1
Sherlock Herms in… The Making of a Master Detective
2
Finding Mya’s 3rd Anniversary
3
Where Babies Come From
4
Sherlock Herms in…Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire
5
Sherlock Herms in…Feral Informants

Sherlock Herms in… The Making of a Master Detective

My name is Sherlock Herms. It is my business to know what others don’t know. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure my business is all in my head and I might be borderline schizo. I have no idea what’s going on.

As I lay in the dark on my attic office sofa, my mind replayed what I had to assume was a nightmare.

I’d dreamed we’d lost our home when I allowed a teevee celebrity ghost hunter named Ghost Guy into our house and he’d summoned enough demons to force us to flee. Okay. It was really Dori who did that, but I accept the blame. I could have scratched the dood and sent him on his way, but I didn’t.

We’d moved north to a town called Welcome Home located in the Mitten State. There I met a pretty ghost named Dottie Kiss who loved to wear polka dots and had been murdered by her sister Patty who buried her in a grave with their grandmother, Violet. When confronted with proof Patty retaliated by setting our new home on fire.

“This is your fault, Sherlock,” Dad had snarled at me in my dream. “If you hadn’t poked your pink nose into Patty Kiss’s business, our home wouldn’t be on fire. You’re responsible for this.”

“You took playing detective too far,” Peaches said and Chauncie Marie added, “What a failure you are, Herman.”

I’d buried my face in my paws while all around me were the sounds of my life going up in flames. “I never meant for this to happen,” I’d cried. “I didn’t want to be a purranormal detective, but everyone said I had to help Dottie.”

“You’re a failure,” Frank growled. “Because of you we are now homeless!”

Dori howled. “We are homeless. All because of yoo, Hwermie. All because of yoo!”

“All because of you, Herman,” Mom said, her voice heavy with grief. “All because of you!”

Sobbing my little heart out, I ran to my Guardian Angel, Charley Feeble. “The h-house is b-burning and everyone blames me,” I’d wept in my dream. “I didn’t know Patty would b-burn the house down. I didn’t know.” I pawed away my tears to look into his eyes, but what I saw wasn’t the kind squinty Charley eyes I’d come to know and love. Now his eyes were hard and angry.

“It is your fault,” he told me. “You messed up. You put your family in danger.”

“But I didn’t mean to,” I yowled, heartbroken that my mentor had also turned on me. “Oh Charley. Not you too. Everyone is mad at me. Nobody loves me any more.” As my family and Charley surrounded me with mad faces, I’d hid my face in my paws. “This is a nightmare! A horrible, horrible nightmare!”

I felt a kick to my shins and with a gasp I stared into the squinty eyes of my sweet little sister and partner in the Wonderpurr Detective Agency. “Just like hoomons…you dissy-point me, Hwermie.” Dori kicked me again, and punched my arm. Even in my dream she packed a wallop. “Yoo did a bad thing, Hwermie. Bad, Hwermie!”

As I watched her prepare for another roundhouse punch, I gasped and fell backwards. As I fell, I realized that I was falling into a deep dark pit, about six feet deep. There I lay looking up at the stormy sky at the top of the pit. As the faces of my family crowded around the opening, I realized I was not alone. I was inside the grave with Violet and Dottie, and both were wearing mad faces.

“You are a failure as a hardboiled detective,” Violet told me. “There is no grit in your blood.”

“You are a bad kitty,” Dottie agreed. “You let me down. Now I will never find the Light.”

“No! No!” I howled. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody!”

“Bad Hwermie!” Dori kicked dirt down into the pit on top of me. “Bad bad, Hwermie!”

“I didn’t want to be a purranormal detective,” I sobbed as my family joined Dori in kicking dirt on top of me. “I want to go home. I want my old life back. I want my old life back!”

Gasping from the recall, I lurched off my attic sofa to walk in circles while I waited for my pounding heart to simmer down. “It had been all a dream,” I mumbled over and over. But it hadn’t felt like one. It had felt real!

As my heartbeat calmed, I sat at my huge desk with lots of nooks and crannies. It came with my attic office. Actually, it came with the house. It’s too big to get through the door without chopping to pieces. Mom always said our home was built around an older house that refused to be torn down. In my dream I’d taken the case of Mrs. Shallowford’s Ghost where I discovered our house had belonged to Charley, a detective who got murdered by Vivian Shallowford who was so mean, she’d turned into Demon Loud Lady and lived behind the bookcase here in my office.

