Previous episode: Sherlock Herms in Ghost Hunter Blues.
Sprawled on a bench across the road from our house in the town of Welcome Home, I absently watched a dozen piping plovers skip along the sandy beach. There was no cool breeze to ruffle my floofy fur as summer had settled like a steamy wet blanket over the Mitten State. Plus the air stank of dead fish (and not in a yummy way.)
I felt depressed. Splintered into pieces. Everyone was mad at me.
Dottie the ghost girl had disappeared while I was having fun at Blogpaws, a pet bloggers conference where I go every year to hang out with my fans. It wasn’t my fault. I’d run out of time and couldn’t help her find the Light before we left town. But Dori blamed me, and so did Charley and the others.
I didn’t care. Let them be mad. It was high time I took control of my life instead of letting Dori and Charley and my WAD team lead me around by the choke chain.
I’m not selfish. I appreciate that sometimes dead hoomons need help. But why me? Others were available to help, like James Van Praagh, John Edward, and the new kid, Tyler Henry—the Hollywood Medium. They talked to dead hoomons all the time. In fact, the kid had an unnaturally cheerful way of doing it. The right attitude!
I wanted to be a detective. Search for clues. Solve mysteries—and not about why a hoomon got dead. That stuff depressed the dickens outta me. I was on the eighth of my nine lives. Time was running out. I wanted to spend my remaining life doing happy stuff.
So I told Charley and my WAD team that I was closing the Wonderpurr Detective Agency. Closing it right after I found out why Dottie the ghost girl got dead, and maybe helped her find the Light. I had to help her. Dori said it was the right thing to do, and I agreed.
I had a notebook open beside me filled with scribbles. Tyler Henry scribbled when he channeled what dead hoomons wanted to tell him. So far all I had was squiggles and doodles, and car-paw tunnel from holding my purple crayon too tight.
As I set my notebook aside, I heard mew-sic behind me. I turned to see Dori strumming a pink toy guitar.
“Sing a happy song.
Sing it all day long.
Whenever your day goes wrong,
Sing it loud and long.
Sing a happy tune.
Shout it to the moon!
No matter if it’s May or June,
Sing it till you swoon.”
“New song?” I asked.
“I wanted to write yoo a song called Ghost Hunter Blues, but it depwessed the heck outta me. So I wrote yoo a song about being happy.”
“Thank you. It’s a good song.”
“I got another song. It’s called Buy Me a Cow.” She broke into song, “’Buy me a cow. Meow! Meow! Meow!’ That’s it. Yoo like it? I can teach yoo the words.”
“Maybe later. Right now I’m thinking about how to help Dottie.”
Dori picked up my notebook. “Has Tyler Henry been here? Did he say where Dottie went?”
“No. That’s my notebook. I thought if I scribbled, Dottie would tell me stuff, but it didn’t work.”
Dori began to scribble. Then she drew a smiley cat face. And a flower. “It’s not working for me, neither. Maybe it will work for Candy. She’s our Psychic Medium Rare on the org chart.”
“Worth a try.” I let my attention wander to the waves rolling along the shoreline. For a time Dori and I sat without talking, just appreciating the view and the calming sound of the water.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderpurr if life was like this all the time?” Dori held out her paw to a caterpillar slowly crawling along the bench between us. It crawled onto her paw.
“You mean just sitting and appreciating the world around us? Like normal cats do?”
She nodded. “I saw a cartoon the other day. A lady was walking her doggy. She had a thought bubble filled with busy stuff zooming through her head, while the doggy just thought about the trees and the sunshine. I didn’t like that I could identify more with the lady than the doggy.”
Dori’s words shocked me. I never figured anything that deep would ever come out of her mouth. Then she ate the caterpillar and ruined the moment.
“Hwermie, I understand why yoo no want to be a ghost hunter no more. I was being selfish, wanting to do funner stuff than boring detective work. I’m only on the first of my nine lives, but I read that life is short, so I didn’t want to waste a single minute of my lives doing something not fun. Except, that’s what I did to yoo. I’m sowry I blamed yoo for Dottie leaving without going into the Light.”“Has Tyler Henry been here? Did he say where Dottie went?” @TyHenryMedium Click To Tweet
I took her paw. “I will help Dottie.”
“Are you weally going to close our detective agency?” Her golden-green eyes pooled with fat tears. “Please don’t, Hwermie. I pwomise I won’t take no more ghost cases. I’ll do boring detective stuff. Backgwound checks. Civil Investigations. Insuwance Fwaud. Suwveillance watching paint dwy.” She buried her face in my floof and sobbed. Real tears. Not the fakey types as seen on the Housewives of Hell, Michigan teevee show. “I’ll do anything to keep playing— I mean, being a detective with yoo.”
I patted her back. “I will think about it, honey.” Didn’t want to think about it, but I would. “Please don’t cry.”
As she sat up, her tears vanished. “No more chit chat. Let’s put some action into this week’s post.”
I agreed. As we walked across the road to our house, I felt a strange pull to the left. Was something supernatural at work? Then I realized my little sister was nudging me in that direction. I took control and tugged her up the walkway.
The minute our paws touched the porch, the front door opened. A small, bird-like woman stepped out holding a plate of large meatballs in her shaking, spotty hands. “Just in time for lunch,” she said. “Take one. I made them special for you.”
