Mom? Could I have a refill?” I stood in the doorway of my Wonderpurr Detective Agency, holding my cup. My mom has a coffee bar set up in the corner of her author-office. I’m just starting out so I can’t afford my own, yet.
Hi, I’m Sherlock Herms, a hardboiled detective with grit in my blood. I’d just solved my first paying mystery—the Case of the Dancing Ghosts—two days ago, and I was anxious to solve another. My mom wants to write mysteries, and since I’m her mews, I decided to open my own detective agency so I could learn about solving crimes.
Mom looked up from paying bills. She doesn’t like to pay bills on her author computer…says the financial mojo messes with her creative mojo, but there is no way around it. The old computer has retired due to Microsoft no longer supporting Windows XP. I have no idea what that means…nor do I care. I just wanted more coffee.
“What did you do with the last cup?” she asked. “You didn’t drink it, did you? Coffee will stunt your growth.”
“No, I just like how it smells in my office.” Truthfully, I didn’t. But us detectives drink a lot of coffee. I read that somewhere.
She poured a splash from her cup into mine, and I returned to my desk in our house attic. Handy, but so not cool. I had my heart set on an office in a dingy building, slowly collapsing under the weight of time and despair, but I needed to solve at least one more case before I could afford one of those.
I side-stepped the talcum powder I’d sprinkled on the floor to trap suspicious paw prints, and went to my desk. It’s huge with lots of nooks and crannies. It came with my office. Actually, it came with the house. It’s too big to get through the door without chopping to pieces. Mom says our home was built around an older house that refused to be torn down.
For a phone I had an old 1940’s black Bakelite with a rotary dial that I’d found inside one of the desk’s cubbyholes. I placed a paw on it to see if it felt warm from ringing while I was gone, but it was cold. Two whole days had passed since I’d solved my first case. Would I get another call? Was I a washed-up has-been before I got wet behind the ears?
I shook my piggy bank. It’s white with a happy smile. I wanted to hear the jingle of the two huge quarters Dori and I had earned from solving my first case. I mean…our first case.
Dori is my partner. She’s also my sisfur. I paid her one of the two quarters since she earned it by figuring out my CritterZone Air Naturalizer would not only eliminate odors up to eight hundred square feet…but it would also eliminate contaminants like ghosts. Dori, however, insisted on investing in my agency and deposited her quarter into my bank. Even though Sam Spade and Sherlock Holmes didn’t have their sisfurs for partners, I didn’t have the heart not to include her.
Speaking of Dori… I checked my pocket watch. I don’t have pockets and I can’t tell time, plus the watch doesn’t work—I’d found it in one of my desk’s drawers—but it adds to my mystique. My whiskers sensed I’d been open for business a full thirty minutes, which meant Dori was late.
I turned my attention to the letter I was writing. I’d started over eight times. Mom always says first impressions are lasting impressions. I wanted my letter to my hero to be purrfect. Maybe if he liked what I wrote in my letter, he would want to meet me in purrrson. And maybe even solve a case with me.
Dear Mr. Holmes,
I wanted to introduce myself since we are in the same business of detecting stuff. I am Sherlock Herms of the Wonderpurr Detective Agency. I have one assistant, like you do with Watson…only my assistant is my little sisfur, Dori. I don’t suppose you’ve ever had to take your little sisfur on a caper. Anyway! We just solved our first case. It had ghosts that needed to be eliminated. We were paid two huge quarters. Have you ever solved a case with ghosts? Just wondering. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.
I’m a huge fan of yours. I watched one of your hissstorical doc-mew-mentaries last night on TV to pick up tips on solving cases. Maybe someday when I get real good at solving cases myself, you and me could maybe get together… Discuss stuff. Or maybe not if you’re real busy. You probably are, so…
Maybe if you have an extra picture of yourself lying around, you could pawtograph it for me. I would hang it over my desk and look at it all the time for inspurration. But if you don’t have time to have your picture taken…or don’t want to just because…I understand.
I smelled a strong fishy odor, followed by a loud burp. Dori stood behind me. “Why yoo want his picture?”
“Hey!” I shoved my letter into a cubbyhole. “I’m writing private stuff here.”
She shoved a Smittens treat into her mouth. “Sowry.”
“Where have you been? You’re late.”
She gazed at my silent phone. “But…we got nuffin to work on. Is that why you’re writing fan letters?”