Remembering this, I jumped up to pull a few books off the shelves only to see nothing but a wall. Then I remembered the Smoke Monster that liked to steal Dori’s treats and knelt to peek under the couch, but he wasn’t there.

Back at my desk I picked up the receiver on my 1940’s black Bakelite with a rotary dial. It wasn’t plugged into anything, and yet in my dream I’d received a phone call from Roland Blunden of the Chelmsford Blunden’s who lived in 1943 and hired me to prove the abandoned house he’d purchased wasn’t haunted…although it was and I had to figure out a way to get rid of the ghosts in order to earn two huge quarters (since they’re bigger than pennies and dimes). The Case of the Dancing Ghosts had been my first paying case as a hardboiled detective with grit in my blood. Spying my smiling piggy bank, I shook it, expecting to hear the quarters jingle, but my bank made no sound.

My gaze then drifted to the vacant spot on the wall over my desk where I’d hung a picture of me, Dori and Charley, taken after Charley got a promotion in heaven to become my Guardian Angel. I stared at the spot pretty hard, as though willing the picture to return. I was having a really hard time believing everything I’d been through had been a dream.

But what if it all had been a dream? Maybe that was a good thing. I’d been a huge failure as a purranormal detective. I’d let Dori run the show while I stood around with my paws in my pockets, wondering What The Friskies was going on most of the time.

I’d not made myself proud as a detective, purranormal or otherwise. Sherlock Holmes and Sam Spade would have made me turn in my deerstalker hat and trench coat if they’d seen what a poopy job I’d done of detecting. Of not taking control like a master detective should, but rather allowing Dori to lead me around by the whiskers.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, what would I change? Well, for one I wouldn’t allow Dori to shove me into ghost hunting. In fact, I would take Mosey and travel to Baker Street to meet Sherlock Holmes and ask him to teach me how to be a Master Detective like him.

Thinking my attic office smelled stuffy, I abruptly recalled thinking the same thing in my dream while picturing my mom writing in her air-conditioned office with sunlight warming her African violets. Like in my dream, I put my nose to the door crack to inhale the fragrance of lemony sunlight puddling on the buttery carpet in front of her desk. I loved that sun puddle. So much! I also loved air conditioning.

In my dream I’d sniffed hard, hoping the A/C in mom’s office would chill my insides and make me comfortapurr. I snuffled now at the crack. That’s when a faint fishy odor seeped into my nostrils, followed by a loud burp. Just like in my dream! But how could this be?

With my paw on the door, I fought squirrely feelings in my tummy. In my dream I’d thought my first client had arrived, but I knew better. I knew it was my little sisfur Dori on the other side wearing her rainbow pawty-collar with a box of her favorite treats in her paws. I opened the door and sure enough, there she was. She even broke into the same commercial.

“Smittens tweats are cute, heart-shaped and crunchy,” Dori told me. “They are made from wild, line-caught Haddock from the pristine waters off the coast of Iceland.”

Instead of saying my line in the dream: “Are you going to share with me, or snarf them all yourself?” I stayed silent, just to see what would happen.

At first Dori stared at me, expecting me to ask the question. But when I remained silent, she hugged the box to her chest and said her next line: “Mine.”

What the Friskies was going on? Okay, maybe I’d been a purranormal detective in my dream, but that didn’t make me born yesterday while awake. Something fishy was going on, besides Dori’s breath, and I planned to get to the bottom of it.

I knew what Dori wanted me to say next, so I deliberately didn’t ask “What do you want, Dori?” which again tripped her into saying her next line, “Meowmy said I can pway detective, too,” without prompting.

“Sure you can play detective,” I told her, which wasn’t what I’d said in my dream, and that blew her performance rhythm. Waiting for me to say my lines about not playing detective, she stood in the doorway with worried eyes that grew more anxious when I flung myself onto my couch.

Something fishy was going on, besides Dori’s breath, and I planned to get to the bottom of it. Click To Tweet

“Dibs!” Dori jumped onto my desk, knocking my cup of purrrple crayons to the floor. Several disappeared into the cracks, never to be seen again. I was supposed to snarl, “That’s my desk,” and grab my piggy bank before it crashed too, but I didn’t. “Maybe I should sit on the storage bin,” she murmured. I just shrugged. As she crawled on top of it, clutching her bag of treats, she said, “Hwermie, why do you have a piggy bank on your desk?”

