Casey fell onto the couch, exhausted.
“Honey, is that you?” She heard her husband call her from the bedroom. Shit. She’d really tried to be quiet so as not to wake him.
“Yeah, it’s me. Don’t worry dear. Just go back to sleep…” But she knew it was in vain, he always got up when she came home after a long day of work. And she was grateful for it, for him, for his attention. Just, maybe he could just leave her alone for once. One evening of not having to explain to him why she was so exhausted. Why she put so much effort in a job he despised. He never said that, obviously. But she could feel it every time he looked at her.
Roger stomped down the flight of stairs and slumped down next to her on the couch. Huddling closer, putting his arm around her shoulders as if she was a long lost puppy that was finally reunited with her owner. But perhaps the owner didn’t know the puppy had its reasons for running away. Casey sighed, knowing he meant well, but still felt her limbs stiffen as she tried to force them to hug her husband back.
Casey managed to wriggle herself from his embrace. “Yeah. Another case. We were out all day. My feet are beyond repair.”
Roger chuckled as he moved away from her and took up her left foot, took off her sock and started slowly rubbing it. “You do know you say that every night, right? And then the next morning you get up with the first light as if nothing is wrong.”
Casey moaned a little as he hit a sore spot. “You have magic fingers. I don’t know why you say you still love me, when all I do for you is to shove my stinking feet in your direction every evening.”
“Don’t underestimate the power of your lovely feet. You know, perhaps you should have found yourself a husband with a foot fetish. Two stones, one bird. Or something like that.”
Now they were both smiling.
Casey leaned back in the couch, feeling how her body started to relax. “I don’t know how you do that. When I get home I always feel horrible, and with only a few words you make me forget that I spent the whole day chasing some missing hot dog.”
“Yeah, it was weird. We got like five calls this afternoon from different people each claiming they were attacked by hot dogs. Me and Sandy were supposed to find out what was going on, it sounded like some kind of mass intoxication. We got some experts to test the air and the water and everything, but they couldn’t find anything.”
“And then what?”
“Well, we were about to just go back to the station and write up a report basically saying that a bunch of weirdos had cooked up more than just a pair of hamburgers on their cook out. But then we found the cat.”
“A cat?” Roger looked up to the face of his wife, as if he wanted to figure out if she was joking of not.
“Don’t stop massaging, dear. Yes. A cat. A dead cat. Some kids found it while playing in the park, not far from the grill. Or maybe I should say, not far from the last sighting of the missing subjects.”
“You mean the hot dogs.” Roger looked bewildered.
“Exactly. When we took a look at the cat, we immediately saw it had died a violent death. It was laying in a pool of its own blood, nails and furs all ravaged. It wasn’t a pretty sight. But was most shocking was that we found a bit of the missing subject inside the cat’s mouth.”
“The cat had a bit of the hot dog in its mouth? What’s next? A squirrel with pigeon feathers stuck to its tail? A toad with peacock feathers in its ears? Come on.”
Casey looked at him and didn’t know what to say. “Your face looks exactly the way my boss looked at us when we told him. He ordered us to get our heads checked at the doctors immediately.”
“Well, nothing of course. And when the cat was examined at the lab, they found pieces of hot dog everywhere, in its fur, under the nails. The hot dog and the cat had been in a fight.”
Roger was still slowly massaging Casey’s feet, but his attention was elsewhere.
“So tomorrow I will have to appear in front of a judge, to explain to him why we need to fence off the park.”
Roger started laughing. “Due to a violent hot dog.”
Casey looked stern. “It’s not funny, actually. Imagine the media liaison having to explain this in front of a camera.”
Now Roger laughed even louder. “Yeah, imagine that!”
Casey tried very hard, but couldn’t really help herself, and before they knew it, they were rolling from the couch, laughing. They were still laughing when Roger took his wife upstairs and made love to her. And even the next morning at breakfast, they couldn’t help laughing when they looked at each other and knew exactly what the other was thinking about.
That was, of course, until they turned on the television to watch the eight o’clock news.