Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:

Case File No. 06-162

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AMBER LOVE 22-JUNE-2020 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, and Year Three cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. Thank you for all your financial and social support! Oliver and Gus are looking forward to bringing you more fascinating discoveries and investigations into the chipmunk mafia, the blue jay gang, the neighborhood critters, and cryptid sightings.

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.


Where We Left Off:

Vole Porter was caught and exchanged some troublesome rumors for his freedom.


Three Blind Mice:

The Cook and the Grumpy Old Man had already reached the point of impatience about the cat detectives’ lack of progress in ridding the buildings of mice. I will defend the boys on this point. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Gus can’t figure out how to get to the mice running around the inner frame workings of the mobile command unit. And when it comes to the hangar, there’s so much hoarded shit in there that he can’t move around and safely reach inside some of the crevasses.

Now we come to the main building consisting of the residences and offices of most of the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency staff (the Butler has his own place for half the time). The success rate for mousing over the winter of 2019-2020 was low. It continued to be appalling through most of spring. But then… the first week of May, the cat detectives caught three mice in three days!


Mouse 1:

This mouse catch was a midnight affair. I vaguely remember that I had taken some medicine and was in a groggy state. There was commotion under the bed and I was sleeping alone that night. I wondered if that ruckus was Gus playing with Oliver.

My sleepy, dopey eyesight had barely enough focusing ability to notice Oliver was not under the bed. He was next to the box fort (more like a box castle). That meant Gus was rampaging after something that wasn’t Oliver. Midnight. Oh lord.

I found the switch for the bedside lamp. The scene illuminated Gus, now out from under the bed, with a mouse in his mouth and growling loudly (Gus, not the mouse. That would be weird.) He started walking in a wide circle to get around me because he knew what my move would be. I had slid onto the floor at some point in all this so when Gus walked around me, I tried to grab him and failed.

Gus with mouse

It was time to reconsider my strategy. What had I been thinking anyway? Was I going to hold the mouse in my bare hands and then what? Go where with it? Do what with it? How would I open any doors anyway? I thought about the kind of containers with lids I had around the second floor. In my race against the clock of Gus probably going to let the mouse escape, I settled for a used candle jar and a lid that didn’t fit. It was a small jar. I was going to have to be steady and have better aim than my usual.

Gus had let the mouse go a few times. Oliver blocked its path. Gus got the mouse again while I got the jar and then he walked away from me in a peppy trot to keep me from catching up. I tried calling him over to the balcony figuring if the mouse was let go out there, I wouldn’t care. It was out of the house and would likely be fine. Gus wasn’t interested.

Gus with mouse

I was exasperated when I saw Gus head for the back stairs that are through his room (aka, detective agency headquarters). I had to follow him. I don’t remember if I bothered with pants then or later. I think later. The Grumpy Old Man was snoring on the living room couch and of course, Gus released the mouse. At this point, I don’t know if it was so he could keep chasing it or just to make me do it while half-asleep and unsuccessfully trying to be quiet. The mouse ran along the wall and behind a bulk package of toilet paper.

The mouse didn’t pause long. I moved the toilet paper and the mouse ran passed the laundry room door and stopped in the corner by the hobbit door. It was the only chance I was going to have. I had absolutely no faith in my abilities.

All or nothing.

I shimmied my squatting zombie body over to the corner and aimed the open side of the jar down.

Holy shit. I got it! That little speed demon didn’t get away. I tilted the jar and scooped it upward so I could let the mouse slide down while I put the too-big lid over the top and held it in place. I think this is when I found pajama bottoms and shoes upstairs and tried creeping silently back downstairs. I was later told I was not at all silent.

I left the cats behind and went out the hobbit door with the jarred mouse. (That makes it sound like a terrible pate you’d find on the shelf of the supermarket that has never sold.) Mouse inside a jar.

I didn’t grab the flashlight so I used the app on my phone. Due to the state of fucking goddamn pitch black at 00:30, the little phone light worked enough for me to walk up the privet drive up to the Boulevard trail. I couldn’t see anything. I released the mouse and it sounded like a something much bigger. Much, much bigger than a mouse. It only took a second for the sounds of grass and leaves rustling to tell me the critter was alive and well somewhere away from me and the jar. Then I had to walk back in the dark aiming for the porch light in the distance.

Mouse 1 was successfully released. The boys were rewarded for the excellent job. I was humiliated in the morning for how I have no stealth abilities at all.


Mouse 2:

The very next night, Gus and Oliver had another mouse. It was unbelievable. Two nights in a row. I wasn’t sleeping well so I woke up to the sounds easily. Again, my first thought was that the cats were wrestling. Gus was thrashing under the bed and clearly having a marvelously fun time. It was 02:00 when I rolled over, flicked on the lamp, and looked over the side of the bed to see a mouse placed as if it were a gift from the magi.

Oliver was watching his spot between the mouse and the door to the stairs. Gus came out from under the bed and walked around to say hello to me face-to-face.

dead mouse

“Gus, is this one alive or dead? It hasn’t moved. It’s dead, isn’t it?”

“Well, you took the last one away. This one is for you specifically.”

“Thanks, boys. And you had to put it right next to the bed, huh?”

“I can take it off your hands.” Gus rubbed against me when I slid off the bed. He positioned himself like a proud sphinx behind the dead rodent. Then he took one paw and moved it.

Gus hiding mouse

“Gus?”

“What?”

“I know you put the dead mouse under the throw pillow I put on the floor right next to the bed where I put it every night.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s no mouse here. Just a throw pillow.”

Oliver mousing

I dropped my chin to my chest and shook my head. I looked over at Oliver and he was keeping quiet. Even though I was like ninety-percent sure the mouse was deceased on arrival, I picked it up by the tail and put it in the same jar with the wrong lid from the previous night. Since it appeared to be either in need of rest and healing or nothing, I put the mouse in the jar out on the balcony. I took a sedative after thoroughly washing my hands.

mouse dead in grass

The next morning, the Butler took the cats out on the balcony early in the morning. He didn’t witness a cat remove the dead mouse from the jar, but he knew both cats were interested in the jar and there was a dead mouse next to it. Without ceremony, the Butler threw the mouse over the railing where it landed in the grass. I found it later when taking Gus out for his patrol. He confirmed that it was the body of the squatter he murdered and walked away. He had absolutely no interest in the dead mouse in the light of day outside and not under my bed while I slept.

Gus with mouse

Mouse 2: DOA 06-May-2020 02:00


Mouse 3:

By the time there was a third mouse in three consecutive nights, I didn’t even bother collecting photos and evidence for the case file. The mouse was captured and handed off to The Cook to be released so I that I could stay upstairs in my medicated stupor.


A week later…

Mouse 4:

This mouse escaped. There was the same behavior as Mouse 1 with Gus playing with his prey under the bed and Oliver supervising. At some point, the mouse ended up in the corner of the wall that has all the closets. It ran along the edge of the wall and decided to slip into the closet closest to the head of the bed. I was not about to open the doors and pull things out for Gus to try and capture it again.

Gus and Oliver mousing in bedroom


Case Findings:

The mice know when they’ve got it good. There is definitely plenty of food for them inside the building, but it is basically summertime now and they should be outside. Even as I get ready to post this, I can report that the boys chased another mouse around the bedroom last night at 10:30pm, but it safely escaped.

Case Status: Open (there will always be more mice to catch)

cats in box fort

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