Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Three: Case File No. 06-110
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Where We Left Off:
Minnie Squirrel has been making daily appearances spending less time in Gnome Grove and much more time at the lithophagus furry friend and chipmunk mafia leader, Cheeks Moretti.
The Public Enemy:
Reports started coming last year that the mobile command unit was frequented by trespassers. The Grumpy Old Man — mechanic and fixer of all things, aka, Grandpa to Gus and Ollie — begged Gus to do something about the rodent problem. It seems he had already tried some inhumane methods of baited glue traps which the mice avoided with the grace of Baryshnikov and the style of Ethan Hunt.
Gus did what he could. He loves including the massive transport in his regular patrols. He always checks the undercarriage’s many nooks and crannies. Sometimes, he goes inside and pokes around everywhere using the Super Smeller to suss out the squatters. He knows they’re in there, but he hasn’t been able to get any of them out.
This has been going on so long that it’s gotten tiresome. Some days, Gus finds the determination to throw all his energy into rid of the MCU of the furry invaders. I know what happens when he catches something that small though. They don’t have a good chance of survival. If it’s something larger like a chipmunk, I can usually save the animal and put it some place more appropriate. The mice caught inside are often saved and released. Outside is a different story.
It was early in May and Gus was doing another sweep around the garage and workshop. This time he was successful. The MCU had been parked in a slightly different way so that Gus had more access to the grassy slope leading up to the main thoroughfare of Bunny Hollow. This little hill is covered in large rocks, leafy ground covering foliage, grass, phlox, and other weeds. There’s a particular spot in a corner of the rocks where Gus often sits patiently. He can be all the way in the driveway and know something is going on in that spot. It’s definitely a locus of interest for the agency. This May adventure outside was exactly what Gus hoped for.
Gus’ keen feline senses led him directly under the MCU to the grassy hill and the small section of rocky caves. His Super Smeller gave him a partial identity of the a known trespasser. Someone familiar to his senses. There was a western European house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) in there and he was determined to get the repeat offender captured once and for all.
Murray Apodemus was somewhere on Gus’ list of wanted suspects. He hadn’t been successful in capturing Murray before, but he had tried plenty of times. It’s why we’ve categorized Murray as a repeat offender even though he is technically a repeat evader.
Before I could even get the camera out for proper documentation (I have not tried mounting a body cam GoPro to Gus) the inspector pounced. Up and down in a matter of a second. He came out of the greenery with Murray Apodemus between his jaws. He trotted around the end of the junkyard and back to the front of the garage where he dropped the mouse in the grass for questioning.
Murray was in for it. After chasing Murray for a year, Gus had no patience for listening to Murray’s stories. He didn’t buy any of it. Every time Murray started to explain his movements, Gus took another brutal swing of his beefy paw and walloped the tiny critter.
Murray went flying the air. Once. Twice. Again and again until Gus took a break to see if Murray was ready to change his story. That’s when I was able to get in close to them and snap a few photos for the file. Poor Murray. He might have been a lifelong squatter, burglar, and small time crook, but he was cute as hell and I wished I could have helped him. The damage he took was too great by then.
Gus took a time-out and walked away. He cooled off by doing a couple of laps around the garage. He came close to stopping a snake, but it got away. The boy was fine. Quite proud of himself, in fact. He came back around and stopped near one of the doors to chew on some grass. I know that there are critters of all kinds living inside the garage (not that they are exactly welcome there, but it’s more forgivable than inside the MCU or the house). I picked up Murray and moved him close to the garage door to a corner of the flowerbed underneath the tall leaves where lilies will grow later in the season. His black eyes looked at me in desperation. Why had I allowed this? Oh, little fella, I’m sorry, but Gus is going to be Gus. He’s not a gentle-cat. He’s a ruffian prone to letting his temper draw him into fisticuffs rather than parlay. His reputation for beating the hell out of creatures he brings into custody goes far and wide beyond the boundaries of the estate.
It wasn’t a total loss even though it was a loss of life for poor little Murray. We were able to get some information out of him, but we’re not convinced it’s reliable. Murray said that Cheeks Moretti has some new allies. We don’t know if this means there are new members of the Moretti crime family or freelancers looking for a gig. It could also mean creatures working both sides of the law. There was no time for clarification before Murray was unable to speak, lying there fighting for air to get into his lungs.
We have to put some credence into the information from Murray Apodemus regarding expansion within the Moretti organization. Murray Apodemus was laid to rest in the flowerbed. His friends had an opportunity to visit and say goodbye.