Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Six:
Case File No. 12-272
AMBER LOVE 01-AUG-2022 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, Year Three, Year Four, and Year Five plus now Year Six cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency.
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.
Where We Left Off:
In our previous case, we examined different photos taken by the trail camera to see if we could ID the volkolak who came through the grounds at times when we weren’t out there.
Gus has inspected the hangar space—garage shop, fire wood storage, and loft — a lot this summer. This disgusting antique sewing table has been a hot spot of mouse activity. I cleaned it out TWICE.
We really need to get rid of this thing. Who would want to restore this with it smelling so bad? Even if only the metal parts (the table frame/legs/pedal and the actual sewing machine) were salvageable, that would still mean someone would have to be willing to work with the urine soaked wood to get it detached.
These videos are anti-climactic unfortunately. It’s one of the many days Gus asked me to open up the table. I had to pull it from the various machines and shit being stored haphazardly. Then take the table saw and planks of wood off in order to access the main compartment.
One of our inspections yielded the grotesque jackpot of mice leaping out like a horrifying cartoon. I was able to capture some of them and put them outside hoping they would stay there. Apparently, they or other ones came back to claim the antique table as a nest. On that occasion, I opened the main compartment and showed Gus that it was empty. I checked the left side drawers which are falling apart. No mice there.
As I was about to pile everything back on top, I realized there were drawers on the right side too. I had never noticed them before. I took them out with some force. And yep! A fat mouse jumped out ran behind a bunch of crap.
Gus went looking for it but he could get back there behind all the bicycles and engine crane and god knows what else. I was so annoyed it got away!
On yet another hot summer day in July, Gus and I clearly heard clawing around the work bench. Believe it or not, the situation got creepier when we saw two rulers next to a tower of ammo boxes wiggle! Gus wanted to get up to that shelf immediately. Guys, there’s so much stuff. Everywhere. I couldn’t reach the stacks of hardware, bullets, various welding masks, and books. I wheeled over one of the chairs.
“Ok, jeez, I can do this,” I said more to myself than Gus. I trepidatiously put one hand on the work bench and one on top of the chair back. I planted a foot on the seat and the chair already started to slide. I tried again with a couple of toe-tapping hops until I was in a crouched position with both feet on the chair. Then I had to steady myself and reach up to remove things from the shelf. What a pain in the ass.
Of course, after Gus climbed up to the shelf and couldn’t move around, he got down and I had to put everything back. My thoughts were momentarily distracted holding one of the welding masks and thinking it would make a good helmet for an A.I.M henchman costume (but MODOK is such a stupid character).
Now, let’s talk about the other indoor mice – the ones inside the residence. Ewww. The Grumpy Old Man has placed two different kinds of traps all around the small kitchen. He puts glue traps (super gross) under the stove; and some other kind of roach-motel style traps all around. But I don’t think they’re the ones like I have where you can then open and release the perp. I think it’s designed to be one-way and ease the consciences of humans who then toss the whole device into the trash without having to see or touch the rodent.
One afternoon, I was in the kitchen with The Cook and Gus. We heard some high-pitched squeaking. Not good. The Grumpy Old Man wasn’t around. I kept hearing the cries for help and couldn’t ignore them. Gus gave me a look to telepathically demand that I, the weakest of the humans, move the cabinetry and stove in order to inspect thorough for trapped critters.
This was so sad and upsetting, I did not take any pictures. I first found one mouse walking around and tried to convince Gus to get it. The problem was that it seemed to disappear into the drywall where I didn’t see a crack or hole or anything. It was just gone. Gus and I moved around which is when I noticed two glue traps underneath the stove (and lots of turds).
By this point, the mouse who had disappeared had come back and was trying to help her friend! Both of them ended up stuck in the glue. It was terrible! The first mouse was stuck by its feet. The rescuer mouse stepped on, got stuck and then had the extra misfortune of getting her face stuck during the struggle! NEVER USE THESE AWFUL THINGS.
I took the trap and went out the side door – barefoot. This should tell you exactly my state of mind because I do not walk outside barefoot unless I’m staying on sidewalk.
As I exited the house, I was between the recycling and garbage cans which are rather large, approximately 55 gallons I’d guess. For a moment, maybe three shallow breaths, I thought it might be best to toss them into the trash because freeing them would cause them so much pain.
I couldn’t do it. I was starting to cry. I took the trap and walked down the burning black asphalt of the driveway, crossed the street, and stood on the gravel of the shoulder of the road. I tried to ignore the pain of sharp pebbles embedding into my feet as I squatted down. The first mouse came off pretty easily. The hero mouse with the stuck face… it took some time. It was terrified and in pain. I had my gloves on and worked carefully as cars drove by. Eventually I got her free and put her in the grass next to the woods where she and her friend wobbled away from me.
The painful journey back home was slow and emotional. I left the stove and cabinet in the middle of the floor and made sure there weren’t any traps that Gus or Ollie could get stuck in. I ate oatmilk ice cream for lunch after that.
One more note about the glue traps: One of the wildlife rescue groups I follow posted a warning to people about outdoor use of these terrible things. It seems people have been wrapping trees in large, wide glue traps to try and stop the evil, spotted red lantern bugs which are a tree-killing pest. The problem is, the traps don’t discriminate. They’re pieces of paper with glue. A lot of birds and small tree-dwelling mammals like squirrels have been killed by these traps.
This may be the Chinese Year of the Tiger, but it’s unquestionably the Year of the Mouse here in New Jersey. We have never had a problem like this before. The mice are reproducing like crazy and surviving within the walls. Gus and Oliver do what they can.
Case Status: Open