ROUND THREE -- Story from a picture
“Gina, this is it! We have the most important case of all to solve. Do you have the lemonade ready?” I hurriedly spoke into the phone.
“Mom, did you make the lemonade?” I heard Gina yell, but I couldn’t hear her mom’s reply.
“Yes, my mom made it early this morning,” Gina continued. “The Lemonade Girls Detective Agency is ready to rock!”
“Good,” I said anxiously. “Meet me outside, and I’ll start setting up the lemonade stand.”
Gina is my best friend. Not only do we live next door to each other, but we are also both in the same second grade class at Robertson Elementary School. We decided to start the Lemonade Girls Detective Agency after solving a few mysterious incidents at school.
I will always remember the first incident. It happened when Miss Green couldn’t find her apple. In the morning it had been on her desk, but it was gone by lunch time. I felt bad for her, but I didn’t know what could have happened to it. Then, Big George gave back the spelling workbook that he borrowed from me. When I opened it up, I saw yucky apple crumbs in between the pages. At first I was going to hit him with the book, but then I realized that he had taken the apple. I told Big George to bring her another apple tomorrow, or I would tell.
Gina and I thought it was a good idea to start our own detective agency. We want to save up money so that we could buy a big playhouse from Toys R Us. That would be our office. In the meantime, we sell lemonade and things like flowers and rocks. It works out well because we get to talk to all of our customers. It doesn’t take us long to gather information to solve our cases. Plus, we charge at least a dollar for each case.
I set up a large box outside of Gina’s house to use as a serving table, and then I went back for the rock wagon and sale signs. Today, we would be selling flowers too. Just as I stuck on the last of the signs, Gina and her mom came out of the house with a lemonade pitcher and lots of cups.
“Hello Mandy!” Gina and her mother cried out together as they approached the stand. They carefully went to work setting up the cups, pitcher, and small change box.
“Hello Mrs. Dora! Hello Gina!” I said with a smile. I stood there for a moment watching Gina’s mom place the change box under our stand, and then I remembered to thank her for helping us. “Thanks for making the lemonade again Mrs. Dora. My mom said that she will make it next time.”
“You’re welcome Mandy. Please let your mom know that I really don’t mind at all,” Gina’s mom said while patting me on the top of the head. She started walking back to the house, but had one more thing to say first. “Girls, call me if you need anything. I’ll be right inside.”
“Ok,” Gina and I acknowledged.
“Mandy! Tell me what our new case is about. I’m dying to know!” Gina said while squeezing both of my shoulders. Her dark brown eyes were wide with excitement.
“Wait until you hear this!” I began. “You know that teddy bear of little Mari Lena from down the street?”
“She loves that teddy bear! You don’t mean that something happened to it!” Gina gasped.
“Yes. That’s exactly what I mean. Mari Lena came to me today to tell me that it was missing. She is very upset, and she said that she will pay us two dollars if we can get it back for her," I said quickly.
“Gee. Does she remember where she had it last?” Gina said in deep thought. Gina always pouted her lips when she was concentrating really hard.
“Yes,” I continued. “She was having a tea party with Maria and her brother David. Those two had to go in for lunch, so Mari Lena left her bear in a seat at their porch toy table. She went back 30 minutes later, and the teddy was gone. Maria and David were in the house the whole time, so they don’t know anything about it.”
“Let’s make sure that we ask lots of questions today.” “…And we can start with Carol and her mother,” Gina said through a grin as our first two customers of the day approached.
“Hello girls,” Carol’s mom almost sang in a very animated voice. “Carol and I would each like a glass of your ice cold lemonade.”
“Coming right up Mrs. Casey,” I muttered as I poured the heavy pitcher. I could tell that Gina was getting ready to ask some questions because she seemed too quiet.
“So Carol, I always see you on your bicycle. What other kinds of toys do you have? Did you get any new ones in the last couple of days?” Gina interrogated.
