Hello, Simon.  Why are you calling?  Are you willing to do a band interview before the show?  Of course.  Where?  Jax wants to sell his place, so let’s do it here.  A walk through?  Yeah.  Alright.  What else?  Mike wants to show off Sam, his new executive assistant.  How is that working out?  Really good for Mike; not so good for Jonny…she’s forcing him to give up Orange Crush.  Do you want it to come out that she’s staying there?  Good question.  I’ll find out.   <Silence as Simon walks>  She really needs to go to charm school, he says several moments later.  Bettina hears a commotion and the phone hitting the carpet.  UNCLE.  Simon yells in pain. Who are you talking to?  Bettina.  Oh.  <Pause as he comes back on>  Do you see what I mean?  What time would be best to show up with my cameraman?  Later this afternoon.  Alright, I’ll find something to do until then.  It might be better if you didn’t tell them I’m coming.

Ted, let’s go for a ride.  Bettina tells her cameraman.  Where to?  Just drive the residential streets.  I’m looking for an angle for an interview that we’re going to be doing later this afternoon.  I’m thinking house hunting.

They drive through several upscale gated communities, but nothing catches Bettina’s eye. Let’s go through the outer borough and just meander through the surface streets.  Half an hour later, she notices a picture of an orange tabby cat posted on street poles everywhere.  Stop, she tells her cameraman.  The van pulls up and she hops out and grabs one.  Then goes back inside the van.  She dials the number on the flyer.

Five minutes later, the TV news van pulls up in a residential driveway.  And she and her cameraman shoot footage with the cat’s owner.  I’ll look for Tabby, Bettina promises the distraught woman.

She has her driver head to the mayor’s office.  And they wait in the parking lot for him to come out for lunch.  Excuse me, Mr. Mayor.  He stops when he sees the camera, and grins when he sees Bettina rushing toward him.  She only does nice stories, he whispers to his aide.  Have you seen this cat?  She shows him the flyer.  He looks at her and then over at the camera and then back at her.  No, I haven’t.  She signals her cameraman to stop filming.  I’m sorry I wasn’t able to stick around and visit after the symphony…

Next she heads over to the college football stadium, and walks into the team admin office with her cameraman filming.  The head coach comes out shortly thereafter.  Hi, coach.  Have you seen this cat?  She shows him the flyer.  No, I haven’t.  She signals her cameraman to stop filming.  I have a cousin that plays high school football.  What’s the best counter to a no huddle offense?  Blitz.  The coach replies.  You got tape of him?  He’s still coming into his own...

Next she heads to the warehouse district.  And has Ted park the TV van right next to Raul’s car.  Do you want me to go inside and talk to him?  Ted asks.  She shakes her head no. There’s security cameras.  He’ll know we’re here.  Sure enough, ten minutes later, Raul walks over to them, and Bettina and her cameraman spring out of the van.  Have you seen this cat?  She asks Raul, and shows him the flyer.  No, I haven’t.  Will you help me look for him - after dinner?  She says with a sly grin.  He smiles back at her.  Can we do a rain check, Ms. Andrews?  I’ve already made plans.  She hands him her card.  Call me Bettina, she tells him.  She makes a cutoff motion to the camera.  I want to talk to you about Sam.  She’s living over at Jax’s and working as Mike’s executive assistant.   You should call her.  Can you keep a secret?  He asks her.  Not for longer than 72 hours under duress.  Good answer.  My brother likes her.  She went down to Mexico and they hit it off.  Are they an item?  She asks quickly.  Ask her, Bettina, and I’d like to know how she responds.  She nods.  Oh, you’ll have to pick me up when we go out to dinner.  I lost my driver’s license again; too many speeding tickets.