While Dori readily took one, the marinara dripping down her arm and onto her chest, I hesitated. “How did you know we would stop by? We just decided ourselves.”
“Actually,” Dori said, her mouth full of the juicy meat, “I made wesu-vations when I stopped by earlier to ask Fjarskarfinn questions about Dottie.”
“Who?” I nibbled my meatball. It tasted delicious, seasoned with basil, oregano and…catnip.
“Fjarskarfinn.” Dori gestured with her meatball to the old woman, dripping sauce on the porch. “Fjarskarfinn Skredskarvig.”
I stared at my sister with shock. She had pronounced the foreign name with the hard ‘R’s’ without her usual way of turning ‘R’s into ‘W’s’.
The woman’s faded blue eyes sparkled as she clapped with joy. “Well done, Dori. It’s not an easy name to pronounce, unless you’re from Norway. But you may call me ‘Finn.’ Detective Hwermie, Dori has told me so much about you.”
Finn offered us comfy porch chairs, along with bowls of peach-smelling iced tea. “I’m so excited to meet real detectives. You’re much more handsome in person than on television. You want to interrogate me about the murder of Dottie Kiss? Ask me anything, Detective Hwermie. I have nothing to hide.”
A piece of meatball fell out of my open mouth. “You know she was murdered?”
“I have no proof, but I’m certain she was. I never believed that story going around that Dottie ran off with a mysterious stranger. She had men friends, but she was devoted to her kitty cats. She would never leave them. Especially the homeless ones.”
I fumbled for my notebook and purrple crayon. “Please, start from the beginning.”
Finn thought for a moment. “I was born in Tromso, Norway to Agot my mother, and Gudbrand, my father…”
“Not your beginning. Tell me about Dottie. How did you meet her?”
“Oh, I knew her family before she was even born. Her grandmother, Violet, was a good friend of mine. She sold me this property. At one time Violet owned this entire block, but as she got older she sold off her land, retaining only her home—the house you’re living in—and the house next door for her daughter Rosemary’s family. That’s where Patricia and Dorothy were born. The house Patty now lives in.”
As I wrote in my notebook Finn asked, “Did you meet the ghost?”
I stopped writing. “You mean Violet?”
Finn blinked. “Violet is a ghost?”
“Yes. She hangs out on the roof patio.”
Finn was surprisingly limber as she jumped off the porch to look at the roof on my house. “I don’t see it, but Violet always talked of having one built.”
I shrugged. “I guess it’s there now for Violet’s ghost.”
Finn returned to the porch. “What about her mother? Have you met Isobel? Violet talked about her mother living with her, even though Isobel died shortly after Violet married.”
“Yes, she’s there too.”
Finn clapped with joy. “I can’t wait to meet her. I hope they invite me for tea.”
Dori’s eyes widened. “Yoo aren’t planning to join them anytime soon, are you Finn?”
“You never know. I’m ninety-three.”
“Wow!” Dori exclaimed. “That’s 408 in cat years!”
“Really? How exciting.” Finn offered us a second meatball. “Dottie would have loved knowing you. She loved kitty cats so much. She cared for the kitty colony in the woods behind our homes. She called them her fur babies.”
I made a mental note to go hang out with Dottie’s fur babies to get their take on what happened to their caregiver. “Could you tell us about Dottie?”
“Certainly!” Finn tipped back into a chair and took a marinara-drippy meatball for herself. She ate with her hands, as there were no plates or forks available. “As you already know, Dottie and Patty grew up in the house next door to Violet, their grandmother, who was very rich. Patty and her mother, Rosemary, thought Violet was kooky, as she claimed her long-deceased mother, Isobel, lived with her. But Dottie believed her and spent a lot of time over there. I’m so very happy to know Violet wasn’t kooky.
“Anyway, the house was worth a lot of money. Not only on the outside, but also on the inside as Violet had an expensive antiques collection. Rosemary was a realtor–she owned Welcome Home Realtors–and often speculated about how much the house and it’s contents would bring her once Violet passed away. Can you imagine saying such a thing, especially when her mother was still alive?”
“Was Rosemary a nice lady?” I wondered.
“You ask such professional questions, Detective Hwermie. Not really. I always said Patty took after her mother, while Dottie took after Violet. Dottie was beautiful and bubbly with a sparkly personality, while Patty was dour and stern and all business. People couldn’t believe they were related, much less sisters.Finn took a marinara-drippy meatball. She ate with her hands, as there were no forks available. Click To Tweet
“Rosemary was a snootie-patootie, and Patricia, as she insisted on being called, walked around town like she wore a crown on her head. At home Dottie was called Dorothy. But because she loved wearing polka dots, she was known as Dottie to everyone else.”
“Is Rosemary still alive?” I asked.
Finn squealed like a rock star groupie. “What an intuitive question, Detective Hwermie. No. She took ill very suddenly and died two years before her mother. She left her estate to Patty, her favorite daughter, but not to Dottie. Isn’t that strange? Maybe it was because Dottie had moved in with Violet to care for her in her aging years. Violet lived to be one hundred and eight, did you know? Patty had nothing to do with her grandmother. Practically ignored her. But when Violet finally passed—she told me she was done with this lifetime and ready to start the next—she left her home and all it’s antiques to Dottie.”
“How did Patty feel about that?”
“Well, she never said anything to me, but there was no question she was upset. Violet’s estate was worth millions, and every penny of it went to Dottie.”
To Be Continued.