THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 16-68
AMBER LOVE 27-AUG-2018 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.
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Where we left off:
There was a surreal update to the case of the Black Vonda when it suddenly disappeared into thin air. We have to consider that case closed (unless it reappears).
Underworld: Rise of the Chipmunks
I relished the rare morning where the humidity was low and there was a lovely refreshing breeze. It’s been an odd summer of sporadic rainshowers every day for ten to twenty minutes and much longer storms at night. New Jersey has felt like Florida.
Our investigation into the Chipmunk Mafia was suddenly renewed in mid-August on that unusually pleasant morning. Gus and I were outside by 0615. He stuck so close to the building that I didn’t think we’d get much in the way of a perimeter check completed. We didn’t get to the back half of the property at all.
Gus only checked one wall around the cars. He stared a lot along the driveway since the elder humans weeded the previous day and things looked different. It was there that the darling hummingbird came by to greet us. It stops right in front of us as if to say, “Top o’ the morning to ya,” and flutters away. We’ve seen it before. This day, it stuck rather close to us. I want to be its friend. I think it must be trying to telling us something with all the interactions we’ve had this week.
We got near the end of the driveway. Gus worries me when he does this. He seems to have no proper fear about being that close to the road. I had to tug his leash and get him to the stairs that lead up to the kitchen door delivery entrance. Out popped Sgt. Burrows! He appeared on the landing and dove back into the flowers in the blink of an eye. Gus peered over the edge. I thought for sure he’d try to jump down into the bushes, but he didn’t. He took his leisurely time smelling every leaf and flower petal in that corner of the front yard. No more signs of the Sarge.
Gus took us a little way up the driveway to the lower parking pad. He didn’t seem interested in much. However, he continued smelling the ground, the stones of the wall, and all the foliage like it was his first time outside. He’s not usually that thorough; Oliver is more of the slow-paced investigator who analyzes everything.
Now normally, when Gus jumps onto the rock wall and goes to the corner by the sundial and magnolia tree, he jumps down making me take the long way around unless I want to follow and climb the wall and jump through the plants. Well this day he was hemming and hawing about it. Slowly we made our way to Oliver’s patio. The morning glories there are looking quite nice; the herb garden has taken on a life of its own and sprouted offspring in between the rocks; but the deer or something ate the new daisies. The cook is not happy about that.
We went around to the other side of the front yard. Gus’ strange behavior continued. Sniff this thing. Sniff that thing. We made it as far as the hydrangeas and turned around. It was time to walk through Gnome Grove.
Gus saw something move and he tried to take off. I was practically dragged along the bed of pine needles. We stopped at the slate walkway leading to Gnomez Addams’ living quarters in the big tree. There are holes all over Gnome Grove (some of them are mysteriousGo back to Year 2 Case 9 and don’t appear to be chipmunk-made). One of the largest ones is at the base of a tree on the edge of the circular neighborhood. It appeared to be the hole where the chipmunk escaped. There was a peanut left behind and many of the mushrooms were broken.
Gus began to stake out the portal to the underworld. It was impossible to convince him that the critter would not come out the same way it went in. Plus, chipmunks are just batshit little weirdos. They have speed force, first of all. It’s a powerful super ability. They’re also tough and excellent street fighters. Wildlife resources won’t tell you that.
After about ten minutes, I spotted none other than Joey Bag O’Peanuts on the wall of the Fairy Garden a mere twenty feet away! The little devil used the tunnel network to make his way home. His behavior was crazypants even for him. If chipmunks did meth, I’d say Joey was doing the meth. There could be some magical substance that tweaked him out like maybe chipmunks react differently to magic mushrooms. The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency has yet to uncover all of the Chipmunk Mafia’s nefarious activities. Unregulated substances could easily be part of their operations.
So Joey runs berserk on the garden wall, appears to fall off at one point, and then decides to charge us in Gnome Grove! He carefully avoided Gus who was tethered to me. Gus got himself wrapped around a cedar tree in his attempt to give chase. Joey scales the big tree (where Gnomez lives), swoops around the trunk, and darts back into the very hole Gus had been staring at five seconds before getting entangled with me in the trees.
Let’s go to the video tape! (Scroll to the 4th slide)
Can you believe that little rascal? If Joey had any fear of Gus or me, it certainly did not show. He was missing for a couple weeks and I was worried about him, but it seems to be back home in the Fairy Garden and up to his old tricks. Maybe after Rosalu’s rejection of his advances, he didn’t clean up his act all. He must’ve gone off the deep end, as they say. He got even more involved in the Moretti family’s operations.
Needless to say, Gus did not want to quit and go inside, but it was 0715 and Oliver was waiting for him to have second breakfast.