Devin’s Tails: Help Wanted

blackcatBy Devin O’Branagan

I slept in, stretched, and slipped out of bed. I could hear Paul down in the kitchen banging pots and pans, fixing us breakfast. I had chosen a good man. Morning ablutions complete, I went down the winding staircase and padded into the sunny breakfast nook where Paul had already served me up a plate of scrambled eggs, topped with a dash of caviar. I kissed him and took my place at the table, enjoying the morning sun as it streamed through the bay windows. Paul smiled that glorious smile he reserved just for me. My heart melted. Then he topped off my small china teacup with cream—not half-and-half, but rich, luxurious cream—he knew what I liked. Was I lucky, or what?

He rattled the newspaper, snapping open the sports section, and disappeared behind it. “Ruby, the new cleaning lady, is coming this morning, and this afternoon Angelo will be here to deadhead the roses and plant new fruit trees.”

My heart fluttered; I had a thing for Angelo. Well, we had a thing for each other. He always sang Italian love songs to me in his deep baritone while caressing my body with surprisingly gentle, though calloused, hands. What can I say? I have a passionate nature.

“I’ll be home late tonight, but Ruby will serve you dinner before she leaves.”

Late? He must be planning to spend time with his secretary again. I gave him my best evil eye, but it didn’t penetrate the wall of paper. I sighed. Good thing we had an understanding … of sorts.

I glanced at the classified ads on the table and pulled them closer so I could read. One ad in particular caught my eye.

Paranormal Investigative Agency looking for vampire slayers, demon hunters, superheroes, ghostbusters, mediums, fortune tellers, psychic healers, and one mystical back cat. Apply in person.

I noticed the address was only two blocks away, at the old Victorian home that recently housed an antique dealer. I had always secretly wanted to be a PI. And I was as psychic as they came. I’d directed so many ghosts into the light lately that this old mansion had become a big bore with no earthbound spirits left to liven things up. My life was boring. I spent days watching TV, working on my nails, and taking long, luxurious baths followed by lazy naps. I know Paul wanted me to have babies—he dropped enough hints about how the pitter patter of little feet would fill this big house with joy. I didn’t know how to break the news that I didn’t have a maternal bone in my body. I longed for adventure and independence. When Paul left the table to refill his coffee cup, I quietly used my sharpest nail to cut the ad out of the paper and then stuck it under my placemat.

After Paul went to work, I stuffed the ad into my Mojo bag and, when Ruby arrived, slipped outside. Toting my bag with me, I walked to the Paranormal Investigations Agency. I passed several of my friends along the way but didn’t stop to chat. I was on a mission.

A warm day, the front door was wide open. A little thrill passed through me as I crossed the threshold. The woman at the front desk wore a nametag: SALLY the PSYCHIC.

I smiled and tested her psychic skills. I’m Scheherazade, but my friends call me Sherry. I’m here to apply for a job. I dumped the contents of my Mojo bag out onto her desk. The tiny silver bell from my mother’s collar reminded me of her love, the blue feather from the bird who got away served to keep me humble, and the catnip provided a midday pick-me-up. I turned the ad to face her.

Her smile lit up the room. “Oh, as far as black cats go, you are the mystical cat’s meow, Sherry. Welcome to PIA.” She patted a gold cushion on the corner of her desk. “This will be your station in between jobs. Make yourself comfortable. The adventures are about to begin.”

My purr resonated through a multitude of dimensions. No longer would my days be dull.

Copyright © 2014 – Devin O’Branagan

Devin O’Branagan is a bestselling author who writes novels about uncommon heroes. Her genres include young adult urban fantasy, paranormal thrillers, comic mysteries, and fiction about dogs and cats. She is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, the Cat Writers’ Association, and many of her writing projects support animal rescue. Her books have been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books in English, Heyne Verlag in German, and Dogan Egmont in Turkish. All of her books are available in both print and eBook formats. Visit her website at DevinWrites.com, and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

More from Devin O’Branagan:

Devin’s Tails: And the Angels Gathered

Devin’s Tails: Diva Dog Meets Mr. Cool

Devin’s Tails: Super Cat! A Calico Hero

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  1. Devin O'BranaganFebruary 14, 2014 at 8:52 pmReply

    Marni! So pleased you enjoyed my story. Well, I just may turn this into a novel one day. However, what is actually next is “The Twilight Bone,” the prequel to “Show Dog Sings the Blues.” It’s about a supernatural haunting that Talisman the Australian Shepherd is called upon to ghost-bust. It promises to be a fun novella. I expect release within the next six weeks and will announce it here when available!

  2. Marni ChartierFebruary 12, 2014 at 2:32 pmReply

    I love your story, Devin… You have me **hooked** – what comes next??… :0

  3. Devin O'BranaganFebruary 10, 2014 at 11:18 pmReply

    That wasn’t my intention when I wrote the story, but it struck me the same way, Jenny. It’s now on my list of novels to write!

  4. JennyFebruary 10, 2014 at 7:09 pmReply

    Great, fun story! Feels like the first chapter of my next favorite novel!

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