Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:

Case File No. 28-184

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AMBER LOVE 23-NOV-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:

Gus discovered Munka Kelly’s secret passageway while Ollie and the Butler tried to get the red spotted lantern bugs under control.


Chandler:

Do you know the feeling when you walk out your door and expect everything will be perfectly normal? Ordinary to the point of boring? And then you find a dead body.

lt. joe kenda

Okay it wasn’t a human body, but rarely would it be unless you live in Colorado Springs apparently, home of Lt. Joe Kenda. This time is was a tiny mammal body nonetheless. Neither Gus nor Oliver had any idea where it came from. I couldn’t believe it either because it was so close to the back porch. It would seem like a spot where Gus would have caught a mouse and he has before, but these guys weren’t taking credit for it.

close up of dead mouse on grass

The little thing was grey with a white belly and had open solid black eyes like obsidian marbles. Its little paws and tail were pink. There were no identifiable markings like tattoos or piercings. Nothing that would make it easier to go through our critter files and figure out who this Mouse Doe was. Damn shame.

Now had this body been found up by the hangar, junkyard, or mobile command unit, I would have a good guess that its demise was caused by the Grumpy Old Man putting out poison. He’s also a fan of glue traps which I find revolting. He would prefer that Gus catch the little suckers, but instead, the yard mice have been living a lavish lifestyle. You would not believe the cozy quarters we’ve discovered. These mice have found insulation (we don’t know where that came from) and plenty of cardboard to make nests inside every nook of the mobile command unit, vehicles, and toolboxes. Gus can tell me where they are, but that doesn’t mean that I can figure out how to open the spaces to remove the critters with any sort of gentle relocation approach. The mice up there get poisoned or glued if Gus can’t catch them and bring them to me. Plus, I heard that relocation only works if you take them far away, like two miles away!

That brings us back to this little critter found so close to the residence. There was a new mystery to solve and the first thing to do was find an identification for it. It meant canvassing and tapping into our CI network. Oliver and his Butler got the first big break in the case. They were in the fairy garden to drop off some peanuts when the newest member of the fairy clannad, Sienna Brunetti, confidently spoke up. She was different in how she talked to Oliver. She trusted him enough to talk about others, but she rarely divulged any personal details about herself and where she came from. Her skin was bronzed and when the sun bounced off it, it was like gold glitter was covering her. Her wings were subdued with almost no color, not quite translucent. Sienna couldn’t tell us who murdered the mouse, but she did know his name.

raymond chandler noir
LA Times graphic

“Chandler. Never knew if that was his first or last name. It was like Parker or Cher. The single name thing.” Sienna reached a hand up to tuck her long hair behind her ear.

“Do you know anything else about this Chandler? Know any of his associates?” Oliver felt like Sienna was holding something back.

“He was on the job. That’s all I know.” The fairy looked bored by the conversation.

“The job? Like a cop or a criminal? Give me something.” Oliver chatted more than usual. He’s used to talking to the birds not the fairies. When he has meetings with the fairies, it’s often a silent affair. In the old days, they would be called “dumb” suppers using an outdated word for mute people. Now it’s a practice often done with monastic or yogic ties so participants can share in others’ energy and be mindful of each bite of food.

“Yeah like a cop. I honestly don’t have anything else to say about him.”

“You don’t seem broken up about his murder, Sienna.” Oliver tried to read what her affectations were saying that her lips weren’t.

“I barely knew him. I’m new here.” Sienna Brunetti then took a long whiff of the giant mushroom in front of her and turned her head to face away from Oliver. It was her way of inviting him to leave.

Gus stuck out his tongue at Oliver. “Great job. We got nothing.”

“I got a name and a job. That’s more than you got.” Oliver pawed at his screen window in the direction he wanted to be steered which was back to Gnome Grove.

When the Gnomez Addams and Gnome Chomsky didn’t have information on this Chandler critter, we headed around the perimeter and up to the small maple where our last remaining bird feeder is still hanging. Birds were okay with Oliver. He carried on plenty of conversations. This time of year, the blue jays aren’t around much, but we have a steady stream of tufted titmice and black-capped chickadees. Both are types that like to gab and in some cases, yell loudly as if they need to be heard over the cawing of the crow.

These daytime birds told us that we needed to talk to the night birds, specifically the Great Horned Owl. I’ve never seen it, but I’ve heard it out there. Its “hooting” is distinctive and I verified by listening to samples on the Merlin app. At night, Oliver and Gus appreciate time on the balcony. Though I much prefer being in bed by early afternoon (no, I’m not kidding, I’m tired.) I was willing to take them out a couple of nights in a row to see if we could get any answers about Chandler. The second night paid off. I heard an Eastern Screech Owl followed by the Great Horned Owl signaling me to take the boys out.

During the evening trips to the balcony, the boys are more contemplative. They’ll listen more than chatter or whine. We kept listening for half an hour then went back inside. The timing was just right. I heard cats outside screaming and fighting. When other cats are around, Gus and Oliver end up taking their energies out on each other. I listened and the house was quiet fortunately. I leaned over the cat tower to see if I could get any messages from the ruckus outside. Finally, Ollie came upstairs for some treats and catnip and he was willing to tell me what was going on with the investigation.

Case Findings:

Chandler had been hired to protect a witness to a critter crime. We don’t know who hired him. The witness was a chipmunk. Perhaps someone was going to go against Cheeks Moretti to the benefit of Chipcent Donofrio. The rumors have been circulating that Chipcent is ready to make a move to take over the entire neighborhood including Cheeks’ turf. With Chandler dead, we may never know who the witness is.

Case Status: Closed

vincent donofrio kingpin

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