Cat Among Fishes (The 9 Lives Cozy Mystery Series, Book 5)
by Louise Clark
COMING FALL 2019 “Offshore fish farms are lethal to other marine life.” The environmentalist pitched his voice to a conversational level, but his eyes flashed with outrage. “Progressive Salmon Farms Worldwide has pioneered eco-friendly open water salmon pens. Our site here in Loyal Scotsman’s Bay is perfect for our new technologies and takes into account all of the environmental concerns that surround older fish farms.” Stormy the Cat wiggled his shoulders free of Christy’s tote bag. I don’t care if it’s raining. This reminds me of the time Gerry Fisher insisted I go to the official opening of the new Jamieson Ice Cream factory when I was sixteen. Stupid speeches and a ribbon cutting. Boring! I’m out of here. “Prove it!” the environmentalist said. The PSF representative reddened. “If you read our literature—” “Your literature is spin doctored and full of falsehoods!” The small audience, bored by the sales pitch, perked up at the possibility of a battle, but Stormy wasn’t interested. Nor was Noelle. As the cat stepped daintily out of the tote Christy had lowered, Noelle tugged on her sleeve. “I want to go too, Mom.” Christy nodded. “Okay. Keep an eye on Noelle, Frank.” She was whispering, though she didn’t have to. Voices were raised as the arguments heated up. Sure. Tail high, Stormy trotted away. Noelle skipped along beside him. Together they slipped through the door, still open wide, welcoming everyone to the information meeting. Their destination was a Plexiglas tank the size of a swimming pool. Visible through a big plate glass window, it was a mock up of the projected fish farm and designed to show PSF’s environmentally friendly features. Noelle and the cat paused before it, apparently fascinated by the juvenile salmon swimming lazily in their small ecosystem. Christy turned away from the window and glanced around the room. She saw that Ellen was standing close to Trevor. Were they holding hands? She couldn’t quite see from her position, but she hoped it might be. Tamara was between Sledge and Quinn. Her expression was one of interest, while Sledge appeared to have drifted off into another dimension. Quinn was watching the door. Christy’s heart leapt. Was he worried about Noelle being out on her own? The rain that had driven them inside had stopped now and the clouds were slowly drifting away. Mellow late afternoon sun glinted off Plexiglas tank. Christy was contemplating ways of leaving this charged and very political meeting without causing too much of a stir when there was a splash and the sound of a body hitting water. She heard Noelle scream, “Daddy!” Christy whirled about. In the Plexiglas tank the juvenile salmon were now swimming in an agitated way, while Noelle was charging up the stairs to the wooden walkway that encircled the tank, a mock up of the floating docks that would be the visible evidence of the real thing. Before Christy could even begin to move, Noelle arrived at the walkway, tore across it, and leapt into the water. Inside the tank the salmon swam about even more frantically than before. Christy headed for the door at a run, but Quinn got there first. Sledge followed him out and as Christy burst from the doorway, she saw that Quinn was at the stairs. He took them two at a time, reached the top and was across the walkway in one stride. He dove into the tank and swam for Noelle. Sledge followed closely behind Quinn and with a whoop, he too jumped into the tank. There was a gasp from the crowd. Now at the base of the staircase, Christy heard the PSF rep shriek, “My fish!” She glanced back at the demonstration building. The PSF rep was leading the charge out and he looked ready to kill.