Chapter 1, part 3
“Police dogs, Michalene! They’re at Pillow Girl. They’re currently distracted by her cashmere but I’m betting those police dogs want to talk to you. Our bad ear dealer could be dropping your name.” Emil says, “Head for the kitchen!”
“Go through the kitchen yard?” Michalene asks. He is standing with a paw on my knee for balance. He doesn’t look too bad with spots but I can’t tell if he’s asking me the question or Emil.
“Can’t use public yard, we’ll be spotted. Lead the way, Michalene. I use the kitchen yards all the time, especially when I’m way livered up!” Emil continues. I no longer understand any of this but I’m caught up in the sense of impending doom and panic. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve got a sobbing pug on my shoulder, her pink polo dress pushed up to her waist. I pull the hem down mindful of photographers. No panties, as usual.
Michalene spins, splattering globs of Livertini everywhere and power walks through the club tables to the kitchen doors. I follow, dodging tables and club dogs, nearly dislodging Emil who manages to hold on by grabbing my hair with his teeth. Owwwwie. We blast through the double door, cut through a corner of the kitchen, make a sharp left and end up in a completely empty white 10x12 room with a rows of numbers printed on the floor.
“Emil, did anyone spot us?” Michalene asks. Emil had rode my shoulder like a backward parrot keeping an eye on the ruckus at the front of Pink Paws.
“No. The police dogs are attracting their own attention and Pillow Girl is creating a traffic jam by the bar. I think Arko sent the PD on a wild goose chase toward the Pink Paws grill.” Emil answered. “And we have Emmaluna with us, not James. James attracts a lot of attention.”
Michalene turns his attention to me. He gives me a very serious look. Well, as serious a look as possible when you’re a snow white Jack Russell covered in Livertini. “You know when you push a button on an elevator and get off on another floor?”
“Do you know when you get on a plane in one city and then zip - you’re in Cleveland, Ohio.”
I’m nodding yes, looking deeply into Michalene’s brown eyes when Emil breaks in. “Jebus Michalene, are you mental? She’ll figure it out! Hit my code and get us the hell out of here. I hear the kitchen doors swinging!”
Michalene levitates a foot off the ground and spins around.
“Which code! Which code?”
“Emil100.” Emil says at precisely the same time Lucy yells “Lucy the Pug!” I keep my mouth shut.
“Emil100.” Emil says firmly, “until we’re sure your house is safe Lucy. Hurry, Michalene.”
Michalene springs into action, leaping from number to number on the grid printed on the floor.
I stare, fascinated, until Emil barks, “Hurry, through the open door.” Galvanized, I follow Michalene and Emil through. I slam the door to the funny little room in the kitchen and turn around. We’re all in a garden shed of some kind. It’s got a tin roof cause I can hear a light rain hitting the roof. Michalene launches himself at the door handle and in two steps, we’re all on the beach.
“Whew! That was entirely too close.” Emil says.
“Are we at the beach? It smells like the Kitsilano dog beach!” Lucy the Pug says, snuffling away the last of her tears and wiping her face on my white shirt. “Let me down! I love Kits beach. I need to look for Lucy the Lab.”
We are at the beach, specifically Kitsilano beach in Vancouver, Canada. The celebridog beach. Lucy the Pug is in heaven, her earlier distress briefly forgotten. It’s still daylight here, though near dusk with a light rain falling. Twenty minutes later I’m making Livertini’s for the dogs at Emil’s house and a grilled cheese sandwich for myself.