Crazy Cat Lady Character Spotlights: an ongoing series of flash fiction backstories featuring the cast of the Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mysteries.
Denny leaned back into the leather seat of his shop and stared up at the house.
“Ug,” he muttered to himself, frowning at a front yard filled with debris and garbage. “If it’s like this on the outside, how bad will the inside be?”
He would find out soon enough. Once the owner got home, Denny would be out knocking on that chipped and peeling door. Then the cat litter would hit the fan as it always did when he delivered a warrant to check for animal abuse and neglect. Hoarders never thought of themselves as bad people, and usually they weren’t. Many started out doing good, rescuing cats that no one else wanted. But somewhere along the line things got out of hand. The number exploded; the care became too much; and all the best intentions couldn’t clean up the mess made by an overabundance of unhealthy and unaltered felines.
Though not his favorite task, Special Agent Denny Paris, Humane Investigator didn’t balk. He knew he was doing good for those cats, and that’s what mattered. The potential to help animals was what had drawn him to the job in the first place, those innocents who couldn’t speak for themselves.
Things had been different when he was a kid, he recalled with a degree of sadness. Dogs ran free in packs, and cats roamed the night. No one thought of spaying or neutering. And if someone chained a Pit Bull or “got rid of” kittens, nobody batted an eye. His own father had called him a wimp for crying when he whipped the family dog. Those times, he hated the big man who treated animals as objects, or worse.
Denny had left home when he was seventeen, and his mother followed a year later. Without his willing victims readily at hand, his dad had grown into a mean—meaner—old man. Denny hadn’t talked to his father for half a decade. Last time he went to see the old geezer, he was holed up in a dirty shack much like the one Denny now watched through his windshield. After that, he had lost track.
Wouldn’t it be a hoot, Denny thought to himself, if the hoarder turned out to be Dad. But no—his father had hated cats even more than the dog.
The owner was returning now, an overweight man in his early sixties dressed in disheveled maroon sweats and carrying a bag of groceries and a six-pack of Tab.
Denny sighed and muttered, “Showtime.”
Coming up behind the guy, he put on a smile. “Mr. Goodrich? I’m Special Agent Denny Paris from the Northwest Humane Society. We’ve received a report that you have more than the usual number of cats.”
The Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery Series features a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip, taking crazy to a whole new level.
Do you have a favorite character from the series? A hero you might like to know better? Or perhaps a villain? Leave a note in the comments, and I’ll be happy to reveal a secret or two.