The Hundred-dollar Detective

18 Oct

By Evan Long
6th Grade

In the corridor, I saw a door. I had no idea what enemy lay on the other side, but I knew I would have to face it. Sweat ran down my face. My feet shifted. I prepared to bust down the door.

This whole thing started at the arrival of Florence Johnston, a famous dog tycoon. This morning, I went to her party, consisting of her closest friends. Yes, all 278 of her closest friends, including yours truly. When I came through the doors, I thought I would be there for a long time. Tables had card games, performers, and an orchestra. But I felt edgy when Florence stood up and announced:

“Tonight, in celebration of me being here with you all, I will be giving one-hundred dollars to a lucky guest!”

Uh-oh.

Suddenly, the lights went out, there was a quiet yelp, and when the lights went on, Florence was gone.

I glanced outside, and sure enough, there was the villain, sprinting, carrying Florence as a groom would carry a bride. I chased him down, stopped him with my hand, and slapped him across his bandana-covered face. He reacted by kicking me so hard, I fell to the ground. As I recovered, I saw a note. It read:

“If you wish to see Florence again, meet me at the alley of Rosa and 15th, and bring the $100.”

I just stood there for some time, as if still watching the criminal run away from me.

I’d learned that you don’t always win, back in Manhattan twelve years before: The year was 1918, the year when the Great War ended. I was assigned to protect a girl running from the mafia. Those were my NYPD days, and after she showed me her apartment, she left to run errands. After about five minutes, there came a knock on the door. More like a thud. I opened the door with a creak, and the girl appeared. I excitedly opened my hand to shake hers, but something else happened: her eyes rolled back, and she collapsed in my arms, a knife in her back. My blood-caked hands trembled. I put my head in my hands, like a crying boy, hiding from the world.

I had failed. They had put someone’s life in my hands, and I had just thrown it away. But Florence was not dead. I just knew it. And this time, I wouldn’t let her down.

***

I gloomily swung open the door to my apartment. I had lost. Florence might be alive, but the thief would be far away by now. But as I pondered my loss, I realized that I still had a chance of cracking this case. There were three people who had left at the same time as Florence: José, Jason, and Spencer. And with those three names, I had all I needed.

Spencer was a pacifist, so I cancelled him out.

On my walk to José’s workplace, I thought that I heard quiet, stalking footsteps. I looked over my shoulder only to see a vacant park bench. José had stickier fingers than a glue manufacturer. In fact, that is his real job. But as I caught a glimpse of him leaving his 10:00 p.m. late-shift, I also caught a glimpse of his glue-smothered hands. Dry glue. Yet there was no sign of glue on the note. He couldn’t have done it. I slowly walked out the door. I was almost out of suspects.

Halfway through the drive to Jason’s, I realized that it had been thirty minutes since the kidnapping. And furthermore, it was 6:30. And furthermore, he had no car. He couldn’t have walked to Rosa and 15th in 30 minutes. And as fast as I could snap my fingers, I was out of suspects. I gloomily drove to Florence’s to tell the butler the bad news.

“That’s dreadful,” he said. “If only she was hurt in the process, then we could sue for thousands!”

“Yes, we could…” My eyes widened, I snapped my fingers again and burst out the door. I knew who had done it.

I easily went 10 mph over the limit on my way to Rosa and 15th. When I got there, I realized that a real villain wouldn’t be out in the open. He would watch. I slammed open the doors of the Rosa Hospital. I heard laughter roaring from room 111.

Now we’re up to speed.

I swiftly kicked the door open. “I never thought about it until now, but you took Florence!”

Standing in front of me was Spencer. “But how?” he inquired.

“Simple,” I retorted. “You are a pacificist. But did you physically hurt Florence? No.”

***

Spencer glanced down at the rusted iron bars of cell number 7. The armed guard slowly waddled from wall to wall like an obese penguin. In his drunkenness, the master key slipped from the barrel of his gun and landed quietly on Spencer’s lap. Spencer’s eyes widened, and the last thing the guard heard was a creak and a crazy, demented laugh.

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