My line was, “To remind clients to pay me.” Instead I said, “It’s junk I plan to throw out. You can have if you want it.” The shock on her face was priceless.

Shouting “What’s that?” a little louder than necessary, Dori pointed to the corner where I was lying on the couch with a nearby chair and table with a lamp along with several copies of my favorite magazines. I was supposed to say, “That’s where I will interrogate suspects,” but instead I skipped ahead and said her line for her, “No. I mean that box thingy sucking on the wall plug,” which totally freaked her out. I could tell by the way her eyes dilated, her ears flattened and her tail fizzed. So freaked, she said, “That’s your CritterZone Air Naturalizer. Yoo got it when yoo was at Blogpaws in Vegas.”

I yawned pretty loudly and picked up a magazine to browse, abandoning the conversation altogether. Dori still tried to perform her part by leaving her treats on the storage bin, and going to sniff the CritterZone. “What does it do?” she asked, but when I didn’t answer she said my line: “It attacks germs, bacteria, dust particles and neutralizes the coughy, sneezy, itchy-eye stuff in the air,” followed by her line: “Is that a good thing?” Skipping over my reply, she said her next line: “What are con-tammy-ants?” but I had no intention of answering. I could see her whiskers bristling with frustration, and hid my smirk behind my magazine.

“Dad’s gardening shoes,” she bit out between clenched fangs. “Wet towels. Garbage. Litter box poo.” In her frustration I’d noticed she’d abandoned her trademark lisp. Then she widened her eyes with forced amazement and the lisp returned: “Weally? Maybe we should plug it into Fwank’s pa-tootie.” As she giggled behind her paw, she sounded more psychotic than cheerful.

From behind my magazine I watched her gaze travel to the door, then upward and around the room, as though she knew she had lost control of the performance, but didn’t know what to do next. I knew there were more lines about the CritterZone that would remain unsaid, including my line: “Why does the Wonderpurr Detective Agency have a CritterZone Air Naturalizer? Because, Dori… Crime stinks!” but I refused to say it.

Silence filled the room broken only by me turning a magazine page. A glance told me my little sister was about to explode with nerves, so I wasn’t surprised when my phone suddenly rang and Dori did a back-flip into the air and sunk her claws into the wood ceiling beams. Meanwhile I answered the phone myself.

Instead of saying “Wonderpurr Detective Agency. Sherlock Herms speaking. How may I help you?” I said, “Is this Dino’s Pizza? I’d like to order a one-inch vegetarian mushroom pizza with PUP-purroni, pigs knuckles and Fruity Pebbles.” As I hung up, Dori fell off the ceiling.

“Despurrate is good,” Dori murmured, more to the floor than to me. “We chawge fifty cents.” She was still determined to say her lines, although the conversation had veered way off course.

The phone rang again. I knew it was Roland Blunden of the Chelmsford Blunden’s trying to hire me to solve my first purranormal mystery, as he’d called in my so-called dream. But before he could speak, I again answered with, “Dino’s Pizza? I want to order 52 PUP-purroni slices prepared in a fractal pattern as follows from an equation I am about to dictate. Do you need time to grab a pen and paper?”

“Hwermie!” Dori howled. “What are yoo doing?”

“Hold on,” I told my sister, then said into the phone, “I’d like a pizza with the following toppings: enriched bleached wheat flour (flour, reduced iron, “b” vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate (b1), riboflavin (b2), folic acid)), water, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable and/or animal shortening (soybean, cottonseed and/or canola oil, beef fat), whole eggs, dextrose, contains 2% or less of: soy lecithin, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, cornstarch, and monocalcium phosphate), whey, modified corn starch, glucose, soy flour, salt, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, cornstarch, sodium stearoyl lactylate, natural and artificial flavor, sorbic acid (to retain freshness), polysorbate 60, soy protein isolate, calcium and sodium caseinate, yellow 5, red 40.”

I felt Dori’s paw on my arm. “Hwermie, yoo is scaring me. Why are yoo ordering Twinkies on yoor pizza?” She pulled the phone from my paws, but didn’t say anything. She just gazed into my eyes with worry. So I said, “Is this where we’re supposed to get bound together with the telephone cord like a couple of yo-yo’s?”

At that moment Jack and Opie burst into my office pushing my mint chip-colored Gen7Pets Regal stroller with Jack saying “We heard you got your first case and needed transportation to get there.” He screeched to a halt. “Uhhh, aren’t you supposed to be tied up with the telephone cord?”

