Previously on Sherlock Herms… Monkey Business!
Dori asked, “Did yoo know about writing children’s books when Mom wrote Finding Mya?”
I thought about it. “No.”
“Did yoo know about family dysfunction and Christmas folklore when she wrote Kringle?”
I swallowed hard. “No!” Feeling a panic attack coming on, I grabbed my floofy tail for something to hold onto. “Does this mean I haven’t been her mews all along?”
Dori placed her paws on either side of my face. “It means all yoo have to be is you in order to inspire her stowies. That’s all a mews does.”
“Well said, my little sweetheart.” Charley sat on the sunroom couch, smiling.
I stared at them both. “But… I have inattentional blindness! And you’re wrong, Charley. It is a disease. It has 99,500 links listed on Google. It’s a full-blown epidemic. I can never be like Sherlock Holmes if I have a disease!”
Charley sighed. “Herman, only Holmes can be Holmes.”
Dori tugged on my arm. “Yoo don’t need to be another Shewlock Holmes. Yoor Shewlock Hewms. Not the same. Diffewent.”
“I’m not saying you cannot be a most excellent detective,” Charley continued, but I’d tuned him out. Dori too. Clearly the ability to pay attention to one thing at a time applies to listening as well.
With the hum of Charley’s and Dori’s voices shifted to background noise…like the dishwasher running… I turned back to the window to focus on the bird sitting on the birdbath. Then I shifted my attention to Candy’s reflection in the glass.
I saw Candy stretch her legs as she sighed in her sleep.
I saw Dori exchanging opinions with Charley as to why I should give up my dream of being like Sherlock Holmes.
Something caught my attention. Charley looked solid to me. Not ghost-like, as though he was still alive.
I also saw something in the window’s reflection that made the fur on my neck stand up!
A week had passed since Charley and Dori tried to convince me to give up my dream of being like my hero. Deep down I knew they were only trying to help me not put so much pressure on myself to be purrfect. But they didn’t understand. Purrfection wasn’t my intent. I didn’t think I could ever be as great as Sherlock Holmes. Rather, my ego had taken a bashing. That was the crux of my internal conflict. My little sisfur was a better detective than me.
I stared at the winged thing sitting on the birdbath. It stared back at me, almost defiantly. There was glass between us. No chance of mixing it up, but still I flexed my claws to show I meant business.
Then, as pinky-blue twilight seeped into the sky, the rough-legged hawk with its brown-spotted white breast flew into trees. I shifted my focus to the window’s reflection. Without turning I could see where my ginger-furred brofur Opie sprawled on the sunroom couch beside his best girl, Peaches.
Life is funny. Here I was, wanting so badly to solve cases with all the smooth cool confidence of Jackie Chan as Inspector Lee in Rush Hour…but I kinda sucked at it because I had terminal inattentional blindness—a disease of epidemic proportions.
Dori, however, kicked butt as a detective, figuring out clues without any effort. Yet all she cared about was whether a can of tuna would be opened for lunch, and if she had an adequate supply of her favorite treats.
After showing me a cool trick called selective looking—I gazed at the birdbath outside then, by shifting my focus to the window’s reflection, was able to observe whoever sat on the couch behind me—Charley suggested I spend the week practicing. He told me when he returned—later today—he would show me more on how to train my brain to focus on what I needed to focus on, and not everything at once around me.
I hadn’t told Charley how, at the end of last week’s lesson, I’d seen a bird-like lady with wings in the window’s reflection. Also some cool guy with shades. Nor had I told Charley how he’d looked solid instead of ghost-like.
I didn’t know what any of it meant. I was afraid to mention what I’d seen. If my eyes…or my brain! was playing tricks on me, it might reveal my inattentional blindness disease had taken a turn for the worse!
I didn’t want Charley to give up on me. I was determined to beat inattentional blindness. I was determined to prove to both Charley and Dori that I could be a successful hardboiled detective with grit in my blood—not soft boiled with kitty litter in my paws.
