| Read-Along Storytime |

Keep the Cat out of the Bag

"We can’t have our men chasing cats when there are more important cases that need our attention"

 

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Mr. Krankowitz decided to get up early one morning, and go shopping before the fish shop got busy.

And so it was that at seven a.m., Mr. Krankowitz was already shuffling around getting dressed. He put on his coat, hat, and scarf. It was true the sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky. But you never knew when the weather would change.

Finally, Mr. Krankowitz was ready. Grabbing his walking stick, he tap-tapped up Sunny Lane on his way to the fish shop. The street was empty at that time of morning. There was a prowling orange cat out. Mr. Krankowitz, who had no time for cats, scowled at it.

When Mr. Krankowitz got to the fish shop, there was one other customer there. Mr. Krankowitz fixed him with a glare. Soon enough, it was his turn to be served. A few minutes later, the old man was on his way back home.

As he turned into Sunny Lane, the orange cat reappeared. It could smell the delicious kippers. It followed Mr. Krankowitz, sniffing enthusiastically.

“Get away!” growled the old man.

The cat just kept following him. What a delightful fishy smell!

The old man tried to escape by walking faster. Oops! He stumbled — and accidentally dropped the precious package of fish!

The cat pounced. Before Mr. Krankowitz could react, it had snatched up the kippers and dashed off with them.

The old man yelled and ranted. People came running out of their houses to see what was going on. It was hard to make heads or tails of what he was saying, but at the words “stole” and “ran off with it,” one neighbor called the police. He assumed there had been a robbery.

The police officer who turned up was, in Mr. Krankowitz’s opinion, a fool. Mr. Krankowitz thought he wasn’t giving the case his proper attention. Mr. Krankowitz thought he should get the entire police force on the case. Instead he scribbled down a few notes and said he would file a report. Mr. Krankowitz protested.

“Sir, you don’t know whose cat it is or where it lives,” the officer said. “We can’t have our men chasing cats when there are more important cases that need our attention. We’ll record your complaint. And we’ll check the protocol for this type of incident.”

And with that, he was off! Mr. Krankowitz was furious. He had a good mind to write to the mayor to complain! Fortunately, Jolly Solly had been alerted by one of the neighbors. He hurried over to see if he could help.

The old man poured out his tale of woe. The clown listened carefully, expressing his sympathy over the loss of the kippers. He assured Mr. Krankowitz that he would get him some new kippers, free of charge.

“But what if that dreadful cat attacks my fish again?” demanded the old man. “It should be locked up, the vile creature!”

“Tell you what,” replied the clown. “I’ve never actually met the orange cat you’ve described. So quite likely it doesn’t live here and won’t be seen again. But just in case — I have a great solution!”

He felt around for his car keys, found them under his hat, and walked over to his car. Then he opened the trunk, and pulled out a granny cart. It was bright yellow, with smiley faces on the sides.

“If you put your fish in here on your way home from the shops, and zip it up, no cat will be able to get to it,” he declared. “What do you think?”

The old man frowned.

“Ain’t you got something easier on the eyes?” he grumbled, pointing disapprovingly at the smiley faces.

Jolly Solly unclipped the fabric section of the cart, tossed it high up in the air so it turned inside out, and caught it again with a grin. Now it was just plain black. Mr. Krankowitz, though he grumped and grouched a bit, looked secretly pleased.

But all he said was, “Humph!”

R. Atkins’s book, Around the Year with Jolly Solly, featuring 50 fabulous stories, is in bookstores now. For information about a personalized version, contact the Mishpacha office.

 

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 820)

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