“Hwermie, yoo is scaring me. Why are yoo ordering Twinkies on yoor pizza?” Click To Tweet

“Hwermie’s not playing by the wules,” Dori mumbled as she wandered into the corner where our mom kept her research library. There my sister began to paw through books, just like she’d done in my “dream” that I now knew for certain wasn’t a dream at all. While I had no idea what was going on—why my fursibs were attempting to re-enact my first case–I knew it was time for me to take control and start being a Player instead of a Patsy.

Jack was saying his lines according to plan. “We took the liberty of adding a few gizmo’s to your buggy.” He unzipped the hood and flipped aside the mint chip cushion to reveal the control panel with a scary array of buttons, including the notorious pink button that would delay our destination by ten days with every push. I watched him then turn to glare at Dori pawing through the bookcase. “Don’t you want to come over here and paw the pink button?”

She shook her head, then started to sing ‘Purrrple Underpants’ under her breath. Hearing the song put the exclamation point on my suspicions that everything I’d been through over the past year had not been a dream. I’d never heard Dori sing that song until my second case entitled Mrs. Shallowford’s Ghost.

Casually I bent down on the pretext of examining my foot claws in order to whisper “Hello Mosey.” My stroller whimpered like a puppy. I then peeked into the compartment under the seat and saw the Smoke Monster swirling happily. “Shhh,” I whispered to them both.

Feeling superior that I now knew my family was trying to pull something over on me, I pretended interest while Jack removed the nylon ring from my stroller’s storage compartment. He pulled a string and it popped open into a tunnel.

“Jack, thanks for the toy,” I told him as per my lines in the script, “but I don’t have time to play. I got my first caper to solve.”

“It’s not a toy, Herms. It’s a trans-portal. An Energy Gate. I’ll explain later…if you return.”

I laughed instead of swallowing hard, which caused Jack to arch a brow in question. After a moment when I didn’t say my “If?” line, Jack gestured to the H on my collar. “Your bling is the key to your Ride.” He pointed to the impression on the right of the panel. “Touch your charm here. Then meow the address and paw the button that lights up.”

I decided now was the time to take action. I jumped into Mosey and touched my H charm to the control panel. The buttons lit up. Pale at first, then gradually stronger with dazzling brightness. Then, instead of meowing the address, I punched 221B Baker Street, London, U.K. into the control panel.

I was gonna do it! I was gonna go find my hero and ask him to teach me how to be a Master Detective like him. Beg, if I had to…although cats don’t beg as a rule.

Dori ran toward me howling, “What are yoo doing, Hwermie? I’m supposed to go with yoo!”

As Mosey began to shiver, then quiver, I told her, “Not this time, sweetheart.” When he started to shake like a wet dog I shouted, “I’m doing what I should have done a year ago. I’m taking charge!”

READ MASTER DETECTIVE…PART 2

If you like what you’re reading, here are more stories by Kimberley Koz and Herman, her mews:

click for more information

 

Finding Mya’s 3rd Anniversary

Finding MyaThree years ago today me and my mom published our book, FINDING MYA – He Can’t Live Happily Ever After Without Her.

It’s a 5-Star book on Amazon.com, with the art work for picture map illustrations provided by our friend Mya Campbell who was 8-years-old at the time.

To celebrate, we are giving away a pawtographed copy. All you have to do is leave a comment below to enter.

In case you’re new to our blog and don’t know about FINDING MYA , here’s what the story is all about:

Eight-year-old Mya has a magical relationship with her grandma’s foster kitten, Herman. They can talk to each other. Not with words. With tickle thoughts! They plan to live together, but then the worst happens. Mya’s vacation ends and Herman is given to a woman whose dog treats cats like chew toys. He escapes danger, but the road to finding Mya is scary and tough. She promised to leave picture-maps along the way to her home. All Herman has to do is follow them and he will live Happily Ever After in her arms. It’s a wonderful plan. Too bad it goes wrong right from the start.

Here’s a scene from a chapter called DUMPSTER DIVING where raccoon brothers Danny and Huck teach me how to find food cuz I was starving.

~5~

DUMPSTER DIVING

Herman shivered inside a hollow, dead log. One lousy beetle. That’s all he’d eaten in the two days since the weather had turned bitter-cold.

