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  • Writer's picturejshannon727

Detective Flea in the Rose Garden

A new interpreter and I met Dale in the Rose Garden under the saucer-like branches of a magnolia tree. Dale squinted hard before exclaiming, “You’re a donkey!”

I was tempted to say, “You’re a gardener!” but restrained myself. The interpreter sniffed a red rose perhaps to hide a smile that had taken over his face. “Which window was it that you saw the cat emerge from?” I asked moving towards the building. The interpreter, having recovered himself, translated my braying into English.

Dale pointed a finger with a rim of dirt under the nail. “Right there between those two low colonnades,” she said. “It’s a West Wing window.”

I stooped down to get a better look at a couple of pawprints in the soil. They were faded but had the unmistakable claw marks of a cat. “These prints indicate the feline was moving away from the window,” I said with some surprise.

Dale squinted, even bending down on one knee. “Forgot my glasses, so I’ll take your word for it,” she said good-naturedly.

“Is it possible you witnessed a break-out instead of a break-in?” I asked.

Dale shrugged. “Never thought of that. Just saw the cat and thought it was trying to get in.”

The interpreter broke into giggles. I silenced him with a firm look. “Is this window always left open like that?” There was about a three-inch gap.

“Just during the autumn. Mr. President has terrible allergies, mostly to mold, so Mr. Webster likes to air out the basement."

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