THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
AMBER LOVE 14-AUG-2017 My work is supported by the generous backers who tolerate my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. That means a new short story for backers.
ADVENTURES WITH GUS – CHAPTER FOURTEEN: GUS AND THE GRUMPY MAN
Where we left off…
Detective Inspector Guster Nabu and his partner at the detective agency, Professor Oliver Winchester were exposed to the unpredictable qualities of catnip. Since then they’ve settled back into a routine.
- Chapter One – The Great Hunt
- Chapter Two – The Great Escape
- Chapter Three – The DaVinci Plan
- Chapter Four – On the Wild Side
- Chapter Five – The Leash I Could Do
- Chapter Seven – The Two Snakes
- Chapter Eight – Heat Wave
- Chapter Nine – The Sleepless Detective
- Chapter Ten – Baby Beasts
- Chapter Eleven – The Blue Dahlia
- Chapter Twelve – Stray Cat Strut
- Chapter Thirteen – The Strange Case of DI Nabu and Mr. Hyde
THE WINCHESTER-NABU ESTATE. EXTERIOR.
Not all cases are spectacular ending in grand fanfare. As the human of this investigation and security operation, I try to make sure “The Boys,” as I call them, feel a sense of accomplishment. That could mean something as simple as keeping their manners in check and showing decorum. Oliver is by far the better at it. Sometimes it means taking cases for grumps who don’t appreciate our efforts at all.
The Second Case of the Faux Snake…
It was one of the evenings where I had additional human assistance to help run the operations of the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. We do the grunt work. Not sure how much appreciation there is from the detectives, but we know it makes them happy.
Anyway, it was another summer evening when we decided to go for a perimeter check before retiring. I was surprised Detective Inspector Guster Nabu chose a carriage from the fleet rather than his harness.
Earlier that afternoon the Grumpy Old Man had tended to the grounds. The lawn was freshly mowed, though we would prefer he not leave the grass so long as it makes it difficult to walk and push a carriage. The Old Man said he lost his bungee cord again. It wasn’t that long ago that Gus and I found it in the grotto initially mistaking it for a snake. He asked us to keep an eye out for it. I didn’t have the confidence that we’d cover the grounds thoroughly enough to find it. Needless to say, I was surprised when we stopped ten feet out the door and there the darn thing was — just lying there in a grassy patch along the tall hedges.
The rubber bungee was returned immediately. Instead of thanks, the Grumpy Old Man made some kind of snide comment about how obvious it was to find and how it clearly wasn’t a snake. That man needs a serious lesson in gratitude.
The Case of the Long Lost Silence…
The Grumpy Old Man is also so hard of hearing that he is impossible to talk to if he’s not wearing his hearing aids (and even then it’s no picnic). The hearing loss was attributed to his lifelong career around loud machines like tractor trailers, tanks, firetrucks, and yes, the mowers. At some point he realized he should be wearing ear blockers for activities other than going to the gun range.
On a Thursday afternoon, the weather was unbelievably temperate and the skies continued to be overcast. This meant it was more pleasant for me to take Gus for walks. I didn’t always have to fumble with my parasol. That afternoon, Gus discovered a new trail.
Decades passed and the forest grew thick in the absence of teenagers hiking through it. At the back corner of the yard away from the driveway was a trail that lead to a treehouse and then up the hill. That part of the trail isn’t visible anymore. The entrance however is regular spot for Gus to inspect.
He insisted on leading me up when I knew the trail to the old fort was gone. I amused him and went several feet. Then I saw a freshly trimmed trail going off to the left. It definitely wasn’t a trail from the old days. Not knowing where it would end, we set off.
It wasn’t a particularly long trail, shorter than Bunny Hollow in fact but parallel to it. Around the halfway point, I saw something red through the leaves and branches. For some reason, I thought it was a toy truck based on the bright color and shape. I had to stop Gus from continuing forward while I lagged behind. The red thing wasn’t too dirty so I reached through the brush and picked it up.
It was a pair of ear blockers which I suspected the Grumpy Old Man lost while mowing the trail. Maybe they had gotten caught on a branch as he passed through or maybe he was swatting at bugs and it went flying. We’re not sure. The trail came to a dead end. I let Gus walk a little bit longer to take in the scents of the landscape and possible intruders before I called it quits.
I carried Gus across the lawn and into the main house. It was evening and the Grumpy Old Man was watching Cash Cab with special headphones on his head so he could hear the TV. We interrupted and asked if the red ear blockers belonged to him and if he lost them.
“I didn’t lose them,” he said. “I just couldn’t find them.”
Whatever lets him sleep at night. Gus got to close a cold case and I appreciated the sense of accomplishment.
Side Note! “The Unadoptables”
We rarely have the means to back Kickstarters and other crowdfunding, but when I saw The Unadoptables, I had to part with $5 to make sure this comic is made. Plus, I shared the information as much as possible. It’s about a cat cafe filled with kittens and cats that are often overlooked because of health issues, old age, or maybe just something wonky in their appearance. Check out their tumblr. Gus and Oliver got thanked in the credits.
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