Nor had he found any of Mya’s picture-maps, making him worry that she had changed her mind about him living Happily Ever After with her.

He’d be a goner if she didn’t want him. Never to be cuddled. Never to be fed tuna noms. Never to find his missing purr. As his empty tummy tied itself into knots, he began to sob.

“You okay there, pallie boy?” A raccoon peeked in at him. Read More

Where Babies Come From

Dori: Hwermie? Do yoo know where babies come from?

Herm: *startled* Why don’t you ask Mom?

Dori: So, yoo don’t know? That’s dissy pointing. I thought yoo knew ev’furrything.

Herm: Well, of course I know.

Dori: *blink blink* I’m waiting.

Herm: Well…

Dori: If yoo don’t know, tell me. Don’t bamboozy me with some fairy tale just to appear smarter.

Herm: I wouldn’t do that.

Dori: *checks watch* Forty seconds into the conversation and still no answers.

Herm: I know the answer. I’m just not sure it’s my responsibility to tell you about the birds and the bees.

Dori: Birds and bees?

Herm: That’s what hoomons call the subject of making babies.

Dori: Making babies? Like tweats in a Smittens factory?

Herm: *swallows hard* Not exactly.

Dori: *checks watch* One minute, thirty seconds.

Herm: Dori, stop. I don’t need the stress of pressure.

Dori: Yoo feel stwessed? Why?

Herm: I don’t want to make a mistake and traumatize you.

Dori: Traumatize? *pulls up a chair* Oh, this is gonna be good! Read More

Sherlock Herms in…Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

Previously on Sherlock Herms in Feral Informants.

Mom sighed as she disconnected her phone. “This ghost hunting career of yours has turned dangerous,” she said to me. “And I’m mad at myself that I’ve been too distracted setting up this bed and breakfast to notice what’s been happening right under my roof.”

“I’m getting out of the purranormal biz. At least I hope to,” I reassured as I led her downstairs and out the front door where Dori sat on the porch steps. “What did you find?”

Dori swiped a paw across her weepy eyes. “Nacho led me to Violet’s grave. He said Dottie is buried there, too.”

Mom abruptly went back inside. I wondered if she was nervous about what I’d asked her to do and needed to pee, or was backing out of our plan to trap Dottie’s killer in a confession. But then she returned with scissors and a large shopping tote that smelled like bread. As she snipped several yellow Julia Child roses from the nearby bushes she said, “Crawl inside the tote, under the bread loaves. Patty Kiss claims to be allergic to cats. She won’t allow me inside her home if she sees you.”

I pushed aside the crusty loaves to settle at the bottom of the tote. Dori climbed in beside me. As Mom carried us to the house next door, I whispered the plan to Dori. She seemed uncharacteristically subdued. “Hoomons can be so dissy-pointing.” I couldn’t agree more.

I heard Mom whisper, “It’s show time!” and ring the doorbell. A moment passed before the door opened and I heard Patty Kiss say to Mom, “What a surprise.”

“I was on my way home from the store,” Mom told her, “but when I saw how pretty my roses were, I cut a few for your home.”

“Thank you,” Patty said. “My grandmother planted those bushes years ago. But she never shared them with me.”

“Cuz yoo is a bad lady,” Dori whispered inside the tote, and I told her to Shhh.

“I was also wondering,” Mom continued, “if you might answer a few questions.”

“What kind of questions?” Patty sounded suspicious.

“Who would you recommend for painting and carpentry jobs. We are behind schedule in opening our bed and breakfast, and need to hire help.”

“I have a list of recommendations that I give to every home buyer. I thought I gave you one.”

“I’m sure you did, Patty. I probably lost it.”

“Come in. I’ll get you another copy.”

Inside the bread-reeking tote bag, Dori and I were in danger of succumbing to yeast fumes. Also, Mom’s bread was in danger of being nommed cuz neither of us had eaten lunch.

As we entered the house, Mom laid the tote down. Peeking past the bread, we saw the opening faced the underside of an end table. As Mom said, “Boy am I thirsty. I can’t believe how hot it’s been this week,” leaving Patty no choice but to offer her a drink, Dori and I crept out of the bag and slipped under the sofa where we found Frank and Chauncie Marie—my Senior Optical Buzz Specialists, aka my audio visual experts.

“We got the house bugged in record time,” Frank told me.

“Good job,” I said, just as Patty screamed in the kitchen.

