“Cat on Thin Ice”: Excitement in Prague mounts as the city prepares for a hockey game against the Russians. It is a game to celebrate the goodwill between the countries. Feline Intel is alerted when an old enemy is seen in town. News from Brussels confirms suspicions that the happy front is just that, a front. FI is called in when it is known that a cat’s life is in grave danger and its them against time to save him.
“Cat Among the Pigeons”: Life was great on the streets of Strašnice until Zvonek is accused of mercilessly killing pigeons and leaving their ripped bodies strewn all over the street. But its part of a cat’s nature you might say. FI operatives have a code to live by and someone is breaking it, leaving Zvonek to take the blame.
Zvonek stretched out on the big comfortable bed with the thick soft duvet, and closed his eyes. Life was good again; at least for a few days; hopefully weeks, now that the mission was finished. He loved Strašnice, it had been his home for a year now and already he had so many good memories. Bad ones too, but they didn’t count when you had so much to be grateful for. Ahhh…with only one life gone, he could still enjoy himself.
The evening had ended on a good note, although it had not started that way. Zvonek had not called for back-up, leaving him and Honza in a very vulnerable position. Vladimir, his boss, known to them as V, was not happy with them. He felt Zvonek not only compromised the mission, but put their lives in unnecessary danger. However, the job had been done, he and Honza had escaped unscathed, and after a few days, V would see that.
So in true cat fashion, Zvonek stretched out and closed his eyes once more. Remembering all the good things, he slowly drifted off into a daydream of salmon truffles and low fat milk, served by pretty feline waitresses at a luxury resort paid for by Feline Intelligence (FI). This kitty agent was certainly due for some down time. He was, after all Zvonek 08.
Just as the bit of feline fluff in his dream was about to scratch his ear, a shrill noise jolted him back to reality. Mom’s alarm clock! Food. Breakfast. He jumped up, stretched and made for the kitchen. Life was good!
Sometime later after Mom had gone to work, Zvonek was sunning himself in the window, watching the fat juicy pigeons peck at food on the ground, the scroungers, when a sudden movement caught his eye. Something to the left, under the car, he thought. Immediately alert, he tensed and watched the spot intently, waiting. Minutes ticked by: nothing.
Bah! he thought, my nerves are still jittery from the last mission. Just nerves.
Zvonek resumed his grooming, then stretched again. This is great. Warmth, peace—what more…There, the movement again. This time he crept behind the curtain and peered out, obscured from whatever it was under the car. If indeed there was something there. Not entirely convinced that it was just his imagination, he waited and waited, but still nothing.
Hmmm. I am becoming paranoid, he thought, maybe a life short is enough to give me the jitters.
He was just settling down on his cushion by the radiator, when he heard a distinctive and very loud Meeooww outside the bedroom window of the two-room flat where he lived.
“What’s this now?” he growled, knowing full well what, or rather who, it was. He sighed and made his way across the flat to the bedroom, jumped up onto the window ledge, and there as he suspected, was Honza.
Honza was a big cat; if he had been a human, one might have described him as burly. He certainly carried his lion genes well. He was Zvonek’s sidekick and best friend, when he was not interrupting Zvonek’s well deserved naps! The two of them made a striking pair, being opposite in stature and coloring. Zvonek, though smaller, was no less agile or competent in defending himself or protecting the cause of the mission at hand. Honza was completely ginger; Zvonek was almost completely black on his back and white on his under body, the black thinning and giving way to more white around the neck. Two white back legs, and mixed black and white front legs. A handsome tom!
“Hey,” Honza called.
“Hey, yourself. What’s going on? Thought we had decided to get some R&R.”
“Disturbed you from your beauty sleep, did I?”
“Well, wait till you hear what I’ve got to tell you, Zvoni boy; it’s well worth forfeiting your little nap.”
Zvonek lifted the edge of the cat safety net Mom had installed after the accident, and jumped down to meet Honza in the garden. Of course the loose flap at the end was Zvonek and Honza’s secret. She would have a fit if she knew her cat was still able to get out and ‘wander’ freely.
“This had better be good; I was just about to drift off,” he muttered.
“Well,” began Honza, “I was over at the Mau getting breakfast, when at the reception I spotted very familiar luggage being wheeled in.”
“Familiar luggage?” Zvonek was beginning to think that his friend had lost it completely. “You were at the Mau?”
“What do you mean by familiar luggage?”
Honza sighed, “Does the logo of a blood-red ruby on a white cushion mean anything to you?”
Zvonek stared at his friend. He could feel the fur on his back starting to stand up. A chill run through him, even though the day was relatively warm for this time of year. He knew the logo, and Honza knew he did.
“What is she doing back here? Did you see her? Did she see you?”
“One question at a time, little buddy.”
Zvonek let the pet name go. Although Zvonek was of higher rank and superior ability, Honza was bigger than him. It normally irritated him for Honza to call him little buddy. Zvoni he could live with.
“Dunno, no and no.”
Zvonek swished his tail, looked around him, and then back at Honza.
“She’s not going to appear in your garden, Zvoni! She’ll lure you out to some lonely alley and remind you of old times.” Honza winked.
“Very funny.” Even as a joke Zvonek did not want to be reminded of old times. This was what had led to the whole net thing in the first place. Before that, life was free and he didn’t have to have secrets from Mom.
“Here’s a thought, Zvon, maybe she’s on holiday. Prague does have a lot to offer.”
“Yeah, right.” Zvonek’s mind was working overtime. It wasn’t so much Saskia herself that worried him, but what came with her.
“Have you told Vladimir?”
“Nope, came here right from the Mau.”
The Mau was the local hotel which also served really good food. Zvonek and Honza normally ate at the pub opposite the flat, but when they felt like a bit of class, or at least when Zvonek could persuade Honza he needed class, they would eat at the club. Located at the back of the parking lot of a service garage, it looked onto a green lawn and trees. The men who worked at the service garage had been really good to Zvonek when he had come home from the hospital, and kept asking Mom how he had been doing. They would also chat to him if they saw him sitting in the kitchen window as they went past.
“I think we should keep it to ourselves for a while and see what happens.” Zvonek was thoughtful now.
“Don’t you think if V finds out that we knew and didn’t let on that we would be in even more trouble?”
“We’re not in trouble; Vladimir is just a little upset that we didn’t follow his instructions to the letter.”
“A little upset! He broke a nail scratching on the table!”
“Well the job was completed successfully, we’re both safe, and now cats can walk the streets again.”
Honza was not convinced. He loved his friend, but agreed with V that Zvoni could be somewhat of a, what were the words he had used? Loose cannon.
“So what are you going to do?” he asked.
“Yes, Honza, nothing, absolutely nothing. I’m going home to curl up in front of the radiator and take a nap.