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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Six: Case File No. 09-269

AMBER LOVE 11-JULY-2022 This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. 

Where We Left Off:

The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency investigated the death of a catbird.

Murder Hornets:

In a peculiar twist, there is only one Friday the 13th on the 2022 calendar year and it already happened in May. It’s just another date on the calendar like Christmas. October 31st is really the only date that matters. Shit is going to happen no matter what. Bad shit. It just does. And the Universe doesn’t hold all of it up until a Friday the 13th comes around.

Two weeks ago, I learned that a long distance friend of mine, Anthony D. Lee, died after having had a stroke two weeks prior. His last post on Facebook was telling people he was in the hospital. He was in his 40s and struggled daily with severe depression. But a stroke? Younger adults can usually come back from that if everything else is in working order; it does takes months of rehabilitation. So I was hit with the news and didn’t know what to say or do because I thought, after some time, he’d be okay and home with his fluffy calico Caramel.

The point is, that wasn’t on Friday the 13th. It was a random day. And even though I’ve never felt 13 was unlucky, whenever I come across the number or the date, I pause for a beat because my brain has been conditioned to give it a second thought.

Here at the Winchester-Nabu estate, we already have a mostly black cat, the occasional crow, daily vulture visitors, snakes, and spiders. All things people unreasonably fear. The Cook, for instance, is terrified of snakes – even the tiny ones. One morning, I fell backwards when trying to mount the new trail camera because there was a spider close to the mounting strap.

Sometimes a fear is natural and not part of the phobia disorder. Fear of being hurt by something like bees, wasps, hornets, and all those buzzing winged bastards that are out to get you. All of them are pollinators so technically you shouldn’t kill any of them. If you can afford to have them relocated by professionals, that’s the best way to go. In the moment though… when a shiny blue-black bastard comes close to your arms with its legs dangling down like it’s a crane ready to grasp onto a juicy appendage… those are the FUCK THIS moments that make people reach for the Raid.

In fairness, Good Housekeeping said this: “While bees feed their larvae pollen, wasp species nourish theirs with other insects. That means that wasps are great for controlling pests that would otherwise be snacking on your flowers and tomatoes.”

Last year, a colony made a nest of humongous proportion on one side of the house under the eaves. There was a tiny nest on the opposite side. Also, carpenter bees drilled perfect circles into the wood siding. It’s hard to marvel at the mathematics of nature like that when the fuckers are wrecking your house.

Let’s not forget that right after COVID-19 was discovered, the world was warned about Murder Hornets!

Superstore Amy

At least, I have a guy for this. Dave, one of the owners of our New Jersey comic conventions, Garden State Comic Fest. The pandemic ruined small businesses like Dave had. He’s helped out before to eradicate unwanted creepy crawling monsters Ghostbusters style. I decided to use some of my pandemic money to hire him again for this job.

This gigantic hornet nest was over the roof where Gus used to escape during his Batman and parkour practice. The Grumpy Old Man put up a deer net so Gus can’t get to that roof now. Dave looked at the hive and said it was empty because these types of pests don’t reuse their nests year to year. He climbed up to the roof — no special suit — armed with only a long aluminum pole and a paint scraper.

I don’t even remember which one of the humans was watching over Gus. Oliver was inside not getting near this situation.

The Grumpy Old Man said I should be the one up there scraping off that nest! *insert Ray Liotta type laugh here* Never gonna happen. I guess if I could be absolutely sure the nest was empty, then I’d do it. Even so, Dave explained how hard the nest paper is on the side attached to the building. It’s like MDF, medium density fiberboard (I’ve been watching a lot of crafting videos on YouTube).

It was beautiful. The layers of the paper they created remind me of the stripes in rock faces millions of years old. The hive looked like it was carefully painted with watercolors in a subdued palette of the earth’s hard shells like a John James Audubon painting of an egret on an eastern shoreline. I don’t know what the heck settings I had my camera on because all those pictures came out with a blue overtone. Despite the hive’s natural beauty, I still didn’t want it on the house. It went into one of the many mulch piles.

I’m sure there’s a logical reason why the buzzing bastards like to shack up on houses, but I don’t know what it is. What I do know is that people have a belief in painting under the eaves sky blue to trick the bugs into thinking it’s not a surface, but the actual sky. It doesn’t work, but kudos to The Grumpy Old Man for trying it one year.

Case Findings:

This was a case where there were no supernatural beings at all. Nothing with enhanced powers. No cryptids. Just Mother Nature showing off her scary side. We got lucky that we didn’t have a severe problem. The Grumpy Old Man has a couple of EpiPens just in case. The best part was no one got hurt!

Case Status: Closed

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