“That would be the box of palmetto beetles,” Chauncie Marie explained, “shipped in fresh from Florida.”

“Shipped in?” I exclaimed.

“You said spare no expense,” C.M. retorted.

“Is something wrong, Patty? Can I help?” Mom’s voice could be heard moving toward the kitchen located in the back of the house.

“Let’s go.” I led my WAD team out from under the sofa and down the hall toward the kitchen. There we saw Mom standing with her cell phone behind her back, clearly dialed in to the Welcome Home Police Department.

As we curled around Mom’s ankles, Patty was busy smacking at the bugs so she didn’t immediately see us. Mom said, “I also have a few questions about the house.”

Patty had her back turned, and was now filling a glass of water for Mom.

“I reviewed the Seller’s Disclosure Statement and wondered why you didn’t reveal that the house is haunted.” Patty dropped the glass and turned, her face pale and her eyes wide with shock. “I have two elderly ghost ladies upstairs, and a pretty blonde who loves pink polka dotted dresses downstairs in the kitchen. Sound familiar?”

Patty sputtered incoherently. Then she pointed to Mom’s ankles. “I’m allergic to cats. Get them out of here.”

“I’m told your sister Dottie loved to wear pink polka dots,” Mom continued. “The ghost’s description sounds like her. I thought you said your sister left town with a strange man. Doesn’t sound like she left town at all.”

Patty continued to sputter. “She left town, I tell you. Left with her rich boyfriend.”

“Mrs. Skredskarvig—Finn—said she didn’t have a rich boyfriend. She told me Dottie would never leave town, especially because of the stray cats she took care of in the woods.”

“Are you calling me a liar?” Patty shouted.

“I’m questioning how Dottie’s ghost can be in my home when you said she left town.”

“Maybe her boyfriend murdered her.” Patsy screamed, clearly freaked out by the turn in conversation. “Get those cats out of my home. I can’t breathe around cats.”

“Really? You’ve had ten cats hidden throughout your house all morning, and yet you seem to be breathing perfectly fine… Unlike your sister.”

As Mom said this, my WAD team came out of hiding. They burst out of the cupboards, drawers, and from behind the countertop cookie jar. As Patty Kiss reeled with shock, spinning this way and that, Mom said, “You don’t seem very upset to learn your sister is haunting my home. I assume you killed her in the kitchen since that’s where we hear her scream every morning at six a.m.. What happened? The poison wasn’t working fast enough, so you bludgeoned her to death?”

If looks could kill, my mom would’ve died right there on the spot.

You’ve had ten cats hidden in your house all morning, yet you seem to be breathing fine… Unlike your sister.” Click To Tweet

“Get out!” Patty howled. “Get out of my house!” As she grabbed a sharp carving knife, every member of the Wonderpurr Gang arched their backs and bared their teeth and claws.

“Are you threatening me with that big knife?” Mom asked with amazing calm. I personally thought she’d been watching way too many episodes of Murder She Wrote. Meanwhile Dori widdled on the floor.

“I will do more than threaten you with my knife,” Patty growled, sounding more feral than Orion and his colony. “I will kill you and every one of your damn cats!”

She took a menacing step forward…and tripped over Frank who had stopped—dropped—and rolled in front of her. As the knife flew out of Patty’s hand, Mom yelled, “Run!”

As we zoomed for the door, she held it open, counting heads to make sure we were all out of the house just as a police car pulled up to the curb and a very mad-looking detective got out. “I thought I told you to wait until we arrived.”

“My cats were inside,” Mom told him. “Patty Kiss is in the kitchen.”

I’ve always thought my mom would break the law to protect her cats, and now I had proof.

As the detective drew his gun, more patrol cars arrived, and with them the neighbors came out of their homes to see what was going on.

Later that night, after we’d enjoyed a special shrimp dinner, we gathered in the third floor rec room, with Dad playing a game of chase-balls-with-sticks with Frank, Opie, Jesse, Nik and Jack, and Mom lounging on the couch with the rest of us while talking on the phone to the police detective. As she hung up she told us, “Patty is still on the run, but they’re certain she won’t get far.”

Dad cracked the end of the cue against a ball, sending it zinging across the table. Frank pounced, and sent it whirling over to Jesse who smacked it into a corner pocket. “I’m still furious that you risked confronting that crazy woman without telling me what you were up to.”

“It’s my fault,” I admitted. “I needed help exposing her.” I said to Mom, “Did the police find the bad stuff Orion buried?”

