Now that peace was restored to the Mallory Arms, Mrs. Templeton added some shortbread cookies to my dinner bag from Big Al's. A reward for my service, I supposed. I was already munching on one when the elevator opened onto the second floor, my floor. As was the annoying tradition in my life, Miss Sarah's poodle, Buttons, was yipping away as I passed by her door. Then at Room 205, my humble abode now ever since my ex-wife Margo sent me packing years ago, I could hear the mournful meowing of Boo. I know cats can't talk but I swear Boo comes close. For example. At that moment, Boo was giving me h*ll, "It's about time you got here."
"Sorry, Boo. Duty called." But Boo would have none of it. He had this way of walking away in a huff with his tail held high, switching back and forth, that somehow put me in my place. He would then make that remarkable spring from the floor to the table and there await his share.
But first, my badge and gun in the Friar Tuck cookie jar, my herringbone jacket over the kitchen chair, one highball glass with three cubes of ice, and the latest edition of Southern Comfort. Then ... "Now, Boo. A sub for me and some ham for you."
As we ate away and talked the talk that crusty old bachelors and their cats do make, both Boo and I felt the presence nearby of another soul. There in the window that provides exit to the fire escape, sat in all good composure and dignity, a plush, gray cat, a lady it would appear. She was either having an interest in Boo, the handsome devil that he was, or quite possibly the allure of Big Al's cuisine. "Shall we ask her in, Boo?" He gave a nonchalant shrug. She was in.
It was good to have company.
Near midnight, Miss Gray and Boo went for a stroll out the fire escape. I slept in the chair and Boo came home in the morning.