Stinger and Stingee.

I don’t usually like stings. There’s too much that can go wrong, and too much that can go south if something does go wrong. Normally I won’t have nothing to do with ’em. But every now and then I get talked into loitering a bit in the general area with a bag that looks like Batman punched it. Just in case.

Ah, the majesty of FOOD COURT

Now, when you hear there’s a heist going down at the mall, who do expect is the target? Jewelry store, maybe? Electronics? Some of those ritzy designer duds, at least. Something somebody can pawn for a decent amount.

Nope. I’m apparently spending my Saturday afternoon wandering around the Nothing But Shoe Stores and Food Courts mall because some pink-backed hairless monkey wants a new pair of sneakers.

Moreover, a pink-backed hailess monkey that can’t even evade a mall security guard.

Why do I even bother?

But I insist that I’m innocent! he’s whining.

Now you just settle down, there, mister! says the guard. He sounds like my third-grade teacher.

I look at him closely. “Max? Have we seen this guy before?”

Why d’ya say that?

“I dunno. He looks familiar.”

But my innocence! I insist on it!

I head over, still pissed off at wasting time on small potatoes like this. I could be cracking that animal trafficking ring–this frog that escaped was ready to blow the whole operation open for us. I could be running down those swan pornographers. I could be slapping the cuffs on that voodoo hypnotist hotdog thief–hear he just raises his hand, and people just pass him their hotdogs like it was nothing.

But no, I’ve gotta go say “Cram it, Pinky. Unless you wanna explain why the store sold you shoes that don’t match.”

Uh…

“Course, that don’t say much for your shoplifting skills, if you can’t even figure out to take two shoes outa the same box. Take him away.”

……me? says the guard, apparently mystified

I sigh. “You think I mean Barbara Bush the Beaver over there?”

As he’s being dragged away, still insisting and I notice scuffing up his new shoes, Cassie steps out of the store and sidles up. Well, she purrs, Look who got himself a big bust. Careful, Foxy, or they’ll be thinking you’re too hot. I mean, solving all those sneaker heists. She grins.

“Get stuffed, Cat. You handed me a rotten tip and you know it.”

She twirls her tail. Maybe. But maybe you’re not the only cop a girl has to get around now and again. And maybe SOME people aren’t interested in… well, the sort of compensation you like. So maybe a girl has to do somebody’s rival a favor if she wants to keep out of sing.

“You mean… Lupo?!”

I hear Officer Lupo just brought in some Voodoo Hotog Midget. Lucky him, huh? She flashes that grin again. See you around, Foxy.

See what I meant about too much going wrong? Even when the sting works, seems like I’m always the one who gets stung.

The Final Word.

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