“Yes. They took it to the lab and the bottle has Patty’s fingerprints on it. Good job!”

Dori sat on Mom’s lap, washing her paws. “Orion and Nacho and the others were so happy to have shrimps for dinner too.”

Mom said, “I have contacted the Welcome Home Humane Society and they are arranging for citizens to come twice a day to take care of the ferals. I’m told Finn is heading the group. She’s also selling her meatballs to make money to feed the cats.”

I sniffed the air. “Smells like Finn is busy cooking her meatballs tonight.”

Mom turned to look out the window behind her. “Whoever is cooking, it isn’t Finn. Her kitchen is dark.” She breathed in. “It smells like something is burning.” She sniffed again…then gasped. “Ray! I smell smoke.”

Dad threw down his cue to bolt down the stairs. A moment later he shouted, “Fire! The downstairs is engulfed!”

My heart somersaulted as Mom lurched off the couch, shouting, “Get out! Get out of the house.” She ran to open the windows. As Dad shut the door, sealing off the heat, he joined Mom in tearing through the screens, then lifting each of us out onto the roof.

In the far distance we heard the sound of sirens. While Mom did a head count, Dad slung his leg over the edge of the eaves and shimmied down the drainpipe to the ground. He then dragged over a chaise lounge with cushions, and held out his arms. “I’m ready!”

Mom told us, “Tuck your heads into your bellies, and be sure to keep your claws retracted. Don’t freak out. Daddy will catch you.”

One by one by one by one…the Wonderpurr Gang tumbled through the air into our dad’s waiting arms. Only Opie panicked and flipped out of his belly tuck at the last moment, missing Dad’s arms but landing safely on the chaise lounge.

By now the firetrucks had arrived and were drenching the front of our house. Dad opened his arms. “Come on, Kim.”

Mom looked down at Dad, then at the hunky fireman on a ladder, beckoning her over. “Decisions. Decisions.”

As Mom’s feet touched the ground, the fireman asked, “Is everyone out?”

“Yes. We’re all accounted for. I can’t believe this! We didn’t cook inside tonight. We boiled shrimp on the barbecue.” Mom picked up Dori, who was climbing up her leg to make sure she was okay. “We made sure the fire was out.”

You’ve had ten cats hidden in your house all morning, yet you seem to be breathing fine… Unlike your sister. Click To Tweet

“There will be an investigation, but it appears the fire started on the front porch…and the back patio,” the fireman told her.

“Two fires?” Mom started to weep. “Two fires were deliberately set?” She turned to Dad who said, “Patty Kiss did this. She set our home on fire.”

“And her home too,” said the police detective walking up to us.

We turned in unison to see Patty Kiss’s home crumbling to the ground.

As Mom wept into Dad’s arms, he looked at me with angry eyes. “This is your fault, Sherlock. If you hadn’t poked your pink nose into Patty Kiss’s business, our home wouldn’t be on fire, and she wouldn’t have tried to kill your mom. You’re responsible for this.”

“We are losing our home because of you, Herman,” Gidget hissed.

With shock, I found myself surrounded by every member of my WAD team, looking like they wanted to rip me to shreds.

“Where are we going to live now that our home is destroyed?” Opie yowled, while Jack howled, “I wish I’d never joined your stoopid detective agency.”

“You took playing detective too far,” Peaches told me, and Chauncie Marie added, “What a failure you are, Herman.”

I buried my face in my paws while all around me were the sounds of my life going up in flames.

“I never meant for this to happen,” I sobbed. “I didn’t want to be a purranormal detective, but everyone said I had to help Dottie.”

“You’re a failure,” Frank growled. “Because of you we are now homeless!”

Dori sobbed louder. “We are homeless. All because of yoo, Hwermie. All because of yoo!”

“All because of you, Herman,” Mom said, her voice heavy with grief. “All because of you!”

I heard my Mom’s voice, but I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of her mouth.

Sobbing my little heart out, I ran—blinded by my tears. I had no idea where I was going until I ran smack into a tree. At least I thought it was a tree until arms came around me. Charley!

“The h-house is b-burning and everyone blames me,” I sobbed into his chest. “I didn’t know Patty would b-burn the house down. I didn’t know.”

“Herman,” Charley said softly. “Look at me.”

I pawed away my tears to look into the eyes of my Guardian Angel. But what I saw wasn’t the kind squinty Charley eyes I’d come to know and love. Now his eyes were hard and angry.

