No one is getting this story right.

I should have taken to our blog sooner, but I was busy catching cats, working at the store, reading for all the various groups with which I now seem to be involved. Hell. I haven’t had this much reading homework since I graduated from Cornell.

Much to the doubtful arch of the store manager’s eyebrow, I have become a cat-catching crusader. The goal is to trap, neuter, and release all the cat critters living under our shops. We are so close, just a couple more, which may require the net-gun my co-worker Matt wants me to employ.

On Sunday, February 13, 2011, after a successful Furtastic Fundraiser with Johnette Downing, Ken Foster, and Julie Klam, my friend Diane and I arrived before my shift at Maple Street Used and Rare to consider where to put the three traps we had stowed in the back of her car. Diane and I are like the Madonna and Lady Gaga of the cat-catching world, similar, if separated by a generation, in our shock and awe tactics.

Creeping around the backyards of the stores, we saw one of our favorite denizens perched in the rear window of an abandoned VW Bug.

“Ooh! What’s she doing in there? Can she get out?” Diane exclaimed.

We hurried, like two keystone cop cat catchers, to the vehicle. Lady Lux evacuated the the premises, and I noticed a Maple Street Book Shop canvas bag in the front seat. I drew it out and knew right away what I would find. Our stolen first editions. And some random things we hadn’t realized were missing like a birthday card, a T-shirt, a leopard journal, a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and some other eclectic books. Similar to the day when the NOPD officers asked me to survey the damage the thieves had done at the used shop, I uttered some expletives. On a Sunday no less.

I had to preface my call to the owner:  “Donna, nothing bad has happened . . .” She may change her number if I call her on a Sunday morning ever again.

Did the bookworm burglar stash the books in the front of the car? Did he, she, they return with these hot items? Did the cats plan payback on those who had been curtailing their canoodling?

While there are some suspicious paw prints on the canvas bag, I prefer to believe the cats know the answer and they prefer to keep all to themselves. I prefer to think the cats had something to do with foiling a portion of the crime. Everyone should be so lucky to have one of the Maple Street Book Shop cats for a pet.

In fact, I have one for adoption. His name is Zorro, and he needs a patient human. Has all his kitty shots. Not afraid to rock a pink kitty collar. He’s a beauty. I mean, Greek god beautiful. And he definitely had a paw in this whole thing. Clever. So clever. A hero even.

Veronica K. Brooks-Sigler, Bookseller/Social Medium

Maple Street Bookshops