“Yes,” Carol began in a very shy voice. “I found one yesterday.”
Gina and I looked at each other as we waited for Carol to continue speaking. I handed them their lemonade, and Gina took the money. The suspense was killing me, but I knew that Carol takes a long time to speak. I guess most three year olds do. She finally continued. “Yesterday I was riding my bicycle, and I saw something on the ground outside of Billy Ramsey’s house. It was a brown and white sea shell. Billy came out as I was picking it up, and he said I could have it. My dad made a hole in it and put a string through it so that I can hang it from my lamp.”
Gina’s jaw was open in amazement. Carol must have taken five whole minutes to tell us that, and I’m not really sure what she was talking about. I interrupted so that she wouldn’t start talking again. “But you didn’t get any real toys lately like a teddy bear, right?”
“No,” Carol said in her shy tone.
Carol’s mom interrupted this time. “But Carol’s Aunt Lucy is going to bring her a stuffed dog when she visits for the fourth of July. Carol loves stuffed dogs. Don’t you sweetie?” She sang lovingly to her daughter.
“Yes. I have ten stuffed dogs,” Carol declared proudly.
“Thank you, girls. We’ll stop by again next time. Maybe you’ll get to meet Aunt Lucy when she is in town,” Carol’s mom said with a smile. Gina and I watched as they walked away, and then we began to speak.
“Well, clearly Carol didn’t take Mari Lena’s teddy bear,” Gina stated.
“Maybe, but I’m not sure about her mom,” I winked.
“We need more clues,” Gina pouted again in thought.
As if on cue, Mr. Marino came by in a good natured mood. “Hi Mandy! Hi Gina! Gina, Gina, Gina! If there’s a prettier girl, then I’ve never seen her.”
His silly mood was contagious. We all started giggling, and then I attempted a similar joke. “Mr. Marino, Mr. Marino, Mr. Marino! He’s the best man that we ever did know.”
Mr. Marino held his chin high up in the air and let out loud and hearty laughter. Gina and I giggled some more because he thought my little joke was so funny. After he made a big show of catching his breath, he focused his attention on what we had for sale. “I’ll take a cup of your fine lemonade.”
“Sure,” I said, and began to pour some of that yellow liquid out again. “Would you like to buy some rocks too?” I asked as I handed him the drink.
“Of course I would! I’ll take two.” He managed to say in between swallowing all of the lemonade. He put the cup down and picked out two rust colored rocks. “I see that Mandy has been busy with her rock tumbler. I wouldn’t want to be in your house when that machine is on.” He started laughing again at his own humor before he continued speaking. “…And I thought my dog, Buster, made a racket.”
Mr. Marino took out two dollars, and handed it to Gina. “Keep the change, girls. You certainly deserve it for sitting out here in this heat.”
“Where is buster? He is usually right by your side,” I asked.
“He ran down the street after the ice cream truck, and he hasn’t been back yet. He normally stays away for about twenty minutes, so he should be showing up soon. I’d imagine he only goes around the corner to play with that Great Dane. Buster might only be a Beagle, but he thinks he’s a big dog.”
Mr. Marino started laughing again, but stopped when he heard me shouting. “Look, Mr. Marino! There’s Buster now!”
Buster started running up the quiet street, and we saw that he was carrying something big and brown. As he came closer, we saw what he had. Gina was the first to make the announcement. “Mandy! Buster has Mari Lena’s teddy bear in his mouth!”
As soon as Buster was close enough, Mr. Marino rescued the bear from the Beagle’s jaws. “Buster, let’s give this bear to the girls. This isn’t a dog toy. You're a silly dog.” He smiled and handed the bear to me. “I’ll be seeing you, girls. I better get this rascal home right now.”
It was a good thing that Buster is a gentle dog. The bear was a little dirty, but not at all chewed up. Gina and I extended our hands to give each other a dramatic handshake. “Another case closed by the Lemonade Girls Detective Agency,” I said proudly. “We did it again.”