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The Heinz Ketchup American. An Ophelia Perhaps Mystery. Part 2.

A turn for the worse

Ti Jean is my gray striped rescue tomcat. He’s 17 years old, I think, but I’m not sure. My vet, Mr. Mukhurgee, says Ti Jean is in good health but a little overweight. At each visit, Mr. Mukhurgee also says he’s going to retire the next month. I tell him there is no way he can retire. He has to wait till after Ti Jean has died.

Ti Jean is also the only connection to my ex-husband. Robert Perhaps is British, and he and I were married for six years. We had a fairly amicable divorce except when it came to the cat. Robert wanted Ti Jean and I insisted on having Ti Jean, so we have to share him; right now it’s my six months with that little contentious ball of fluff till September 30. Dr. Mukhurjee says maybe I overfeed Ti Jean because I feel so awful that he has also to live with Robert. I’m the only one who takes Ti Jean to the vet.

Robert named him Ti Jean after Jack Kerouac. Robert has read On the Road about ten times. That’s what Kerouac’s mother called him, “Ti Jean.” Kind of like Johnny. And I am GOING to change that name as soon as I come up with something I like.

My cell rings as I’ve just set down some Fancy Feast for Ti Jean.

“Is this Perhaps?”

“Yes, is this Den- . . .”

“It’s Dennis . . .”

“Yeah, hi, Den- . . .”

“Hey. Oscar’s taken a turn for the worse, and his wife asked that you come down here. We’re all in the waiting room at the hospital.”

“Oh, yeah, well, that’s good. Okay. Which part of the hospital are – ?”


“On my way, then. First I just have to . . .“

He’d hung up.

I walked past the trash and recycle bins to my MINI. The windows were absolutely sparkling. This was odd. I never clean my windows. Maybe that kid Ollie next door did me a random act. But, as I pushed my key into the car door lock, I snapped my head up to see the edge of a black coat going round the fence corner. Had someone touched my car? I like clean windows, but I checked around the car for bombs, like my cousin Cyril had shown me when he got back from Afghanistan. Look for anything out of place, out of alignment, not quite where it should be. Observation can save your life. Okay, there was a flyer for a concert under the wiper blade, but I balled it up and threw it in the back seat

Who was this Mr. Heinz Ketchup American? Could he be that guy from Dover, maybe? Or the creep from San Sebastian? One of my brother’s friends? Hmmm. I should probably call my brother. Not right now, though. Mom made me promise I’d keep an eye on Alexander. Just not right now. Sorry, Mom

I’ll ask the neighbors later if they’d seen anything, starting with Sarala, the breakfast server, who gets to our house at seven every morning. I turned the key in the ignition, half expecting a James Bond explosion. But, no. All that happened was that my car started.

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