Five human babies had gone missing over the span of three months from the Santa Monica apartment building next door to where Bernie and his monstrous cat, Bomba, had made their temporary home. The disappearances didn’t get much press. Bernie’s noisy neighbors simply replaced each missing “bundle of joy” with a brand new screeching banshee from the deepest sewers of hell.
In the previous two cities that Bernie and Bomba had passed through, there were two missing male infants and four missing full-sized adults: two males and two females. A few days later, it was discovered that the two male adults, both eighteen, had eloped and were honeymooning in exotic El Segundo.
Regarding the five missing babies, there was never a phone call or a ransom demand. No evidence of foul play or human remains were ever found. Hopefully, thought Bernie, Bomba, his cat, was not careless enough to leave his prey on the doorstep.
The story’s villain, Edwin MacHeath, four cannibalistic, were-shark minions patiently watched Bernie Benedict’s rented cottage while guzzling salt water and smoking. They were waiting for the god-whispering Interpol agent to show his face. They were beginning to wonder if ‘Dauna’s cupcake,’ Bernie, ever slept at all.
Bernie lay in bed, wide awake and unaware of the danger outside. Why did Dauna insist on telling him, “I’ll be spending the night at home, alone, feeling the cool evening breeze ruffle my tail feathers?” Is she trying to make sure that I never sleep, again?
Most mornings Bomba got up an hour earlier than Bernie and could be found slowly sucking the life’s breath out of him (just like Grandma used to say). Cats didn’t get much of anything worthwhile when it came to soul sucking humans. They just did it for kicks.
At night, neighborhood cats would get together on back fences and laugh at the sorry souls that they would cough up along with hairballs. In the morning, the cats would sun themselves, after they’d sent their soul-less humans out into the morning traffic. The musical memories of the humans became fuel for cat dances on new leather furniture. Soul was no substitute for Seafood Buffet.
Bomba the cat had returned home at 4 a.m. as the super moon descended. He crawled into bed next to Bernie and waited for his human to stir. Bernie, already awake, felt the cat crawl softly onto his chest. Bombs seemed to be growing and smelled like… (Huh?)…a dazzling blend of homemade chili, tangy American cheese, fruity floral onions, crisp kosher pickles and magnificent beef accords, and wouldn’t budge. Bomba might soon awaken his “can opener,” Bernie, with a swipe of a lethal claw across his snorting schnoz. The human was not sleeping, however.
As much as Bernie loved Bomba, he worried, because Doctor David ‘Soylent’ Greene said there was still “someone or something ‘out there’ that had caused four ‘ear-piercing diaper dumpers’ to evaporate into Santa Monica’s thin air.
The big cat’s subtle purr began to transmit a few basic thoughts to Bernie.
“Ahem. Let’s get one thing straight, cupcake. I eat first. You don’t do anything else—first—except get your fat ass up and feed me. You don’t eat. You don’t poop. You don’t even breathe. So. You like it when she calls you ‘cupcake?’ Go ahead dream about her sleeping in her old t-shirt. You’ve got ten more minutes.”
Shakespeare couldn’t have said it better.