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Where We Left Off:
Gus and I took photographic evidence back to Oliver to see if we discovered crop circles on the estate.
Shed No Tears:
Despite a little rain here and there, the fall season was fluttering by beautifully with mild days mixed with doses of bitter tundra. Early in November, Gus and I were out on a sunny morning. This was before I had to switch up his routine to afternoon walks. As we made our way to the big rock in the back where chipmunks, Munka Kelly and Chipcent Donofrio reside, a delicate titmouse landed on a branch seeking our attention.
The titmouse is not the most vocal of the backyard bird varieties we have. Bae-bae was eager to talk though. She bounced from branch to branch in the bushes and eventually flew over to the small maple tree. While perching on one of the branches there, she kept her eyes moving around for signs for any nosy blue jays coming for peanuts. The coast was clear since I hadn’t thrown the peanuts down yet. The blue jays were busy picking off the peanuts from the stash we left at Cheeks Moretti’s rock wall. Bae-bae was ready “spill the tea” as they say.
We had gotten a report about a male shrew, Shrewis CK, that was being an overbearing nuisance. He thought himself a bit of jokester. Always claimed he was a feminist too. Those are the ones you have to keep your eyes on.
As it turns out, once one report came in and was made public to our little estate of woodland creatures and magings, others started to come in like a dam had been broken. The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency was flooded by complaints that something had to be done for the safety of the other shrews. Few were willing to associate with this troublemaker, but there were those who insisted on having his back. They claimed it was all “in good fun” or “just how he is.” The disturbing behavior is too sickening for me to even write about here. Shrewis had been known all around the woodland, especially the northern forest, as being a sexual harasser and abuser. Now in the animal kingdom, that can often be how nature operates. In these cases, however, Shrewis was being an outright asshole throwing his fame and popularity around.
For five years, Shrewis had gotten fat off the fans he had for his shows. He was an entertainer who liked to include monologues about politics in his acts. He stood up on rocks or logs to laud himself over others while they showered him in acorns and hickory nuts. It wasn’t so much what we’d call a stand-up comedy act as a color commentary allegedly to expose the downsides of other industries like politics, the deforestation industry, and big peanut corporations. But for as much as Shrewis preached about those things, he was also not helping to do anything about the problems.
The most alarming issue, however, was the news from Bae-bae the tufted titmouse. She was told that Shrewis went through a number of assistants. It was like a revolving door of staff for a while because no one wanted to work closely with him. It turns out he was a terrible boss and business partner. He was even a terrible guest! Other rodents had put him up in their condos when he traveled around and he would be despicable.
“How many assistants and residents of the Woodland made such complaints?” I had to get the best information I could from the bird to get it all down in the case file and review it back at the office with Oliver.
“Who cares? One complaint is too many.”
The next morning Gus was ready to head into the trails before I had even distributed the peanuts under the maple tree. He was right though. One victim is too many and something had to be done about Shrewis CK.
On the northern forest trail I made sure to leave extra peanuts at the giant felled tree which bisects one of Gus’ favorite hunting grounds. He wasted no time. I generally don’t like when Gus turns into a ruthless predator with the creatures happily living out their time in the outdoors. He’s encouraged to catch the critters (or spirits) inside buildings so that they can be released somewhere else more appropriate. This was going to be tough. When it comes to the smaller varieties of creatures, I can’t really help them much against Gus and his fangs.
I imagine it must be a bit harder for Gus to hunt when my thumping footsteps are nearby. We’ve reached a certain level of trust where I know we can have some distance between us and he’s usually (not always) good about staying where he’s supposed to. The other moments, he makes a break for it and sneaks off to the neighbors’ yards where he definitely does not belong. I prefer to have him where I can keep visuals on him. Last week, he managed to go to the neighbors’ yards and tear off his jingle bell so I couldn’t hear him. #ohgus
I crunched along on the brown leaves. Slipped a couple times because the bottom layer of leaves is wet against the slick soil and rocks. Gave a little twist to my ankle while stumbling on a wobbly rock. Didn’t fall though! Gus went to the giant felled tree area and immediately began pouncing on the ground. Something under the leaves was popping up and getting his attention. That carnival and arcade game “whack-a-mole” — that’s real for Gus and he’s the best at it. Plenty of times, the critter is beneath the soil so he doesn’t have a real chance to get it, but on that November morning, Gus was lucky.
It did not take long at all for the young cat detective to find his perp and root him out. I saw Gus coming towards the “entrance” of the hunting area which is basically a growth of branches and foliage that hide some rocks like the secret entrance to the Bat-cave. Gus pranced his way into the yard and dropped his catch.
It was indeed a shrew, but was it Shrewise CK? I was able to snap some photos and text them to Oliver for comparison with the database.
- Chubby and large
- Right age
This seemed to be him. All the boxes checked and Oliver confirmed the identification. I thought it would be an interrogation and then perhaps issuing some fines and relocating the perp to a different part of the mountain. Gus wouldn’t allow it. Instead of his usual “play time” with the critter, Gus swiftly issued his death penalty like Jude Dredd right there on the spot.
Shrewis CK was a filthy, boisterous, serial abuser living in the northern corner off the Woodland trails. After getting credible information, Gus took matters into his own paws and jaws and dealt a swift end to the rodent.