Detectives Thomas J. Cullen and Stanley J. Boogerton, on a rare day off from their grueling job as Crooked Acres’ premiere detective squad (they recently solved the infamous “Who done killed that cave cricket, ate it, and barfed it upon The Momma’s bed?” case resulting in the arrest and banishment of one Sugar J. Buttocks), have decided to spend the day relaxing in the bright sunshine.
Detective Cullen, however, spots something out of place in the grass. His detective senses go on alert and tell him that something here is terribly wrong.
Concerned, he moves in for a closer look.
After sniffing around for a few minutes on his own, he realizes that this job is more than one detective can handle alone, and he calls in the reinforcements.
Detective Boogerton, the grizzled, cranky veteran detective who has seen it all, is disgruntled that his day off has been interrupted.
As he sees the bright yellow evidence, however, he is stunned into silence.
As Detective Cullen keeps a wary eye out for the culprit, Detective Boogerton examines the evidence and has but one question.
“Who would do such a heinous thing? Who would play with a yellow tennis ball and then ABANDON it where kitties are wont to spend their time in peace and quiet? Who, I ask you, Cullen? WHO?”
No answer seems forthcoming from the evidence, and Cullen and Boogerton stand in disbelief, staring around as if perhaps the culprit will make himself known, the book can be thrown at the evil genius who has pulled off this crime, arrests can be made, and the feline population of Crooked Acres (a number widely believed to be between seven and nine) can go back to purring in the sun.
They do not, however, spot the evil culprit, for he thought ahead and is camouflaged in a way that seasoned detectives do not expect.
As Boogerton keeps a sharp eye peeled, Cullen begins nosing around for more evidence. They have a spotless record, have never failed yet to solve a case, and are determined that this will be no exception.
Suddenly, as Boogerton keeps his eyes peeled for the dastardly feline who would commit such a crime, Cullen begins to feel faint. He reaches out for the cat who has become, over the years, not only his partner in detection, but his best friend.
Cullen whispers “Boogie, I think I’ve been poisoned! There must have been cyanide on that ball! My lips are going numb! Save yourself!”
Boogerton, who loves The Tom with all the love he has (please note there is not much love in Boogerton’s heart. It’s mostly filled with hetred) is nonetheless a realist, and when he understands that Cullen is on his way to the big cat bed in the sky, instead of staying and providing a few last moments of comfort, sprints off to the other side of the yard so as to escape the – as he puts it in his tiny little brain – “cooties.”
A moment later, Cullen belches loudly and realizes that what he’d thought was cyanide poisoning was in actuality gas. He stares after Boogerton, who is trying to climb the fence and escape the yard, and knows that the cat he’d considered his best friend and life partner is, in actuality, no better than, as he whispers it sadly to himself, “a dang chicken.”
“Them’s fightin’ words, son. I say, I say, them’s fightin’ words!”