“I’m not writing fan letters. This is business correspondence between two pawfessionals.” I turned my back on her. “Maybe you should dust stuff, or empty the trash while we wait to be hired for our second case.”
She took my waste basket into the corner where Mom kept a research library. The top shelf had books about authoring mysteries. The second shelf had books about detecting stuff, and the bottom shelf had books about ghosts.
I went back to finishing my letter.
I hope all is well with you and Watson. Just wanted to say ‘hi.’
Sincerely, Sherlock Herms
I sealed my letter and addressed the envelope, then took it to Mom to mail.
Back in my office, I found Dori sitting on the sofa reading my crumbled practice correspondence from the waste basket. “Dori! That’s purrsonal! You don’t have purrmission to root through my trash.” I swept my rejected
fan letters business correspondence into the basket and took it to my mom to empty.
When I returned I found Dori reading a book. “It says here detectives have purrmission to woot through twash. Once it leaves the house and sits on the curb, it’s up for gwabs by the general public. That includes us detectives and the pawpawrazzi.”
I sat next to her. “What are you reading?”
She showed me the cover: Novice Ghost Hunting: The Basics.
“We got lucky the first time. We need to know the basics for our next case.” She flipped a few pages. “It says there are wules we should follow.”
“Wule Number One: Get Purrrmission to investigate a haunted house. Appawently yoo can’t just walk in off the street and stawt eliminating ghosts. Yoo gotta ask the hoomons who live there if its okay.”
“Wule Number Two: Don’t go alone. Take a buddy…or at the very least, take someone yoo kinda like. It says here sometimes ghosts get cwanky and might whup your tail, in which case yoo will probably need someone to call 9-1-1. Also, sometimes haunted buildings and old cemey-tawees are loaded with twip hazards and yoo could fall and bweak something.” She looked at me. “You’re my brofur. Can yoo be my buddy too?”
“I think so. Sure, why not?”
She read, “Wule Number Thwee: Know when to run. If yoo get scared, either from a mean ghost slapping yoo with an icy cold hand across your puss, or if a disembodied spirit twies to get inside your body–Run! No one expects yoo to be a he-row. If your instinct says to Run–do it.”
“If some disembodied spirit tries to get inside me, I’m not waiting around for somebody to call me a hero. I’m zooming.”
“Me too! I didn’t like it the last time. If it happens again, I’m chawging four extwa quawters.”
During The Case of the Dancing Ghosts, Dori had the ghost of Christina slip inside her to tell her side of the story. She didn’t ask purrrmission, she just did it. I wondered if ghosts had a different rule book from ours.
“Wule Number Four,” Dori continued. “Wear the Co-wect Clothing for Ghost Hunting. Leave your Prada heels, Gucci bag and Hermes scarf at home.”
“I don’t wear scarves.”
“Are yoo sure? It says right here in this book that yoo wear scarves.”
I checked and sure enough, I saw my name. It was spelled wrong, but I’m a cat so…maybe I have been misspelling my name for my whole life. “Well, I don’t. Maybe I should have but no one told me to, so I didn’t. What else does your book say?”
“It says wear comfortapurr clothing and sensible shoes.”
We looked at our feet. “I’m not wearing shoes,” she said.
I nodded. “I can’t zoom wearing shoes. And I don’t wanna wear scarves or clothing either, no matter how comfortapurr.”
She shut the book with a slap. “We should just wing it. We did pretty good without knowing basic wules on our fiwst case.”
“I agree. Especially if the rules say we have to wear shoes and clothes.”
Suddenly my phone rang. I was so surprised I just stared at it. Dori pounced. “Wonderpurr Detective Agency. Detective Adorapurr speaking. How may I help mew?”
I hurried to press my ear against the phone in time to hear the caller say, “I’m willing to pay cold hard cash. I’m desperate.”
“Despurrate is good,” Dori said, more to me than the caller. “We chawge three quawters.”
Three quarters! I felt my eyes go round like two huge quarters…plus one. Cold Hard Cash!
Dori hung up. “Concatulations. Yoo got another case.”
Where will Sherlock Herms and his sister/assistant, Detective Adorapurr, go on their next case? Will they need Herman’s Ride – a Gen7Pet Regal stroller and the kitty play tunnel-slash-trans-portal energy gate to get there? Will Herman’s inventor brofurs, Jack and Opie, come up with something new to add to the tricked out stroller? And will Sherlock Holmes answer Herman’s
fan letter business correspondence?
To Read Part 2, Click Here.
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