Previously on Sherlock Herms in Denial.
“You want me to find out who murdered your granddaughter?” I asked Violet.
“No! We already know who murdered her. Suffice to say we would be extremely pleased if you could bring the murderer to justice, but that isn’t why we wish to hire you. We want you to convince my granddaughter of her disembodied state so she can accept being dead. She’s in Denial, Detective Herms.”
And now… Sherlock Herms in G.A.G. Order
I sat on the bench across the road from our new home watching a pair of piping plovers skip along the sandy beach. The breeze felt cool and smelled of fish mixed with pungent earth warming to the idea that spring had sprung.
As the sun set over the ocean-size lake, my thoughts drifted back a few months to the time my friend and mentor Charley gave me a lesson on Inattentional Blindness. He’d told me to first focus on the birdbath, then shift my attention to the window reflection without turning around and tell him what was going on behind me in the room.
I’d been failing as a detective because I was so highly distracted by everything, I couldn’t focus on any one thing at a time. That day, by shifting my attention to the reflection, I’d seen Dori talking with Charley, and my other sister Candy was asleep on the back of the sofa. I’d also seen an angel with huge wings, along with some dood wearing sunglasses that turned out to be Ghost Guy who eventually summoned the demons that ran us out of our home.
When I arrived at my new home, I’d discovered Charley waiting for me. He’d overheard my thoughts about no longer wanting to be a ghost hunter. Who would after being sucked into Hell through an Ouija board? I was done with demons, big time! Charley is now my Guardian Angel and I guess there is some special dispensation that says G.A.’s can listen in on our thoughts. (I know, unnerving!)
I’d opened the Wonderpurr Detective Agency to learn how to solve crimes so I could help my author mom who wanted to write mysteries. I’m her mews, you see. I help her write novels. A year ago we’d watched a documentary on famous detectives that inspired me to be like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe for their hardboiled detective lingo, and Sherlock Holmes for his use of logical reason to solve cases. Plus I liked his hat. I wanted to get back to the basics, and purranormal investigating was anything but basic.
That’s when Charley brought up my Inattentional Blindness. “When I gave you that lesson, Herman, I didn’t realize you could see into the future. But you can. That is your true talent. And with that talent comes the ability to see spirits. I cannot promise that demons will not try to approach you, because Evil is attracted to Good. But I can promise that I will always be there to prevent them from harming you and Dori, and your family.”
I’d hung my head. “How am I supposed to be my mom’s writer mews when I’m busy counseling spirits?”
“You are where you are supposed to be. You are here now…to help someone.”
Violet and Isobel, the ladies I’d lunched with on the rooftop, hired me to convince their granddaughter of her disembodied state so she could accept being dead. Looked like my role as a Spirit Counselor was about to take off. I didn’t want this job, but Charley seemed pretty set on me doing it. And how do you argue with your Guardian Angel who is also your mentor and good friend?
Deep in thought, I didn’t hear Dori arrive until she pounced onto the bench beside me. “Wanna wrassle, Hwermie?”
She flopped down to lick her paws. Then she spied the plovers. “Wanna chase birdies?”
She nudged me. “Yoo were quiet at dinner. Cat got your tongue?” She meowed with laughter, but I only sighed. “What’s wrong, Hwermie? Why yoo sad?”
“I’m not sad, honey. Just…thoughtful. I got my first case tonight.”
She looked at me with surprise. “How? Yoor phone don’t work no more.”
“I don’t think it ever worked. When I found it in my desk drawer back at our old house, all I did was place it on the desk. I never asked anyone to hook it up.”
“So that means… What?”
“Think about who called on that phone.”
Dori’s eyes glazed over. “I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, much less who called last year.”
“The calls came from the 1940’s. From dead people.”
“I think you’re mixing your movies.”
“Who hired us?”
“Violet and Isobel. They want us to tell their granddaughter she’s dead.”
“She don’t know she’s dead?”
“Apparently she’s in denial.”
“Egypt? Did she drown?”
“That’s what I asked, but they said denial is another name for purrgatory. She thinks she’s still alive.”
“So they want yoo to show her The Light?”
“Actually, The Roof. They want her to join them for tea.” As Dori turned to look at our rooftop, I asked, “Are they there?”
“Two old ladies? One with white hair? One with yellow hair?”
“Nope. Not there.”
When I turned around, Dori giggled behind her paw. “Made yoo look.” She waved at our clients. They waved back, then gestured for us to join them. “They seem like nice ladies, for dead hoomons.”
“I need more details on the granddaughter. Let’s go intermew them.” I moved to stand.
Dori stayed put. “We have to wait until dark.”
“Cuz that’s when ghosts come out of hiding. My book, Ghost Hunters Do It With the Lights Off, says so.”
I saw Violet and Isobel had their hands on their hips, clearly wondering why we were sitting on our tails. “It’s twilight. That’s dark enough. Let’s go.”
Violet poured her grassy-scented clover tea into cups for Dori and me. “In life my granddaughter was a beautiful girl with a sparkling personality. She easily made friends and was loved by everyone.”
