Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five:
Case File No. 31-239
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Where We Left Off:
Gus and his human had surreal interaction with a hawk on Halloween.
Normal days can turn peculiar in an instant. You have to understand what it’s like in this big old house. There are more things than creaky floorboards and noisy blower fans. We frequently hear scurrying and clawing inside the drywall, cabinets, and baseboards. With various parts of the floors, walls, and even ceilings missing, there’s no telling where a creature can find an opening. In fact, many years ago my black cat Binx found his way underneath flooring and it took us a while to figure out how to get him out.
I also have a pet peeve about a particular human behavior. The other humans in the house don’t close any cabinet doors or drawers all the way. Now, some of these no longer close and open fully so I understand those instances. But plenty of times I find things like the silverware drawer a few inches open for no reason. Just close it. The same thing happens with the space underneath it which is a cabinet mounted with a frame for two small trash cans: one garbage and one recycling. People never seem to close the damn thing. It opens like a drawer even though it’s the size of the other cabinets. Leave it open while you’re cooking, peeling, prepping or whatever, but then close it. Simple.
This specific drawer/cabinet is a main story element here. You should also know it’s next to the cellar door. Like other doors, the cellar door is fit for hobbits and halflings. The moulding around it has never been finished like all the other renovation projects that have occurred in this house sitting at the ninety percent completed mark on a project task bar. Around the cellar door there are holes in the floor. We’ve seen mice escape to this area during 3AM chases. Gus has become fascinated by this rustic and squeaky door. He’s not supposed to be in cellar because of all the possible places in which he could become trapped.
There are two rooms off the main part of the cellar which are even creepier. The first is not a place I considered creepy and used to spend time in as a child with no friends. It says “Wine Cellar” on the miniature door and is all dirt inside. The Cook claims this space is not a wine cellar at all. I mean, it does not look like anything you’d see on television where they have beautiful rooms down a stable staircase with the temperature set just right with stacks of special shelves for bottles. Oh no. It does not look like that. It’s more like a pioneer started to dig a bunker for a storm shelter with rudimentary tools.
The second room I do find super creepy. The elders had it created as a storage space that was supposed to actually be a craft room! This room does look like a basement room you’d see on television, but not the beautiful kind. It looks like a serial killers secret room where he would either have his altar of murder or chain someone to the floor. I avoid that room unless I have no other choice.
All of these secret places are enticing to the nosy detectives. It caused what could have been a disastrous emergency but was fortunately, a funny story in the end. That doesn’t negate the chest-tightening panic we were feeling at the time.
I hadn’t seen Gus in a while which happens if he decides to stay in his room or Ollie’s room for hours. I remember the Butler buttling between the kitchen, the dining room, and coffee bar doing some meal preparations. I can’t stand to be in the kitchen when someone else is in there. It has more space than a food truck, but still feels like I’m bumping into people, cats, and surfaces. I distinctly remember having that recurring thought, “Why can’t anyone else close these damn drawers?” I can’t remember exactly, but I think I opened the garbage cabinet to throw out a banana peel. I closed it. I walked as far as the refrigerator and looked back. The garbage cabinet was slightly open.
I walked back and closed it again assuming the Butler had opened it while my back was turned so he could empty the recycling. I made sure both bins were in place and shoved the cabinet closed using just a little bit of force but nothing aggressive. I definitely felt like the cabinet needed extra “oomf” to close.
With the recycling bin having just been emptied, it’s not like there was an overflowing mound at the top interfering with the drawer above it. I didn’t overanalyze it and left.
Later, The Cook said she heard cat meows and couldn’t find Gus. She kept calling for him and heard him respond, but could not figure out where he was. I’m sure you see where this is going. As Mike Birbiglia says, “I know, I’m in the future also.” Her anxiousness caused me alarm so I got up and began to search too and since it was a Defcon 3 situation, I didn’t have my camera out. The meowing was coming from the area by the cellar door where it entirely possible that an animal could be stuck in the floors or wall (maybe, who knows for sure?) or actually behind the cellar door where they should not be.
I don’t remember why I moved towards the garbage cabinet in particular. My brain was in panic mode. Whatever it was, I tried to pull the bin drawer open and it was quite stuck. I knew and could see that there was no garbage stuck at the top since the bins were virtually empty. What the hell? I put more effort into it and pulled hard.
What was that? I looked down.
“Gus!! Where did you come from? Wha– how? Where…?” I looked at the now dirty black cat in an awkward splayed posture on the kitchen floor.
He had been either trapped in the small space under the bins, behind them, or between them. I checked him out and brushed off as much of the dust as possible. He was fine, but confused and understandably unhappy.
Oliver and Gus have had their share of hiding from the humans. We try to stay calm and tell each other they must be napping in a cozy spot we can’t easily see. Gus is especially stealth because he’s harder to see even in plain daylight. Yet, I’ve walked right passed Oliver snoozing on the back of the couch and notice him. It makes me feel like the worst detective.
Burton Guster Nabu had decided to take advantage of the few seconds when the Butler had been emptying the garbage bins. He went deep into the shadow of the cabinet where he became invisible. I believe he planned an elaborate reveal Chris Angel style, but instead, the trick went quite wrong and he couldn’t escape. He was found later: unharmed but dirty and shocked that his plan hadn’t worked. He blames me entirely for this failure.
Case Status: Closed