I turned to see Jack, my tabby brofur who invented stuff. He was responsible for building the control panel with the scary array of buttons added to my Gen7Pets Regal, turning it from an ordinary pet stroller into a tricked out Ride that could time travel.
Dori and I had already traveled back to the 1940’s twice to solve mysteries. I now realized that my first job, The Case of the Dancing Ghosts, had been a test by Charley to see if I would freak out over the pressure of not only time traveling, but also confronting ghosts. I hadn’t. And my second job, Mrs. Shallowford’s Ghost, is where I’d met Charley Feeble in purrson. Are ghosts still purrsons? Anyway! Charley wanted to teach me everything he knew about being a detective. He said he’d also teach me about paranormal stuff since he was a ghost.
But then my inattentional blindness reared its ugly head, and now Charley was working to help me overcome my disease.
“You get any new calls for a case?” Jack asked.
I know he was inventing stuff, but without any cases, there was no reason for me to use anything.
“I think Charley has unplugged my phone until I get my focus issues under control. No sense taking any more cases if I can’t see the clues right under my nose.”
Opie stretched his legs with his toes splaying wide. “You’ve been staring out windows all week. Is that one of Charley’s homework assignments?”
I nodded. “It’s called selective looking. You want to try it?”
Jack and Opie joined me at the window. Dusk had settled over the yard, deepening the pinky-blueness hovering beyond the treetops. “See that raccoon coming down the tree?” They nodded. “Okay, now look at Peaches on the couch, but without turning around.” They glanced sideways at me with confusion. “Try it,” I urged. “Stare at the raccoon, then shift your focus behind you without turning your head.”
As they rolled their eyes comically, I covered my mouth with my paw. “Look at the window. See Peaches’ reflection?”
They narrowed their eyes, and even moved to place their noses against the glass. Finally, Opie growled under his breath with frustration. “I don’t see what you’re seeing. What’s the trick?”
I didn’t know how to explain it, and felt bad because I knew how it felt to feel left out. I felt that way around Dori. “Here. Look.” I placed my paw on the window where I saw Peaches’ reflection. “Do you see her here?”
They stared some more. Jack even went cross-eyed. “No.”
As the granddaddy clock in the living room chimed five, Opie yawned. “It’s dinnertime. I’m gonna go knock the kibble container off the counter to get Mom off the computer.”
“I’ll join you.” Jack followed.
Dinnertime! Already? What happened to Charley? He usually showed up around four. He was late for my lesson.
Had he changed his mind about me? Did he suddenly realize that I was hopeless and couldn’t be trained?
Maybe Charley was having a secret meeting with Dori to discuss my total failure a Sherlock Holmes wannabe. Dori had been acting strange all week. Not zooming around the house or singing one of her silly songs. Instead she slept a lot with her cuddle blanket wrapped around her. I’d wondered if she felt sick, but Mom has a sixth sense about us being sick and would have zipped Dori to the doctor right away.
Leaving Peaches snoring on the couch, I scampered upstairs. The door to the attic also serves as my detective agency. I heard the crash of the kibble container emptying onto the kitchen floor as Mom passed me on the stairs. “It’s dinnertime, Herms.”
“I’ll be right there.” I pawed open my office door, expecting to catch Dori and Charley in a private conference. Instead I saw just Dori in the act of putting an envelope on my desk. Her wide eyed expression was tinged with guilt. Or maybe gas. She had been nomming a lot of treats lately. She ate when she was bored, and I knew she was as anxious for my Bakelite telephone with the rotary dial to ring and call us to another case as much as I was.
“Whatcha doin’?” I asked, ever so casually despite my suspicion.
“Nuffin’.” She gestured to the envelope on my desk. “Yoo gots mail.”
My heartbeat jumped with sudden hope. I don’t get much mail, except at Christmas and on my birthday. The envelope lay face down. It was bigger than what cards came in. It could be an advertisement falsely disguised as something important to make me open it. Insurance companies and weight loss clinics do that all the time.
I steeled myself for disappointment, then pawed the envelope over, face up.
“It’s from him, isn’t it?” Dori whispurred, almost reverently.