“Almost everyone,” Isobel corrected.
“Indeed,” Violet responded with raised brows. “I dare say jealousy is a two-headed monster, able to fool even those closest to them.”
Dori gasped. “A two-headed monster killed her?”
“They speak in obscure references,” I whispered to my sister. Obscure was my Word of the Day on my Word of the Day calendar. I poised a freshly sharpened purrple crayon over my professional detective notebook. “How did she die?” I asked my clients. “Who killed her?”
“And how?” Dori added. “That’s impawtent to know.”
“We cannot tell you,” Isobel told us. “We are under a G.A.G. order.”
Dori’s eyes grew huge. I can only imagine what she was thinking.
“What does G.A.G. stand for?” I asked.
“Alas, we are gagged by the G.A.G.,” Violet said, “unable to discuss such specifics.”
Dori opened her Ghost Hunters Do It… book. “G.A.G. stands for Ghost Authorization Guidelines. Number three prohibits spirits from discussing specific details of another spirit’s life and death.”
I asked, “How can I help when you can’t give me details?” My clients shrugged in unison.
Dori slapped her book shut. “Let’s play 20 Questions. All yoo have to do is nod if we guess correctly. If we don’t, then yoo just sit there.”
The ladies put their heads together, whispering. Then Violet said, “I suppose we won’t be breaking the rules if we simply nod.”
“Excellent!” Dori put her book aside. “Did yoor granddaughter like pink? The color, not the singer.”
The ladies nodded.
“Did she like kitties?”
Again they nodded.
“Dori!” I snarled, embarrassed by her schoolgirl questions. “We need information on her death, not her fave colors and pets.” As my sister sat back with crossed arms and an even crosser expression, I asked my clients, “Did your granddaughter know the person who killed her?”
They stared at me. Then again put their heads together, whispering. Finally Violet said, “Detective Herms, we need to consult the Higher Ups.”
“We don’t wish to jeopardize our heavenly reward,” Isobel added as she faded away.
“We may need a few days before we can resume this interview,” Violet said as she too departed. “I’m sorry.”
I sighed with disappointment. A few days was a long time to a housecat. Then I heard a whisper on the fragrant twilight breeze. “She easily made friends and was loved by everyone… Everyone.”
I said to Dori. “I’m more than a spirit counselor. I’m a detective, and detectives detect. Tomorrow we will talk with the neighbors.”
Dori’s sulky puss warned me she was still hissed that I’d scolded her. “I got a better idea. Yoo talk with the neighbors. I might ask dumb questions about fave colors and fave pets.”
“I didn’t say your questions were dumb.”
“Yoo had a condescending tone to yoor voice.”
“I… I did not.”
“Did so. Tomorrow I’m going to take my dumb questions and talk with the kitties who live in the park.”
“So they can tell me about the lady who wears pink and loves kitties.” She picked up her book, prepared to leave.
I grabbed her tail. “Dori, wait. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be condescending with you. I’m just frustrated. How am I supposed to find a dead lady who doesn’t know she’s dead? Especially when my clients refuse to answer direct questions about who she is. I didn’t even get a chance to ask her name.”
“Why don’t yoo ask me who she is. I know.”
I stared at my little sister. “What? Who? Tell me!”
“Now yoo sound bossy.” She walked to the door leading to the stairs to my office.
I growled, “Dori!”
Her paw on the doorknob, she narrowed her eyes at me. I’d seen that look before—right before I got a headache. Dori claims she can give migraines just by thinking one into your head, and I believe her.
“Dori! Stop right there. Tell me the granddaughter’s name. I’m your boss.”
Her eyes brimmed with hurt. “I thought yoo were my pawtner.” A tear trickled through her whiskers, making me feel like a two-headed monster.
I ran to throw my paws around my little sister, but she closed the door between us. By locking it, she put an exclamation point on her feelings.
I felt wretched. I hadn’t meant to growl or be condescending. I loved Dori with all my heart. And while she could overwhelm and exaspurrate me, she’d also had a big impact on solving my cases. Our cases. She was my partner. My best friend.
I covered my eyes with my paws and moaned, “I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings. But I did. I’m a baaaad kitty.”
“Youse not a bad kitty kitty,” said a sparkly voice. “Youse a good kitty kitty.” The high-pitched baby talk triggered a memory of the day we’d arrived at our new home and a baby-talking blonde lady in a pink polka-dotted dress tried to lure us inside with the temptation of fresh litter boxes. “Youse just need to a-poly-gize to make Dori feel awwww better.”
I lowered my paws to see the lady in pink polka-dots.
The lady Dori called Evie Pees.
TO BE CONTINUED FRIDAY, APRIL 14th.
Welcome to Season Two of Sherlock Herms Purranormal Mysteries starring me, Herman @TattleCat and my lil sisfur, Dori @Adorapurr on Twitter. If you’re new to us, you’ll find my Season One Case Files located in my Case Note Archives . You can also Subscribe to this Wonderpurr blog by email. See the side column. Go on, I’ll wait while you look.
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