Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 31


As Cally gazed at him, Marna’s words came back to her, and she recognised the wisdom of the American girl’s insight. She could see for herself the tiredness in his face and the pain around his eyes. He did such a great job of covering it up, it was easy to forget what he’d been through. But more than any of that, she could see his regret, too.

“Thanks. I’m sorry, too. I was upset about a lot of different things, and it all kind of blew up at once.” She tilted her head to indicate the walking stick. “How’s your leg?”

He rolled his hand back and forth over the handle for a moment and sighed.

“I thought I’d got rid of this for good. But it’ll pass.”

They moved apart to allow a mother with a buggy to pass between them on the narrow pavement. Cally looked around. The main street mid-afternoon wasn’t the best place for a heart to heart.

“Do you fancy getting a coffee somewhere? Ged has some tables in the garden at the back of the pub,” she said, with a glance at Annie.

They had the garden to themselves, and took a table in the sunniest, most sheltered spot. Ged himself brought out coffee and toasted teacakes, and a dish of water for Annie. Then, after a brief word of sympathy about the break-in, he left them alone.

As Tim stretched out his legs, he seemed to relax slightly, perhaps because of the sun’s warmth, or perhaps he had been braced for a different outcome when he met Cally.

“From what you said last night, one of the things you were upset about is the business,” he said, spreading a generous layer of golden butter on his teacake and licking his finger and thumb. “I’m sorry. I thought that had settled down. Is there anything I can do? Apart from closing my place down, that is.”

She managed a wry smile at that.

“Marna has compiled a chart that shows business has slipped back a bit, and it dates from when you opened. But Marna and I were both thinking about it last night and we have a few ideas.”

Last night had been long and sleepless as she fretted about things, but Cally had always been one to look for solutions rather than just stew over a problem.

“We’re going to start by pinching your idea of an open day so that people can see how little your kennels have affected things. And I’m thinking about some kind of loyalty scheme, too.”

Tim was nodding his approval.

“They’re both good ideas. And will you let me pay for a series of ads in the local newspapers? It’s the least I can do.”

Cally was about to say no, but then decided to accept the offer in the spirit in which it had been made.

“Thanks, I would appreciate that.”

He reached out and took her hand, and she relished its warm reassurance.

“We’ll fix this, Cally. Together, we’ll fix it all.”

****

It was a few days later that Tim saw an unfamiliar car pull into the turning circle of his yard.

He stood up from his desk, unconsciously testing his leg. The pain had receded significantly and already he could feel it getting stronger again. Even so, he reached for his walking stick. He hated using it, but recognised that its support was all part of the healing process.

Two men were clambering out of the car, both in nondescript suits, collars and ties. They didn’t look like customers.

“Morning! Can I help you?” he greeted them from the doorway.

“Matthew Timmons?” He nodded, and they each produced a police detective warrant card. “Detective Sergeant Wilson, and Detective Constable Butler. We’ve been investigating your break-in.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.