The team of Koko, the brilliant Siamese cat, and Qwilleran, the reporter with the perceptive moustache, is back in action--with an adorable female Siamese, Yum Yum, added to the household.
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January 02, 2003
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Excerpt from The Cat Who Turned On and Off by Lilian Jackson Braun
In December the weather declared war. First it bombarded the city with ice storms, then strafed it with freezing winds. Now it was snowing belligerently. A blizzard whipped down Canard Street, past the Press Club, as if it had a particular grudge against newspapermen. With malicious accuracy the largest flakes zeroed in to make cold wet landings on the neck of the man who was hailing a taxi in front of the club.
He turned up the collar of his tweed overcoat -- awkwardly, with one hand -- and tried to jam his porkpie hat closer to his ears. His left hand was plunged deep in his coat pocket and held stiffly there. Otherwise there was nothing remarkable about the man except the luxuriance of his moustache -- and his sobriety. It was after midnight; it was nine days before Christmas; and the man coming out of the Press Club bar was sober.
When a cab pulled to the curb, he eased himself carefully into the back seat, keeping his left hand in his pocket, and gave the driver the name of a third-rate hotel.
"Medford Manor Let's see, I can take Zwinger Street and the expressway," the cabbie said hopefully as he threw the flag on the meter, "or I can take Center Boulevard."
"Zwinger," said the passenger. He usually took the Boulevard route, which was cheaper, but Zwinger was faster.
"You a newspaperman " the driver asked, turning and giving his fare a knowing grin.
The passenger mumbled an affirmative.
"I figured. I knew you couldn't be one of them publicity types that hang around the Press Club. I mean, I can tell by the way you dress. I don't mean newspapermen are slobs or anything like that, but they're -- well you know! I pick 'em up in front of the Press Club all the time. Not very big tippers, but good guys, and you never know you're gonna need a friend at the paper. Right " He turned and flashed a conspiratorial grin at the back seat.
"Watch it!" snapped the passenger as the cab veered toward a drunk staggering across Zwinger Street.
"You with the Daily Fluxion or the Morning Rampage "
The cab stopped for a red light, and the driver stared at his passenger. "I've seen your picture in the paper. The moustache, I mean. You get a by-line "
The man in the back seat nodded.