***

The newsvan parks at Jax’s open gate, and the cameraman films her next to the guitar sculpture with its SH5 inscription on the base.  She walks up the drive and goes up to the door, and rings the doorbell.  Sam opens the door.  Excuse me, have you seen Tabby?  Bettina asks her.  She looks at the flyer, and then back at Bettina and over at the camera.  No, I haven’t.  Is there anyone else home who might have seen him?  Sam looks between Bettina and the cameraman again.  Who is it? Simon asks, as he comes to the open door.  He stops short when he sees the cameraman and Bettina.  Have you seen this cat?  Sam asks and hands him the flyer.  No, but come on in.  We’ll ask the others, Simon says.  They walk through the large house, and out to the pool, where there is a volleyball net set up.  Mike, with his hat on backwards, is sitting in a porcelain tub filled with ice water, drinking a kale smoothie, watching an Animal Kingdom show on salmon migration.  Sam comes out with a large beach towel and sets it on the chair nearby.  Good looking cat, Mike says, and shakes his head no.  Simon leads her back into the house and over to Jax’s office.  He’s got his headset on and is talking on the phone to his broker.  If I switch, I want forty free trades, Jax says.  You know what, let me speak to your supervisor.  He motions Bettina in.  Simon hands him the flyer of the cat.  Seen this cat?  Jax looks at it.  No, I haven’t.  He goes back to his conversation.

Simon leads her downstairs to the recording studio, where Jon is playing the keyboard piano with a large set of headphones on.  The top three buttons of his shirt are unbuttoned and he’s wearing a gold necklace with a pendant.  Everyone listens to him cover The Doors “Riders on the Storm” with his eyes closed, his head moving.  He stops playing abruptly when he senses he’s got company, and hurriedly buttons his shirt, and looks down.  Have you seen this cat?  Simon asks him, and hands him the flyer.  He shakes his head no.

She and the gang troupe back upstairs.  Thank you, Bettina says to Simon.  Do you want a glass of water?  Please.  He goes and gets her one, and she gives it to her cameraman, and then downs the rests.  I like your house, she tells Simon.  It’s not mine, it’s Jax’s.  Oh.  Do you want to do an interview of the band?  I’d love to, Bettina admits, but I haven’t written out any questions.  What do you do?  She asks Sam.  I’m Mike’s executive assistant.  Would you be willing to help me come up with some questions?  Sure.  I’ll go get everyone, Simon says, and heads off.

Well, let’s start off with you each introducing yourself.

I’m Simon, I sing and play guitar.  I’m Jax, I play bass.  I’m Mike, I play guitar and do backup vocals.  I’m Jon, guitar and sound tech.  I really liked what you were playing on the keyboard, Bettina tells him.  Will you play it for me again before I leave?  He looks down.  No camera.  Mike tells Bettina, who nods.  Rolf is our drummer and lyricist, but he’s not here; he usually does his own thing.  And we are Slaughterhouse Five.

Why doesn’t Rolf ever hang out with you guys?  Sam asks.  We go out every once in a while, but Rolf can be rather intense, and the guys start to laugh.  He’s a homebody, Jax adds, and he doesn’t like being interrupted when he’s in a flow state.  What does he do when he’s not drumming?  Bettina asks.  Rolf is a polymath.  Jon says with his head down.  He considers interviews and awards shows to be otiose.  Bettina stares at him.  How do you spell that word?  O-T-I-O-S-E.  Adjective, “serving no practical purpose”.  I am impressed with your vocabulary, sir.  Bettina tells him.  Jon looks over and gives Sam a quick glance and a smile.

Why were you taking an ice bath like a professional athlete?  I’m training for a UFC fight that’s in the works.  Who are you going up against?  Conan McGregor?  Mike laughs.  Conor is a friend, Bettina.  The bartender who beat up Rolf at that nightclub is an amateur boxer.  It sounds like he’s up for it if the prize money is right.  Let’s see how he does against someone who is sober.

Why don’t you just meet at the sandlot?  Bettina asks.  He gave my friend a public beatdown; now I’m going to return the favor in spades.

Why can’t Rolf fight his own battles?  Sam asks.  It’s not like that, Jax says.  Rolf doesn’t hold a grudge against the man.  He even personally apologized to the club owner afterwards.

So why is he allowing this to go forward?  The bartender insulted Nickelback; now the honor of the band is at stake.  You mess with the bull - you get the horns.

