Friday morning found Peep no closer to solving the mystery of the missing froggie. Peep’s confrontation with LT and Miss Rudy hadn’t gone well yesterday, and she still had no idea where the frog might be. LT had been downright insulting when she’d asked them if they’d taken the frog. Well, okay, maybe she’d kind of accused them of taking it, but that’s what all the facts had pointed to.
“Peep, why would either of us want your smelly old frog? It’s disgusting!” LT had almost bristled, he was so angry. “We’re your family, Peep. Family don’t steal from family.”
“Well, I thought perhaps you or Rudy had taken it as a joke, maybe,” Peep said in a little voice. This interrogation wasn’t going well. She was supposed to be an intrepid detective, maybe even a little forceful, and here she was sounding like a little kitten being scolded by its mommy cat.
Trying to smooth things over Rudy said, “Peep, we might pull jokes on you sometimes, but we wouldn’t take your favorite toy. Well, at least we didn’t take it. We might do something like that, but we’d admit it. Well, we would unless it were a really well-planned joke, but it isn’t, this time. We didn’t take the frog, although it would have been a good idea, if we’d thought of it….”
Rudy’s answer hadn’t helped a lot. LT had laughed and said that it would have been a good idea for a joke, but since the frog was gone and they hadn’t taken it, it wasn’t their joke. They suggested that Peep must have put it somewhere and forgotten where she’d put it. As if! Peep knew she wasn’t that forgetful.
On Friday, Peep decided that she’d have to do a more thorough investigation of the house. She went through the living room, moving knick-knacks and books on shelves and crawling under everything in the room. She ended up dusty, but without finding her frog.
She repeated her search in each room, and every time she found another cat toy, she brought it into the living room and added them to the line she’d started yesterday. She’d missed quite a few in her previous search, but she hadn’t gone behind furniture and into dark, somewhat scary places.
She also found a trove of pencils, bits of paper and stray change and screws. She eeled herself into places that probably no one had visited since the Daddy had bought the house. In one very inaccessible spot she encountered what she decided must be a dust elephant, since it was way too big to be a dust mouse, or even a dust bunny. It was gray and quite large, so elephant was a good way to describe it. She poked at this elephant, to make sure he wasn’t concealing her froggie. She was relieved to find that it didn’t react to her – something that large and old might have come alive! It also didn’t contain her frog.
By the time she was done, she was a gray cat instead of a black one. She had so much dust coating her fur she thought she’d make a cloud if she sneezed. Peep carefully went outside through the cat door before she tried to get the dust off. She was a responsible cat, you know, and didn’t want to make the house any more dusty than it was.
The Daddy was walking towards the house from the street as Peep emerged onto the deck. He did a double-take and said, “Peep, is that you? You’re covered in so much dust, you look like a long-haired gray cat.” He knelt down and Peep walked over to him. He carefully used his hands to brush the dust off of her coat. It did make quite a cloud and both of them sneezed several times before he was done.
“What were you doing, that you got so dusty, Peep? Did you decide to take over the vacuuming and roll around on the floor to collect the dust?” Jay had no idea what Peep might have done to get so dusty. He hadn’t even known there was that much dust in the house. He thought that maybe he should vacuum a bit more often. He picked up Peep and carried her into the house.
Jay sat down on the couch, putting Peep on his lap. He noticed the line of cat toys, which had grown longer since yesterday. The ones at the end of the line were covered in dust to varying degrees. “Hmmm, I think I know how you got your fur so dusty, Peep. You were collecting your cat toys. I didn’t know you had so many.”
Peep jumped down, and pawing at one or two of them said to the Daddy, “Where’s my frog? I found all these others, but my frog is missing, and you’re the only other person who might know where it is. I really wish you could understand me!”
“I bet you really want that crinkly frog back, don’t you, Peep. After we played yesterday morning, I noticed how dirty it was, so I washed it and hung it outside on the clothesline. Let me go get it for you.” The Daddy went out the back door and returned in a moment with her froggie, who did look much better.
Daddy crinkled the frog for Peep, and tossed it to her. She tackled it, and flipping over onto her back held it between her paws and bit its head. She growled at it, pulled it out from between her paws and whipped it around, holding it only with her teeth. She opened her mouth and it flew across the room and Peep followed in hot pursuit. It skidded underneath the corner shelf and she pounced on it, kneading it with both paws to make it crinkle over and over.
The Daddy sat on the couch and laughed at Peep’s antics. It was always so much fun to watch Peep being the brave hunter. Finally, Peep exhausted herself and crawled back onto the couch with the Daddy, where she let him scratch her ears.
It had really seemed as though the Daddy had understood her when she asked him about the frog. Was it a coincidence? He’d almost seemed to answer her question. She figured she’d try again. “Daddy, can you give me a nice can of tuna all to myself right now?”
“I love you too, little Peep,” the Daddy answered.
Wrong answer. She was glad he loved her, but at the moment, she would have rather had the tuna.