“It’s purely circumstantial,” Rudy informed me. “I’ve been watching The Good Wife, and I know what it takes to convict.”
His brown eyes widened and for a split second I entertained the notion of innocence. Then I took another look at the crime scene:
1. Chair tipped at a suspicious angle.
2. Bright yellow EMS messenger bag splayed out on the floor.
3. Mangled remains scattered in the vicinity.
Coincidentally, the EMS bag had accompanied Rudy to Stockbridge not too long ago. Most of the bag’s contents had been unpacked when we got home: his small down comforter (for familiarity); two yellow tennis balls (play); large bag of nuggets (obvious).
I had neglected, however, to empty the zippered pocket on the front flap of the bag. It contained a small clutch of Mother Hubbard puppy treats and a Ziploc bag of backup kibble. These bags now lay in shreds not far from the messenger pouch, whose zipper was fully unzipped.
“Look at my paws,” Rudy protested. “Could anyone in their right mind call these ‘opposable thumbs’? I think not! How, then, do you explain the zipper?!” he cocked his head in that adorable, confusing way. “Answer me that!”
He was throwing so many question marks and exclamation points at me I couldn’t see straight. I shook my head and thought a moment, remembering his agile grasp on the tennis balls, the uncannily human way he gripped them between his paws, using the “thumb” claw to pin the balls in place before ripping them to pieces.
“I, I…,” I stammered. “But then who?”
“We’ve all heard the mice running overhead in the bathroom ceiling,” he said shortly, wiggling those little dark eyebrows. “You do the math.”
I looked at the chewed bags, the zipper, and tried to calculate the uncounted numbers of missing biscuits. He was right. It wasn’t enough to get a conviction.
Probation, possibly, with time off for good behavior. Plus I’d be checking for some concrete evidence on our next walk….