Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five:

Case File No. 51-259

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AMBER LOVE 02-MAY-2022 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, Year Three, Year Four and previous Year Five cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency.

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Where We Left Off:

The mourning dove family experienced a tremendous loss when both of their eggs were stolen.

Wild Wild West:

The hangar serves as a garage, workshop, storage space, and man cave. It’s enormous yet filled to capacity. The expensive floor paint cost hundreds of dollars per square yard. It’s often swept, but that’s because it’s often covered in grease and the kitty litter stuff that soaks up liquids like oils and fuels. The center is kept clear so that whatever repair is being done, the machine or vehicle can be moved into the open. That means literally everything else you can imagine is shoved over to the sides with no room to walk. It’s a minefield getting to the back door. One corner has the firewood stacks; another has the gun safe.

Amber and Gus outside

The stairs mentioned in the previous case that serve as a roost and look out point were once inside the garage. They had a clever installation where they could be raised and out of the way when not in use; and they were on a sliding track like ladders in big fancy libraries. The current staircase is easy to climb if you can reach it. It’s behind so much stuff – I think I saw a generator back there, a tall tool chest, boxes, planks, buckets – even Gus has trouble reaching it.

So far, Gus hasn’t found any other way up to the loft except for using the stairs. I know they’re uncomfortable for him because of the industrial, diamond punched hole designs that curve bits of the metal up to prevent slipping. He used to take them slowly trying to step around those painful protrusions. Now he runs up so that his feet only get on the edge of the steps. Getting down, he still has to be careful.

There are lights, but I usually don’t turn them on because there are also motion activated lights that offer enough for our patrols. Gus doesn’t need them anyway and the primary reason we spend time in there is for him to find squatters. His Super Smeller does most of the work.

garage Gus

On 09 April, 2022, I decided to follow Gus up the stairs to the loft. I went up there to see if my aerial yoga rigging was moved, but I found it simply stuck and wrapped around the car lift. Gus went to work immediately. He quickly moved through dark nooks and crannies filled with cobwebs and dust. He focused his attention on the area around the old model trains.

wild wild west sunglasses

An opened box sat on top of a pile. I didn’t want to touch too much. Everything is covered in decades of dirt. On top of the pile, I saw a case that appeared to be for eyeglasses. It would be strange for any of us to leave a pair of eyeglasses somewhere we couldn’t reach them. Before LASIK, I wore glasses too just like everyone else in the family. I thought perhaps, if this case was a pair of glasses, they were an outdated prescription. Instead, I found that they were not from anyone in the family at all.

The spectacles were dark tinted sunglasses with oval lenses and still in packaging. The label reads: James West. Who is James West? Why are his sunglasses here? Does Mr. West have so many pairs of sunglasses that he loses them? Why would they be in packaging?

More questions kept popping up as Gus and I finished our inspection inside and moved ourselves out into the fresh air to escape the dust and mold of the hangar. I had taken photos of the spectacles, but chose to leave them behind in the loft.

It was time to catch up with Oliver Winchester and get his expert research skills into action. Oliver hasn’t been up to the loft before. There was also no way in hell the Butler would take him. Not only is the Butler afraid of heights, but Oliver would need an elevator for his buggy. I can’t imagine the mayhem that we would go through if he were ever released into a place as packed with stuff as that building. For a husky fellow, Oliver can squish himself into some tight spaces just like the rodents he hunts.

ollie stretching
OLIVER TAKING TIME FOR YOGA

 

Ollie didn’t need to see the spectacles to conduct research anyway. He had the information I gave him and his intelligence network of friends and associates. He sent an email to friends Leon and Socrates in New York asking them to access the NY Public Library archives.

socrates and leon snuggling
BROOKLYN FRIENDS SOCRATES AND LEON

 

When Oliver got their response, we were flabbergasted! James T. West is a family name that belonged to more than one man. There was a white man who bore the name before the American Civil War. Racial laws being what they were back then, he was forbidden from marrying an African woman. They had a black son who, though a bastard by legal terms, was given his father’s name. The boy grew up to be a loyal, upstanding man eventually being hired into the United States Secret Service! This was an enormous achievement for a free black man.

Being a clever and intelligent man, Agent West waited for retirement from government before manufacturing his own brand (otherwise Uncle Sam would own a piece of anything he created). West capitalized on his good name and stellar legacy using himself as a style brand – perhaps the first of its kind. He had influence on fashion, music, theater productions, and even industrial manufacturing. The brand is still going even having been purchased by a large corporation. West’s accomplishments would be remembered for ages.

Gus, Oliver, and I sat around the treat-dispensing puzzle game as we discussed what we learned about the men named James T. West.

Case Findings:

What we do know is that the younger Jim West had a lot of style and talent. I’m a big fan of the song about this legend from gunslinger history. I like what I like. Now if only I could find a service that has the documentary* on this Jim West to complete our research.

I thought for sure the spectacles we found would be worth something, but it seems that the popularity of West’s style meant that so many accessories were manufactured. The more that exist, the less valuable they are.

Case Status: Closed

* can’t find the Will Smith movie on streaming services!

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