When are you going to play there?  This Friday if the weather cooperates.  James, our band manager, is working out the details with the club owner.  What can you tell our viewers?  We’re not a studio band.  We feed off the reciprocal energy of a live set.  We haven’t done a small venue in a long time and we’re looking forward to it.  Jax adds.

It’s going to be epic.  Do you want to come?  Simon asks her.  Oh, I’m hoping to go with the club owner, and she smiles into the camera.  Thank you for offering though.

How long did it take you to record the album?  A couple weeks.  Is that normal?  We’ve been preparing for a long time.  So what is your process?  We go one song at a time; get it roughed in, then move on to the next, until the album is done.

How do you know when to stop?  Sam asks.  We run outta lyrics, Simon responds.

Is there a downside to being a rockstar?  Bettina asks Mike.  Dealing with all of Jonny’s fans.  One minute I’m witty and funny, surrounded by fans, and then someone will shriek “there he is”, and suddenly, crickets.  Bettina laughs.

Are you wearing dog tags?  Sam asks Simon.  He nods.  Were you in the service?  Army, enlisted out of high school.  The GI bill is what got me into music school.  What was your MOS?  19 Delta – that’s a Cav Scout, not Delta Force, by the way.  I did two years active, then finished the rest of my enlistment in the Reserves.  Were you ever deployed overseas?  He nods.  Am I allowed to swear?  He asks Bettina.  No.  Let’s just say that I was so glad to get back home.  Do you suffer from PTSD?  I didn’t see any action, Sam.  I just did my time.  What do you think about the war on terror?  ISIS is a death cult.  Better we fight them over there than here.  That said, there is no Muhammed Jefferson; we need to get over our preference for democracy and learn to accept an amount of cultural relativism.

As a go-anywhere investor, I agree with that, Jax says.  The current ESG theme doesn’t fit well overseas in a nondemocratic framework.  The way I see it is that I invest in companies, not countries.  And there are smart people in every country, who know how to get things done within their system.  And those are the horses I want to bet on to grow my capital.  What is a stock that you’d recommend?  Sberbank of Russia.

Well, thank you so much for letting me into your beautiful home.  Bettina tells Jax.  I’ve got to get back to looking for tabby.  And she makes a cutoff motion to her cameraman.  Need help?  Simon asks.  I’m going to go door to door now that everyone in the neighborhood should be back from work and school.  I could use a driver.  Sure, Sam says.  Simon gives her a look.  You’re the one who said I needed to go to charm school, she tells him.  I offered first, he says looking at Bettina.

Ted, is it all right if I quit early and leave you with all the editing work?  No problem, Bettina.  And he starts to head out.  Hold up, Ted.  Sam tells him.  Do you like Orange Crush?  My kids do.  Great, I’ve got a whole case of it for you.  Jon looks up at her, horrified.  I’ll go get it and carry it out for you, Sam says.

Well?  Simon asks Bettina.  Let me text Lana to see what she’s got planned for tonight.  I need to get more information before I make a decision.

Who else did you ask about the cat?  Jax asks.  Have to watch Channel 5 news to find out, Bettina says as she types with her thumbs.

Sam comes back in.  Ready to go? she asks Bettina.  I’m waiting to hear from Lana.

Bettina’s phone chimes.  Bettina reads it.  She’s working late.  Sam, any chance you’d be willing to drive me back to my place when Simon and I get back?  I do want to ride in your GTO.  And I want to hear Jon play some more.  Sam nods, and Simon motions for her keys.  Sam holds them up.  I want your John Wick Combat Master Glock 34.  As collateral?  No.  As payment for the use of my car this one time.  No deal.  Sam pockets her keys.  Let’s go, she tells Bettina.  Have something ready for us to eat when we get back, she tells the guys.  Don’t be like that Sam, Simon protests.  You’ll have to show me this gun when I get back.  Bettina says with a big grin.  What do you want for dinner?  Jambalaya.  I’m on it, Jax says. May I invite Toni?  Bettina asks.  Sure.

