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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Eight: Case File No. 04-368

Homicide Hunter (tv show parody) in text; illustration of young girl that resembles Amber when she's dressed in her outdoors vest, hat, and gear and holding a magnifier

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Where We Left Off:

The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency handled a perplexing problem when there was food missing from inside sealed cans.

This is a heartbreaking case and if you need to skip it, I understand. While I try to keep everything fun and fictional here, there are some real animal deaths that are discussed like in this case.

Homicide Hunter:

It was a typical Friday. I had to be out of the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency all morning in order to teach yoga. That usually puts me in a better mood because of the changes that occur in the nervous system. Plus, I only had one person show up and she’s nice which makes the experience a good one. Yay, right?

That was until I made the turn onto the long private road at home. The sun was shining which made it easy to see that something was on the pavement. That Vitamin D is supposed to be good for our bones and our brains. It cannot shield you from having an otherwise good day turn to garbage.

orange cat Ollie and black cat Gus in a window together staring at something exciting

Here’s What Happened:

When I got closer to the thing in the driveway, I saw it was the body of one of our chipmunk friends. I slammed the car into Park, got out, started hyperventilating, and carefully moved the body with my bare hands (I know, that’s not advisable, but I was not in exploring gear). I had to move him in case someone drove through and ran him over. I tried to get to my parking space as fast as possible and running inside to change my clothes and get Gus and/or Ollie ready to go out and handle this situation.

Click to Reveal Graphic (unpixelated) Photos

Both of them wanted to patrol that afternoon. The Cook came too—I suspect because I was a bit of a mess. She told me Ollie was worried about me. She even asked if I was going to bury the chipmunk. I wasn’t. Whenever I find something dead or if Gus kills a critter before I can relocate it, I set the body out for other animals to have a meal. Burying is fine; insects will still get the job to begin decomposition and then things break down going back to the Earth. This is just how I handle it.

chipmunk stands upright with one paw raised while having a mouthful of seeds on top of a red brick covered in ivy
Dyson Moretti

Gus was not interested in joining me which I found strange. Ollie had The Cook escort him to the Moretti Rock Fortress to see if any chipmunk would show up. If not, he planned to speak with the birds. He loves chatting with them. We saw Dyson Moretti pop up immediately! That meant we had an identification of the body in my hands. It was Benny Squint.

chipmunk looking out of a space between rocks at the rock wall
Benny Squint

I was the sole pallbearer who walked to a spot that gets heavy wildlife traffic. I placed Benny on the ground at the edge between the open grass and the border of the woodlands. I stepped back and decided to add a few phlox petals around him—not to hide the scent. I placed the petals in a circle with a couple of inches of space. I fully expected a night time scavenger would take it. That’s not what happened at all.

I met up with Gus at the former Fairy Garden—now a sometimes mowed spot of ferns, hostas, and wildflowers surrounded by a nice low wall. While I took the time to retrieve the trailcam images from Fort Winchester, Gus kept to himself. Maybe he didn’t want to deal with me or maybe he was a little bit sad too. Benny Squint had been around for a few years.

After the Funeral:

My blubbering slowed down and stopped long enough for me to enjoy the time with the rest of our team. We walked around to find other chipmunks and birds. I served two cans of seeds and peanuts that afternoon. The critters deserved extra. Oliver was having a great time. You would have thought it was an animal version of an Irish wake. He is a ginger, but typically sloth-like and reserved.

orange and white tabby Oliver lying down inside his stroller as he playfully rolls around

It didn’t take more than ten minutes, maybe even five, before someone was ready to go after Benny Squint’s body. I was shocked! Not only was this in bright daylight with our team bustling around the area, but it was not a bird I was expecting. I had imagined a crow, a vulture, a hawk, or an owl coming down for this meal. It was a blue jay!

