To Live and Let Lie:
A Theodore von Pumpernickle Secret Agent Cat Mystery, #1
By day Theodore von Pumpernickel the cat is a big-boned, mild mannered, domesticated Himalayan kitty who lives a quiet life in the seaside village of Venice Beach, California.
At night he is Secret Agent #009, investigating international criminals who seek world domination. Will the evil masterminds and their minions win at last — or will Theodore save the day?
Warning. Top Secret. For your eyes only.
The document you hold in your hands is classified and contains privileged information. If you have stumbled across this record by accident, I urge you to put it down now and simply walk away. Wash your hands thoroughly in case these pages were poisoned. Return to your friends, your family, Facebook, and Farmville. We’ll offer up prayers to the gods that no harm or foul will become you.
Should you choose to continue reading, understand that you do so at your own peril. Please respect that secrecy and discretion are of the utmost importance. Do not share this dossier, or even a snippet of information within it, or you place the lives of others in grave danger. That is never a polite thing to do.
These pages contain damning evidence of glasses that were raised, palms greased, and lives that were cut short all in the name of ‘the greater good’, or what I like to call by its more accurate term: global conspiracy.
Most of the names in this document have been changed to protect the innocent, but I, the author, have not chosen to hide behind a pseudonym. Quite the opposite, I use my real name because I am not a scare-dy cat.
Undoubtedly, you wonder who I am. While my surname denotes a royal background, I was not to the manor born. I have, however, consorted with royalty, swam with sharks, survived torture, and escaped from the most ruthless prisons. Fine, the shark swimming reference was metaphorical.
My name is Pumpernickle.
Theodore von Pumpernickle.
Many people mistake me for a ‘common house cat’. Actually, let me rephrase that: no persons in their right minds would mistake me for a ‘common’ anything. They believe I am a magnificent specimen of a longhaired, domesticated, big-boned, Himalayan mix kitty. I not only endure their misconceptions, but I encourage them: the better to keep my cover intact. Those more trained in the field of espionage, clandestine activities, secrets, and spies know my real identity, and whisper my code name in dark alleys as they carry out their top secret missions.
Theodore von Pumpernickle.
Agent Double O Nine.
My human—because every ‘common house cat’ needs a cover—is Annie Graceland, a sweet thirty-something woman, who, for a brief moment in time, was a suspect in the murder of a famous self-help author. She was completely exonerated: yes, I was forced to call in a few favors on that one.
She dotes on me in between work, baking, hanging out with her friends, and helping ghosts pass to the Afterlife. But enough about her mundane existence. See documents: Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys * Cupcakes, Sales, and Cocktails * Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys * Cupcakes, Paws, and Bad Santa Claus * Cupcakes, Diaries, and Rotten Inquiries * Cupcakes, Bats, and Scare-dy Cats * Cupcakes, Bars, and Rock Stars. The juicy tell-all you hold in your hands; the scandalous tale that you are reading is the first of my memoirs, and decidedly my story.
I am not a celebrity, nor a household name, but if the catnip is talking, I confess that I’ve been leading a double life for quite some time now. By day it appears that I putter around Annie’s tiny apartment, seeking the few rays of sunshine that warm the wood floor, and taking well-deserved naps. I deceived you, didn’t I?
I deceive everyone.
It might appear that I’m sleeping twenty hours out of every day, but underneath my gentle snores, firmly shut eyes, and long luxurious coat, I’m percolating on my newest adventure, the case of the day, or how I can save the world.
The latest intrigue started innocently enough one warm afternoon in Venice, California. Annie was frosting confections in our tiny kitchen when there was a “rap-rap-rap” on our screen door.
“Coming!” she said, walked past me, and paused. “Swear to me that you’ll be on your best behavior, Theodore.” She pointed the spatula at me like a weapon/sword.
I stretched my nose toward it and sniffed. Fresh buttercream. She could go ahead and brandish the utensil closer to my face because I was no stranger to the dangers of frosting.
“It’s only for a few minutes,” she said. “Besides, Eddie is the cutest, most adorable fur baby you’ll meet in your entire life.”
“Fur baby?” She obviously meant ‘baby’. I was the only fur baby around here and that wasn’t going to change any time soon.
The “rap-rap-rap” sounded again, this time louder and more insistent. Perhaps my cover had been blown, and the Russians, or the Chinese, or the North Koreans had come to spirit me away. My gaze shifted between the back door, the ceiling grate, and the lattice that covered the vent in the kitchen wall, tucked away next to the refrigerator as I contemplated possible escape routes. Annie made her way to the entrance, unlocked the chain bolt, and opened the door.
“Mable!” she said. “Welcome! I’m so happy you found the time to stop by.”
“Why go to the cosmetic counter when Mable’s Makeup Mavens comes to you!” The overly-coiffed brunette said and strode into the room on six-inch platform heels like she owned the place. “Thanks for letting me bring Eddie. Poor darling, we’re treating him for separation anxiety. His therapist recommended I only leave him unattended in small increments.”
My spy-dar honed in on the female visitor like a cutting edge HCMS hidden camera. I sized up her fluttery eyelashes, cheap gold plated hoop earrings, and over-priced yoga studio inspired beaded bracelets. Her eyelashes were false and glued on—not extensions, not made of mink. While she might be dressed like she shopped at the World Market Store, I doubted that she worked for a foreign government, or other equally shadowy organizations. Besides, I rather liked babies and was anxious to see the child.
But, Mable was a substantial woman, quite rangy, and I practically kinked my neck as I attempted to peek around her. She placed an oversized designer knockoff satchel on the ground, bent down, and unzipped it. Out wriggled a scrappy blond dog with a few bald spots that could have been the unfortunate cousin of the creature from The Wizard of Oz.
I inhaled sharply and backed away, not knowing whether to hold my ground or jump to the safety of a higher level. The mop-like mutt shook its head, eyed me, and barked. What manner of torture was I going to be subjected to now? Or was this thing just going to irritate me to death one yip at a time?
But I had promised to be nice, and Annie had assured me this would only be required for a brief moment in time, and then I assumed my world would return to normal. I liked normal. Besides, I was a cat of my word, and prided myself on keeping my promises. Therefore, I counted to ten, took several deep calming breaths, and composed a welcome greeting.
“Felicitations Creature with the Bad Hair,” I said. “This probably feels as awkward to you as it does to me, but we’re both responsible adults—well at least I am—and we can handle this with aplomb. My name is Pumpernickle. Theodore von—”
“Where’s your kibble, cat? I’m hungry.” The dog skittered around the corner into the kitchen.
This might not be an infiltration by a foreign government, but it was still an assault, nonetheless. I feared what started off as a simple domestic visit had suddenly gone horribly wrong. “Don’t touch my food!” I hollered and raced after the intruder with the bad hair.
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To Live and Let Lie Copyright © 2016 Pamela DuMond. All rights reserved. Pamela DuMond Books.