“It is your fault,” he told me. “You messed up. You put your family in danger.”

“But I didn’t mean to,” I yowled, heartbroken that my mentor had also turned on me. “Oh Charley. Not you too. Everyone is mad at me. Nobody loves me any more.”

My family surrounded me as Charley plunked me on the ground and joined them in making mad faces at me. “This is a nightmare!” I hide my face in my paws. “This is a horrible, horrible nightmare!”

I felt a kick to my shins and with a gasp I stared into the squinty eyes of my sweet little sister and partner in the Wonderpurr Detective Agency. “Just like hoomons…you dissy-point me, Hwermie.” Dori kicked me again, and punched my arm. “Yoo did a bad bad thing, Hwermie. Bad, Hwermie!”

As I watched her prepare for another roundhouse punch, I gasped, and fell backwards. As I fell, I realized that I was falling into a deep dark pit, about six feet deep. There I lay looking up at the stormy sky at the top of the pit. As the faces of my family crowded around the opening, I realized I was not alone. I was inside the grave with Violet and Dottie, and both were wearing mad faces.

“You are a failure as a hardboiled detective,” Violet told me. “There is no grit in your blood.”

“You are a bad kitty,” Dottie told me. “You let me down. Now I will never find the Light.”

“No! No!” I howled. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody!”

“Bad Hwermie!” Dori kicked dirt down into the pit on top of me. “Bad bad, Hwermie!”

“I didn’t want to be a purranormal detective,” I sobbed as my family joined Dori in kicking dirt on top of me. “I want to go home. I want my old life back. I want my old life back!”

With a gasp I opened my eyes. Sweating profusely, my body trembled from the adrenaline rush, causing my heart to pound. “I didn’t mean to do it.” I gasped for air. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry!”

It took me a moment to realize the darkness around me wasn’t from being inside Violet and Dottie’s grave. They weren’t yelling at me. Dori and my family wasn’t kicking dirt into my face.

I lay on a sofa in a dark room. As my heartbeat calmed and my eyes adjusted, I found myself staring at a bell by the door. Instantly I recognized it as the bell I’d hung over the door to my attic office back at my old house so no one could sneak up on me. I also saw the measuring tape I’d tacked from top to bottom to tell how tall my clients were in case they turned out to be suspects.

With a start I sat up and turned to the corner. There I saw my huge desk with lots of nooks and crannies next to a window where I used to think I could see my suspect’s expression of guilt while I questioned them. I also saw my snake-necked lamp that I’d planned to shine blindly into their eyes during interrogation. And there, right beside the lamp was my old 1940’s black Bakelite with a rotary dial that I’d found inside one of the desk’s cubbyholes.

As clarity washed through me, I realized I was back in my old attic office. I was back home!

What the Friskies!

END OF SEASON TWO

CHECK OUT THE CASE NOTES ARCHIVES FOR MORE SHERLOCK HERMS PURRANORMAL MYSTERIES

ENJOY SUMMER READING BY KIMBERLEY KOZ

Sherlock Herms in…Feral Informants

Previous episode: Sherlock Herms in…A Meatball Lunch with a Side Order of Clues.

As I zoomed for the cat colony behind my house, my whiskers sizzled with suspicion. I’d had my A-Ha moment when our nonagenarian neighbor, Fjarskarfinn Skredskarvig—aka Finn—mentioned Patty Kiss may have been upset when her grandmother, Violet, left her multi-million dollar estate to Dottie.

Upset enough to murder her sister? Maybe not, but it was a good clue.

I had plans to chat with Patty Kiss, who was the realtor who sold us our home, but I needed more than a meatball-making old lady’s suggestion that she had motive. Finn said Dottie would never leave town with a strange man. She loved her cats too much, especially the homeless kitties in the colony. Yet that’s was what Patty Kiss told everyone. Dottie ran off with a strange boyfriend.

Amazing how one little suggestion had started to fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle of how Dottie got dead.

Dottie’s colony lived in the woodland park behind our home. I didn’t have to search long to find them. Dottie had built shelters among the thick brush by the pond. At a glance I saw ten cats, but my strong sense of smell told me there were more. My heart hurt for them, not having a home. No longer having Dottie to care for them. Did they hunt? Or did kind hoomons bring them noms and fresh water? Read More

© 2011-2018. Wonderpurr Life Publishing. All rights reserved.