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Where We Left Off:
We had some groundbreaking discoveries creating technology that allow us to see the different forms of magickal creatures.
Gus and I headed out on patrol with a can full of snacks for the birds. We met up with The Grumpy Old Man who was once again complaining about the voles and moles tearing up the yard. It’s basically an American redneck version of Farmer MacGregor chasing off Peter Rabbit. I have no doubt he has a beaten critters with shovels in the past.
This fall, he invested in devices I feel would be used as some kind of military POW torture. They’re solar-powered – okay, good. You stick them in the ground – okay, easy installation but will you mow over them? And they make a grating alarm sound every 49 seconds! Audible to everyone! Not just to the voles, moles, and mice. There are six devices incessantly blaring outside so my patrols with Gus are now quite unpleasant unless we get far enough away.
Here’s where a case comes in: Gus and I were heading up the private road, thankfully away from those penetrating noises. With the sun glare, it can be difficult for me to see what’s going on around us. On the way up, Gus has been doing this cute thing where he stops at the first utility pole to see if Pietro Maximunk is home. I keep telling him Pietro is asleep for the winter.
The truck was in the upper parking area in front of the mobile command unit. Gus loves this truck though he’s never gone for a ride in it. Since the truck had been moved, Gus needed to inspect it.
The tiny panther made a sharp pivot to leave Pietro’s chipmunk hole in the ground. Did he see something? I thought I saw a blur dart across the pavement too. I couldn’t tell what it was, the size of it, or even if I actually saw something. Gus was the only way to confirm that something had indeed zipped by and headed for the truck. Gus was not about to allow something to invade his favorite truck! No, sir! He doesn’t care that things have crawled into my own car and died. Thanks, Guster.
You may recall that we’ve had to deal with vehicular cases before. The first one that comes to mind goes back to our first year of investigating outside. We weren’t sure if we were dealing with a phantom car but we got some answers. That case continued as the car disappeared and reappeared. And as mentioned, I had the unfortunate instance of a dead mouse inside a car part—air filter, I think. That was a stinky case.
The stalwart investigator ran to the truck. He checked thoroughly around the front tires and axel. Then, he focused on the bumper. Gus was absolutely certain someone ran the engine compartment! At least I wasn’t seeing things, but that didn’t mean we weren’t chasing something spectral.
Since were next to the mobile command unit and the massive hangar containing the workshop, garage, and loft, there was an excellent probability that we were chasing a mouse. The infestation inside the buildings has been the worst in forty years! Plus, the poor mobile command unit was riddled with mice as well. Now the entire inside smells like moth balls. It’s not pleasant. Gus doesn’t even want to step foot in there.
Gus kept reaching and searching into the crevasses, but he couldn’t get a grip on anything. I felt bad for him, because he’s so good at his job. He knew someone was in there whom he had to get out. (I’ve been a writer for decades and still know if whom is correct.)
I kept following my own train of thought wondering if we were after a ghost or some kind of spirit, elemental, or other magickal world thing. Gus and I not only had to the solve Who of the situation but also the Why. Why was this creature inside the truck’s engine? Was it there merely as a pit stop to avoid Gus or was the truck its destination?
The last season of iZombie came to mind. Main character and zombie, Liv Moore, took on the mantle of “Renegade,” someone I guess we would call a coyote. Renegade would help zombies and humans cross borders. We could have a similar situation in our own backyard.
I had to know more than my own senses were giving me. “Gus, is that a mouse? What is it in there?”
Gus would only take a break from working for his favorite chicken treats. I carry them with me. I knew what I had to.
The zipper-locked bag makes a loud crinkle whenever I touch it. That means Gus often thinks he’s about to get treats when he’s not. I might just be moving the bag. This time the loud crinkle made him stop and look at me. He lowered down from reaching inside the bumper to see if the noise was intentional. It’s basically an ice cream truck jingle for cats. I opened the bag, squatted down with my knees screaming at me the whole time, and plied Gus with small bites of freeze-dried meat.
“I think we have a mouse situation,” he said with chicken dust on his face like Pacino covered in cocaine.
“You heard the Old Man. We have to try and get it out of there.”
“We, human? You’re standing there taking pictures. I’m doing all the work.”
“I’m doc-u-menting, Gus! It’s work too!” I tried emphasizing the importance of my role, but he wasn’t buying it.
He paced in front of me then made a grab for the treat bag with his protruding claws.
“You had enough treats. Back to business. Is this a regular mouse?”
He circled me twice trying to figure out how to get more snacks before stopping at my side, close enough to be touching.
“I didn’t say it was a regular mouse. I said it was a mouse. There does seem to be something unusual that my SuperSmeller is detecting,” Gus said.
He went back to the truck and tried reaching inside again. He reported back the mouse wasn’t in the bumper or headlight area anymore. It had gone deeper. Unreachable. We lost it. All we could do was finish our rounds to distribute peanuts and birdseed. Then we had to go back to the offices and figure out what, if anything, we could do about the situation.
We needed to wait and make contact with our best informant, Johnny Stool Pigeon of the Blue Jay Gang. He told us that it was a legend most critters didn’t believe, but there were stories of a supernatural mouse that used its powers to help others. It was a bit like the Renegade situation we described, but with a little Zorro mystery surrounding it. El Colaborador. Johnny said he didn’t think the stories were true, but he’d ask around for us.
Gus and I saw the mouse make a run across the border between the properties. The mouse sought refuge in the nooks and crannies of The Grumpy Old Man’s truck. Gus was ordered to remove the rodent, but it got away. His senses detected that the mouse had certain extraordinary abilities.
- speed ability detected is two times faster than an ordinary house mouse
- superior intelligence and problem-solving abilities
Since the target escaped, there was nothing we could do right now about it. Other than it quickly breaking and entering into the Old Man’s truck, it hadn’t done anything to break our accords with the neighborhood critters.
Case Status: Closed