Blue jays are corvids so it makes sense, but I wasn’t expecting that at all. I watched it aggressively peck at the corpse. Blue, white, and black feathers flashed around like the fans of burlesque dancers. It also began to look like the bird was trying to Weekend at Bernie’s the body of Benny Squint. Weekend at Benny’s? 

black cat Gus sitting on the "balcony" level of Fort Winchester

Gus climbed up the fake rock climbing wall to get up to the main level of the fort. I had his chicken treats ready for him, but like me, he was too entranced by the ritual consuming of flesh by the blue jay.

Gus sat down and his tail wrapped around him. “That’s Loujay Ferrante.”

“Never heard of him,” I said.

Gus continued. “Loujay is no longer officially part of the Blue Jay Gang. He was low in the organization still headed by Louie Eggs Consalvo.”

“What else do you know about him?” my curiosity was piqued.

Gus filled me in on the background of this allegedly former member of the criminal organization. Loujay was known for stealing. Sometimes he acted more like a magpie that way, but he didn’t keep the stolen goods for himself. He was a small cog in a bigger machine. He was intelligent too—often being the mastermind behind heists and hijackings. He was sent away from the gang and claimed to find a “Zen moment” or something. He had faith in a higher power or at least pretended to. He had a moral compass while working for Louie Eggs. He would never ever hurt a lady bird or fledglings.

We continued to watch Loujay in his danse macabre. Then it looked like trouble was about to break out.

Gus and I watched as a brawler shot to the ground looking to steal what Loujay had. We saw the brown head and puffed out red chest of a robin. His white “eyeliner” markings pointed into at the ends enhancing his air of aggression. The robin might have had a family to feed and was ready to battle for meaty nutrition.

“You see that one?” Gus said. “That’s someone who has only ever lost one fight, as far as I know.”

I looked from Gus to the robin. “Who is he?”

My partner told me this bird was Robin “The Jackal” Jackson. The robin and blue jay squared up. Onlookers gathered in the branches overhead. I couldn’t believe my mourning for Benny Squint was stopped by a bird fight. This robin might have had a nearly perfect fighting record, but the jay’s determination was nothing short of impressive. If he wasn’t ready to share with someone he knew, then he was most definitely not ready to walk away from his food supply for a cocky stranger. Loujay sent Robin on a flight home in coach seating.

“You owe me five bucks,” I joked to Gus. He gave a little turn, bonked my head with his, and got comfortable for the next episode of Cat TV.

Richie “The Boot” Cyano was senior to Loujay back in the day. Richie flew to the scene quicker than Gus and I could believe. Word traveled fast. Loujay might have considered sharing with Richie at one time, but things were different now. There was no love lost between these two. There had been a grudge for a long time. The fight was brief. Loujay kicked Richie’s butt out there in the open. Embarrassed and ashamed, Richie retreated.

All the attention made Loujay relocate Benny’s body to a location with more cover. He took a break while standing guard over the corpse. Then there was another violent wave of pecking apart the meat. He would pick up the body and drop it. His ritual changed from a dance to a horrifying wrestling match. It was gross.

Loujay’s appetite wasn’t what it used to be. According to the gossip/intelligence Gus acquired, Loujay changed his moral opinions. Now he saw over-indulgences as a poor character trait. He had fully intended on sharing the bountiful meal, but only with those he still trusts. When he was personally sated, the jay slowed down from his erratic movements and pulled the victim’s remains off the worn path to rest what was left of Benny’s body next to a rock on a bed of brown, dead leaves.

Amber wearing her outdoor gear as she walks to the place where the blue jay moved chipmunk Benny Squint's body.

The Calm After the Storm:

The next day, I walked out to the edge of the woods to see if anyone had found Benny’s remains. The chipmunk’s body was completely gone. We have no idea who took it, but it was clearly not wasted.

Case Findings:

Tragedy struck on the morning of May 17, 2024. The body of chipmunk resident, Benny Squint, was found. He had been dead for at least an hour. Based on a lack of signs that would normally appear if another animal had attacked a small creature like him, Oliver and Gus determined that the cause of death was accidental vehicular homicide.

Case Status: Closed

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