***

Where to?  Sam asks when she gets in the car.  Freeway, North.  She texts Toni.  Join me for dinner @ Jax’s with the band?  Call me if you’re free.   Her phone rings ten seconds later.  Yes, I’m in.  Great.  What time?  In a couple hours.  I’ve got to knock some doors, then get changed and pick you up.  What are you going to wear?  A wrap dress.  Should I wear a short summer dress?  Sam and I will stop by and help you pick something out when we finish our errand.  Who’s Sam?  Samantha.  She’s Mike’s executive assistant.  Is she sleeping with him?  Of course not.  She’s got her sights set on Jon.  Sam gives Bettina a look.  I’m navigating, gotta go.  See you in a couple hours.

How’s things with Rolf?  He thinks he’s gotten rid of me. Did the guys tell you how he deliberately freaked out my dad?  Yes, I cannot wait to meet him; he sounds like an amazing guy.  Bettina looks straight ahead, and then sneaks a glance at Sam, who suddenly bursts out laughing.  Just messing with you, Bettina.   I’m going to keep it up with the guys though, for as long as possible.  Bettina laughs.  What happened?  He started telling me things that he shouldn’t know, and I got goosebumps.  When he said begone, I didn’t need any encouragement.  What did he say about me when I left?  He and Jax left right after you did.  You’re avoiding the question.  He told Mike not to chase after you.  What else?  You already know, Bettina says.  Semantically, he’s wrong.  I work strictly for my uncle.

So you and Rolf?  I’m not allowed to see him by myself; someone has to be with us.

You’re not a child; you can do what you want.  That’s what I told daddy.  And then he told me that I should be like Lana.  Did Jax tell you about meeting her parents? I heard it from Simon.  Well she completely sided with daddy.  "Why are you making such a big deal out of this, Bettina"?  What does she say about Rolf?  That he likes me, but he’s not going to act on it.  Why not?  He’s leaving town.

So her and Rolf?  They’re tight.  She stays at Rolf’s place when things get bad.  She has this cubicle of a room upstairs with this tiny bed.  She calls it her magic bed.  Has Jax told you the story of how they met?  No.  Well…

And I told her that she shouldn’t be prancing around in her nighties in the middle of the day and living with a couple of rockstars.  And she actually listened to me, and we become roommates.  Sam frowns.  I like living at Jax’s.  It’s not good for your reputation, Sam.  <Silence>

Alright, then let me ask you this, if it’s not okay for Jon to have Orange Crush around, then why is it okay for Sam to have Mike around?  Please, Sam mutters.  He’s a good looking guy, Sam.  It’s late one night, and you’re feeling horny, so you knock on his door.  I can’t sleep.  Do you think that he’s going to say no to you?  Sam doesn’t say anything.

First house coming up, Bettina says.  An hour later, they’ve knocked the entire block.  No one has seen the cat.  Bettina stops by and visits with the cat lady.  I knocked every door on the block.  They all promised that if they see Felix, they’ll call.  Thank you so much.  Would you like some cookies?  The guys are cooking us jambalaya.  Do you want to join us?  I do, but I need to be here to answer the phone.  I’ll bring you a covered dish when I check in tomorrow.  Bettina gives her a hug and a kiss.  Goodbye, dearie.

***

I’m still getting ready, Toni says over the intercom, as the door buzzes for Bettina and Sam.  They walk in to see clothes scattered everywhere, the kitchen counter filled with Chinese takeout and vodka bottles.  HELLO.  Bettina says loudly.  Toni emerges in a short tube dress.  What do you think?  I love the color, Bettina says as she winces.  But?  Cover your shoulders.  Help me pick something.  Just wear your favorite chambray shirt over white stretchy pants.  But you’re all dressed up and looking great.  Rolf might be there.  Toni, this is Sam.  So Jon’s off limits?  Toni asks her.  Sam nods.   You’re a cop?  I don’t fix speeding tickets, so don’t even ask.

Why isn’t Lana coming?  Toni asks Bettina.  She’s working.  She seems to be doing pretty well for herself, Toni suggests.  Is she still driving that POS?  Purple is adorable.  She’s driving my Mustang while the clutch is getting replaced.  My license is suspended again.  Who were you racing this time?  Rolf and I vs. Jax and Lana.

