The next morning as I made my way to the shop, I thought about Mr Wang. I didn’t want to let my imagination run away with me – but could he really be part of some sort of Chinese/Afrikaner mafia drug ring? If he was, this was going to be my biggest case ever! I’d already open a file.

As I walked up to the shop, I saw the paper attached to the door first, and then I saw Chairman Meow sitting inside the shop looking at me through the window. What was going on?

I took down the typed note and read it.

Dear Lola,
I must be gone for a few days unexpectedly. Please take care of the shop and Chairman Meow.
Mr Wang

I looked at Chairman Meow. He was sharpening his claws on the side of a wardrobe and showing me his teeth. I unlocked the door, steadying myself for the attack. Then I spotted a duvet near the door. In one fantastically quick move, I opened the door and covered myself with the duvet, just as Chairman Meow jumped for my arm, which was now safely inside the duvet. He hung from it as I moved to Mr Wang’s office, feeling my way around because my head was safely under the duvet too. Once inside I shrugged it off, cat attached, and quickly closed the door behind me. Chairman Meow – 0; Lola – 1.

Jomo and Bonang arrived shortly after that.

“Where’s Mr Wang?” Bonang asked. She still had the crystals in her hair from the night before.

I handed them the note.

“Chairman Meow is here?” Bonang looked around cautiously.

“It’s OK for now. He’s in the office.”

“What is going on? Maybe there were diamonds in that package and Mr Wang went to Joburg to sell them to his Russian contact,” Jomo suggested.

I smiled indulgently, remembering that Jomo was not a trainee private investigator like me. Professionals didn’t jump to wild conclusions. T.S. based conclusions on facts and evidence.

So the facts were:
1. Mr Wang went to an unknown farm, which was completely out of character.
2. Mr Wang wanted to keep the reason for being at the farm a secret.
3. Mr Wang received a very important package of a small size.
4. Mr Wang wanted the contents of said package kept a secret from everyone.
5. Since receiving the package, Mr Wang has disappeared for an undecided number of days.

It did look very suspicious.

“When he comes back we will have to set up 24-hour surveillance,” I said.

“Who’s ‘we’? I have modelling lessons in the evening,” Bonang said.

“Then you’ll need to do the night shift.”

Jomo jumped in, “I can do the night shift with her.” He smiled at Bonang. “It’s dangerous for a woman to be out at night alone.”

“OK fine,” I said.

I heard the telephone ringing in Mr Wang’s office. I covered my head with the duvet and headed in. Chairman Meow immediately attacked, this time on my head, luckily covered with duvet. He growled up there as I felt around for the phone.

“Hello?”

No-one spoke. I could hear someone was there though. They were breathing into the phone.

“Hello? Who is that? Mr Wang? Is that you?”

The breathing went on for another few seconds and then the person hung up.

“Who was that on the phone?” Bonang asked, after the customer she’d been helping left.

“The person wouldn’t speak. They were just breathing. I hope nothing has happened to Mr Wang,” I said.

“You know,” Jomo pointed out, “we don’t even know that that note was put there by Mr Wang. It’s not signed. Maybe he was kidnapped. Maybe that was the kidnapper!”

“Why wouldn’t they speak then? Kidnappers want ransom,” I said.

“Who knows? Maybe they’ll call back. Maybe they forgot what they wanted to say.”

But they didn’t. We waited the entire day and no-one called again.

Things were starting to get creepy. But I wasn’t scared; trainee private investigators are never scared. We’re professionals.

*****

I managed to get Chairman Meow into the cat carrier without too much blood, but now that we were at home I wasn’t sure if it was wise to let him out. I had my family to think about.

Amogelang bent down and looked at the cat growling in the carrier and then suddenly stood up. “Oh! I nearly forgot. I have some left-over Relaxamal.”

She ran out of the room and was back in a few seconds with a bottle of brown liquid and a piece of meat.

“It calms animals down. I tested it on Kermit.”

“But Kermit is dead.” Kermit was Amogelang’s pet frog.

“Kermit exceeded the average lifespan for a frog. His death had nothing to do with Relaxamal. I used it on Thula during the development of Amo 57. She’s fine.”

“You used it on Thula? I don’t think that was a good idea.”

“It’s safe. I developed it, I should know.” She was pouring the thick brown liquid on the meat. She had hardly managed to push the meat through the bars and Chairman Meow had already eaten it.

“I don’t like this. Mr Wang will fire me if his cat dies.”

“He won’t die.”

We watched. After a few minutes, Chairman Meow shook his head as if trying to shake off something. He stopped growling. And then he … smiled?

I couldn’t believe it! He slowly walked out of the carrier, then fell over on his side asleep and smiling.

My sister is pretty amazing.

***

Tell us what you think: Is the fact that the note is typed important?