Pierre pulled a pin from a hand grenade and tossed it at Johnny.
“What the hell!” Johnny shrieked, ducking behind a dumpster.
The French Cat shrugged, “It’s just a party favor.”
A loud pop was heard, as confetti and glitter exploded everywhere in the air.
“Are you insane?” Johnny questioned, peering behind the dumpster.
Pierre smirked at the remark. “I do have a reputation after all. Now, come, let us take our leave.”
After a short walk, the small army of cats, squirrels, and Chihuahua came to rest with Johnny at a park.
Johnny looked around, noting the busy park goers. “I thought we were going somewhere discreet?”
Pierre snickered, “My boy, being in the open is probably the most tactful thing you can do.”
“Then why didn’t we just stay in the alleyway?”
“Because, my human compatriot, we were still being watched from afar. Now that we are here, we can blend in, and we have witnesses—or hostages—to our advantages. Just trust me.” Pierre then turned to Red and his squirrels. “I recommend your party fan out and take to the trees. We must act natural.” Red nodded and motioned his team to disperse. Pierre then turned to Chico, “Be a good dog and sit on your owner’s lap, will you? We can’t risk the general populous discovering a talking dog.” Chico snorted and laid down at Johnny’s feet. The cat smirked and then continued to address his cats to leave the immediate area, “Fan out, scout, survey, and be on the lookout for him. He’ll most likely try to come through here. I know it.”
“Who?” asked Johnny.
“TC…or as you met him, ‘Snake,’” replied Pierre.
“Wouldn’t it be obvious that a black cat is slinking around in a park?”
“He’s not some simpleton feline, my friend. He’s a master of disguise…” Pierre paused, “and a Handler.”
Johnny and the others raised an eyebrow. “He’s a Handler? But he’s just a cat!”
Pierre shook his head, “No, he can manipulate any form he wishes: cat, bird, dog, or a person.”
Johnny scratched his head. “Well, how can you tell then that he would be around here?”
Pierre grinned, “All of my cats are equipped with a unique lens that detects the anomaly that a shapeshifter does when they change shape. In short, they have a special kind of signature that only we can tell.”
Johnny secretly admired the idea of shapeshifting and being able to manipulate any form. While doing so he also had the thought occur of being a cat with human arms, mid-air, punching someone; causing him to snicker.
“Something funny, friend?” asked Pierre.
“Ah, it was just a random thought I had. Don’t worry about it,” said Johnny.
Pierre chuckled, “Hmm, hmm, I bet you did. Something about a cat and man arms, right?”
“How did you know?”
“It’s a bit of a gift. Something I’ve been endowed with.” Pierre sighed. “Anyway, we have some business to discuss. I suggest we sit and have a chat about the future of the world.” Pierre motioned towards the wood bench that was behind Johnny.
The boy and his dog conversed with the French cat that was secretly a terrorist.
“What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve? Where do you see yourself in five years?” Pierre asked.
“Is…this a job interview or a discussion about the Agency?” Johnny replied.
“Just testing you; strange, yes, I know.” Pierre gazed into Johnny’s eyes. “Look into my eyes, friend. I want to see what you know.”
“That sounds pretty creepy, you know,” said Johnny.
Pierre laughed. “Yes, it does. Have you never heard that the ‘eyes are the windows to the soul?’”
“Uh, yeah, I guess.”
Pierre’s voice turned stern, “Then look…and do not stray.”
Johnny fixated on Pierre’s gaze, becoming uncomfortable.
Several moments passed, and several passersby looked at the strange boy with his dog and cat. Remarking that they were “weird” or “probably in love with their animals.”
“I see. I am sorry for your loss, Jonathan. Jerry seemed like he would have been a good man one day,” said Pierre.
“He was. Sometimes he still helps me in my dreams,” replied Johnny.
“Hmm, quite a helpful lad he is.” Pierre took in a deep breath, “Well, since I know what I need to. I am going to have to kill you.”
“Wait, what?” Johnny recoiled from the cat.