the task was, she reminded herself that there were worse things. Far worse.
“I see, I see,” said the novice, “I was just getting to that spot.”
The cat made a sarcastic noise. Hortense sighed and looked up.
“Would you like to help out?”
With a flick of her tail, she indicated that she was just fine where she was, perched in a window.
“That’s what I thought. Now can we get back to the matter at hand?”
A resigned meow indicated yes.
“Now I didn’t get too close, there was something off about him. He was easy to overlook, ordinary, almost too ordinary.”
This elicited a querulous sound.
“I know what it sounds like, but it’s the best description I can come up with.”
Hortense resumed her scrubbing, paying particular attention to the problem spot. When it was finally clean, the tuxedo made a pleased sound.
“I’m delighted you approve but the question is, who was that who hired the finder?”
The cat walked in a circle, sat and stared.
“True, it is very little to go on. If this is beyond the scope of your union, I will settle your contact right now.”
A yowl echoed off the blood red walls.
“Keep it down! The sisters might hear you!”
Ears went down at this.
“I apologize but I must be careful.”
Black and white ears slowly rose.
“You’re welcome. This man might be impossible to find, even with your union’s considerable skills and resources. I say this with all due respect.”
A questioning mrrow was issued.
“That’s an excellent idea!”
Purring filled vestry.
“Follow the finder, her name is Olivia, I’m afraid I don’t have a sur-“
A sudden chatter interrupted her.
“Of course, you know her and her family. That’s an excellent solution.”
Hortense stood and scratched the feline behind her ears, of course from the cat’s perspective, she was given permission to do this. Most people are unaware of this unspoken contract, but Hortense understood. Opening the stained glass window, the tuxedo leapt out and disappeared into the night, as all her kind could do.
Kneeling once more, Hortense continued her chores. She could count on the fact that the floor of the vestry would be dirty again tomorrow but she also could count on the vanity of cats.