What are you working on now?  They’ve put me as a liaison with the FBI field office while my application for transfer is pending.  It’s super easy.  Just lots of meetings.  Met any guys?  I don’t date cops.  When’s the last time you saw my ex around town?  This past weekend.  He was sitting in the mayor’s booth at the Symphony.  Lana and I left right after, but I think Simon and Jax visited with him. So your ex is Kostamo, Sam deduces.  Do you know him?  We haven’t been introduced, but I’ve heard about him from the guys.   And me, I suppose, Toni says.  Yep.  Don’t wife that.  That’s not nice, Bettina tells Sam.  I’m not a nice person and I don’t like cops, Sam replies.

***

Bettina’s phone dings.  There’s a text from Lana.  Client had to reschedule.  I’m heading home.  Call me.  Bettina dials Lana.  Are you home?  I’m at the grocery store.  Sam, Toni, and I are almost at Jax’s.  He’s making jambalaya for us, and Jon is going to play the piano, and Simon is going to show me his new Glock.  What did he get?  Bettina repeats this question to Sam.  Custom Gen 3 Glock 34.  Rolf’s calling; let me call you back.  Lana disconnects.

Several minutes later, Bettina’s phone rings.  Is he coming?  Lana yawns.  Just returning my call.  I didn’t ask.  Get dressed and get over here.  If it was just you, I’d go, Bettina, but since you’ve got Sam and Toni; I think I’ll spend the night in.  Toni motions for the phone.  Lana, I’m turning into an alcoholic, and the creators of “Don’t Wife That” are featuring me on the pilot episode.  Lana chuckles.  I’ll be the season finale, then.  Toni laughs hard.  You better show.  Put Bettina back on.  Well???  I’m going to read myself to sleep.  I’m going to send Simon to come and get you.  Don’t do that to him.  Then get over here.  We’re pulling in.  Bye.

***

Hey, tiger.  Simon tells Toni.  Hey, partner.  Good look, he tells her.  Thank you.  She takes his arm.  Will you give me a tour?

Bettina and Sam head into the kitchen, where Jax is pulling food out of the oven where he’s been keeping it warm.  Need help?  Bettina asks him.  Under control, he tells her.  Wow.  You look great.  Sam, are you allowed to eat ham?  I can grill some shrimp.  Ham’s fine; I’m not kosher.  Anything I can do?  I got it; just chillax.  Will you show me your room?  Bettina asks Sam, who motions her to come upstairs.  I like that you have your own bathroom.

Five minutes later, everyone sits down at the table.  What can I get you to drink?  Simon asks Bettina, as he comes downstairs now wearing a dress shirt and slacks.  I like a beer with salty food, she tells him.  He comes out with a 40 oz bottle of Miller High Life and sets it on the table in front of her.  Everyone laughs at her expression.

What do you do?  Mike asks Toni.  I’m NOPD.  I hoped you flushed those drugs, Mike.  What’s a day in the life?  He asks.  I’m now the liaison officer with the FBI field office here, so it’s mostly meetings and ride alongs.  How come you guys dropped the ball on catching those terrorists?  I mean, what am I paying taxes for?  Simon asks.  Not my department, Toni replies.  So what have you heard?  Mike asks.  We’ve got a local suspect, and Toni glances over at Bettina.  He’s the drummer for some obscure rock band.  Everyone breaks out laughing.  What do you say, Bettina?  Wiretaps, satellite surveillance, thermal imaging.  I’ve got it under control, thank you very much.  Bettina says.

I know who did it, and why.  Sam declares.  Who?  Mike asks.  Jax has to ask me.  His house, his rules; and I like living here.  I’ll bite, Jax says.  The who is two brothers determined to avenge the death of their father.  Bettina puts down her fork, and lowers her head.  Now Bettina knows who did it, Sam says.  Jax looks over at Simon.  And now Jax and Simon know.  Who?  Toni asks.  Shut up, Bettina tells Sam with tears in her eyes.  You’re going to get Toni killed.  Consider this an intervention.  Don’t Wife That is on a downward spiral.  I’ve been there, and it’s not a good place.

