By Anne Sullivan
“Are you feeling sick?” I asked Sylvia, a strange Sylvia, one who had not snatched the large VitaBone biscuit from my hand nor gobbled her breakfast Iams kibble.
“Not at all,” Sylvia said. “The muse is attacking me. You didn’t finish reading the first chapter of my book last week and I’m anxious to hear how you like the rest of it. Max wants to know, too.”
“When was Max here?” I questioned her. “I haven’t seen anybody, not even a stray hunter.”
“He came last night. You must have been asleep,” she answered.
“I don’t like strange people in my house at night, Sylvia. You know that. Besides, how would he get in? The door was locked.”
“He wasn’t in the Big House at all,” she explained. “He was in MY house.”
“He was in your dog house? With you? What is he, some kind of a pervert?”
“ Max is the absolute epitome of a gentleman. How could you suggest otherwise?” Sylvia defended her friend.
Thoroughly confused, I decided the best course of action was to continue reading Sylvia’s mystery novel.
And this is what she wrote:
‘Fatso and I, Detective Veronica O’Leary, raced down U.S 60 to the San Agustin Plains, covering the miles in no time at all.
“I don’t see anything unusual,” Fatso, the Cat detective, said. “What do you expect to find?”
“Clues, my dear Fatso. Clues to the hanging of The Italian.”
“Do you see any, Veronica?”
“No,” I said. “Hand me my magnifying glass.”
“Who would want to do away with The Italian with the expensive wet Italian shoes?” Fatso asked.
“Any number of people, my dear Fatso,” I said as I examined the ground. “To begin with, the people who live on the Plains. After all, The Italian wanted to take away their water.”
“Why did he want to do that?”
“It’s a mystery that we must solve, my dear Fatso. The Italian claims – or rather, claimed – to want to put all our water into a pipeline and send it across to the Rio Grande so New Mexico could pay back Texas for the water it owes.”
“Sounds pretty far-fetched to me,” said Fatso, shaking the cobwebs out of his head. “As a matter of fact,” he continued, “it sounds so complicated, I don’t understand it at all. Ergo, it must be a lie.”
“I’m inclined to agree,” I said. “He must have -- or had -- some other nefarious scheme in mind. Maybe he planned to dig for treasure or perhaps he wanted to destroy the Plains completely so no cattle could be raised there at all.”
“Do you really think so?”
“I fear it’s worse than that, my dear Fatso, more diabolical. He might well have wanted to take away all the water in Southwestern New Mexico so all people and animals would die of thirst.”
“But why would he want to do that, Veronica? What would he have to gain from it?”
“Elementary, my dear Fatso. Money. Money is the root of all evil. He planned to sell the water to Texas.”
“But I thought The Italian was already rich. His shoes told that story. Why would he need more money?”
“To get richer. He didn’t need more money. He wanted it. That’s something to remember about some of the very rich people, Fatso.”
“But who killed The Italian and who hung his body in our ponderosa tree? Our person couldn’t have done it. She hasn’t got the strength.”
“That’s what we’re here to deduce, my dear Fatso. Aha, I see tracks in the ground over yonder.”’
“That’s the end of the first chapter,” Sylvia said.
“Very exciting. Lot’s of suspense as well as emotion,” I said, petting her scruffy fur. “Isn’t there something else you want to say?”
“Oh, yes, don’t forget to go to the State Engineer’s Pre-hearing Conference on the Water Grab at Macey Center in Socorro on Tuesday, November 9th at 1:30 p.m. It’s important that as many people as possible go. Numbers count. Unfortunately, just numbers of people, not animals.”