A Girl Has To Do What She Can To Get What She Wants.

They’ve got a Phrase for situations like this: Too Convenient.

Ey, Fox, ya gimma hand with dis?

Yeah, Foxy. Looks like he mighta bit off more than he can chew with me.

“I’m…. just out here to get my mail, Mutt.”

I don

I don't blame those birds for staring.

Well now that’s not a very nice way to talk to him, Foxy, she purrs, amused.

“It’s his name.”

Yeah, he taps the ticket book against his thigh, an he’d like ta know where yall been while dis little kitty been gone on a crime spree!

Yes, her tail draped over the top of the car door, I think I’d like to hear this one too.

I can feel my jaw stiffening automatically. “I’ve been busy.”

Rite, wit da infamous case of da stoned Walrus, scoffs Mutt, arms akimbo, Where was it he’d cunninly hidden da grass?

His back pocket! pipes up Max.

Mutt rolls his eyes. Yeah, took all yer energy to crack dat one. Cassie snickers.

“Ok, let’s do this without Joel and the Bots.” I pull Cassie out of the car, then shoo the other two off.

Oooh, getting rough already?

“Look, we both know why I haven’t been taking your cases.”

Was I that obvious?

“No, cause those two,” I nod at where the Mutt and the Mouse are giving me He-Man Woman Haters Club looks, “haven’t figured it out yet. But honestly. Setting up that whole tableau of nonsense to cover stealing an autographed baseball? You hate baseball. You told me after that was the first place I took you.”

Yeah, but I love money. So what?

“So where was the money in slipping my witness knock-out drugs at every bar he went to? Getting that bear back awake in the morning was a nightmare!”

Takes one to know one.

“Oh, you want this to get personal. Course, I already knew that, from when you decided Buford Bull tapdancing was good enough misdirection to pull a daylight museum theft? You know what that’s gonna remind me of.”

This might come as a bit of a shock, Foxy, she leans against the hood of the car and surveys her nails disinterestedly, but this thing you always do, where you explain the criminal plot before you arrest the girl? Isn’t exactly news to her, it was her plot first.

“Did her plot include the part where I obviously refuse to take the hint? Cause, if it gets to the point where you’re deliberately speeding in front of my house, then maybe you might want to consider-”

Well if you refuse to see me or talk to me what else am I supposed to do?!

“I have a PHONE you know! This might come as a shock, Cassie, but normal people manage to interact on a daily basis WITHOUT one of them having to commit felonies!”

Feh. Like I could get your attention any other way. Tell me, Foxy, how many felonies has SHE commited lately?

“Cassie, thin ice-”

And when was the last time you took her out, hmm?

I take a deep breath. Ok, Fox, think with your brain. She’s trying to play you, don’t get mad, don’ get jealous. She’s the one being unreasonable, right? Just remember that. “So, what do you expect me to do, here? Show up every time your paws got sticky, laugh it off, and take you dancing?”

She looks at me coldly for a sec. Maybe you’re right. After all, you’re not the only dog with a badge. Maybe I oughta broaden my business relationships a little.

“Except you already did, didn’t you?”

The smile only makes her look colder. Well, it’s kinda up to the cop where he pulls you over. Funny that Cheif Mutt picks right in front of your place. What’re the odds, right?

I’m just shaking my head slowly at this point. “See, this is why I was staying away. You never just talking, it’s always gotta be some game with you.”

Life’s a game, foxy. And a girl has to do what she can to get by.

“Or who.”

She shrugs, so icy she could feed cows vanilla extract, chocolate, and strawberries and have em give neopolitan. Well, if you don’t like it, next time I send you an invitation, have the sense to answer. Or you’re just gonna get left out in the rain again. Don’t think either of us want that, do we?

I don’t give her the satisfaction of watching her sunter off, look at Mutt through her eyelashes, say she wishes there was something she could do to get out of this ticket. Aslan, thought that guy was untouchable, too. I head back to the house, to think.

To think about where she’s gonna hit next, how I’d do it if it was me, where I need to be to head her off even before she gets in. One of these days that girl is gonna get too confident and put a paw wrong. They have a phrase for that: Too Bad. And as often as she’s stabbed me in the back, she doesn’t deserve Too Bad.

Not yet at least.

Next time I won’t leave her standing in the rain.

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