Now for those of you who don’t know, Toni is an NOPD narcotics cop who was taken from a nightclub and subjected to a humiliating filmed interrogation under the influence of psychotropic drugs.  The Syndicate knows everything that she knows.  Bettina hired Lana to find her missing roommate, and she sprung you.  I don’t know how or what she had to promise, but you’re golden.  Literally, all you have to do is show up.  The Syndicate has made you inviolate and is going to feed you the small fries that intrude into their AO.

I told them everything, Toni weeps.  Undercover agents, confidential informants.  They’re all going to die because of me.  Did you warn them?  Jax asks.  Toni nods.  I send them each an anonymous text.  Flee at once.  All is discovered.  But they all thought it was a prank or a test.  They’re all still in place.  They’re scum, Sam declares.  No loss.  You warned them, that’s enough.  Simon nods.  She’s right, he tells Toni.

What is The Syndicate?  Jon asks Sam.  Have you ever seen The Godfather Three?  He nods.  Now imagine a balance of power between the East Coast and the Gulf Coast.  But the two brothers decided to do the unthinkable and take down the East Coast.  The entire op was a false flag.  And you’re East Coast, Jax declares.  It all makes sense now.

Who?  Toni demands.  Don Ramon Ortega was the mastermind.  He’s an only child, Toni replies.  So you say, Sam says.  The story goes that one fine Saturday afternoon in Mexico, Don Luis Ortega was being chased by assassins.  He sought sanctuary in a church.  He charged up the aisle, bleeding profusely, and dropped his gun and knelt in prayer at the altar.  His would-be assassins came into the church and walked up the aisle to finish the job.  The young Jesuit priest just out of seminary picked up the fallen gun and executed the men in front of his whole congregation, and then absolved Don Luis of his sins.  He was defrocked and Don Luis took him in.  He’s who Don Ramon calls brother.  Does Lana know who he is? Everyone at this table but you knows who he is.  The club owner, Toni says after a moment.

Who killed Don Luis?  Kostamo.  Don Luis was behind your abduction.  Toni closes her eyes, and when she opens them, they are full of tears.

Who are you?  I’m the advance team.  I don’t want you guys to tangle with Raul again.  Do the show, but don’t call any attention to him; let him be the grey man. Toni, you don’t need to live with guilt.  I know what The Syndicate has planned for the undercover cops, and it’s not torture and execution.  How do you know all this?  Mike’s executive assistant is very good at her job.

Bettina, are you going to be alright?  She nods, and looks up at Sam.  Thank you for helping Toni and keeping the guys from doing something stupid.  You’re welcome.

Jax, this jambalaya is delicious.  Bettina declares.   If there is any left over, may I have it?  Jax nods.  Why didn’t Lana show?  I think she’s tired.  Why didn’t Rolf show?  He’s taking an astronomy class at the community college.

Bettina sighs.  My plan was to use Raul to make Rolf jealous.  Now I don’t know what to do.  He’s never heard you sing, Toni says.   You can sing?  Simon asks.  I don’t solo, Simon.  Why not?  Mother told me that I should join whatever singing groups I could when I went to SMU, that it would be a magic, mystical experience when it all came together.  And she was right.  Do you play any instruments?  Jax asks.  Piano, but not like Jon.  Will you play for me after supper?  He nods.  When’s the last time you’ve played?  He asks her.  I stopped when mother died.

I’ll sing with you, Simon tells her.   Sure – at church.  Sam throws her head back and laughs.  You walked right into her trap.  Bettina grins.  I love singing along with Lana there.  She has such an amazing voice.  What did you think of her dad’s guitar collection?  Toni asks Jax.  He shakes his head no.  Living room?  He must have sold it to pay for her legal bills, Bettina says quietly.  It wasn’t there when I was over either.