I swallowed hard. And nodded.
“Arent yoo gonna open it?” Her eyes sparkled with ill-concealed anticipation.
My stomach clenched. What if I opened it and inside was a note from Sherlock Holmes’ secretary saying ‘Sorry. Mr. Holmes is too busy to answer your pawthetic fan letter. But here is a coupon for a 10% discount on admission to his museum for the next time you’re in Jolly Old England.’
“Herman! Dori!” We both startled at Mom’s shout up the stairs. “Come to dinner. Now!”
I slipped the envelope into my desk. “I’ll open it later.” When my little sisfur wasn’t around to witness my disappointment and shame.
Dori’s eyes lost their sparkle. “But I wanna see yoor face when yoo— I mean. Um. Ohhh-kay.”
“If you aren’t down here in one minute, I’m giving your food to Frank and Opie!”
Dori and I tripped all over each other to get out the door and down to the kitchen.
Thirty minutes later my tummy felt full of chicken cordon bleu…without the cordon or the bleu. I like to indulge my fancy purrbred desires, even if only in my head.
I licked my paw and swiped it across my face to wash up as Dori sidled up to me and whispurred, “I’m worried about Chawley.”
Startled, I swiped my paw across my nose. “Why are you worried? I know he’s late, but… Maybe he’s busy doing ghost business stuff. We never asked what he does with his time when he’s not here.”
Dori shifted uneasily. “I don’t think its ghost business, Hwermie. I didn’t tell yoo cuz I didn’t want yoo to worry, but…”
My tummy clenched, sensing something bad had happened. “What?”
“I need to show yoo something.” She grabbed her favorite cuddle blanket from the living room couch and wrapped it around her before crawling up the stairs to my office.
The minute I opened the door I sensed something was wrong. My Ride was huddled in the corner, whimpering like a scared puppy. When it saw me it ran over my foot with its anxiousness to be comforted. As I rubbed my foot and petted my Ride’s green mint chip dotted hood, my attention zeroed in on my mom’s bookcase in the corner. The shelves are crammed with books about authoring mysteries, books about detecting stuff, and books about ghosts. Behind it is a secret staircase. In 1945 the stairs led down to a yard with a swimmy pool that no longer existed. Seventy some years into the future, the bookcase hid the stairs to nowhere…except now bright light was flowing out from behind it.
Last week I’d been chatting with Charley when the bright light pushed the bookcase away from the stairs to flood my office. Charley had reacted with surprise and defiance. Someone beyond the light had called to him, but he refused to go. “I—I didn’t expect to be summoned so soon,” he’d told me, looking a little shook up. “I thought I had more time.”
I expected to see Charley sitting on my office couch since the bright light was back, but my attic office felt suffocating and hot instead of bone-chilly cold. Ghosts turn a room to sub-zero temperatures when they’re around.
“He’s not here,” Dori told the light. It abruptly vanished, returning the room to shadows.
“I didn’t know you could talk to it,” I said. “We need to tell it to go away. Leave Charley alone. Thanks for telling me. Has the light been coming around a lot?”
“I don’t know. That’s not what I want to show yoo.” With ears back, she crept to the bookcase and knelt before the third shelf that contained books on the paranormal. With her cuddle blanket wrapped securely around her, she pawed a book entitled Evil Paranormal Stuff from the shelf. “Look!”
I moved to join her with my Ride following on my heels until it realized where I was going. Then it hauled wheels back into the corner where it cowered with fear. What the Friskies?
I squatted to peer into the bookcase. All I saw was pitch black. “I don’t see nuffin’.”
Be sure to come back next Friday to find out whether it’s Heaven that’s calling to Charley from behind the bookcase…or Hell!
So what do you think about me getting a letter from my hero? I’m scared to open it. What if the envelop contains a standard form letter politely thanking me for my interest in Mr. Holmes who is unfortunately too busy to answer fan letters? Or worse… a rejection!
Until next Friday…Have a Wonderpurr Week.
For your convenience, the links to all of my Purranormal Mystery Case Notes are listed on the side column.
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