John MacDonald awoke face down on his desk. He took a deep breath in through his nose and immediately regretted the decision. He smelled of cheap scotch and body odour from sleeping fully clothed in his chair.

Being a private investigator hadn’t turned out quite like he had expected it. He thought he would spend his days chasing absconders from justice and his nights drinking 1963 Glenmorangie in the stylish bars of the capital. As it was he spend his days posting flyers on lampposts of missing cats and his nights drinking the cheapest whisky he could find in the bottle shop.

The last case had been a particularly annoying one. A missing persian cat in the area of Morningside had pushed him over the edge. The owner had promised him a considerable reward for the safe return of her precious pet but his idea of a considerable reward and hers were two vastly different things. He had hoped for a flat fee for every hour worked and a per diem but his hopes were left for dead when the owner pushed a ten pound note into his hand as though it was a king’s ransom.

The money had bought him a litre of cheap vodka. There was a small amount of it left in the bottom of the bottle. He fished out a pack of paracetamol from his pocket and washed it down with what was left of the vodka. The taste was foul but at least it and the pills would take the edge off the thumping headache that was beginning to form in his skull.

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