Thursday Andersen Gets A Partner

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Six legs are better than two.

Submitted: March 07, 2015

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Submitted: March 07, 2015

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When I heard a new family with a girl my age was moving in to the neighborhood, I was really hoping I could be friends with her.  I’m still hoping for that.  For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with being friends with her roommate.  In fact, I’ve engaged her roommate as a junior agent at Andersen Detective Agency.  Her name is Sofia.  She is a cat.

As soon as the new family moved in, Sofia started joining me when I make my neighborhood rounds.  I go through the neighborhood several times a day.  That’s what detectives do.  Establish a baseline.  Look for variations.

Sofia and I can communicate.  I’m not sure how we do it.  We don’t use words or meows.  We just think thoughts into each other’s heads.

The first thing I asked Sofia about was her friend.  “Do you think she’d like to hang out at my house?  I just got Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  It’s really cool.” 

Sophia said, “Her name is Kara.  She’s my best friend.  She has to use a wheelchair because of some injuries.  And she has some trouble speaking.  I think she needs more time to adjust to the new place before she meets anyone.”

I told Sofia, “I’d love to take Kara all over the neighborhood, even if I have to push her wheelchair.  If I don’t understand something she says, she’ll just have to keep telling me until I get it.”

I’ll introduce her to Mrs. Lettuce.  She’s real nice and always helps me solve my cases.  Maybe I’ll even introduce Kara to Serge Wlodarski.  I could tell he had a crush on her, the first time he saw her, looking out the window of her bedroom. 

Serge is always an emotional wreck when he experiences puppy love.  He’ll never act on it.  He loves her because she’s on the other side of that window and he can look without taking a chance on getting hurt.  He certainly won’t take a chance on me.  I’m right in front of him and I hit him over the head with it all the time. 

Serge is completely hopeless.  Now that I think about it, I won’t introduce Kara to him.  He’d just make a fool out of himself and blow any chance he has with her.  I have no idea what it will take to make that boy grow up.

But Sofy and I are having a grand time.  That’s my nickname for her.  She says Kara calls her that sometimes.

Sofy and I figured out her strengths and weaknesses as a detective.  I realized this was going to work out really well.  Sofy is good at the things I am not.  I am good at what she is not.  We make a great team. 

For example, Sofy isn’t much good at reading fingerprints.  She says they all look alike to her.  On the other hand, she is an expert at surveillance.  She can go anywhere, see anything, completely undetected by humans.  When she told me she could do that, I didn’t believe her.

So she gave me a demonstration.  In broad daylight, Sofy followed Mrs. Lettuce around while she did her morning gardening chores.  The entire hour Mrs. Lettuce was pulling weeds, watering, and harvesting, Sofy was able to stay a few steps behind her.  No matter how often or how quickly Mrs. Lettuce turned, Sofy responded and kept out of her field of vision.  When Mrs.  Lettuce finished and went back inside, she was right behind her, and had not been seen once.

Cats are much faster than humans.  Just try to catch one who doesn’t like you with your bare hands.  You’ll see what I mean.  When they hunker down and stay still, even wary critters like birds and squirrels may not notice them.  Cats are highly mobile, nearly invisible spy cameras with a built in computer.  They don’t require batteries.  No remote control required.  The Andersen Detective Agency just moved up a few rungs in the detective agency universe.

The first case we took as partners was one of the simplest ever to solve.  All it took was Sofy to stake out Mrs. Lettuce’s garden for an evening.  Sofy says cats do things like that all the time anyway, just for fun.

Mrs. Lettuce puts a two foot high hardware fabric fence around the new sprouts in her garden.  Hardware fabric is a kind of screen, made of thicker wire than window screen.  The holes are larger also, she uses fabric with 1/4” holes.  She stakes one length of fabric vertically around each garden row, then hinges pieces to lay flat on top and serve as the roof.  She can pull up the roof to get to the sprouts.  But when it is down, and secured with the latches she’d made out of wire, that should keep any animals out.

But it wasn’t working.  Mrs. Lettuce noticed the latch undone and quite a few sprouts missing.  Snatched from the dirt by a neighborhood kid, or some clever animal.  But who?  Or what?  This was a perfect job for Sofy the Spy Cat.

The next morning, we had the answer.  Sofy had simply found a spot where she could see the garden without being seen.  Then she curled up and went to sleep.  Cat ears are like radar.  Even when asleep, some part of a cat’s brain is working.  Sofy knew she would wake up when anything big enough to undo the latch showed up.

She slept all the way through the night.  When she did wake up, the sky was changing from black to grey.  Sunrise was coming.  What woke Sofy was a large, very pregnant deer.  And a smart one.  She pushed on the latch with her nose to dislodge it.  She used her nose to flip up the edge of the roof, and when it plopped down on the top of her head, she was already pulling up another meal’s worth of sprouts with her teeth.  A few moments later, she was off.  The case was closed a little later when Sofy gave report during morning rounds.

When we got to Mrs. Lettuce’s house, we had the debriefing.  Sofy sat and cleaned herself while I brought our client up to speed.  She laughed when I told her how the deer used her nose to open the cage.  “One thing a deer can’t do with her nose is to untie a knot.  I’ll fix that problem in a moment.  But we can’t have a pregnant mama deer go hungry.  The case isn’t closed yet.  You need to research what kind of food is best for an odocoileus who is in a family way.”

Sofy hung out with Kara while Serge and I went to the library.  At least I could con him into that.  I made up a story about how I was afraid of the bullies and I’d feel safer if he went with me.  The lies a girl has to tell…

The one thing I could always count on with Serge was his sense of chivalry.  He would do my bidding any time I could paint him as my knight in shining armor.  That wasn’t hard to do.  The next step, him being Arthur to my Guinevere, seemed logical to me.  And yet, so far away.

Enough of the romantic daydreaming.  Back to the library.  We found out that deer eat things such as acorns, nuts, young tender grasses, and wildflowers.  As far as what we could buy, things like apples, corn, hay, and birdseed.  And this is important.  Salt.

Serge said there were still a lot of acorns in his yard, the oak tree had so many last fall the squirrels and chipmunks couldn’t keep up.  I gathered them while Serge built a combination salt lick/feed tray like the ones we’d seen in pictures at the library. 

At the same time, Mrs. Lettuce was doing some shopping.  When Serge was done, we placed the tray next to the garden and filled it with salt, acorns, apples, hay, and birdseed.  I thought we were done, but Mrs. Lettuce said, “Wait, we have to take some pictures to commemorate this awesome day.”

We got pictures of Mrs. Lettuce, Serge, Sofy, me, and the feed tray.  We took turns taking pictures so everyone was in one.  Sofy said she didn’t have thumbs so she and the feed tray are in all of the pictures.

It was a Polaroid camera, the kind that make pictures instantly.  Sofy said if I bend one a little and slide it under her collar, she’ll carry it back to Kara.  So Sofy could brag about her new job.

I’m glad Mrs. Lettuce thought to take pictures.  It gave me an excuse to put my arm around Serge.  I was really surprised when he put his around me.  That was a first!

Then, after the last photo, I went crazy.  I stood up on my toes and kissed Serge on the cheek.  I can’t believe I did that.  I felt the blood rushing to my cheeks and it was my turn to be goofy.  I turned and ran as fast as I could back to my house.  I yelled, “Bye Serge!  Bye Mrs. Lettuce!  Bye Sofy!” as I ran away.

Believe it or not, as I was running, I heard Serge say this:  “Wow, thanks.”  Maybe there is some hope for that boy.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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