Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Three: Case File No. 11-115
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Where We Left Off:
The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency is the first source to ever have documented photos and videos of a baby Jersey devil / demon.
Escape from Algattotraz:
If you’re new to the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency case files and tales of adventure, let me give a brief summary: we chase clues and evidence of cryptids, magical beings, and wildlife; there’s a criminal organization on the property run by the chipmunk mafia and its leader Cheeks Moretti; there are two feline detectives, Gus and Oliver; there are four humans: the Cook, the Grumpy Old Man, the butler/chauffeur Alfredo Pesosvalor, and the biographer/PA (me, Amber). Professor Oliver Queen Winchester is stoic, well-read, brainy, and hates being touched but loves country drives in his carriage. Former Scotland Yard DI, now NJ PI Burton Guster “Gus” Nabu is the maverick, rogue detective who often uses brutality to get information from suspects and critters of interest. Unlike Oliver, Gus prefers freedom from restraint when exploring but is usually on a leash, though at times when it appears safe, he walks unleashed besides a human. Both are unbelievably spoiled.
In our years of documenting the adventures, Gus has escaped many times. It used to be only from the second floor observation deck to the roof.
He also found ways to get out of his harness and open doors. He’s a Houdini scholar, though much more egotistical and believes he can outdo history’s greatest showman. [below: Houdini’s ghost’s actual reaction.]
When Gus performs an actual feat of escapist engineering, it’s rather brilliant. Then there are times when he’s simply being a little jerk and refuses to return to me when called/clicked. Back when I first started using the clicker, he took to it right away. I didn’t have to train him. The noise caught his attention and he would come back to me. We did this a lot in winter when climbing over trees (one of the most fun things to do if you don’t fall).
On a recent Monday, we were out on our morning patrol. Gus went in search of activity at the junkyard. Our time was running out before I had to get back inside to get into work clothes and leave for the art museum. As usual, the boy did not care about my schedule or needs. It’s typical Gus that around forty-five minutes into our exploring, he takes a rest but remains alert. It’s after that, as the clock approaches either my scheduled need to go in or my disgust of the icky humidity, when Gus finds some motivation to bounce around looking for trouble. That Monday was one of those days.
Gus vigilantly sat on one of the stacks of cinder blocks. The scene resembled Batman on a Gotham rooftop or when Captain Cold escaped Fox River State Penitentiary.
“You have about twenty more minutes, Gus, but then I gotta go.”
“We’ll see about that.” The detective fled from his perch, scampered up the weed-covered knoll, crossed Bunny Hollow and bounded into the woods. I watched him go into one of his favorite hunting and meditating spots so I thought I knew exactly where he was.
Time ticked away and I had to start calling him. I went around to the private road border then back around the damn overgrown forsythia bushes through half of Bunny Hollow and into the trail. I went back and forth like this calling for him. I eventually went higher up the hill to try and spot him through the overgrowth of the forest.
Calling. Clicking. Crinkling the treat bag. Nothing worked.
That little shit.
I looked over at the next door neighbor’s wood pile where Gus has frequently trespassed to chase squirrels. I didn’t see him there. I felt my heart rhythm get faster every passing couple of minutes that he was away from me. I couldn’t wait any longer. I texted the Cook and asked her to take over the search so I could go inside and get changed. There was still no sign of him by the time I was leaving.
Where was Oliver during all this? He was on the balcony sleeping. He could not be bothered to keep an eye on his pesky cousin and tell any of the humans in which direction Gus went.
I had no choice but to leave the estate without knowing where the hell my companion was. I’ve studied for years, decades even, about trying to stay calm in high pressure situations. I frequently failed — usually in front of influential people like managers or HR personnel. I drove down the S-curves of the hill and reached the traffic light. I kept breathing deeply letting the exhales out like bellows being compressed. I navigated the four-mile county road to the next small highway and traffic light. Things I told myself: Keep breathing. He’s fine. As long as he stays away from the street, he’ll be perfectly okay having one of his adventures.
I passed through one more traffic light when the text came through:
That little shit. Yes, I still thought that even while being flooded with exasperated relief.
Gus went up the weedy knoll as I said before. He entered the trail, went into the woods, but then walked straight through his hunting spot. He crossed the driveway and entered the neighbors’ yard. He most likely went all the way to the far border with the next neighbors’ property. He would have walked down that border and gone through the small space between a shed and a fence. But then, for some reason, it didn’t dawn on him to retrace his steps when his humans were calling, clicking, and crinkling. Instead, he went to the gate of the solid wooden fence and cried.
But wait… there’s more!
One morning, it stupid human error which led to Gus getting out and having a solo adventure. I forgot that the Grumpy Old Man was cleaning all the screens on the first floor and I opened up a kitchen window. Gus had asked politely (for him). He climbed onto the table and meowed at the closed window. I didn’t look that closely at it and simply lifted the blinds and the thick glass window. I didn’t even notice the lack of screen. I turned around and left the kitchen.
It was only when the Cook returned from grocery shopping and she asked me if I forgot the screens were out. I said yes. She laughed and said Gus was carried back inside safely. Usually the Cook is extremely stressed out and overflowing with anxiety, so her light-hearted reaction was a relief. It meant he hadn’t gotten far nor into trouble.
Though this was an internal investigation, it was perilous — or at least that’s what all the humans involved felt at the time. PI Gus claims that he was following up on leads he had heard through the aves gossip network.
Sure, Gus. We all know you were just fucking around and got confused.
Case status: Closed