Does Lana play?  Toni nods.  We all made fun of her for bringing her guitar to police academy.  She was working on covering Wonderwall for her boyfriend.  She made it her own.  Her version was so muted and melancholy; it hurt my heart the way she’d sing “maybe”.  Have you heard it?  She asks Bettina.  Who shakes her head no.  Does she still play?  Simon asks Bettina.  Who nods.  We’re working on a song for her dad’s birthday.  What kind of guitar does she have? Mike asks Bettina.  It’s wooden and has six strings, Mike.  You’re asking the wrong person.  Everyone laughs.

What song are you singing?  Simon asks her.  It’s a praise song, Simon.  ‘‘Come to the River”.  You haven’t heard singing until you hear Lana let loose; I just sing harmony.

I miss living with you, Betty.  I’m so lonely now.  Please move in with me.  Bettina shakes her head no.  You should invite Sam though.

Sam rolls her eyes.  Bettina thinks I’m going to get horny and proposition you late one night, Mike.  “Hello, sailor” Sam says in a sultry voice.  Bettina looks at her seriously.  I don’t see that happening.  Thank you for that vote of confidence.   After the concert, he’ll work up his courage and knock on your door and kiss you when you open it.  And you won’t want to hurt him or ruin his magical night, so you’ll let him, and then you’ll gently push him away, and say goodnight, and close the door.  And then you’re not his executive assistant anymore.

I thought it was Jon who was off limits, Toni asks Sam.  Don’t even look at him, Sam replies, and everyone breaks out laughing.

So, Simon, I heard you talked to Kostamo at some symphony.  Did he mention me?  Nah, he just wanted to talk to Lana.  But she and Bettina had already left.  Jax?  He asked Jenny what she wanted from Dairy Queen.  He’d called ahead to have one of his guys waiting at the counter to take her order.  It was a real class move.  Who’s Jenny?  Rolf’s date, Simon replies.  What did she get?  We all had Oreo blizzards in hand twelve minutes later.  Rolf’s lactose intolerant, so he gave his to the conductor.  Good to know, Bettina says.

***

Everyone goes downstairs, and stands around the keyboard, as Jon sits down.  Jon plays Kansas’s Dust in the Wind.  And Bettina lays a hand on his slouched shoulder and rubs it gently when he’s finished.  Please play another.  She tells him.  He reaches back, and pats her hand.  Then leans forward and arranges another string of sheet music.  And then launches into Sting’s “Shape of My Heart”.  I love that song, Sam tells him when he’s finished.  I’ve got a request, Toni says.  “Lullaby” by The Cure.  Jon shakes head no, and abruptly gets up from the piano.  I ruin everything I touch, Toni says.  I’ll play it for you on guitar, Mike says quickly.  I like that song too.  Help me set up with a couple loopers and a kick pedal, he tells Jax.  Bettina sneaks her hand into Jon’s elbow, and leans her head against his shoulder as Mike gets ready to play.

That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard.  Toni tells Mike when he’s finished.   Jax, I’m moving in.  Bettina’s right.  Sam shouldn’t be here by herself.  Jax glances over at Bettina, who nods slightly.  Subject to the usual terms and conditions.  Which are?  Lana has to be okay with it.  That’s a gimme.  And?  Don’t bring your business inside my house.  This is a safe space.  I can live with that, Toni declares.  Simon, take me home please; it’s getting late.  Bettina tells him.  He looks over at Sam.  Keys are in it, she tells him.

***

When Simon gets back to Jax’s, he finds his stuff piled in the hall.  A piece of paper on the door reads TONI’S ROOM in big splashy letters.  This is unbelievable, he mutters.  He grabs his laptop and goes downstairs and looks up the Channel 5 eyewitness news website, and watches Bettina’s segment: “The Search for Tabby”, as she asks the mayor, the football coach, the club owner, and the rockstars about the cat.  The SH5 interview doesn’t make the cut.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any new developments in this Channel 5 exclusive, and if you’ve seen Felix, please dial the number on the screen, the anchor says solemnly.

The clip gets picked up nationally.  A day later, at the morning White House press briefing, a correspondent asks the President’s spokeswoman if she’s seen this cat?  Everyone breaks down laughing.  I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, but the President is monitoring the situation.